Mumbai

India should back a govt-in-exile: Baloch activist

Mumbai: Free Balochistan campaigner Prof. T Naela Quadri Baloch on Tuesday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to translate his government’s “moral support” into physical structures backing a Baloch government-in-exile similar to India’s support to the Dalai Lama-led Tibetan government.

President of the World Baloch Women’s Forum, Prof. Baloch, urged the Indian government to bring the scattered Baloch leadership in exile to India and ask Indian embassies worldwide to facilitate their visas as Balochi nationals. She was speaking at a meet-the-press programme organised by the Press Club, Mumbai.

Thanking Prime Minister Modi for raising the Pakistani oppression on Balochi people in his Independence Day address, Prof. Baloch said, “After the moral interventions done by Modiji, he was hailed by the Balochi people as a hero. But, it should also materialise into physical structures and India should allow the formation of a Baloch government-in-exile in India.”

“India should direct its embassies to grant visas to Balochi people all over the world as Balochistan national, not as Pakistan nationals, and facilitate their travel to India. Balochistan’s freedom is in India’s interest,” she said.

Prof. Baloch said Balochistan’s independence will help India stem cross-border terrorism. “The terrorism in India and Afghanistan perpetrated by Pakistan from Balochistan’s soil will end and if Balochistan is free; it will reduce Pakistan into a micro Pakistan. It will stop the loot of Balochi natural resources. It will bring an era of safety and security to Indian people,” she said.

“Balochistan’s independence will also enable India’s access to Central Asia through 2000 km of Balochistan’s coastline from the Indian Ocean to Central Asia. It will lead to more energy reserves, new market for India. Like India, Balochistan believes in pluralism, in democracy, in gender equality, social justice, and our freedom from Pakistani oppression is in India’s interest,” she said.

Prof. Baloch said in 1947, Balochi leaders had met Indian leaders Jawaharlal Nehru and Abdul Kalam Azad warning them of Pakistan’s imminent occupation, but they did not receive help. “I had visited India three years ago, but a coalition government was in place, and it could not help us. But, now there is a mandate behind this government,” she said, adding Balochi people will be disappointed if Indian support does not go beyond moral support to their cause.

She said linking the Balochistan issue with the Kashmir issue is exactly what Pakistan wants. “Kashmir is India’s internal matter. Balochistan’s freedom struggle has existed from the first day of Pakisani occupation and India should not link the two. Pakistan has always played this game.”

Asked about the recent attack on Balochistan Police College in Quetta which killed 59 cadets, Prof Baloch said, “It was an attack pre-planned by Pakistan’s ISI and Daesh (ISIS). The cadets were sent home for vacation, but were recalled to the college, and that’s when the attack took place. Pakistan has been systematically killing educated Balochis. They earlier killed 100 lawyers in a similar attack orchestrated by Daesh.”

Asked if she or other Baloch leaders had made a formal proposal to the Modi government for setting up a government-in-exile, Prof Baloch said, “No. We want to first establish work on people-to-people to contact, and set up India-Baloch friendship forums.” She said if people in India are more aware and convinced that a free Balochistan is in their interest, the Indian government will not be able to ignore the demand. Prof. Baloch said Pakistani oppression and atrocities on the Balochi people have increased after China’s involvement in developing the Gwadar port.

“China wants a base in the Indian ocean, and Pakistan is trying to displace Balochis from the Gwadar port area and resettle Pakistanis from Punjab in that region. Though the Chinese are not directly involved in the atrocities, the Chinese army is present in the region,” she said.


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Printable version | Jun 15, 2021 7:29:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/India-should-back-a-govt-in-exile-Baloch-activist/article15895872.ece

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