The Baloch, whose lands have been occupied by Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, suffer from increasing oppression and face the threat of extinction, according to a number of human rights activists, reports and scholars. The Pakistan government’s threats and military policies and practices, in particular, have become more severe in recent years.
Miheme Pergebol and Barış Balseçer interviewed Baloch politician and human rights activist Dr Yousuf Murad Baloch for Yeni Özgür Politika. Dr Yousuf Murad Baloch spoke about the Baloch and detailed the nature of the oppression that they face. A summary of his responses follows.
In the interview, Dr Yousuf Murad Baloch stated that – according to the data shared by Bengal’s authorities – the Pakistan army murdered three million Bengalis during the short war that took place between March 1971 and 16 December 1971. The genocide would have been even worse if India had not intervened, he noted.
Within this type of genocidal context, he argued that it is not hard to appreciate why those peoples seeking independence cannot achieve it as Pakistan’s colonial, religious and barbaric past is well known. Punjabi people, who make up almost all of Pakistan’s army, never demanded independence from Pakistan. On the contrary, according to Baloch, they are the main power in what he terms a cruel military-mullah bureaucratic organisation.
One of most important reasons for the Bengali desire for independence was their numerical superiority compared to the Panjabi people, said Baloch. Others did not have sufficient numbers to gain democratic power via elections, and lacked the armed power to challenge a strong army. The oppressed have only moral superiority in their search for freedom, justice and equality. Additionally, Pakistan receives unconditional support from the West when the oppressed demand freedom, said Baloch.
The Baloch people won their independence on 11 August 1947, but Pakistan occupied the newly independent state of Balochistan after a few months, said Baloch. In fact, the Baloch state had crafted its own parliament as well as its own taxation and financial system until the 1948 annexation to Pakistan. The oppressed have demanded the return of their lands.
The only advantage the Baloch people gained since incorporation into Pakistan was when the first (and last) nationalist government of Baluchistan was constituted on 1 May 1971, said Baloch. However, it was not tolerated and the government was removed on 13 February 1973. This led to the fourth rebellion against Pakistan which lasted until 1977. Whilst some of the rebellion’s leaders were imprisoned, others were exiled. Afterwards, the rebellion gradually weakened. It is estimated that 5,000 Baluji militants and 3,500 Pakistani soldiers died as a result of the rebellion.
As for the contemporary relations between the Baluji people and the Pakistani government, Baloch said they are significantly worse, especially after the murder of Nawab Akber Bugti, followed by the fifth Baluji rebellion which spread across Baluchistan. This time, casualties were more numerous for both sides. As a result of that war, the only relations between Pakistan and the Baluji people are surrender or resistance.