Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Busy in Baloch? Let India Say NO, we are NOT

We cannot, as a nation with Gandhian ideals and practices, be on the path of ethical democracy, IF our Govt. is busy meddling in Baloch.

We the People have not given our elected govt. a mandate to be in Baloch. To
interfere in Baloch. Are we there?

The Joint Declaration from Sharm el Sheikh (see below), contains the following text:

[Prime Minister Gilani mentioned that Pakistan has some information on threats in Balochistan and other areas.]

What "threats"? By whom? Terrorists nurtured by Pakistan? Well that would be Pakistan's problem not ours, take care of your own crap, Pak.

What threats? By whom? India? Is India busy in Baloch? Is that what Gilani is asserting? Why does the joint text statement contain absolutely no response on this point from Manmohan? Singh should have made some rejoinder.

Unfortunately Manmohan Singh failed to ask Gilani to clarify what he meant by his unprecedented assertion. Does Singh's silence imply India's involvement in Baloch?

The government of Pakistan appears to be alleging that India is conducting political activities on the ground in Baloch. Manmohan is stated in media accounts to have asked for evidence. But he has not categorically denied any involvement by India in Baloch. So is India busy in Baloch, where it has no business to be, from an ethical standpoint? The ordinary people of Baloch are perfectly capable of asserting their political claims, whatever these might be, without any interference from India. India should have full faith in the ordinary people of Baloch, ful faith that they can claim their aspirations whatever these might be. What is seen as "strategic" is not necessarily ETHICAL. India needs to be ethical, not merely strategic for mistakenly perceived short-term geopolitical advantage. That would make us no better then Pakistan. No better than the Brits who divided us. Our secure refuge is Ethics -- It is the cornerstone of our revolutionary freedom, our liberatory politics, our social justice demands, satyameva jayate. That ancient ideal was freshly written in the courageous sacrifices made by our masses during independence.

So we need the truth from our elected representatives. We Indians have no business to be in Baloch. Unless we wish to be unethical and in pursuit of unethical means towards unethical ends, to compromise our fragile, flawed democracy that is long on promises but short on social Justice for our people right here at home. We have enough work right here in India, without trying to get busy in Baloch.

India has no ethical justification whatsoever to be busy in Baloch.

chithra karunakaran
Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice

The Hindu Copyright

Baloch leaders back Manmohan on Sharm el-Sheikh Declaration

Praveen Swami

Imperative for India to speak up against Pakistan Army’s terrorism in Balochistan: Baloch society

“New Delhi ought to offer Baloch insurgents military support”

NEW DELHI: Ever since India and Pakistan signed a joint statement at Sharm el-Sheikh last week, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has come under sustained attack for consenting to the inclusion of a reference to Balochistan.

Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, the Joint Declaration records, “mentioned that Pakistan has some information on threats in Balochistan and other areas.”

Even the passing mention of the conflict, Dr. Singh’s critics contend, endorses Pakistan’s allegations that India is supporting the long-running insurgency in its largest province.

But Baloch nationalist leaders see things differently. Many have welcomed the Declaration, and called on India to use the opportunity to raise the issue in talks with Pakistan.

Suleiman Khan, the United Kingdom-based heir to the throne of the Khanate of Kalat, is among those who hope that the Declaration will lead to international intervention in the conflict in his province.

“We earnestly hope,” he told The Hindu, “that India will now act on its moral responsibility to raise the Balochistan issue with Pakistan and the world.”

“In this century,” Mr. Khan said, “India has acquired great influence and power. With power come obligations. We are surprised that India, despite claiming that it is a democracy and a supporter of human rights, has so far chosen not to take a proactive role in Balochistan.”

Wahid Baloch, president of the Baloch Society of North America, agreed. “It is imperative,” he says, “for India to now speak up against the terrorism perpetrated by the Pakistan Army in Balochistan.”

“For a variety of reasons,” he argued, “India has been very hesitant to support the Baloch cause, even though among all nations it is the only one to have voiced some concern for our plight. But if Pakistan can provide support for groups in Jammu and Kashmir, and raise the issue on every available international forum, why is India hesitant to do the same for our people?”

Both leaders were insistent that India had no role in supporting Baloch insurgents — but both said New Delhi ought to offer Baloch insurgents military support.

