Hakeem Baloch, president of the Baloch National Movement (UK zone) speaks with India Narrative in an exclusive interview (Photo: Hakeem Baloch)
Baloch nationalists and armed groups have switched on a harsh spotlight on the poor security situation in Balochistan, which has taken a turn for the worse after the devastating attacks on Pakistan’s Frontier Corps (FC)—tasked with protecting the country’s borders.
Baloch armed groups with possible support from the Taliban and other groups in Afghanistan targeted FC headquarters in Balochistan’s Noshki and Panjgur districts, inflicting heavy casualties on Pakistani forces. The severity of the attacks brought Prime Minister Imran Khan and General Qamar Javed Bajwa—the chief of Pakistan’s armed forces, to Balochistan for a review of the situation and to boost the morale of their soldiers.
Earlier in December 2021, the Baloch people ignited a mass movement against socio-economic distress and lack of livelihood opportunities that haunt their community due to exclusionary activities by Pakistani governments. The mass sit-in also underlined the resource exploitation of Balochistan by China through the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and indignities faced by the Baloch people due to CPEC security.
India Narrative spoke with Hakeem Baloch of the Baloch National Movement (BNM) for a quick overview of the situation in Balochistan. London-based Hakeem Baloch is the president of BNM UK zone, which is focused on Baloch independence from Pakistan through political and ideological activism.
Q: A high-level meeting headed by General Qamar Javed Bajwa—the chief of Pakistan’s armed forces, was held over the worrisome situation in Balochistan. What do you think was the outcome of this meeting and what will happen now?
HB: This isn’t the first time that the Pakistani army has held such meetings over Balochistan. Such meetings always bring more brutalities, abduction torture killings of social and political activist and of common Baloch people. This is a long-standing genocide of Baloch people which has never gathered enough attention from the world.
Q: The attacks on Pakistan's Frontier Corps (FC) were unprecedented. Does it mean that the Baloch nationalists have changed their strategy?
HB: The Baloch armed groups could respond way better to this question but as an observer and a political activist, what I can say is these attacks are taking place as a direct result of Pakistani brutalities in Balochistan. The Baloch armed groups have previously been warning the Pakistani State about such attacks if the State forces continue the occupation of Balochistan and if they continue the genocide of Baloch people. I think now the armed groups have decided to show the Pakistani State that those warnings were not just words but they were serious when those warnings were issued.
Q: Can you tell us what exactly is happening in Noshki and Panjgur as the media is not being allowed to report from there.
HB: Since the media is not allowed to visit Balochistan, rarely any news comes out from there. As far as I am aware, in just the last one week, over a dozen people have been abducted from different parts of Balochistan including a social media activist Malik Meeran from Panjgur and many others from Noshki and Panjgur.
Killing and abducting would further worsen the situation. This policy has created unrest among the people of Balochitan. These students are asset of nation. Every Baloch feels insecure in this situation@mmatalpur#ReligiousDiscriminationBill #JusticeForIhteshamBaloch pic.twitter.com/qwEoxufNhL
— Dr Nawab Baloch (@NawabDurra) February 9, 2022
Q: Prime Minister Imran Khan has come back from China with an agreement on launching CPEC Phase-II. Will the Baloch community continue to oppose Chinese projects in Balochistan?
HB: Well, the CPEC’s development seems to be almost stopped on the ground. It is only lip service by the Pakistani Prime Minister to show that the CPEC projects are still continuing. The Baloch people are not against any development but they will also not allow the expansionist intentions of any outside forces to be continued in Balochistan. The Baloch are being deprived of their freedom and basic rights. Obviously there is and there will be a resistance of all kinds.
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