Aarti Tikoo Singh
Dr Allah Nazar, chief of Balochistan Liberation Front.
Dr Allah Nazar , who has a degree in medicine, is the leading face of the insurgency in Balochistan, a province of Pakistan. The doctor turned militant heads Balochistan Liberation Front (BLF), the largest among the five militant groups active in the conflict-torn region. Nazar, who is underground, survived an attempt on his life by Pakistani forces last year. Excerpts from an email interview he gave to TOI's Aarti Tikoo Singh from an undisclosed location in Balochistan:
Q. Balochistan has an elected provincial government but Baloch militant groups refuse to be part of the democratic system within Pakistan. Why?
Ans. Balochistan was an independent state before the creation of Pakistan, which occupied the Baloch land around a year after its inception. The Balochistan we talk about today is the State of Kalat and the Marri and Bugti territories of what was 'British Balochistan' that wanted to join the State of Kalat as against the artificially carved out Pakistan by amputating the limbs of India by the departing British.
What most Pakistanis and Indians too don't realize that the person responsible, who represented the State of Kalat in securing their independence from the departing British was none other than M.A. Jinnah who was the lawyer hired by the then Khan of Kalat. For his services Mr Jinnah took his weight of Gold from the coffers of the Kalat State.
Thus Balochistan became an independent country on August 4, 1947 and the declaration was made on August 11, 1947, days before Pakistan was created.
Once the Indian Army in the Kashmir War defeated Pakistan, Jinnah tuned his gangster military towards Balochistan and invaded the very state he had advocated for independence as a lawyer. Since then our parents and grandparents and now we are fighting to end this illegal occupation.
As far as democratic process in Pakistan is concerned, it doesn't exist, in Balochistan at least. The people of Balochistan boycotted the 2013 elections with the turnout being no more than 3%. Some of the collaborators who today claim to be the 'elected' government of Balochistan were elected with less than 1,000 votes cast in their favour. On what logic one can say this government represents the Baloch people? You can say that it was a referendum against Pakistan.
Besides, whenever the people of Balochistan exercised their right to vote, they elected Baloch nationalist governments that were subsequently dismissed by the Pakistan Army and their civilian servants.
In the 1970 elections when the Baloch voted into power Baloch leaders such as the late Khair Baksh Marri, Sardar Ataullah Mengal and Mir Ghaus Baksh Bizenjo. After Pakistan Army's Genocide in former East Pakistan that killed 30 lac Bangladeshis, our elders thought that perhaps the Pakistan Army had learnt a lesson and would respect democracy.
However, when Baloch nationalist government took oath of office after the defeat of Pakistan in the 1971 War, the returning POWs wasted no time to topple the government in Balochistan.
Q. You are a doctor; you could have led a comfortable life in Balochistan. Why are you fighting militantly against Pakistan?
Ans. Perhaps I could, but it was the condition of our downtrodden Baloch masses that forced me to abandon the practice of medicine and dedicate my life to the fight for a sovereign Baloch state. We Baloch have our own culture, language, territory and common Baloch psyche and history that go back many millennia. We existed long before the word 'Pakistan' was coined in Great Britain and will be there long after the nightmare that is Pakistan comes to meet its waterloo.
Tens of thousands of Baloch have given their lives for this land; I am only giving up my comfort and practise as a physician. It's no comparison.
We will fight to the last man.
Q. What kind of support do Baloch militant groups have among the common Baloch people?
Ans. We have popular support among the ordinary people of Balochistan and that is the only support we've got to survive on. The Baloch nation and people are supporting us financially and morally, because our movement is purely indigenous and homegrown. Our power comes not just from the barrel of a gun, but also from the trust in us by the entire Baloch population of the land. A visible majority of the Baloch population is supporting us in spite of the tyranny let loose on any Baloch man or woman who expresses sympathy for the 'Sarmachars' (freedom fighters).
Pakistan's Punjabi military establishment and those who seek to loot our resources from under our noses in the name of development unify us all in our goal to see Balochistan as a country free of occupation.
China that saw its own liberation struggles is today aiding a rogue country Pakistan simply to avail themselves of Balochistan's resources without even considering the Baloch worthy of a conversation.
