His neighbours know friendly Suleman Daud as a friend to chew the fat with. But now he has revealed the story behind his arrival in Wales
Meet Suleman of Balochistan – the KING who lives in exile in Cardiff
Lined with Land Rovers and Mercedes, Suleman Daud’s smart terraced house in a posh Cardiff suburb is the kind where doctors and lawyers make homes.
But the 50-year-old is not an ambitious professional. He is an exiled king.
The only clue Suleman is a wealthy man is the Rolex Oyster on his left wrist. But in his home of Balochistan he has three palaces, 20 cars and 100 staff, including 20 bodyguards.
Suleman – officially known as His Highness Beglar Begi, the Khan of Kalat – fled after he was targeted for speaking out against Pakistani military human rights abuses.
His minutely planned escape took six months to formulate.
“When I left there were almost 4,000 missing people and now the numbers are 14,000 plus,” the father of three and grandfather of two said in the front room of his three bedroom house.
“There is not a day that a bullet-riddled body is not found of an engineer, doctor, lawyer, journalist or professor.
“I’ve lost three or four people from my own family. My cousins were shot by intelligence agents.”
Suleman on Wales and the Welsh
Hundreds of ethnic Baloch have been abducted by Pakistani Security forces and killed in custody, with their bodies ditched later, he says, as part of a so-called “Kill and Dump” policy.
“Their bodies are brutally assaulted,” the 35th Khan of Kalat said.
“They are burnt and bullet-ridden, and of course beaten.
“Over 600 have been found and of course this has been continuing.”
Every day “people are going missing and there are military operations in different areas.”
“Just two weeks back there was a military operation in the Kalat area,” Suleman said.
“In one they killed eight or nine women and children and other, old, people.”
Kalat is in the centre of Balochistan.
“We are treated as an occupied nation by an occupier,” Suleman said.
Balochistan was supposed to remain independent from Pakistan, while sharing currency, foreign policy and defence, after partition from India in 1947.
But after six months the Pakistani military stormed in and took over.
Less than a century ago the Khanate of Kalat was a thriving confederacy of tribes spread across much of what is now western Pakistan, southern Afghanistan and south-eastern Iran.
It was populated by fierce Baloch warriors. The area retained much of its independence from the British despite the Raj’s agents toppling, bribing and replacing regional leaders as they spread through the sub-continent.
The Khan, who speaks six or seven languages, sought asylum in Britain on July 14, 2007.
“For years they refused me asylum and then the judge who was hearing the case, he was well travelled and knew the history of that part of the world. He was telling the lawyers that they were wrong and he knew what the situation was,” he said.
“He brushed aside what the Home Office was saying.”
He was granted asylum in the UK on October 3, 2009.
Before he left Balochistan – now a province in Pakistan – Suleman lived in a sumptuous desert palace on a windswept ridge.
If he left the building in either of his two armour-plated, gold Humvees, he would be surrounded by armed bodyguards.
As one of western Pakistan’s most influential leaders, he commanded the loyalty and respect of thousands of Baloch tribesmen.
But the Khan had long angered Pakistan’s military establishment by campaigning for independence – though he is against armed resistance.
He feels his nation has been betrayed by Britain.
“There are so many human rights violations taking place that the British government should be trying to put right,” he said.
“In 2007 there was a Foreign Office report that was published that had quite a lot of supportive words in it.
“But since then we have not seen or heard anything. They talk about places like South Sudan and Syria and here and there but not Iran or Pakistan. And these are two countries where there are a lot of human rights violations.”
The Khan is desperate to return home. He is confident things are on the up for Balochistan.
“We will get our freedom because things are changing in today’s world,” he said.
In the meantime he is making the most of life in Cardiff, near the city’s Roath Park.
“I like Cardiff and Wales and the weather and the people,” he said.
“Well, I don’t have any choice about the weather, but I like the people.
“The Welsh are warm hearted and helpful, whenever they can help they will, and they are very nice to talk to.
“You can have a conversation or whatever, but not with the English. I ask everyone and they all say the same.”
He has travelled to the west and to “beautiful” Snowdonia and walked in the Brecon Beacons.
He has even visited the shopper’s paradise of Cwmbran.
“My friends, valley commandos, took me,” he said.
Visiting London he has noticed people’s “cold looks.”
“I have discussed it with other people and they all have the same problem,” Suleman said. “The Welsh are more lively and always have a smile.
“My cousin lives in London and I asked how many of his neighbours he knew.”
He didn’t know anyone.
“I know almost half of my street,” he said. “If someone needs something you go and knock on a door. I have been around at times if they have left their car windows open, or left their lights on, or if they need a jump start or something. And they do similar things and you help each other.”
But his neighbours don’t know their friend’s passport bears the words “His Highness”.
“I keep myself to myself and I don’t discuss who I am,” he said.
“I would rather keep a low profile because then you can be comfortable.”
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