“As far as I know,” Mr. Khan said, “there is no Indian support for Baloch freedom fighters. If there were, I would welcome it.”

Mr. Baloch went further. “India rightly supported the just war of the people of Bangladesh against tyranny, and helped them win freedom. It is morally obliged, as a democracy, to provide Baloch groups with training and material support to stop the slaughter of our people.”

Like Jammu and Kashmir, the origins of the conflict in Balochistan date back to the independence of India.

The Khan of Kalat, the monarch who ruled Balochistan under the umbrella of the British Empire, sought independence for his state in 1947. Pakistani troops moved into the region in March 1948, but Mir Ahmad Yar Khan — Mr. Khan’s grandfather—refused to sign the legally necessary Document of Accession. Pakistan settled the issue by despatching combat jets to strafe the Khan’s palace.

In mid-1950s, the Prince of Kalat launched the People’s Party, representing a new Baloch nationalism that cut across tribal and linguistic lines. In 1972, a People’s Party-led alliance won the elections. It demanded greater representation of the ethnic-Baloch in government and control over regional development.

Pakistan’s establishment rejected these calls. Matters came to a head in March 1973, after Pakistan interdicted weapons alleged to have been despatched by Iraq’s covert service to the head of the Balochistan provincial government, Sardar Ataullah Mengal. Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto promptly dismissed Mr. Mengal’s government, and a bitter insurgency broke out.

Led by the Marxist Balochi People’s Liberation Front and the Balochi Students Organisation, some 10,000 guerrillas took on six divisions of the Pakistan Army, backed by close air support. In all 5,300 insurgents, 3,300 Pakistani troops and perhaps tens of thousands of civilians were killed in the fighting.

Since 2005, there has been renewed fighting in the region, fuelled by what Baloch leaders say is discrimination by the ethnic Punjabi-dominated federal government and Army. Insurgents have targeted troops and gas pipelines. Pakistan’s armed forces have, in turn, carried out massive bombardment and air strikes to quell the insurgency in which thousands have been killed.

Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, the principal voice of the Baloch nationalist movement, was eliminated by Pakistan’s armed forces in August 2006.

United Nations estimates, published in December 2006, stated 84,000 people including 33,000 children had been displaced by the fighting in Balochistan. More than 2,000 people are alleged to have disappeared after they were held by Pakistan’s police and armed forces.
The Hindu copyright
Joint Statement of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Prime Minister of Pakistan Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani
News Update

Sharm-el-SheikhJuly 16, 2009

The Prime Minister of India Dr. Manmohan Singh and the Prime Minister of Pakistan Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani met in Sharm El Sheikh on July 16, 2009.

The two Prime Ministers had a cordial and constructive meeting. They considered the entire gamut of bilateral relations with a view to charting the way forward in India - Pakistan relations.

Both leaders agreed that terrorism is the main threat to both countries. Both leaders affirmed their resolve to fight terrorism and to cooperate with each other to this end.

Prime Minister Singh reiterated the need to bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks to justice. Prime Minister Gilani assured that Pakistan will do everything in its power in this regard. He said that Pakistan has provided an updated status dossier on the investigations of the Mumbai attacks and had sought additional information/evidence. Prime Minister Singh said that the dossier is being reviewed.

Both leaders agreed that the two countries will share real-time, credible and actionable information on any future terrorist threats.

Prime Minister Gilani mentioned that Pakistan has some information on threats in Balochistan and other areas.

Both Prime Ministers recognized that dialogue is the only way forward. Action on terrorism should not be linked to the Composite Dialogue process and these should not be bracketed. Prime Minister Singh said that India was ready to discuss all issues with Pakistan, including all outstanding issues.

Prime Minister Singh reiterated India's interest in a stable, democratic, Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

Both leaders agreed that the real challenge is development and the elimination of poverty. Both leaders are resolved to eliminate those factors which prevent our countries from realizing their full potential. Both agreedto work to create an atmosphere of mutual trust and confidence.

Both leaders reaffirmed their intention to promote regional cooperation.

Both Foreign Secretaries should meet as often as necessary and report to the two Foreign Ministers who will be meeting on the sidelines of the forthcoming UN General Assembly.

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