Mr Khalil Baloch Chairman of Baloch National Movement (BNM), one of the biggest Baloch nationalist political organisations. Speaks to Manish Rai, Editor of Viewsaround in an exclusive interview regarding current status of Baloch freedom struggle and role of Baloch armed groups. Mr Baloch says that the recent escalation in militant attacks is a direct reaction to Pakistan army’s growing atrocities in Balochistan and China’s relentless plunder of Baloch resources. Following is his detailed interview.
Question: Recently there has been increase in attacks carried out by Baloch armed groups. In your opinion what's the reasons for this increase?
The recent escalation in militant attacks is a direct reaction to Pakistan army’s growing atrocities in Balochistan and China’s relentless plunder of Baloch resources. The world is vocal in their criticism of the resistance of the helpless Baloch, but they are totally oblivious of China’s economic plunder and Pakistan’s military aggression on the Baloch land.
Question: How you see the future of Baloch struggle?
The future of Baloch struggle first depends on our own determination and strategy, and then on the direction of the regional and global politics. Our determination is manifested in our decades long struggle without any outside help. During the last 20 years, thousands of our men and women and children have been forcibly disappeared, tortured and killed by the army. Our homes and villages have been set to fire. Yet, we have not abandoned our struggle. I see a bright future when I see the determination and will power of our youth. However, at the same time, the regional and global powers should now break their silence and extend a helping hand towards the Baloch. Even some sort of moral support would be a great boost to our cause. If they remain as oblivion as they are now, China with the help of Pakistan would plunge the entire region into great darkness.
Question: Pakistani authorities have regularly accused that Baloch nationalist movement work on behalf of foreign intelligence agencies. How you respond to that?
As I said earlier, we wish we had some sort of help form the international community. As far as Pakistan’s allegations are concerned, our freedom fighter is always another’s terrorist for them.
Question: What is your opinion about Baloch armed groups which are waging insurgency campaign against Pakistan security forces?
Baloch nation launched a guerrilla warfare just after the forced occupation of Balochistan by Pakistan in 1948. Since then Baloch nation is resisting against this force accession. This insurgency is the continuation of that. It has many factors also. First, Balochistan is rich in natural resources, in-spite of this Baloch’s are living in Stone Age and deprived of every facility of life. The second most important thing about Baloch as a nation has its own language, culture, geography and an identity. Pakistan is trying to crush the secular values of Baloch people and committing genocide the Baloch. Now it is the matter of Baloch identity, that is why Baloch is conducting a guerrilla warfare for his survival. They are doing nothing wrong or illegal.
Question: Are you still ready to negotiate greater autonomy for Baluchistan rather than full fledge independence?
No, we are not going to negotiate for autonomy. Pakistan’s word or constitution is no guarantee for us. The autonomy which Pakistan claim the Baloch currently have according to Pakistan’s constitution is nowhere to be seen in practice. We just want to be left alone on our own homeland.
Question: Do you have hopes that Prime Minister Imran Khan Government will put some sincere efforts to resolve Baluchistan issue?
Imran Khan has proved to be the ultimate failure even for the mainstream Pakistan. His jingoism has compounded Pakistan’s own worries, so how come he expect from him to help resolve the Baloch grievances? He is a military puppet, and everyone other than his party members call him that.
Question: How is your party Baluchistan National Movement approaching common people of Baluchistan as it's based overseas?
The BNM is not based in the overseas. It’s still well-rooted in Balochistan. It’s still in touch with the Baloch people. However, we have shifted some of our media relations and diplomacy works to the overseas due to censorship and state persecution inside Balochistan.