New Delhi: Hyrbyair Marri, London based Baloch separatist leader, has unambiguously stated that India should extend its moral and diplomatic support to the ongoing struggle for independence in Balochistan against Pakistan’s illegal occupation of Baloch land and people.
In an exclusive interview (via email) to Indiatvnews.com from London, Hyrbyair Marri opened up on every aspect of the ongoing Baloch freedom struggle and said that India should raise the issue of human rights violation in Balochistan at the UN and other international forums.
He also made an appeal to the international community to break its silence on the heinous crimes that the Pakistan Army is committing in Balochistan. He recalled how the silence of international community allowed Pakistan to get away with genocide of the people of East Bengal (now Bangladesh) in 1971.
Marri pointed out that a war was going on in Balochistan and the Pakistan Army is destroying Baloch homes, villages, burning Baloch crops and animals and looting their valuables.
“In the past 15 years, the Pakistani army has abducted over 20,000 Baloch, including women and children and the whereabouts of many of them still remain unknown,” he pointed out.
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On China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Hyrbyair Marri said that the proposed corridor had nothing to do with development of Balochistan as it aims to prolong Punjabi rule and the occupation of Balochistan.
He warned China against disregarding Baloch sentiments on CPEC issue and said that Baloch people can’t guarantee the safety of Chinese citizens who are working for the state of Pakistan against the interest of Baloch nation.
He also termed Pakistan as an artificial state which has no legal, moral and economic legitimacy. He reminded Pakistan that, in the name of Islam, what it has done to both its compatriots as well as Indians will haunt its people.
“In the case of Pakistan, this artificial state has no legal, moral and economic legitimacy. It was created out of misery, lives in misery and will die in misery. There is no hope for such an artificial state. What they did to their compatriots, their Indian brothers and sisters, in the name of Islam is here to stay and will haunt them always,” he said.
Here goes the full text of the interview:
Why Balochistan wants independence from Pakistan?
Q: You are demanding an independent Balochistan. Why do you believe that Balochistan should secede from Pakistan?
Hyrbyair Marri: The Baloch nation is one of the oldest nations in the region. We have lived in our homeland for thousands of years and have a unique history, culture and language besides distinctive art, music, legal and moral values. Furthermore, Balcohistan was an independent nation before its unlawful occupation by the British imperial army in 1839. It then regained its independence following the departure of the British in 1947.
But let me ask you this- what is Pakistan? It is a term coined by an Indian fundamentalist Muslim, Rahmat Ali Chuadary in the mid-1930s. It does not mean anything, but is a result of friction between Muslim and non-Muslim Indians. It reflects division, hatred, violence and corruption. This is further mirrored by the on-going situation in Pakistan. It is over six decades that the British Empire forged the Frankenstein state of Pakistan. Within a year of Pakistan’s establishment, over 10 million innocent Indians were displaced, and up to two million of them were killed. Additionally, in 1948 Pakistan illegally occupied independent Balochistan and killed hundreds of Baloch people.
The same army that was once the protector of the British Empire, (primarily dominated by Punjabi Muslims), then launched three wars against their own people–which is India. Thousands of people were murdered during these wars. As soon as the political power was handed over to the present rulers of Pakistan, they systematically began destroying the nations that were under their control, for example, The Bengalis, Sindhis and Pashtuns.
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During the years 1970-71, the Punjabi army of Pakistan displaced about ten million Bengalis, raped about half million of their women and children, and killed almost the entire Bengali conscientious intellectuals, human rights and political activists. Likewise, around the same time that East Bengal was under Punjabi Muslim domination, they destroyed the entire economy and culture of the Bengali people.
Then the same army which butchered the Bengali nation and suffered humiliating defeat were sent to Pakistan occupied Balochistan. From 1973-77, they committed terrible atrocities against the Baloch. Thousands of Baloch were killed and a huge number disappeared. Some of these atrocities are documented in the book “Methodology of Deception” by S. Karimzadi.
The 1970s was not the only time that the Baloch stood for their right for independence. The Baloch liberation movement began when the British Empire occupied Balochistan in 1839. That freedom movement then intensified on the day that the Pakistani army invaded Balochistan in 1948. The movement continued throughout the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s, and is still progressing today.
To the Baloch, Pakistan reflects the same fundamentalist Punjabi army, religious and feudal establishment that served the British Empire against India. They are the same people who the British Empire wanted to use against India after its partition. The survival of this criminal establishment depends on Islamic extremism, violence, corruption and lies. You will find all these vices in this artificial state.
