“We know that foreign countries have their personal interest but we must think of our greater interest,” he added
A Baloch nationalist leader based in Switzerland has welcomed a bill moved in the US Congress seeking the right to self-determination for the Baloch people, saying he would support any foreign intervention in the restive Balochistan province of southwest Pakistan.
Brahamdagh Bugti, the chief of the Baloch Republican Party, said the US “must intervene in Balochistan and stop the ethnic cleansing of Baloch people”.
Addressing reporters at Quetta Press Club over phone yesterday, Bugti, the grandson of nationalist leader Akbar Khan Bugti who was killed in a military operation in 2006, contended the resolution moved in the US House of Representatives by Congressman Dana Rohrabacher was “not against the sovereignty of Pakistan”.
“Every country has the right to interfere or intervene (in another’s affairs) if there are state-sponsored human rights violations,” Bugti was quoted as saying by the media.
“We know that foreign countries have their personal interest but we must think of our greater interest,” he added.
The Pakistan government has reacted angrily to Rohrabacher’s resolution, with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani describing it as an attack on the country’s sovereignty.
The Foreign Ministry called in the acting US envoy this week to lodge a “strong protest” over the resolution, which has emerged as the latest irritant in bilateral ties.
The 30-year-old Bugti said Baloch political leaders, activists, students and even women had been detained without charge and tortured for years, and under these circumstances, any support from any foreign country would be welcomed.
“We have been accused of getting support from India but the Baloch movement does not have any foreign support.
“However, we will welcome any support for independence,” he said.
Welcoming a recently tabled bill on Balochistan in the United States’ House of Representatives, Baloch Republican Party’s self-exiled chief Brahamdagh Bugti expressed his support on Wednesday for any and all foreign intervention in the province whether it be by the US, Nato or India.
“America must intervene in Balochistan and stop the ethnic cleansing of Baloch people,” said thirty-year-old Brahamdagh, as reporters listened to his telephonic address at the Quetta Press Club. “We know that foreign countries have their personal interest but we must think of our greater interest.”
A resolution was introduced on February 17 by Congressman Dana Rohrabacher and co-sponsored by two other congressmen in the US House of Representatives, calling upon Pakistan to recognise the right to self-determination for the people of Balochistan.
“The American resolution and committee formed for Balochistan is not against the sovereignty of Pakistan. Every country has the right to interfere or intervene [in another’s affairs] if there are state-sponsored human rights violations,” Brahamdagh said.
He went on to highlight how Baloch women, political leaders, activists and students had been subjected to enforced disappearances and tortured for years, and how under such circumstances, any support from any foreign country would be welcomed.
“We have been accused of getting support from India but the Baloch movement does not have any foreign support. However, we will welcome any support for independence.”
Sceptical of mainstream politicians’ and media attention to Balochistan’s affairs, Brahamdagh who now lives in Switzerland said the change of heart was rooted in apprehensions over Punjab’s sovereignty. “Pakistani politicians like Nawaz Sharif are now visiting Balochistan and inquiring about the plight of Baloch people. There are discussions and talks on TV channels and print media in recent days about Balochistan. Because they are now worried about the sovereignty of Punjab and [want] to protect Punjab’s interest.”
When asked about the All Parties Conference (APC) called by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani over the crisis in Balochistan, Brahamdagh said that Baloch nationalist leaders will not join negotiations.
“On the one hand, they are calling an APC, while on the other they continue to brutally kill Baloch people and throw their bullet-riddled, mutilated bodies,” he said.
He went on to call on Balochistan Governor Zulfiqar Magsi and Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani to also join the Baloch movement, leaving behind their “temporary” and “personal” interest.
“If they do not want to join the movement, they should resign from office and sit quietly because the Baloch movement is nearing its destination. Efforts are being made to unify the rank of Baloch leaders.”
When asked about the recent killing of his sister and niece in Karachi, Brahamdagh said that such brutalities will not compel him to withdraw or surrender from the struggle to a free Balochistan.
He also lashed out at the ultra-conservative Difa-e-Pakistan Council, which has announced a public gathering on February 27 in solidarity with the Baloch people.
“Where were they when Baloch women, children and youth were being picked up and brutally killed by security forces? There is no influence of Jihadi elements in Balochistan. These religious parties are backed by security agencies.”
Meanwhile, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Balochistan chapter carried out a procession on Wednesday to protest against the US resolution on Balochistan. The rally led by PPP Provincial Minister Ali Madad Jatak culminated outside the Quetta Press Club.