“The situation (in Balochistan) is very serious in terms of social and economic development, sectarianism and also the completing power place of outside actors within Balochistan, it is very complex situation and the fact is that it is being sidelined at international forum. I think, it’s worrying because it has ramifications for Pakistani stability, ramification for regional stability, because Pakistan is not only in Pakistan, but Afghanistan and Iran,” he added.
U.S. based think tank, RAND Cooperation has said thatWashington may interfere in Balochistan affairs and pushIslamabad to stop atrocities on political activists and youth in its largest province.
Senior Political Scientist Peter Chalk of RAND Cooperation was speaking during a side event at the 28th Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. The event titled “Buried Human Rights, Global Geopolitics and Regional Repercussions: Balochistan in the Shadows” was organized by Brussels based Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization.
“At least until now the US is being dependent on Pakistansupport in the global war on terror particularly ruling our foreign elements from the tribal belt and therefore has not pushed a strong international response to what Pakistan is doing in Balochistan; that may change as Pakistan strategic importance to the United States falls on following the withdrawal from Afghanistan,” said Chalk.
“The situation (in Balochistan) is very serious in terms of social and economic development, sectarianism and also the completing power place of outside actors within Balochistan, it is very complex situation and the fact is that it is being sidelined at international forum. I think, it’s worrying because it has ramifications for Pakistani stability, ramification for regional stability, because Pakistan is not only in Pakistan, butAfghanistan and Iran,” he added.
“Issues of state abuses, human rights violations, these are international concerns that need to be addressed,” said Chalk.
While a crucial factor when trying to understand the geopolitical complexities of South Asia, Balochistan, which covers part of Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan, receives very little international attention and is often overlooked in political analyses of the region.
Rich in resources, Balochistan occupies an increasingly vital geo-strategic position, and has become the target for massive infrastructural projects, with Iran and Pakistan developing competing port, rail, and highway networks, in an attempt to further Central Asian trade through their own national territories.
The heavy costs and technical challenges this entails has been encountered by investment from other states, including China, which in turn has led to mounting rivalry in the region.
“The implications of what Pakistan and China are planning together is going to be the ripples effect all the way to Europe and North America because they have some evil designs for the future. The world will reach and it should reach to ill plans of Pakistan and China programme,” said Mehran Baluch, Baloch political activist.
At the same time, the human rights situation in Balochistan is drastically deteriorating, with the region’s respective governments failing at their most basic duty – to protect the safety of their citizens and enforce rule of law.
Moreover, due to a recent constitutional amendment, military courts, instead of civilian ones, are now allowed to handle terrorism cases, raising fears that this will serve as a pretext to try Baloch civilians without respecting their fundamental freedoms.