In contrast, The Baloch are a nation, a colonised nation, a nation like the rest of the free and democratic nations, in terms of values. We simply wish to determine our own destiny, in a free and democratic manner. Using a term such as “secede” is inappropriate to our case. We are not a part of any other nation and have never been. We want our independence in order to determine our own destiny. We want to be free from colonialism and establish a secular democratic state of Balochistan.
We are absolutely confident that we will get our independence soon. The Baloch nation has proved that they never have accepted subjugation and never will accept it.
Q: What is your relationship with Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) which is waging an armed rebellion for secession? Pakistan accuses you of being actively involved with that outfit.
Hyrbyair Marri: I am a pro-freedom politician and I believe in a peaceful and democratic struggle to regain our independence. It is a fact that in any liberation movement there are going to be organisations that will resist the illegal occupation and colonisation of their homeland with an armed struggle. This is not something new; there has always been an armed struggle in Balochistan since its illegal occupation.
However, the Armed struggle in Balochistan is only an effect of the occupying states’ violence. Of course, I am for peaceful resolution. Tell me which colonised and oppressed nation have not accepted their freedom peacefully and democratically? We are the ones who suffer from extreme violence at the hands of occupying states.
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Yet, there is one universal right, and that is the right of self-preservation. I believe in this right for all humanity. When the occupying forces – Pakistani forces – are attacking Baloch people and are indiscriminately killing innocent unarmed people, burning houses and looting Baloch -Sarmachaar (freedom fighters) have got as much rights as those partisans who defended their people and homelands against aggression of fascist Germany to defend themselves. We believe that such resistance must be according to international and human rights conventions. Moreover, these freedom fighters are immensely popular and respected by the Baloch masses.
Q: Many Pakistani leaders and commentators claim that they are open to delegate more autonomy to Balochistan but they will not allow secession. Are you looking at that option (autonomy) as well?
Hyrbyair Marri: Colonialism is colonialism; half colonialism or one-third colonialism is a meaningless proposition for any balanced individual to even contemplate. I believe that reducing our demand for independence to autonomy is part of a smear campaign by the occupying Pakistani state, and regrettably, the international media seems to be buying this too.
Secondly, it is not up to the Punjabi army and religious establishment i.e. “Pakistani Leaders” to decide for us - as it was not for the English rulers to decide whether India was to have either autonomy or independence.
This basic democratic human right belongs to the Baloch nation, and not the colonial rulers.
Moreover, these theocratic states are not here forever and cannot survive for long. They are inherently illegal, inhumane and undemocratic. For that reason they are poor and unstable and will inevitably collapse as a result. The Punjabi rulers of Pakistan have no legitimacy, even among their own population.
Thousands of Baloch men, women and children have been killed by the Pakistani army and other forces, just to preserve their status quo. This is not right!
Currently over 20,000 Baloch are in custody of Pakistani forces due to their political belief and desire for freedom. The Baloch liberation movement will not stop until the Baloch gain their independence. The movement is growing and gaining strength and support. The same also goes for all other nations that are under the control of the Punjabi army.
Balochistan wants India to support its freedom struggle
Q: Pakistan accuses India of fomenting trouble in Balochistan. What’s your view on that? Do you believe that India should come out in open to support your fight for an independent Balochistan?
Hyrbyair Marri: The story of such allegations goes as far back as the formation of the first empire. As if people are so senseless that they would prefer occupation, death, destruction, poverty, insecurity, corruption, religious fundamentalism, imposed language, culture and moral value over freedom, security, prosperity, dignity and the ability to determine their own destiny.
One should expect such absurd comments from Pakistani rulers since in the first place they were the bondage of British imperial army and for their service they eventually got what they have now. Therefore, the idea of people fighting for their freedom and dignity is alien to them.
Besides, the whole concept of Pakistan as a nation is a lie and as for the rulers of such a state, this is not hidden from the world anymore. For example, they were famously hiding Bin Laden right next to their military compound, whilst receiving billions of Dollars from the USA in order to search for him and for pretending to dismantle his extreme jihadist organisation.
We have always openly declared that it is the responsibility of all decent human beings and democratic states to support Baloch human rights, and our democratic freedom movements.
Yes, we want India’s support for the Baloch struggle, for freedom morally and diplomatically. India should raise the issue of human rights violation in Balochistan at the UN and other international forums. Have they done that? It is as clear to you as to us.
The silence of the international community had allowed Pakistan to get away with the genocide of the people of Bangladesh, and now it has encouraged Pakistan to carry out the same heinous crimes in Balochistan.
Q: You accuse Pakistan Army of oppression in Balochistan. Can you share your views on existing ground realities in Balochistan, especially the role being played by the Army?
A: There is a war going on in Balochistan,and not a day goes by without the Pakistani army abducting and killing Baloch people. The invading army is destroying Baloch homes, villages, burning Baloch crops and animals and looting their valuables.
