Baloch liberation struggle a deterrent to China-Pakistan pact

Sunday, February 22nd, 2015 10:49 pm

Gwadar_is_Balochistan

An unprecedented rise in military operations against civilian population has been reported in different areas of Balochistan, especially in Makuran region in past one year. In first two weeks of February Pakistani ground forces backed by gunship helicopters have carried out offensives in coastal belt of Balochistan including Pasni, Kolanch, Pedarak and surrounding areas. At least 10 Baloch were reportedly abducted and two innocent Baloch were martyred.

Similar military aggressions were reported from Mashkay, Kujar, Kalat, Chyr, Kach, Mewa, Kallar and other adjoining areas where local reported that military beaten up, terrorised and harassed Baloch women, children and elderly. At least 300 noncombat were reportedly abducted from shops, houses and from their fields. All the abducted person were shifted to a military camp in Mashkay. The Pakistani military also looted houses and shops of poor people and robbed people off their valuables.

Kohlu and other areas of Kohistan Marri, and Dera Bugti district of Balochistan are also under constant military operations where Pakistani army have killed and abducted hundreds of people including women and children since Musharraf took power in late 1990s. Locals from the Marri and Bugti regions reported that hardly a day passes without a military raid and offensive.

On early hours of 10 February, 2015 Pakistani security forces besieged a Baloch populated area in Kodi, Besima Balochistan and started firing and shelling on entire population killing at least nine people including children and elderly. Eyewitness from the affected areas said that Pakistani ground forces were backed by gunship helicopters and armoured vehicles. The locals also alleged that Pakistan forces carried out a house-to-house search operation after the deadly attack and harassed women and children. Some of the men killed in the deadly operation were identified as Zia ur Rehman s/o Mohammad Bux, Fazal s/o Mohammad Bux, Mohammad Bux s/o Haji Noor Mohammad, Aslam s/o Imam Bux Baloch, Allah Rahim s/o Jan Mohammad, 14 year old Majid s/o Abdul Rahim, Abdul Hamid s/o Haji Noor Mohammad, Siraj s/o Abdul Ghani and Asmatullah s/o Abdul Ghani.

Separately, Pakistani forces also carried out operations in Jhao, Khodo and Shadi Kaor areas of Balochistan. They [Pakistan military] have also set up new military check points in those regions.

Even though the above mentioned incidents took place in span of a week but such operations, killing and abduction have been almost become the daily practice of Pakistani forces in Balochistan. Several mutilated bodies of previously abducted Baloch activists were found in different areas of Balochistan including Karachi. Thousands of Baloch are stilling being illegally detained by Pakistan forces from past many years. Independent analysts and Baloch human rights activists fear that most of the missing Baloch have been killed in custody and buried in mass graves.  The number of enforced-disappeared Baloch continues to rise and Voice for Baloch Missing Persons – a non-governmental organisation representing the families of abducted Baloch – says the number of abducted Baloch is now more than 18,000. The latest military operations and human rights violations in Balochistan are continuation of Pakistan army’s aggressions since 1948 when Pakistan illegally occupied Balochistan. However, from past one century these operations are continued without any break but since last one year military presence in Balochistan has been increased and the operations intensified.

Baloch intellectual and regional analysts believe that unprecedented increase in military operation in that region is due China-Pakistan pact to make a so called economic corridor. Pakistan wants to make Gawadar port operational with the support of China and they also want to make an economic corridor in that region which will connect Balochistan to China via Gawadar to Kashgar road. The area will be made a ‘free trade zone’ with Chinese investment to divert the flow of population toward Gawadar port. It is expected that hundreds of thousands of foreigners will flood into the Gawadar and surrounding regions hence turning Baloch people into a minority in their homeland.

Nonetheless the biggest hurdle on the way of Pakistan and its partner in crime – China – is the Baloch armed resistance because Baloch Liberation Army and other armed Baloch organisation have already attacked Chinese survey teams and killed several Chinese engineers in different areas of Balochistan. The Baloch resistance organisations have complete support of Baloch population and they are a big deterrent to Pakistan and China’s new pact. The Baloch Sarmachaars (Freedom Fighters) have already issued warnings to foreign investors to refrain from investing in Balochistan unless the issue is resolved. They maintain that at present Baloch are at war against Pakistan and the military is committing genocide of Baloch people hence the international community including China should pressurise Pakistan to halt military operations and end the ongoing carnage of Baloch people. The pro-freedom Baloch political parties, student organisations and political leaders have also urged China not to play in Pakistan’s hands and be a partner in crime with Pakistan in Baloch genocide.

Nevertheless Pakistan with help and collaboration of China has intensified the military operations in the Gawadar and many region in Kech district of Balochistan in an effort to weaken the Baloch national liberation movement and to accomplish their mission of making Gawadar port operational. On the other hand Baloch civilian inhabitants of these regions are being attacked and terrorised by Pakistan army routinely. The reason for such attacks is to expel the Baoch people from there and pave the way for Chinese investors and bring foreigners to settle in place of Baloch residents. In the name of development the Baloch residents of Turbat, Hoshaab, Gawadar and several surrounding areas have already been forced to migrate to other locations. They are now reportedly living under appalling conditions without any support from provincial government. In fact, expelled Baloch say, the provincial government of Dr Malik and National Party are hand in glove with military in forcefully expelling Baloch people from their villages and towns.

Recently Pakistan and China have finalised an agreement under which Pakistan provided 2281 acre of land to China on a 40 year lease where China will build a ‘free trade zone’. This project will operate as a free trade zone for 20 years which will be built in the west of Gawadar. Analysts argue that China will not only use Gawadar for its economic interests but it will also build a naval base there to gain dominance over India and America in that region. From the allocated area of 2281 acre 654 acre have already been approved for a naval base and the coast guards.  Another similar project is the Gawadar China railway line which will be pass through Turbat, Hoshaab, Besima and Mastung. Pakistan army has accelerated its offensives in these regions in an effort to force the people to leave their homes and villages. The military presence in these area has also been increased due to which many people have already migrated.

Additionally, China is not only spending large amount of money in those regions but to crush the Baloch armed organisations China is also providing latest military equipment and aid to Pakistan army. If China succeeds in establishing its expansionist designs, not only this will pose a threat to Baloch survival but it will also affect the balance of power in the region and China will gain military dominance over India and America. It [China] will have access to the Strait of Hormuz which will allow China to take control of the world’s biggest oil route. However, regional experts say that the Baloch Liberation Army and other Baloch armed organisations warned China time and again that they will not accept any agreement between China and Pakistan and they will strongly resist to stop any project initiated without the consent of Baloch people.

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