Establishing Balochistan govt in exile is biggest milestone in our history: Naela Quadri Baloch

by IANS |

Chennai, Dec 26 (IANS) Naela Quadri Baloch, a senior leader of the Balochistan freedom movement who currently lives in exile in Canada, is a fearless fighter for the Baloch cause.

The former college professor and her husband, an independent filmmaker and human rights activist, were brutally tortured by the Pakistan government and the country's intelligence agencies.

But Naela is now busy lobbying to bring back full independence to Balochistan.

In an exclusive interview with IANS, she spoke about the trauma being faced by the people of Balochistan and how important it is for the people of Balochistan to get backing from the international community.

She also spoke about the love extended by the people of Balochistan to India.

Here are some of the excerpts from the online interview:

Q: Congratulations on being the Prime Minister in Exile of the government of Balochistan. What are your major activities?

A: Thank you, it is an enormously heavy responsibility for me and my team from a nation without a country, facing genocide and occupation. Usually, powerful countries help governments in exile for common interests; Tibet, Bangladesh, Algeria, and Kuwait. We can see how the Iranian and East Turkestan governments in exile work with ease and support but unfortunately, the Baloch nation could not get such patronisation and full support from the powerful countries.

We tried to form our government in exile in 1948 by Agha Abdul Karim Ahmadzai, the younger brother of the king, and then in the 80s by Baba Jumma Khan and M.Y. Durrah. These efforts were not successful. We got success in starting the foundation process in 2016, Baba Jumma Khan, Waja Sidik Azad, Waja Yousuf Mustikhan and many experienced and senior Baloch rights activists guided us at every point, it's working on its own pace and own resources.

Establishment of the government of Balochistan in exile is one of the biggest milestones in our history. It's our statement to the world that the Baloch issue is not for a development package or a share in our own resources but it is occupation and colonisation.

The the government of Balochistan in exile is busy in lobbying with people and states for gaining back our independence. Some fundraising was done for flood relief, around 2 million rupees, and were sent to the indigenous volunteer organisations on the ground.

It also recently formed a panel of lawyers in Canada to reopen the case of Karima Baloch, a prominent activist found mysteriously dead in a lake in Toronto. Emails, media statements, and tweets were flooded from every corner of the world to the Canadian government for a deep investigations but not heard. We are hopeful that justice will not be further denied.

Q: Violence against the Baloch people is increasing on a day-to-day basis in Pakistan. Your comments?

A: Since March 27, 1948, violence is the only language Pakistan has used against the Baloch. They target any brilliant student, journalist, doctor, poet, scientist, or professor to kill, or abduct to torture, and most of them never came back. Around 10,000 mutilated bodies were found, including women and children, many without vital organs.

Bombardment on residential areas, burning homes, orchards, fields and forests, poisoning water bodies is a routine. Now they are using Turkish, Iranian, and Chinese drones to kill innocent civilians. Human rights violations were routine but with the entry of China in the name of CPEC/BRI, the state violence has now reached the level of genocide. For this anti-human and anti-life mega project, the Pakistan army evacuates and bulldozes villages, killing or abducting anyone who resists. In many villages all the residents are missing, they were taken to the army camp, never returned. Many mass graves are found in Balochistan where hundreds of bodies are found dumped. In hospitals in Punjab province, hundreds of unidentified bodies are found dumped with vital organs removed.

Q: Is the Punjabi lobby within Pakistan acting against the interests of the Baloch people?

A: Punjabis of Pakistan after the mass killing and raping Sikhs and Hindus in Punjab in 1947, kept behaving the same with other ethnic groups, they invaded the free country of Balochistan, the genocide of the Bangla people resulted in Bangladesh and the two-nation theory drowned in the Bay of Bengal. They mass murdered Afghans/Pashtuns in the name of jihad, every day abducting and killing Sindhi youth, to grab the indigenous strategic lands of the Hindus of Sindh, a state-backed mafia is abducting and forcefully converting Hindu girls.

In Balochistan, there is a civil war situation, people are not ready to be called Pakistani, no school hoists Pakistan's national flag, Pakistan's national anthem no one sings, we have our own flag and Baloch national anthem, Baloch youth is facing enforced disappearance for loving their identity as a Baloch or even celebrating Indian cricket team's victory.

Q: I remember you speaking in a public forum that huge quantities of gold from Balochistan were smuggled out by the Chinese. Can you please explain?

A: Few of the biggest goldmines in the world are in Balochistan. After the independence of Bangladesh, Pakistan was almost ended, China came to the rescue for a deal on two things; the Saindak goldmine and a site for nuclear testing. So Balochistan paid the price to rescue the remains of Pakistan. Trillions of dollars value of gold, China and Pakistan stealing from Balochistan for decades.

Now the Barrick Gold company has made an illegal deal with Pakistan to steal gold from another Baloch goldmine Rekodek. For this deal, Pakistan's parliament has to amend their own constitution to take the rights of mineral resources from Balochistan. Baloch freedom groups have already warned any foreign investor to refrain from dealing with Pakistan on Baloch resources, lands, or ports, but even the rubber stamp parliament members from Balochistan are vocal against this deal.

