Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s aggressive pitch for Balochistan has begun to appear like a mere flash in the pan to the Baloch rebels.
The movement for free Balochistan, which gained wider recognition with Mr. Modi’s August 15 speech, is facing the worst phase of repression at the hands of the Pakistan military. But India seems uninterested in providing any support, said a senior member of the Baloch Republican Party.
“We were expecting diplomatic support at the international level,” said Azizullah Bugti of the BRP. But unfortunately there had been no further development from the Indian side. “We are facing difficulties like military operations, abductions and killings of Baloch civilians, but the movement is continuing,” he said. “It’s for India to decide whether to raise our issue or not. But we can’t remain silent.”
Mr. Bugti’s comment is significant as it comes after months of waiting for India to grant asylum to Brahumdagh Bugti, leader of the BRP. Mr. Bugti, grandson of slain leader Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, had declared his intention to seek asylum in India last September after the central committee of the BRP cleared his plan. But New Delhi has not acted so far.
The plans for asylum took off soon after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj took up the cause of Balochistan in the UN General Assembly on September 26.
“I can only say that those accusing others of human rights violations would do well to introspect and see what egregious abuses they are perpetrating in their own country, including in Balochistan,” Ms. Swaraj had said. She had described the situation in Balochistan as the “worst form of state repression.”
Baloch activists require asylum as several of them, including Brahumdagh Bugti, have been facing restrictions in Europe where many of them live.
Azizullah Bugti expressed disappointment at India’s “silence” after a burst of excitement, especially since the military struggle had intensified in recent weeks.
Apart from Pakistan’s internal and external counter measures, the exiled Baloch groups have also had to contend with internal clashes over the goal of the Baloch movement. This was most apparent when Free Balochistan activist Naela Quadri Baloch travelled to India in November even as other Baloch leaders urged caution.
Mr. Bugti said despite the lack of international support, the Baloch will plan a protest calendar for the new year.