It’s 1971 redux: Akbar finds an echo of East Pakistan

Exiled separatist Baloch leaders from different parts of the world express their appreciation of India’s stand.

August 17, 2016 12:40 am | Updated November 17, 2021 05:11 am IST - NEW DELHI:

M.J. Akbar

M.J. Akbar

A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi mentioned Balochistan during his Independence Day speech, Minister of State for External Affairs M.J. Akbar indicated that India would take up the issue internationally, equating the 1971 War of Liberation for Bangladesh with “simmering Balochistan”.

Meanwhile, exiled separatist Baloch leaders from different parts of the world expressed their appreciation of India’s stand.

“Those who use the façade of human rights to sponsor barbaric terrorism are hypocrites of the worst kind. We are a nation which believes in faith equality and not in faith supremacy. Nations created in the name of faith supremacy are coming apart. That is why Bangladesh happened in 1971 and Balochistan is simmering now,” Mr. Akbar said on his Twitter handle on Tuesday, quoting from a speech he delivered in New York. The speech marked the first time that an Indian dignitary has spoken about Balochistan in the U.S.

Leaders express thanks Hyrbyair Marri, leader of the Free Balochistan Movement, said in a statement sent to The Hindu , “Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India, has made a courageous decision to talk about human rights violations in Balochistan. His decision shows that India is a modern democratic and responsible country, it values human rights.”

The statement added, “There are four names that I suggest [free] Balochistan’s roads should be named after. These friends of Balochistan are: American representative Dana Rohrabacher, Afghan leader Hamid Karzai, Indian leader Narendra Modi and Afghan leader Amrullah Saleh.”

Nawab Sanaullah Zehri, Chief Minister of Balochistan, criticised Mr. Modi’s statement at an official ceremony in Quetta. “A handful of miscreants, manipulated by the Indian intelligence agency, are involved in anti-peace activities,” he said.

Mr Zehri’s comment drew sharp response from the exiled leader of the Baloch Republican Party, Nawab Brahamdagh Bugti, who argued that Pakistan had no ground to object to Mr. Modi’s comments.

Speaking to the BBC from Geneva, Mr Bugti, whose grandfather Nawab Akbar Bugti was killed by the military in 2006, said, “There is nothing wrong in Mr. Modi’s comments on Balochistan as he indicated the reality of human rights abuse. People go missing from home and their mutilated bodies are found. This genocide has been going on for fifty years.”

(With inputs from agencies)

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