Daily Times : Baloch separatists call Balochistan an ‘occupied land’

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Baloch separatists call Balochistan an ‘occupied land’

* Expatriate Baloch leader says Baloch people afraid of being turned into minority in their own land
* Wahid Baloch of Baloch Society of North America says Pakistani, Iranian ‘jihadi’ armies carrying out terror campaign against defenceless Balochi civilians

By Khalid Hasan | August 17, 2008

WASHINGTON: Two Baloch organisations claimed at a press conference at the National Press Club on Friday that there are 700 checkpoints in Balochistan, which they called “an occupied land” littered with military cantonments.

In answer to a question, Wahid Baloch of the Baloch Society of North America asserted that there is nothing wrong with the Sardari system and the Baloch sardars have never hurt their own people, but done their best for them. He ascribed all such allegations to Pakistan “government propaganda”.

Minority: Another expatriate Baloch leader Ahmar Mustikhan said that the Baloch people are afraid of being turned into a minority in their own land. He also asserted that Balochistan was never a part of Pakistan and that the treaty signed by the Pakistan government with the ruler of Kalat was signed under coercion. He also called the Pakistan army a “jihadi” force deployed against the Baloch people. He charged that Pakistan was involved in the 9/11 attacks, besides holding it responsible for the upheaval and fighting in Afghanistan. But for the sanctuaries Pakistan provides to the Taliban and Al Qaeda, there would be peace in Afghanistan, he declared.

Wahid Baloch told the thinly-attended news conference that the Pakistan army is “Taliban in uniform holding US arms”. He also questioned Pakistan’s sincerity as a US ally in the war against terrorism.

Terror campaign: He called Pakistan the main source of terrorism. He said the Pakistani and Iranian “jihadi” armies cannot fight the Indian and Israeli armies, but are carrying out a terror campaign against defenceless Balochi civilians. “The genocide of the Baloch nation is continuing on both sides of the border. The US F16s and Cobra gunship helicopters given to Pakistan to hunt down Taliban terrorists are being used in Balochistan against innocent, secular Balochi people. He accused the army of having attacked a village in Dera Bugti last week and killing 48 people, while arresting hundreds, who were later taken to a military camp and “summarily executed in Nazi style”. Their bodies, he alleged, were dumped in mass graves. He said just because the majority of Baloch people is Muslim does not give Iran and Pakistan the right to continue to occupy their lands, plunder their resources and kill them at random. He said Pakistan had carried out its 1998 nuclear test in Balochistan without the consent of the Baloch people.

The American Friends of Balochistan and the Baloch Society of North America, were joined by Dr Nazir Bhatti, editor of the Pakistan Christian Post, who demanded an end to the “killings of Christians” and adequate representation in parliament after an unbiased population census. “There were five elected members in Pakistan Assembly of 1948, in house of 48 and which are decreased to four seats when house constitutes with 342 members in 2008. A transparent census is very important issue in for the Christians to get their due share,” Bhatti said. He called on US Congress to place an embargo on all military supplies and equipment to Pakistan until it grants the Baloch people the right to self-determination, hands over terrorists like AQ Khan, Osama bin Laden, Ayman Alzwahiri, Daud Ebrahim and Rashid Rauf to the US and rolls back its nuclear weapons programme.