India Pakistan engagement always continues to get the attention of the nation and the PM recently made a pertinent remark observation on Balochistan. The issue that comes foremost is the fact the he mentioned about the human rights violations, terrorism and Pakistan’s support to terrorism in his Independence Day speech.
Overall objective of the diplomatic objective remains the same that India wants to have a friendly relation with Pakistan just like other nations. However, unless Pakistan does not support, the problems will persist.
Internal Pakistan problems: There are serious differences between the elected government and the army in Pakistan. The army chief seeks an extension which is not favourable to Pakistan PM. Hence, if army chief takes radical position, PM takes more radical position on India and India baiting is the favourite for military. This is their internal circumstances.
The Indian PM made it clear that from India’s point of view, it is necessary to look at deaths of people with anguish, whether school children or others. The interesting part of PM’s Independence Day speech was reference to Balochistan. Some say it was interference in their internal matters others have said it will cause us the problems. It is necessary to understand the issues
When India and Pakistan became independent, there was issue of integration of princely states. In India, here were 552 princely states who were technically sovereign. All those princely states signed instrument of accession seeding the state to India. This included even Junagadh and Hyderabad.
Balochistan was a totally integrated into British India. There were more kingdoms but the ruler was called khan of kalat. He did not accede to India and decided to remain independent. On 4th august 1947, Jinnah issued a statement that he agreed to the statement of khan of kalat of Kalat being a separate state, separate from the dominion of India and dominion of Pakistan. The same day an agreement was signed between Jinnah and khan of kalat acknowledging the independence of Balochistan.
So, when India is raising the issue of Balochistan legally, India has as much right to question its accession and legality of Pakistani rule in Balochistan as it can have in any case in the world. So, it is not that it is entirely an issue of internal affairs. India has every right to question it like Pakistan questions accession of J&K to India.
This action of PM was longed called for. The human rights violations in Balochistan have been unabated since 1948. There have been 4 wars, the fourth war being fought since 2003. Thousands of people have disappeared according to Pakistani organisations and international groups and according to Balochis themselves. The information about Pakistan using fighter aircrafts to suppress the opposition shows the level at which Pakistan can go to deal with protests. There were use of USA based F-86 fighters against the Balochis in 1974. It was during regime of general Tika khan who is known as butcher of Balochistan. They have also used air power in tribal areas of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa against Pashtun tribals. Many Pashtuns have fled their homes. Many have taken refuge in Afghanistan and there is little prospect of them coming back. Pakistan has more serious problems with Afghanistan than India. No Pashtun, whether Pakistani or afghan has ever accepted the Durand line.
The US congress also took a very tough stand wrt to supply of arms because the whole argument that the jet fighters had to be used to fight against terrorism but, on the ground, the situation is very different. The fact is that Pakistan has always misused the weapons the US has supplied. The important point for US cutting off aid this time is that terrorists armed by Pakistan using weapons supplied by the CIA to the afghan mujahideen have been killing American soldiers in Afghanistan. Not just the Haqqani network, but the lashkar-e-taiyaaba which is Pakistan army’s protégée was fighting against American forces in Afghanistan.
The eye opener for the world is that Pakistan raised the issue of violence in Kashmir with the permanent members of Security Council. While no one replied to it, the British government said that it is a bilateral issue and should be addressed and solved accordingly. Even china, which tilts towards Pakistan, has said that J&K is a bilateral issue. Most importantly, the kind of support Pakistan was getting from Saudi Arabia and Islamic world has been not the same. The only Islamic country which claims to be secular and which backs them is Turkey.
India and Balochistan
India’s approach in Balochistan can be driven by the fact that economic corridor runs close to the Balochistan. China is building two corridors, one is road extension corridor upto the Baltic ports in Europe. There is maritime corridor through the Indian Ocean and Atlantic. The land corridor branches in xinjiang and has Indian Territory of shaskagham valley which is part of Gilgit Baltistan. The land corridor meets the sea corridor in Gwadar in Balochistan. So, the whole world is looking at the Pakistan facilitating Chinese access because management of Gwadar is in Chinese hands to a point where 80% of the world’s oil supply is shipped by sea. It gives China the position to control the flow of oil and gas over the gulf. The geo-strategic importance cant be ignored.
As per world’s position, the matter of J&K has to be settled on the basis of LOC. Pakistan seems in no mood at the present moment to solve the issue because of their internal difference between government and army. The army is using force not only in Balochistan but also on afghan borders. Afghanistan has already challenged the Durand line and even Pashtun Pakistani leader has said that afghan border extends upto Indus river. The time has come to remind them of their own vulnerabilities. Pakistan has to be made to pay heavy price for the cost they are inflicting on India.
More will be known over a period of time when further actions and decisions will be taken.
Connecting the dots:
Balochistan has been long subjected to suppression and oppression. Is freedom a way forward? Critically analyse