Why Balochistan must be freed from the clutches of Pakistan and China?

People of Balochistan are fighting a lone war against the Punjabi domination. Baloch people are subjected to brutalities and genocide because they have committed the crime of liberating themselves from the clutches of the illegal occupation by Punjabi Pakistan. Islamabad in its efforts to quell the war for independence by Balochis has shown no concerns for human rights, civilian casualties and has burnt villages after villages to instil fear in the minds of Balochis. The Pakistan administration has given a free hand to its armed forces to regularly kill, rape, torture and commit atrocities on Baloch population with the sole aim to teach them a lesson for raising their voice for independence.

Baluchistan was an independent state called Kalat state and resisted its accession to Jinha’s dream homeland for Muslims–called Pakistan. Baloch people have resisted the forceful occupation of their land by Islamabad with more grit and determination than the people of East Pakistan now called Bangladesh. People of Bangladesh rose in revolt against Islamabad’s domination after 1970 elections.

Over the years, Pakistani army has ensured no reports of its atrocities are ever shown to the world and has effectively banned media from reporting of what is happening inside Baluchistan. Pakistani army has complete control over civil societies, judiciary and political parties and international media’s entry in the Baloch region is banned since 2006 because Pakistan views coverage of human rights violation is against its national interest. Pakistani Media is no exception and will never dare to go against the army establishment. In Pakistan, army is the most power entity which has thrown over elected governments in coups.

Pakistan has signed an agreement with China for the implementation of CPeC. China will be investing billions of dollars in developing Pakistan’s Gwadar sea port, developing its related infrastructure and energy sector. The CPeC is an ambitious plan of President Xi, which will ensure constructions of roads, rail networks and pipelines that will cut several thousands of kilometres off the route to supply oil to China from Middle East.

The promise of huge investments by China has galvanised the political class of Pakistan. According to Ahshan Iqbal the CPeC project will put Pakistan in world’s top 25 economies. The escalation of military operations in Baluchistan region is linked with CPeC where Pakistan is trying to assure China that its people (work force) and investment is safe and will be protected. The Chief of Pakistan army when visited Turbat and Panjgur to inspect the ongoing road work on CPeC, vowed to complete it at all costs. The Baloch fighters had interpreted General’s remarks as a warning that more military strikes will be carried out and opposition to CPeC will be dealt with far more brutalities to suppress the Baloch movement for independence.

There is every possibility that Pakistani army establishment has taken a clue from his counterpart and made a statement to comfort Beijing. The statement at “all cost” is inspired by PLA’s brute force which it has used in Tibet to quell the Tibetan Buddhists. Islamabad on Beijing’s advice has decided to elevate the constitutional status of PoK by making it as a fifth province of Pakistan. This move comes after Beijing raised concerns that it can’t be expected to invest billions of dollars on roads under CPeC plan to connect China’s Western city Kashgar to the port of Gwadar that passes through a disputed territory claimed both by India and Pakistan.

The Baluch freedom fighters have warned the Chinese not to go ahead with their plans to invest in the region and particularly in Gwadar sea port project.  Baluchis fear that with Chinese investment, Punjabi people will migrate in large numbers in search of jobs and this will change the demographic situation in the region. Baloch people’s fears are not unfounded; Baloch know once Sindhi dominated Karachi has been overtaken by the Punjabi Pakistanis and Mohajirs. Similarly, Balochs will also become minority in their own land. The native Tibetans have been marginalised by the Han Chinese or from the Chinese migration from interior China. Of all the provinces in Pakistan, Baluchistan is the largest province and has mere population of less than 4%.

Despite Baloch freedom fighters warning, China is unlikely to desist from investing in the region. China wants to ensure a safe passage for its energy needs as Beijing faces challenges from various countries in the East Asia– Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan in the South China Sea over the ownership of Spratly Islands. China, which harbours intentions to become a super power, has been threatening and obstructing its neighbours in the region from carrying out oil exploration and seismic activities.

The South China Sea is estimated to store 11 billion barrels of oil, 190 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 5.4 trillion dollars of trade passes through South China. Beijing’s big brother attitude towards its neighbours has brought in direct conflict with the counties in the region.  Beijing is aware of the tension prevailing in the region and a small spark in future can lead to a war thus disrupting its supply route. In order to ensure uninterrupted and safe supply of energy needs, China has decided to invest in Gwadar sea port and connect it with a network of rails and roads to its Western city of Kashgar, thus cutting off thousands miles of volatile sea route.

China’s presence in Gwadar is in line with its future policy of six wars to establish its supremacy in the world. Beijing with its military might and with the intention to secure its maritime interests in the region will be using the Gwadar Port for military purposes by locating its nuclear submarines and its naval warships.  In the sensitive region of Arabian sea the presence of Chinese navy will greatly undermine the influence of the US and its allies. In the times to come, the influence of China could give a serious blow to US strategic interest, security and business interest of its oil companies.

Islamabad assured of Beijing’s support is likely to get aggressive in regional politics and in all probabilities will throw a challenge to Iran and Saudi Arabia. Emboldened Pakistan will further attempt to gain “strategic depth” in Afghanistan by using IS sponsored terrorism and is expected to continue with its “thousand wounds” strategy against New Delhi.  Punjabi Pakistani dominated army, therefore, is not expected to stop the genocide and suppression of Baloch people as it’s likely to gain immensely from CPeC.

The question that comes to mind is that for how long the killings of Balochis will continue? The answer is till the time the world will not acknowledge the crimes committed by the Punjabi dominated Pakistani armed forces against native Baloch people. In international and geo-politics, when world powers are themselves guilty of human rights violations in Iraq, Libya and Yemen will it be enough to stir the conscience of the world? The likely factor for the regional and world powers to take note of human rights violations in Balochistan would be guided by their strategic interest to check the growing influence of Beijing in the Persian Gulf-Gulf of Oman and Arabian Sea and this might be the turning point for the people of Balochistan and cause of second disintegration of Pakistan.

Russia would gloat such a scenario when CPeC would become defunct and it would give an opportunity to it to re-negotiate crude oil deal with energy starved Beijing at its terms and conditions.

Manoj Sharma