They are organising and financing various jihadist groups including Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Lashkar-e-Khorasan, Jaesh-e-Mohammad and the Taliban against Baloch secular democratic movement. The Pakistan army in Balochistan are working closely with drug mafia and many other criminal gangs to destroy the very fabric of Baloch society. All these groups act as the Pakistani army and state’s death squads in Balochistan.
Since the latest military aggression against the Baloch nation, which started in early 2000, there is not a single household in Balochistan, which hasn’t been negatively impacted by Pakistani military attacks.
In the past 15 years, the Pakistani army has abducted over 20,000 Baloch, including women and children and the whereabouts of many of them still remain unknown.
CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) and Balochistan
Q: What are your views on CPEC(China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) being built by China near Gwadar port? Are you happy with that? China, we have heard, has demanded that their engineers and employees be given full security from Baloch separatists.
Hyrbyair Marri: China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is solely focused on Chinese and Pakistani relations. This corridor has got nothing to do with development of Balochistan. It is planned by the Punjabi military and commercial establishment, and is imposed on Balochistan in order to prolong Punjabi rule and the occupation of Balochistan.
Inevitably, for the Baloch, this corridor is synonymous to death and destruction as opposed to economic progress. The Occupying army of Pakistan have already carried out hundreds of military attacks in areas where the so called project is taking place. Baloch people from Gwadar and other areas have been expelled from their homes. Many have been arrested and disappeared while several have been killed in the name of CPEC.
Neither the Punjabi rulers of Pakistan nor the Chinese government have any right whatsoever to make decisions on behalf of the Baloch people and in regards to their homeland, without the permission of Baloch people.
The CPEC is not only a source of destruction for Baloch nation but it will prolong Punjabi colonialism, violence, corruption and fundamentalism in Balochistan. We consider this action as illegal and consider the Chinese state decision misguided. We would like to have a close relationship with the Chinese people based on mutual respect and benefit, after we gain our independence.
If China disregards Baloch sentiments and remains as Pakistan’s partner in crime, then they are equally responsible for human rights violations in Balochistan. China has ignored the Baloch struggle and the plea of Baloch people to not to invest in Balochistan until the conflict between Balochistan and Pakistan is resolved.
So, it is obvious that the Baloch people will continue to resist any attempt of exploitation of their resources whether by China, Pakistan or any other foreign force.
Balochistan is at war with Pakistan and they are living under occupation of Pakistan. Therefore, they cannot guarantee the safety of the Chinese citizens who are working for the state of Pakistan, and against the interest of Baloch nation. I hope that China comes to an understanding with the Baloch people, and appreciates that the territory in which they work is actually Baloch territory and not Pakistani!
Q: Is it true that factionalism among different tribes of Balochistan has weakened the movement for Baloch independence? What steps you are taking to bring unanimity among the different tribes of Balochistan?
Hyrbyair Marri: This question sounds exactly like what we hear from the Pakistani media and state agencies every day. In Balochistan, what we have is a national liberation movement. This movement was not formed in one day or year.
Its history goes back about a century and half. The Baloch established their modern political parties in 1920s and have led several massive liberation movements since then. They attended the Bako Conference in 1923 as one of the Asian nations.
Currently the Baloch liberation movement is to be found in every corner of Balochistan, be it in Pakistani occupied Balochistan or Iranian occupied Balochistan. Such an organised movement cannot be reduced to the work of a few tribes. That perhaps shows the ignorance of others in regards to Balochistan. The fact is that colonial powers in Balochistan have used some insignificant relics of tribalism, which can be found in most third world countries, to undermine the Baloch freedom movement. Therefore, this is an incorrect depiction of the Baloch nation, and can be seen as Pakistani propaganda.
The Baloch nation like any other old and complex nation is very complicated and consists of diverse views, ideas, political philosophy and beliefs. Anyone who is familiar with any free and democratic nation can appreciate such diversity. They see that as a strength rather than weakness.
In Balochistan, there are many different political parties and armed resistance organisations. Those grassroots political parties, human rights groups and armed resistance organisations that are formed to fight for Baloch freedom, all share the common goals of independence, and the formation of a secular democratic Balochistan.
There are, however, several fundamentalist groups, death squads, and so called political parties that are set up by the Pakistani army, security forces and rulers of Pakistan in Balochistan, in the same way that the British set up the “Muslim League” to oppose the Congress in India. These organisations are temporary and irrelevant. The day Balochistan gets its freedom, they will disappear.
Having said that, it does not mean that we, on the side of the pro-independence movement, are free from any weaknesses. We admit there are some important issues that we need to work on to bring all pro-freedom parties under one broad platform in order to make our liberation movement more effective. To this effect, I have recently set up a committee to communicate with other pro-freedom parties and leaders to discuss the important matters that concern us, and we have been working on the Balochistan Liberation Charter to finalise and publish it.
