“If Islamabad’s nuclear program was India-focussed, then why are they building ICBMs that can hit targets 7,000 km away? The furthest Indian city from Pakistan is no more than 1,000 km, yet this fact seems to be not making its mark in the corridors of power in either Brussels, London or Washington DC,” he said. “And guess where are they testing and placing their long-range missiles?” he asked rhetorically. “Balochistan,” he replied to his own question.
Balochistan needs the world’s help
The Toronto Sun
When a natural calamity strikes, often within hours the tragedy triggers a worldwide aid effort to search for survivors trapped under the debris and to house and feed the victims.
Unfortunately, there was no such luck for the hundreds of thousands who survived a massive earthquake that struck Pakistan’s mineral-rich, yet dirt-poor region of Balochistan on September 25.
Instead, the Pakistani military shut out international aid agencies, taking advantage of the crisis to launch an offensive against Baloch nationalists fighting for independence from Pakistan’s occupation.
(Pakistan’s army has denied launching an offensive, arguing it sent in more troops to help with relief efforts.)
The Balochistan tremor was so severe, it was felt as far away as Delhi in India and Dubai across the Persian Gulf. It literally raised the ocean floor in the Arabian Sea, creating the world’s newest island off the coast of the Pakistan-Chinese military base in the port of Gwadar.
Dr. Mannan Baloch, a physician and political activist of the Baloch National Movement (BNM) expressed his exasperation to me.
“The Pakistan Army has forced the entire population of 8,000 people from my village … to move into the mountains. Our homes are being destroyed and we are living without food and shelter … please ask someone to help us.”
But the voices of the dispossessed of Balochistan did reach Brussels last week, the capital of the European Union, where legislators from around the globe gathered to discuss the crisis at the EU Parliament.
Among them was British Columbia MP Russ Hiebert, who emphasized the role that the international community could play to bring about positive change in Balochistan.
Speaking to the forum titled, “Balochistan – Destiny denied”, Hiebert said, “The solution lies in justice for the people, and the international community must play a role in this. Justice must be restored (in Balochistan) otherwise there will be no end in sight to the violence. Fear is a reality on the ground, even among judges which makes even the judicial system unreliable.”
The most forceful message came from U.S. congressman, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wisconsin) who brought up the words Pakistan fears most, the “right to self-determination of the Baloch people”.
The congressman from Wisconsin said, “The Baloch people have (tried) for nearly seven decades to throw the yoke of Pakistani rule … Baloch activism had been met by Pakistani armour, artillery and air strikes.”
Mehran Marri, the special representative of Balochistan to the United Nations Human Rights Council, also addressed the dire conditions in his homeland. Marri, who has lived most of his adult life in exile, raised the issue of Pakistan’s nuclear threat, claiming its nukes and missiles are being placed at the mouth of the Straits of Hormuz.
After the conference he told me, “If Islamabad’s nuclear program was India-focussed, then why are they building ICBMs that can hit targets 7,000 km away? The furthest Indian city from Pakistan is no more than 1,000 km, yet this fact seems to be not making its mark in the corridors of power in either Brussels, London or Washington DC,” he said.
“And guess where are they testing and placing their long-range missiles?” he asked rhetorically. “Balochistan,” he replied to his own question.