The history of Balochistan revisited at British parliament

Saturday, February 25th, 2017 03:45 pm

Lords

LONDON: The Democracy Forum [UK] has hosted a seminar titled “History of Balochistan Revisited” in the British Houses of Commons, London, on Thursday. February 23, 2017.

Speakers highlighted the ongoing Pakistani state atrocities in Balochistan and emphasised that Pakistan forcibly and illegally occupied the sovereign Baloch country in 1948. Dr William Crawley of the Institute for Commonwealth Studies chaired the seminar.

The keynote speakers were Khan of Kalat, Mir Suleman Daud and Hyrbyair Marri the leader of Free Balochistan Movement. However, Hyrbyair Marri could not attend the meeting in person, he sent a representative from his party to read his message.

The Khan of Kalat and representative of Hyrbyair Marri have quoted various treaties between the British government and Baloch rulers that repeatedly affirmed the independent status of Balochistan.

They said according to ‘Treaty of 1876’ which was confirmed as valid and intact in a letter to the Khan of Kalat in 1935, Britain not only recognised Balochistan’s independence but also promised to protect Balochistan from any external threats and aggression.

“The ‘Standstill agreement’ signed by Baloch ruler and Pakistan’s founder Mr Jinnah, where he [Jinnah] accepted the independence of Balochistan, is still valid – Still standing. Pakistan did not honour that agreement and forcibly occupied Balochistan,” Mir Suleman Daud said.

He described Pakistan as a ‘cradle of terrorism’ and appealed the British government and rest of the international community to assist the Baloch regain their independence.

In Hyrbyair Marri’s speech, it was mentioned that there are indicative that the British colluded with Pakistan and instigated the occupation of Balochistan and dishonoured the treaty of 1876.

Mr Marri said, “Pakistan without the support and the green light from Britain could not have succeeded in occupying Balochistan. Baloch resisted against Pakistani occupation from day one and our struggle continues until we regain our freedom. This is the best confirmation of the fact that we never wanted to be a part of this corrupt and cruel dungeon – Pakistan.”

Jamal Nasser Baloch, who represented Hyrbyair Marri, leader of the Free Baloch Movement, maintained that the so-called ‘Accession Treaty of 1948’ was questionable since it was signed by the then Khan under duress.

“There is no evidence when this agreement was signed, where it was signed, who signed it and in the presence of whom, it was signed. There were no witnesses whatsoever! This is supposed to be an agreement between two states! How more absurd can it be? The fact is, even if you rent a house you’ll need witnesses and need to sign a tenancy agreement in presence of those witnesses.

“More importantly, that absurd agreement was signed under duress because, during that period, the Khan of Kalat was taken hostage. The Pakistan officials claim that he signed the treaty by his own free will, we know this is all concocted by Pakistan, as we know instead of treating him with respect, they exiled him to Punjab and kept him under house arrest for 4 years, he was not even allowed to see his children and we are not even sure if what he signed was a blank paper.

“However, we are sure that he would never have willingly signed that document as both Parliaments in Balochistan rejected joining Pakistan and he would not have gone against the will of his people. Either way, whether he was coerced to sign the document or not, he was not mandated to sign it anyway. Can Queen Elizabeth alone decide to join or make Britain part of Germany? Without the consent of Parliament or the British people?”

A portion of Hyrbyair Marri speech was also on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), “The outcome of China-Pakistan nexus is not much different from their collaboration with other powers and fundamentalist groups. They use anyone and anything as long as they can stay in power. This time it is China. But the Chinese empire is not interested in the fundamentalist rulers of Pakistan. A totalitarian Maoist state has no interest in a corrupt theocratic state of Pakistan. Its plan is strategic. The Chinese want to have a foothold in Gwadar and hence to have access to Strait of Hurmuz. This will enable the Chinese to build a naval base there to counter India and USA influence in the region.”

Other speakers at the seminar included Professor Sabir Badal Khan, a researcher on Baloch history at the Oriental University of Naples, Maxwell Downman, Parliament Researcher in the service of the House of Lords and Jamal Nasser Baloch, a member of the Free Balochistan Movement, read the speech of Hyrbyair Marri.

In his presentation, Maxwell Downman contended that it was the British, who despite the 1876 Treaty with Kalat, constantly undermined the position of the Khan of Kalat, and discouraged Pakistan from recognising Kalat’s status as a sovereign independent State. Similarly, in his remarks, Prof Badal Khan provided instances from Balochistan’s history when the British clearly recognised its independence.

Replying to some critics from the floor who accused The Democracy Forum of organising a one-sided meeting, Dr Crawley said, “A Pakistani expert Dr Yaqoob Bangash was also invited to speak at the event but he pulled out at very last minute.”

New sources, however, reported that Dr Bangash could not travel to the UK after Pakistani security officials ‘warned’ him not to attend the event.

The seminar was attended, among others, by Members of the British Parliament, including Bob Blackman, Nigel Huddleston MP and Chairman of The Democracy Forum, academics, diplomats from various embassies including Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran, media representatives and Baloch nationalists.

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