China has no love lost for Pakistan or the Pakistani Punjabis. For them all that matters is the CPEC route from the Balochistan port of Gwadar at the mouth of the strategic Straits of Hormuz to China's hinterland with utter disregard to the Baloch population which Beijing will uproot to make still more trillions under the outward garb of a 'communist party'. Mao and Marx must be turning in their graves.
We have a warning to China. You are invading Baloch territory that same way the Japanese invaded China and destroyed Nanking. China should remember that the Baloch will never surrender to Chinese imperialism even it comes in the burka of economic development.
Q. Since 9/11, there has been massive revulsion against violent movements across the globe. How do you justify your militant movement?
Ans. International powers had their own interests during the Cold War; the West and the U.S. nourished Islamists and jihadis, and glorified jihad as public policy to use Muslim recruits to do their bidding and fight the Red Army in Afghanistan.
After the collapse of the USSR, the Americans just left the jihadis on their own and in the hands of the Pakistan Army and Military rulers who created the Taliban, then nourished tens of thousands of Arab jihadi fighters including both Bin Laden and Ayman Zawahiri.
Now the nest of religious extremists is permanently based in Pakistan, where Islamabad uses religious lunatics as its assets against India, and to gain material and financial help by blackmailing the United States and the West. It has become clear that Pakistan is a terrorist state.
Our movement is for an independent Balochistan where we have a democracy, a secular society where all religions live as citizens of one country, not a land like Pakistan where the hate-based, racist anti-Hindu Two-Nation Theory of Jinnah has been mixed with a fascist jihadi culture of ISIS-like monsters.
The world will soon recognize that a free and independent Balochistan, free of any semblance of Islamic extremism, in fact hostile to Al-Qaida, ISIS and the Taliban, will be a deterrent to the madness let loose on the world by Islamabad and its worldwide jihadi enterprise that runs from southern Philippines to North America as we just saw in New York last week.
Q. Pakistan keeps alleging that India is funding and arming Baloch insurgents. Is this correct? Who funds, arms and trains various Baloch militant groups including yours?
Ans. That is not true at all. I wish India did help us, but they never have. New Delhi has only recently heard the cries of our dead and tortured.
That said, we hope not only India, but the whole world would come to our help, as it is their moral obligation to support suppressed nations like the Baloch. We would welcome any help from any source.
Q. Exiled Baloch leader Brahamdagh Bugti has sought political asylum in India. You think it is a right move in the right direction?
Ans. Baloch need all kinds of help from India and other freedom-loving countries. By granting political asylum to Brahamdagh, India will be setting a precedent in the region that no person should face assassinations and abduction attempts simply for standing up for his people.
Q. Many believe that India's moral support to Balochistan independence movement will jeopardize its own stand in Kashmir. Do you agree?
Ans. As the prime minister of the largest democracy it is the moral duty of Modi sahib and the Indian state to expose the Pakistani atrocities and human rights abuses in Balochistan.
We welcome and appreciate Modi ji's stand on Balochistan.
I think India will gain from it internationally, because Pakistan keeps sending its proxies into Kashmir by infiltration. The Uri incident is another eye opener for the world to see that Pakistan is not a country that has an army, but rather an army that has a country. The sooner Pakistan disintegrates into its component national parts, the better it will be for the people who today live under the tyranny of Pakistan Mullah-Military Mafia.
Q. India has launched a diplomatic offensive against Pakistan. In such a scenario, what kind of expectations do Baloch separatists have from India?
Ans. We hope the Indian government will retaliate against the rogue state of Pakistan, which does not understand any diplomatic language. We, the Baloch, are concerned over the Uri incident that if not responded to in kind will encourage the Pakistanis to incite bloodshed in Kashmir while pursuing its genocide in Balochistan.
We Baloch feel very strongly that as a first step India should impose its own sanctions on Pakistan. India should suspend the Indus Water Treaty and then let China know that Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan are sovereign territory and that Beijing should cease and desist from any infrastructure building here.
New Delhi must recognize that as long as there is a Pakistan, there will be no peace for India.