April 27, 2010


The Baloch people have a right to self-determination (Peter Tatchell, 27 April 2010, OpenDemocracy)

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) is urging the complete demilitarisation of the rebel province of Balochistan, as a precondition for a negotiated political settlement to end six decades of economic neglect, ethnic persecution and military repression by successive governments in Islamabad.

The region has been under military occupation ever since 1948, after the Khan of Kalat state (which made up part of what is now Balochistan) acceded to Pakistan under pressure from the Muslim League and threats from the government in Islamabad, just nine months after the long-autonomous principality secured its independence from Britain. The Kalat state's parliament voted against incorporation into Pakistan. The people never agreed to give up their independence. They were not allowed a referendum. Sixty-plus years of rebellion have followed. [....]

According to the Asian Human Rights Commission’s 2009 report:

“88% of the population of Balochistan is under the poverty line. Balochistan has the lowest literacy rate, and the lowest school enrolment ratio, educational attainment index and health index compared to the other provinces. 78% of the population has no access to electricity and 79% has no access to natural gas.”

Pakistan has blanketed the country with military garrisons to suppress the people. In recent years, there has been a 62% increase in police stations and a 100% increase in paramilitary checkpoints.

If the Baloch people are happy and free, as Islamabad claims, why is there a need for this pervasive, suffocating military presence? And why has Pakistan always refused Balochistan a referendum on independence?

Ever since the annexations of 1947-1948, Balochistan has been subjected to a quadruple whammy of military occupation, political domination, economic exploitation and cultural hegemony.

Pakistan is an oppressed nation turned oppressor nation. It now adopts the imperialist tactics of its former colonial overlords to subjugate and exploit the Baloch – and the people of other victim provinces such as Sindh and North West Frontier.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 27, 2010 5:30 AM
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