Unprecedented expression of support by Modi, say Baloch leaders

Separatists urge India to now lead others in recognising Balochistan as a ‘historic nation’

Updated - September 20, 2016 03:20 pm IST

Published - August 16, 2016 01:49 am IST - NEW DELHI:

Baloch separatists hailed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day speech and termed it an “unprecedented” expression of “moral and political support”.

Representatives of the Free Balochistan Movement (FBM) based in Delhi and London told The Hindu that India should now lead others in recognising Balochistan as a “historic nation” under the “illegal occupation of Pakistan”.

“We are thrilled that the Prime Minister of India has recognised the identity of Balochistan and the struggle of the Baloch people. The Prime Minister’s speech amounts to India extending moral and political support to the Baloch struggle.

Push for other nations India’s support will prompt other countries to recognise that our demand for freedom from Pakistan is legitimate,” said Balaach Pardili Baloch, the representative of the Free Balochistan Movement (FBM) in India.

Mr. Baloch, who has been a resident in India for some years, was appointed the representative of the FBM in October 2015 when he first addressed a public event in Delhi to raise awareness about the condition of the Baloch people in Pakistan.

Led by the London-based separatist leader Hyrbyair Marri, the FBM has been demanding independence for Balochistan through its offices and activists located in various global capitals.

Starting from July, the FBM has been on a Long March from Dusseldorf to Berlin to raise awareness about “human rights abuse by Pakistan in Balochistan”.

Official policy In response to the Prime Minister’s speech, the headquarters of the FBM in London said that India should now turn the declaration into an official policy.

“The first part of the policy making initiative should include, Indian recognition of the Baloch people as an independent nation with their historic statehood rights,” a source at the FBM’s office in London told The Hindu over phone.

Baloch separatists are also seeking help to set up a government in exile. “We hope that India will support a Baloch government in exile as that is what we are currently planning in our quest for freedom from Pakistan,” the London-based representative of the FBM said.

Claims rejected The FBM’s charter, which is available online, rejects religion as a basis for state formation.

“We therefore reject Pakistan’s origins and its claims on Kashmir which are rooted in religious identity,” the representative said.

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