Balochistan: ‘Whenever they talk about negotiation and peace they mean to hit us harder than before’
Baloch separatist leader Hyrbyair Marri, the son of veteran Baloch national leader Nawab Khair Baksh Marri, has been fighting for an independent Balochistan from London where he is living in exile. In this interview with Hardnews, he talks about the struggle, the human rights violations by the Pakistani army and how Chinese influence is impacting Pakistan
Sadiq Naqvi Delhi
Could you give us details about the recent operation by the Pakistani army in Balochistan?
The military operations in Balochistan have never stopped since the occupation of Balochistan. Pakistan has conducted four major military operations in Balochistan – in 1948, 1952, the 1960s and the 1970s.
From April 2009 onward the Pakistani military has started to kill the missing Baloch activists and dump their bodies in deserted areas across Balochistan and Sindh. Since July 2010 the Pakistani forces intensified their ‘kill and dump’ policy and they continue to throw the tortured and mutilated bodies of abducted Baloch on a regular basis. This policy continues unabated to this day. From Kohlu to the coastal belt of Balochistan you can hardly find any family that has not been affected by State atrocities and the ‘abduction, kill and dump’ policy. Even today, as I speak, the military operations and enforced disappearances are taking place in different areas of Balochistan. The Pakistani forces laid siege around the district of Awaran, starting July 18. According to locals, more than 100 people, including women and children, have been killed since then.
Currently, the military is conducting operations in Noshki, Kalat, Kaharan and Gresha areas of Khuzdar in Balochistan. Khuzdar is the town where three mass graves – containing more than 160 bodies – were found in January 2014.
What will be the impact of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor on the Baloch struggle? What’s the Chinese view of the Balochistan question? Will massive Chinese investment lead to some kind of stability in Pakistan?
The political leaders of China are as unscrupulous and dishonest as the political and military leadership of Pakistan. Neither of them has any interest in the people of Balochistan. Just remember what China, Russia and Iran have done to the people of Syria. The people of Balochistan, or for that matter, the Syrian people, mean nothing to them. The agreements with China have no credibility whatsoever. The Chinese government is equally undemocratic.
If Chinese leaders had some common sense they would not have made any deal with the occupying State of Pakistan and would have respected the aspirations of the Baloch nation. But China chose to be a partner with Pakistan in the Baloch genocide and the plundering of Baloch natural resources. The Baloch have warned China and all other foreign investors to refrain from investing in any projects in Balochistan.
I don’t consider China’s investment in Balochistan as investment but as China’s aggressive intervention in Balochistan and nexus with Pakistan against the Baloch people. That is why such repressive actions will not bring any stability in Pakistan or in that region. We are not against foreign investment in Balochistan. Baloch would welcome foreign investors from any nation in an independent Balochistan when the Baloch become the masters of their own land but at the moment occupying States are in power and they are deciding about Baloch resources.
Pakistan is repeatedly alleging that Indian agencies are fomenting trouble in Balochistan. Do you agree?
These allegations are a fabrication of the Pakistani State and army. We want all democratic nations, including India, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, the Arabian Gulf states and the Western world, to support us in regaining our independence because an independent Balochistan can be a natural ally of the world against the religious extremism that Pakistan and Iran have been promoting everywhere.
Are there any chances of a settlement of the Balochistan issue with the Pakistani government?
The solution is easy and straightforward, it is a conflict between an occupied nation and an invading foreign army. The State of Pakistan illegally occupied our homeland in 1948 and has continued a prolonged war against us. The Punjabi army should leave our homeland under the supervision of independent bodies, i.e., a committee comprising United Nations officials and representatives of other democratic States. The foremost precondition for peace is the restoration of Balochistan’s independence.
If Pakistan agrees to pull out its troops and give us a time-frame for transfer of power to the Baloch people then there will be no suffering on either side. Otherwise, the Baloch have no option but to resist the Punjabi and Persian colonialism. We the Baloch have not lost hope for an independent State and our people will continue their struggle until we regain our freedom.