Q: It's been more than half a century that Bangladesh was carved out of Pakistan. Do you expect such a development as far as Balochistan is concerned?

A: The Baloch struggle for independence from Pakistan is older than Bangladesh, with the day first when Balochistan faced a military invasion of Pakistan in 1948, unfortunately, we do not have such brave and caring neighbor, like the Bangla people had. Our neighbours have parts of Balochistan, they feel insecure from our independence. We are fighting alone. Pakistan, Iran, China, and Turkey all have joined hands as a block against us and no world power is able to understand that the price of leaving the Baloch alone will be very high for their own interests and security.

Q: You once told me about the trauma faced by your family, including your husband, who was tortured in a Pakistan jail. Please elaborate...

A: There is a series of inter-generational trauma my family has faced for being vocal about Baloch rights. I remember when my father, who was a prominent lawyer, left home for court in the morning, he was chased by the secret service of Pakistan. For a child to see that, it was too painful, and we always felt insecure.

After my activities in Baloch Students Organization (BSO) became an irritation for the state, separate secret service agents started chasing me, arrest warrants were being lodged against me and my expulsion from the college for boycotting the classes and blockage of Jinnah Road to demand the release of Hameed Baloch a prominent BSO student leader who was sentenced to death on a fake case by the military. My father was his defence lawyer.

May cases were also filed against me over my protest against Pakistan's nuclear tests in Balochistan, for rescuing 30 young women from the Edhi Centre Quetta who were victims of forced prostitution there. Edhi called Gen. (Pervez) Musharraf on the hotline as his clients were mostly army officers. After the martyrdom of Nawab Akbar Bugti, a series of cases of anti-state activities were filed against me, my husband, and other family members on a day-to-day bases.

They recorded our phone call. One call was made the base of many FIRs, it was a call from Balach Marri from the mountains, in which we decided to call a meeting of elders and youth at our place and announce the struggle for liberation.

My husband was arrested on October 30, 2006, during a raid on our house, three helicopters were flying above us, 60 army trucks cordoned off our house and our huge fruit orchard around it, all the roads of entry or exit were closed for hours.

My husband Mir Ghulam Mustafa Raisani, a well-known human rights defender, founder, and director of the first nonstate television house in Balochistan, associated with Reuters, Al Jazeera, and other international media agencies. Our film against honor killing got an award at the Fourth World Conference on Women by the UN in 1995 where I organised a separate booth for Balochistan where booths of Pakistan, Iran, India, Bangladesh, and other countries were presenting their cultures.

Forty-thousand women rights leaders from all countries of the world were there, the Pakistan's participants tried to convince me, then threatened me to remove my booth. But I refused and brought in the record of the UN that Balochistan still exists.

Mir Mustafa's media work highlighted the aftermath of nuclear tests in 1998 in Balochistan; drought and cancers. His documentary on human rights violations in Balochistan by the state of Pakistan became the final reason to raid our house and abduct him. In the morning, newspapers quoted government sources claiming they have arrested the mastermind of BLA, but they could not prove anything against him. He was tortured and remained missing for two years.

The Pakistan Army raided many times on the places they got information about me or our kids, we had to hide and keep protesting for Mir Mustafa and other missing Baloch persons in front of Press Clubs, courts, and public places.

The camp for the Baloch missing persons was actually started in front of Quetta Press Club by my mother-in-law for my brother-in-law who was abducted in 2000 and the family of Ali Asghar Bangulzai abducted and missing since 2001.

On the special orders of the Chief Justice of Pakistan, my husband was released in 2008 but lived in undisclosed places because the army again attempted raids to arrest him. In 2009, I was arrested and tortured, my right eye was damaged and blinded, and I was threatened as this is the last shut up call, after this me and my family would be shot on the spot.

Target killings of Baloch activists were high, we fled to Afghanistan, where NATO found 2 bombs fixed in front of our home in Kandahar. We still receive life threats, they want to stop all the actions and voices for Baloch rights. they want the land and resources of Balochistan but not the Baloch.

Q: Have you ever asked for a referendum among the people of Balochistan?

A: No, when they occupied our independent country of Balochistan was there a referendum? No, we just demand Pakistan to go back to the international borders of Balochistan and Pakistan in 1947.

Q: Former ISI head is the new Army chief. Will this lead to the army coming against you?

A: There is no chance for any good or bad with change of the face of the colonizer army. The institution is a group of mercenaries, surviving on the selling of Baloch resources and ports, they have nothing else to live on. The only asset they have to sell or deal with is terrorism.

Q: Any message to the people of India?

A: The Baloch people love the people of India, we both are victims of Pakistan's terrorism and greed of expansionism. We must join hands for peace, freedom and prosperity. We identify with the first urban civilization of Mehrgarh which is the source of civilisation of India from Mohanjo-daro to Kumari Nado.

We shall be free of this hate mongers one day and shall celebrate the joys of our common roots with the blessings of our Baloch goddess Nani Hinglaj.

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