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Pakistan demands self-determination for Kashmir but has occupied Balochistan: Hyrbiar Marri

  • Written by  Boriwal Kakar
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‘As you know there are many in Balochistan. They believe that Balochistan’s occupation is being maintained through the barrel of gun; hence, Balochistan liberation will also flow through the barrel of gun,’ says Hyrbiar Marri. Son of the late Khair Bux Marri, Hyrbiar is a known spokesperson for Baluchistan national struggle. Read on:
Basically what in your view is Balochistan’s problem?

 In 1947 when Balochistan got independence and it stayed independent for nine months, Pakistan’s founding father, Muhammad Ali Jinnah wanted our Khan to accede to Pakistan. The Khan sought the advice of the Baloch parliament. The House of Lords as well as the House of Commons advised the Khan against accession to Pakistan. The parliament believed that being an independent country, with a distinct culture and language, Balochistan should not accede to Pakistan merely on religious grounds. On March 27, 1948 Pakistan invaded Balochistan whereupon the Khan was forced to sign the treaty of accession. The Baloch did not want it. Accession to Pakistan was secured under duress. The Baloch nation has refused to accept the forced accession. We believe we are an occupied land. We view Pakistan as an occupying force. We want the world to know that it was an illegal occupation of Baloch land. We want the international community to support us in the way it lent support to Kuwait against Iraqi occupation.   

In Baluchistan, disappearances of political activists and political assassinations have become a norm. Thousands have gone missing or been killed. For the last 65 years, extra-judicial killings have been a routine. Nobody is taking any notice. This is indeed sad. When Kosovo was subjected to Serbian oppression, the European Union and rest of the world came to Kosovo’s rescue. Not merely Serbian atrocities were checked, but an army was also dispatched to guard Kosovo against Serbia. Likewise, the Australian army arrived to defend East Timor against Indonesia. Balochistan, however, is being ignored. Through its fanatic groups, Pakistan is blackmailing the Baloch people. Also, it is blackmailing civilized European countries so that these countries do not support the Baloch cause.

What are exactly your demands?

I am struggling for an independent Balochistan. It is a fundamental right of every human being and every nation to enjoy freedom. The Baloch were an independent nation. Balochistan was a sovereign state. Pakistan occupied it. Ironically, Pakistan demands self-determination for the people of Kashmir but it has occupied Baloch country. However, we demand neither a referendum nor self-determination. We want an unconditional withdrawal of Pakistan from Balochistan.

Unlike separatists, the number of Baloch willing to live with Pakistan constitutes a majority. Your comments.

The so-called general elections last year were boycotted in Baluchistan on the call of Baloch nationalists. Look at the turn out. It was five to seven percent. Over ninety percent boycotted. This in itself was a vote for independence.

In your view, the Balochistan Assembly is not legitimate?

Not at all. Firstly, the Balochistan Assembly is a creation of an occupier. Secondly, the Baloch did not elect it. They utterly lack the legitimacy. The occupier has imposed them on Balochistan. Some members of the Balochistan Assembly reached the floor of house by bagging 400 to 600 votes. One cannot reach a district-level government to represent a constituency.  In other words, they lack legitimacy. Had they been genuine representatives, they would have demanded freedom for the Baloch people. But they are slaves to Pakistan.

Your real brother is a member of Balochistan Assembly?

I agree. Also, I consider every Baloch a brother. However, one who accepts Pakistani slavery is not my brother no matter who he is.

I hope you remember that you have also been a member of the same Balochistan Assembly?

True. However, a rational person is one who on realizing a mistake does not repeat it. This is what you also call experience. I realized that the Balochistan Assembly is only a platform to seduce and bribe the Baloch representatives. We were not allowed to speak about or demand Baloch liberation. Through this platform, we were made to think individually instead of collectively. When I realized that being Baloch I am not allowed to struggle for Balochistan, I boycotted it. I have been telling others as well about my experiences.

Did you make a mistake?

No. Even my elders contested elections and were elected for the Baluchistan Assembly. Afterwards, they also advised us to stay away. However, call it Baloch magnanimity or large heartedness that we wanted to give even our occupier a chance. After all, they were invoking Islam and Muslim brotherhood. But it was all a ploy. They committed Bengali genocide in which three million Bengalis were butchered while two hundred thousand women were raped in East Pakistan. They---either as an army or as a nation--- have nothing to do with Islam. Their mindset reflects their occupying nature. They submit before a mighty power while trying to dominate the weak ones. These Pakistanis know nothing about brotherhood.

Do you believe in democracy?

Sure. I perfectly believe in democracy.

How come, when you went in exile instead of staying in Balochistan, contesting elections and raising a voice for Baloch rights from the floor of the house?

As far as Pakistani democracy is concerned, it is a sham democracy. I want a democratic system for an independent Baluchistan. I do not want the kind of autocracy practiced in Gulf sheikhdoms. I want democracy. One person, one vote. Even the son of a poor shepherd, if capable, should have the right to vote and to be elected. . All will have equal voting right. I believe in equality and democracy. I am not for the rule of kings.

Can you tell us, if possible, on how many fronts Baloch nationalists are fighting?

One front consists of Baloch exiles. Here in exile, me and my friends are highlighting the Baloch plight to draw world attention. We are pointing out to the world that Pakistan that always invokes Islam has occupied a Muslim land. Balochistan itself is the other front. Many are engaged in peaceful struggle. Ghulam Muhammad, for instance, formed a non-violent organisation. Still he was martyred. Lala Mir is yet another case. In Balochistan, they do not differentiate between a nationalist engaged in armed struggle and the ones practicing peaceful means. Anybody demanding an independent Balochistan is extra-judicially killed. This unIslamic, inhuman policy Pakistan is pursuing in Baluchistan.

  What about armed groups? Who are they? How many are there?

As you know there are many. They believe that Baluchistan’s occupation is being maintained through the barrel of gun; hence, Balochistan liberation will also flow through the barrel of gun.

 Which path in your view is useful. The one you are treading or the one followed by armed resistance groups?

Everyone has to follow tactics according to the place one happens to be. We in exile are promoting the Baloch cause so that the world realizes our plight. Those on the ground in Balochistan are better placed to decide for themselves. They on realizing that negotiations lead nowhere, have taken up the other path.

 Mr Marri! You are struggling for the freedom of Balochistan as is Allah Nazar Baloch. However, you happen to be in London while he is holed up in mountains. You two lead two very different lives.

You are right. We lead two different lives. He is leading a difficult life. There are the troubles of everyday life. He risks his life while we enjoy the safety of London. However, we have been asked to highlight the Baloch cause internationally. But this is how it is. We all can not be at the same place. Representatives of a country are present all over the place. But all we are doing is done in consultation among friends.

Are you saying that you consult each other?

I am not saying I consult Dr Allah Nazar Baloch. I have friends who happen to be in Baluchistan. On their advice, in consultation with them, I am here in London. (To be concluded).  

This is an unpublished transcript of Nawabzada Hyrbiar Marri's interview with Boriwal Kakar of RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal. This interview was conducted in October 2013. Radio Mashaal is broadcasting for the Pashtun areas along the Durand Line. Boriwal Kakar tweets at @Boriwalkakar.
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