Background Balochistan and Kashmir
Whenever Kashmir conflict begins to pressure India, it invites Baloch dissents and provides them requisite logistics & platform to malign Pakistan. As part of this campaign “Times of India” carried a lengthy interview of self-styled Professor Naela Quadri Baloch on May 02. She said about Baloch insurgency: “It is freedom struggle; we were occupied by Pakistan on March 27, 1948 and ever since we have been fighting against Pakistan to free ourselves. Balochistan was never a part of India or Iran or Afghanistan or any other country. Balochistan was always independent. So an independent country was occupied.” To a question as to how Balochistan’s freedom struggle is different from the separatist movement in Kashmir, she said: “Kashmir was never a country; it was a princely state under a Maharaja. Kashmir was always a part of greater India. Through a well thought out scheme, India mischievously mixes Kashmir and Balochistan.
It is an established fact that the northern areas of Balochistan including Bolan Pass, Quetta, Nushki and Naseerabad were leased out to Britain, which were later named as British Balochistan. However, more importantly, the Khan of Kallat had voluntarily acceded to Pakistan.
Naela Baloch also grossly exaggerated the figures of missing persons and she quoted figure of 25000 which is a lot more than what Mama Qadeer has been claiming. Pakistan had established a judicial commission headed by justice (retired) Javed Iqbal, it submitted a 204-page report, which was later handed over to the Supreme Court. The commission stated that “a total of 621 persons went missing while 359 persons had been recovered thence far. Most of the purported missing persons had reportedly links with different terrorist organizations, and due to fear of being arrested had moved to far-flung areas of KPK/Balochistan.
Whenever Pakistan engages or tries to engage with the leaders of Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IoK), it sends shivers down the spine of Indian rulers. However, due to immense international pressure, it is not possible for India to block such contacts. Indian External Affairs Ministry said on May 02 that there is no bar on the meetings of Kashmiri leaders with representatives of any country. “Since the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of the Union of India and these so-called Kashmiri ‘leaders’ are Indian citizens, there is no bar on their meetings with representatives of any country in India,” Minister of State for External Affairs, VK Singh said in a written reply to the parliament. However, Singh was quick to add that “India has consistently maintained that there is no role for a third party in the bilateral dialogue between India and Pakistan as per the Simla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration. India’s displeasure at Pakistan’s attempts to interfere in India’s internal affairs has been repeatedly conveyed to Pakistan”.
VK Singh is a former Indian army chief, he shot to fame after his absurd tweet while he was attending a function at Pakistan’s High Commission in India, as he felt “disgusted” seated next to All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) leadership. Earlier he had exposed the myth of Indian electoral drama in IOK by saying that all these elections are engineered through under the table funding.
Pakistan considers Kashmiri people as the main stakeholder in the dispute and, therefore, it keeps contacts with the APHC leaders in order to not only acquaint them with the steps that Islamabad is taking to forcefully raise the dispute at international level but also reaffirm its moral, political and diplomatic support to them in just solution of the dispute. As a primary party to the dispute, Pakistan has also long been insisting that the leadership of Jammu and Kashmir should be included in the dialogue process but Indian side is opposing the move. Pakistan has always been of the view that pro-plebiscite leadership of Kashmir isn’t any third party but primary party to the dispute. Kashmir is not a regional, economic or a border issue, but purely a humanitarian and political issue, which needs apolitical remedy.
Chairman APHC (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has welcomed this development and said “it is good that New Delhi has realized that no red lines can be drawn on meeting people.” “It’s a good sign. Finally, New Delhi seems to have realized that there can be no lines drawn for meeting people. We reiterate that Kashmir is purely a political issue and can’t be linked with terror attacks like Pathankot which cast a shadow on dialogue…This is a welcome step,…Better late than never,” Mirwaiz added. One may expect that this clear shift in Indian policy will pave the way for APHC leaders to hold talks with Pakistan.
Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has challenged the PDP-BJP to fight the pro-freedom camp on political turf rather than caging the leaders in homes and jails. He reminded IOK Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti of her 2010 street protests wherein she would demand “revocation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act” and call for “end to atrocities.” Mirwaiz also displayed photographs of Chief Minister wherein she is seeking revocation of AFSPA and calling for “stopping atrocities” during the protests of 2010. “These people talk in one language while they happen to be in opposition and change colours soon after they grab power,” he said. “But the present regime seems to have crossed all limits on this front. We are not allowed to offer Friday prayers, take part in religious gatherings, and recently we were barred from addressing a Seerat conference as well,” he said. “The height of oppression is we were recently not allowed to offer funeral in absentia for JKLF founder Amanullah Khan.
Pro-plebiscite activists are being asked to get registered with police and visit their respective police stations every week. In some police stations, photographs of pro-freedom activists have been kept alongside those of criminals. Mehbooba is projecting the situation as if all is well in Kashmir by inviting tourists to visit Kashmir. One wonders as to what happened to her late father’s “battle of ideas” and healing touch policy”. Other Kashmiri leaders have also welcomed the Indian decision of allowing them to meet Pakistan, hoping India will not create any red lines on the matter.
If one may look at the recent past, the Indian side has always opposed Pakistan’s direct talks with the APHC leadership. In 2014, it had even called off Foreign Secretary level talks with Islamabad in protest against Pakistani High Commissioner Abdul Basit’s meeting with Hurriyat leader Shabir Shah
Earlier Hurriyat Conference (G) termed BJP leader Jitendra Singh’s remarks on Kashmir as “ridiculous” and “bereft of any historical background”. Jitendra had said on that ‘Kashmir has always been an integral part of India and will continue to do so’ and had cited an “evidence” of passing of a Parliament resolution in 1994 in this regard. A Hurriyat (G) spokesman said: “Kashmir can neither become an integral part of India by passing resolutions in the parliament nor can the freedom sentiments of Kashmiris be suppressed this way. Pakistan hasn’t occupied that part of Kashmir and has never opposed the right to self-determination of Kashmiris”.
The 13th OIC Summit, held in Istanbul from 10-15 April, called on India to implement pending UN Security Council resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir, and called upon the United Nations for implementation of the Security Council’s relevant Resolutions on Kashmir. It called upon India to allow the OIC Fact Finding Mission and the international human rights groups and humanitarian organizations access to IOK. Indian leadership needs to recognize the Kashmir is Kashmir and Balochistan is Balochistan. The difference is well understood by the comity of nations. Such Indian gimmicks would neither make Kashmir a part of India nor would stall China Pakistan Economic Corridor.