India has become emboldened to launch a tirade against both China and Pakistan and hurl baseless propaganda against the duo because it perceives both as rivals while US support to India is giving Narendra Modi illusions of grandeur. China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) development plan and its flagship project the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) are being opposed tooth and nail by India. Despite the fact that India has been invited by China to join both ventures as they will not only bring relief to the impoverished millions of Indians subsisting below the poverty line but boost its revenues to prop up its dwindling economy. Unfortunately, Narendra Modi’s myopic vision guided by bigotry and hate is impelling him to create impediments in the path of the mega projects and target Sino-Pak cooperation with slander and defamation.

Last year, during his address to the nation at the National Day Parade, Narendra Modi publicly announced his support for Baloch seeking freedom. The province of Balochistan has caught India’s fancy, since it houses the strategically located deep sea port of Gawadar but is also the major link in the CPEC, which runs from the Baloch Port to Kashgar in Xinjiang Province of China and joins the OBOR.

To disrupt CPEC, India has launched agents from its infamous spy agency the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) to create insurgency and terror attacks along with creating a milieu of strife and mayhem so that the Chinese cease the CPEC project and development of Balochistan. The arrest of senior RAW terrorist Commander Kulbhoshan Jadhav from Balochistan earlier this year, shed light on Indian machinations. The incarcerated and now sentenced to death RAW operative sang like a canary and Pakistani law enforcing agencies managed to round up surreptitious members of Kulbhoshan’s network. India’s heinous agenda to sabotage CPEC received a dent but other plans have been put into action to derail CPEC.

India has recruited dissident Baloch residing abroad, pays them unlimited funds and uses them to launch verbal tirades against Pakistan. One such individual is Ahmar Musti Khan, an American citizen of Baloch origin, who also identifies himself as the “first openly gay Baloch on earth.” Ahmar Musti Khan gained notoriety, when he heckled then Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during his address to the United States Institute for Peace (USIP) on 22 October 2016. Khan stood up shouting “Free, Free Balochistan” and held up a poster with the words “Pakistan has Baloch Blood on its Hands”. Though he was whisked away by security personnel, yet he disrupted Pakistani PM’s agenda who during his meeting with then US President Obama was seeking the right to self-determination for the people of Kashmir, for which he also wanted Washington’s assistance. India managed to use the interruption to highlight baseless allegations of atrocities against the Baloch and diverted world attention away from Indian brutalities in Kashmir.

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Ahmar Musti Khan, who regularly appears on Indian TV discussions, denigrating Pakistan, has set up an organization named ‘American Friends of Balochistan’ (AFB), allegedly with Indian support. On 25 August 2017, AFB organized an event titled “Politics Behind Assassination of Nawab Akbar Bugti” at National Press Club in Washington, DC. The speakers included notorious Pakistan baiters, like Hussain Haqqani, Former Ambassador of Pakistan and Senior Fellow and Director for South and Central Asia at the Hudson Institute, who was the Guest of Honour;  Nawab Brahamdagh Bugti (Grandson of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, President of Baloch Liberation Army (via Skype from Switzerland), Nawab Mehran Marri, Chief of Marri Tribe & President of the Balochistan House, Hammal Haider, International spokesperson for the Balochistan National Movement, Banuk Kareema Baluch, President Baloch Students Organization (Azad) and  Ahmar Musti Khan, Convener of AFB.

The narrative was based on half truths and twisted facts: “Eleven years ago on August 26, 2006 former governor and chief minister of Balochistan Nawab Akbar Bugti along with 37 comrades was assassinated by Pakistan army commandoes on the orders of Pakistan dictator and coup leader, General Pervez Musharraf. The killing of the popular leader led to the mass uprising of the Baloch people against Islamabad’s colonial rule of France-sized Balochistan.

Since then, Pakistan army and intelligence services are carrying out a scorched earth policy in Balochistan that has seen 7,000 killed in Nawab Bugti’s ancestral Dera Bugti and Sui areas alone. Thousands of more Baloch have been killed elsewhere in Balochistan. At least 8,000 remain victims of enforced disappearances while over 1,500 Baloch activists were killed and dumped by the Pakistani security forces in recent years. Hundreds of thousands of Baloch tribesmen fled their homes to become internally displaced persons in Pakistan. As many as 12,000 Baloch tribesmen are still living in Afghanistan without any status.

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While the Pakistan army and Chinese are busy trying to wrest control of the key Gawadar port and the fossil fuel and natural resources deep inside the virgin lands of Balochistan, the Deep State of Pakistan is promoting the ISIS in Balochistan for its long term strategic interests.”

The speakers glossed over the fact that Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti started his political career in 1947 when he cast his vote in favour of Pakistan in the Shahi Jirga held in Town Hall, Quetta. Nawab Akbar Bugti had served in the Federal Government as Minister of Defence and later Interior was elected as Chief Minister of Balochistan and had also served as Governor of the province. During his rule, the people of Balochistan saw no progress and all funds allocated for the development of the underprivileged province were pocketed by its feudal leaders. Later Akbar Bugti was involved in an armed struggle for greater autonomy for Balochistan. The government of Pakistan accused him of keeping a private militia and leading a guerrilla war against the state.

On 26 August 2006, Bugti, along with some personnel of the Pakistan army, was killed when his hide-out cave, located in Kohlu, about 150 miles east of Quetta, collapsed. The Chief of Army Staff at the time, General Pervez Musharraf, claimed that Akbar Bugti was backed into a corner by the Pakistani Army and decided to blow himself up, instead of facing court for the atrocities he committed against rival tribes. His death led to widespread unrest in the area and a surge in dissension because Akbar Bugti was a polarizing figure with both supporters and opponents.

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The Baloch dissenters prefer to remain oblivious to the fact that on 7 September 1958, after four years of negotiations, Pakistan purchased the Gawadar enclave from the Sultanate of Muscat and Oman for USD $3 million, provided by Aga Khan III. Gawadar formally became part of Pakistan on 8 December 1958, after 174 years of Omani rule. Prime Minister Feroz Khan Noon’s Defence Minister, Nawab Akbar Bugti was an important participant in the negotiations. The allegation of supporting ISIS is a dirty lie meant to malign Pakistan.

Mainstream US media and credible organizations in USA do not take Ahmar Musti Khan seriously but he remains active at the behest of India to malign Pakistan’s Armed Forces and China.

Reports indicate that Free Balochistan Movement (FBM), headed by Harbyar Marri and with the reportedly clandestine support of India, on the eve of “Chinese National Day” on 30 September 2017, organized a protest rally in Gottingen, Germany. This has been done on the Indian sponsored false propaganda about China’s new colonialism and human rights violations in Balochistan. It was said in their statements that China and Pakistan nexus is aimed to turn Baloch demography into a minority.

Protest rallies by Baloch insurgent groups abroad have increased in order to project Balochistan issue on international forums. Baloch Student Organization-Azad (BSO) also organized a demonstration outside British Prime Minister’s residence in London on 1st October 2017 against alleged Pakistan war crimes in Balochistan.

While CPEC and numerous other projects launched by the Government of Pakistan are aimed at bringing the ordinary Baloch into the mainstream and improve their quality of life, India continues to use its agent provocateur to discredit the development projects and mislead some Baloch with half truths.

VIAS. M. Hali
Sultan M Hali
The writer is a former PAF Group Captain-turn-practicing journalist. He contributes to the print media, conducts a TV show and produces documentaries. He may be contacted at: sultanm.hali@gmail.com

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