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India mixes Kashmir with Balochistan

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.

Mir Waiz Umar Farooq
Mir Waiz Umar Farooq Addresses a Rally in Srinagar

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”.

Conclusion

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.

 

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Was Emergency in India akin to Hitler’s Regime?

Special Pick from India, Ram Puniyani: On the eve of 43rd anniversary of the Emergency, which was imposed on the country in 1975, BJP has come out strongly condemning the event, has issued half page advertisement and Modi said that it was imposed to save the power of a family. There are claims that BJP’s parent organization RSS and its political predecessors valiantly fought against emergency. Surprisingly many streams of Indian politics, like CPI (M), shades of socialists, and sections of dissident Congress streams who fought against Emergency did not make any noise about their role. While Congress itself has not overtly criticized the act of its leader Indira Gandhi, it needs to be recalled that Mrs. Gandhi had regretted the excesses during this period in a speech in Yavatmal in 1978. Apart from Jaitly and BJP leaders there are many others also who compare the authoritarian regime and its excesses with what happened during Hitler’s fascist regime. It’s true that during this period there was a serious violation of democratic freedoms. The similarity with Hitler’s fascist regime ends here. The main mechanism of Hitler’s regime was to instigate emotions, ntensifying divisiveness by activating the storm troopers and targeting against the racial minority; the Jews. Other characteristics of his regime were to promote the interests of big business houses and suppress the rights of working class in particular. It projected the golden past and also promoted ultra nationalism and implemented muscular foreign policy leading the soured relations with neighbors. People like Einstein left the country. The targeting of racial minorities was the central and most conspicuous part of the policy. The excesses which took place during emergency were not targeting any minority. It’s true that the pavement dwellers suffered a lot, demolitions and the compulsory vasectomy of poor sections affected Muslims as well, but it was not targeted against Muslim community in any way. How can one say that Emergency which was authoritarianism was not fascism in any way? In fascist methods what is central to the undermining of democracy is to operate through the mechanism of mobilization of foot soldiers, whipping up mass hysteria and giving prominence to emotive issues. Let’s remember Indira Gandhi herself had lifted the Emergency and called for elections in a democratic way, elections in which she suffered a massive defeat. In Germany fascist regime destroyed Germany itself. While a lot is being said about emergency, what was the role of RSS during this period? The claims that RSS was a central force to fight against this regime are a cock and bull story. TV Rajeswar, who served as Governor of Uttar Pradesh and Sikkim after his retirement from service, in his book, ‘India: The Crucial Years” [Harper Collins] tells us “Not only they (RSS) were supportive of this [Emergency], they wanted to establish contact apart from Mrs. Gandhi, with Sanjay Gandhi also”. Rajeswar in an interview with Karan Thapar disclosed that Deoras “quietly established a link with the PM’s house and expressed strong support for several steps taken to enforce order and discipline in the country. Deoras was keen to meet Mrs. Gandhi and Sanjay. But Mrs. Gandhi refused.”As a matter of fact the executioners of emergency excesses found good favor with BJP as it was formed after Jana Sangh component leaving the Janata Party. One recalls the emergency time slogan, “Aapatkal ke tin dalal: Sanjay, Vidya, Bansilal” (three executioners of Emergency: Sanjay, Vidya, Bansilal). 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Lately even the use of tricolor to instigate violence as witnessed in Kasgaonj is further stifling our democracy. We need to distinguish between the authoritarian regime of Emergency where the machinery of state was used to suppress democratic rights with fascist regimes which are guided by narrow nationalism and target the minorities while pushing forward Hindu nationalism and bringing in divisions in society on sectarian grounds. Democracy is stifled in both cases, but in narrow nationalism the very concept of citizenship is denied to the sections o society on the grounds of their religion or race. And this is the crucial marker of sectarian nationalism.

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