Referendum in Balochistan urged

June 27, 2015 Updated: April 23, 2016

GENEVA: An exiled Baloch leader and tribal chief of the largest Baloch tribe has drawn the world’s attention to a strange happening in his France-sized homeland on the Straits of Hormuz, called Balochistan: China is strengthening its strategic ties with Islamabad while Pakistan army is receiving US and Western arms to crush the Baloch natives. Brahumdagh Bugti, 35, president of the Baloch Republican Party, who now lives in xile in Switzerland, addressing a party conference in Geneva said that Pakistan commits war crimes in Balochistan by using the military aid it receives from both the US and the European countries. He appealed to Western powers they should immediately halt foreign aid to Pakistan. “China’s intervention in Balochistan is unacceptable. The investment in Balochistan is a tactic to plunder its resources,” Bugti said, adding, “The United Nations must play an effective role to stop human rights violations in Balochistan.”

The BRP conference in Geneva was aimed at highlighting human rights violations and Pakistani war crimes in Balochistan. The conference was part of BRP’s Europe-wide campaign which includes conferences, protest demonstrations and awareness in Britain, Germany and Switzerland to highlight Pakistan’s illegal occupation and Balochistan’s independence struggle and the resulting tsunami of human rights violations at international forums. In addition to Bugti and other BRP leaders, those who spoke included Lakhu Luhana a leader of World Sindhi Congress and Kathryn Porter, US-based leader of Leadership Council for Human Rights.

Farooq Rind, a Baloch patriot from Makkuran, who is now based in Oslo and is head of the BRP Norway chapter, also attended the meeting. “Pakistani state and its armed forces are involved in war crimes in Balochistan, and the United Nations must intervene in Balochistan to stop ongoing human rights violations,” said Brahumdagh Bugti. He said that China has provided billions of dollars to Pakistan that will be used to prolong the illegal occupation of Balochistan, plunder Baloch resources and escalate the Baloch genocide rather than be used for prosperity and development in his occupied homeland.

“China is a superpower but that should not mean that it should get involved in Baloch genocide and plunder the national wealth of the oppressed people in order to complete its economic needs,” he said. He said members of the international community, including China, should support Baloch instead of strengthening Pakistan and its armed forces to oppress Baloch nation. “The international community should play their role to find out a political solution to Balochistan issue and pave the way for the UN to reach Balochistan and conduct a referendum on independence, to let the Baloch decide their own fate,” he said.

What the American activist Kathryn Porter said countered the general impression that US citizens are oblivious of the wrongs their administration perpetrates around the world. “I am ashamed of my country which is funding Pakistan, a state that commits war crimes in Balochistan” said Porter addressing the conference. She said US congressmen should visit balochistan to see for themselves what Pakistan is doing with Baloch people with US taxpayers dollars. She vowed to raise the voice of occupied Balochistan in the US capitol. London-based Lakhu Luhana, a leader of the World Sindhi Congress who has helped the Balochistan struggle for more than a decade now, said that until “the Baloch and Sindhis right to freedom is not considered or accepted, there would be no peace in the region.”

Pakistan accuses India of supporting Bugti and other Baloch activists. However, Bugti some weeks ago said he does not rely on any power to continue his struggle as he inherited $100 million from his grandfather Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, former governor and chief minister of Balochistan. Baloch writers and activists in the West who fear Chinese intervention in Balochistan will render their people stateless forever also deny receiving any help from any quarters and are in fact urging people, including Indians, who believe in justice to help their struggle. These writers say they are empty-handed while China has promised nearly $50 billion dollars to Islamabad if it helps Beijing connect Kasghar with Gwadar Port as part of President Xi Jinping’s Maritime Silk Road vision and make Gwadar part of China’s “string of pearls” of naval bases on the rim of the Indian Ocean.

The BRP and other leaders including Bugti’s brother-in-law Mehran Marri’s activism is producing some results as European Union leaders have begun questioning Pakistan’ war crimes in Baloch. As the host of the conference, BRP central spokesman Sher Mohammad Bugti thanked the participants and paid rich tributes to Nawab Bugti, all Baloch martyrs and the Baloch political activists enduring worst forms of torture cells in Pakistani gestapos. Nawab Bugti, 79, was assassinated on the orders of military dictator and coup leader General Pervez Musharraf on August 26, 2006. Western author, the late Sylvia A. Matheson, spent time with the tribe in Dera Bugti and wrote a fascinating book about it entitled “The Tigers of Baluchistan.” Mansoor Baloch, head of BRP’s UK chapter and Ashraf Sherjan, head of the party’s Germany chapter, also attended the conference.