Q: What is your connection with Balaach Pardili who lives in Delhi and claims to represent your faction? There have been some diverging reports on that. Can you please clarify?
A: I have never heard that Mr Balach Purdili has made any claim of being my official representative. He is a Baloch activist from Afghanistan controlled Balochistan, and recently at a conference in India, read a speech on my behalf.
However, he is not my official political representative. Nevertheless, we are undoubtedly like-minded and share mutual respect for one another.
Message for Pakistan Army
Q: Pakistan is a nuclear weapons state. Do you believe that you can get independence from them through an armed struggle?
Hyrbyair Marri: There are several implicit layers to this question. The first one is that as if subjugation is something eternal and is justified by means of military violence and power. The fact that the Pakistani military establishment has nuclear weapons does not mean that the Baloch and other occupied nations are doomed to eternal subjugation. This is a completely flawed argument.
The reason being is that the Punjabi establishment is chronically insecure and unstable, which is why while their people live in abject poverty they invested in nuclear bombs that they dare not use. This was a total waste of time and resources. Moreover, what this demonstrates is the extreme weakness on behalf of this jihadist Frankenstein state.
In the present day political climate, the nations that survive and prosper are the ones who are democratic and respect human rights, where there is rule of law, freedom of expression and belief. No bomb saves any colonial theocratic structure and state, no matter how destructive that weapon is meant to be.
Secondly, I used to live and study in the Soviet Union. It was a world superpower with more atomic bombs than one can care to imagine. Guess what happened to the Soviet Empire. It collapsed, because people wanted freedom from soviet colonialism. All empires in that position will unsurprisingly collapse regardless of how big or powerful they are.
In the case of Pakistan, this artificial state has no legal, moral and economic legitimacy. It was created out of misery, lives in misery and will die in misery. There is no hope for such an artificial state. What they did to their compatriots, their Indian brothers and sisters, in the name of Islam is here to stay and will haunt them always.
The Baloch democratic struggle for independence, and for that matter the Sindhi and Pashtun struggle for independence, is not something that the Fundamentalist Punjabi army can stop by means of extreme violence and religious lunacy. Such deeds had their time in Pakistan and Pakistani army and ruling establishment took advantage of such insanity as much as they could. The way forward is not more militarism, Islamic fundamentalism and extreme violence, but freedom, democracy and peace. Such principled goals cannot be achieved within the colonial theocratic structure of Pakistan. A Democratic Pakistan means the end of Pakistan as we know it.
Q: Pakistan also accuses you of killing innocent civilians. How would you react to that?
Hyrbyair Marri: Pakistani rulers and army have been accusing us of all sorts of things since they occupied our homeland in 1948. There is only one way you can find out the truth about our occupiers and us. That is to allow all independent international media, human rights organisations, academics and democratic states to go to Balochistan to conduct their research without fear and pressure, and publish their findings openly worldwide. Then we all will find out about the truth. This has always been our demand. The reality is all occupying forces have never allowed any independent body in Balochistan to conduct any reliable research for the world to see.
Journalism, in its true sense, does not exist in Balochistan. Just in the last ten years Pakistani security forces have killed about 25 Balochi journalists. Either they were abducted, tortured and killed or they were target killed.
We oppose any crime against our people no matter who is the perpetrator of the crime, be it the state organs or any other party. So we call for all independent organisations, media, academics and states to conduct their research and take the real culprits to an independent court whoever they maybe. It is then that we find out the true nature of the role of fundamentalist Punjabi army and their jihadist death squads in occupied Balochistan.
Q: What is your message for Pakistani leadership especially the all-powerful Army?
Hyrbyair Marri: There is nothing that the rulers of Pakistan do not know about my intention, political belief, and the Baloch demand. We do not get our freedom by posting messages to our occupiers. We get our freedom when we rely on the power of our people, and by adopting humane and democratic principles.
The second part of your question is yet another myth that has carefully planted in the minds of the followers of Punjabi rulers. The Punjabi army of Pakistan is the same army that served the British Raj and suppressed the Indian independence movement. Its foundations are based on mercenary and servitude principles. That has not changed. Their record of crimes such as rape, religious bigotry, corruption and double dealing is second to none. A powerful army is not scared of a nine year old child and it does not abduct children and torture them to death. What has preserved these fundamentalist mercenaries is the external finance they receive from the exploitation of Baloch resources. Much of their funds are also gained through their double-dealings and as a result of their constant begging.
However, these sources are unsound and are drying out, and will eventually undermine the very existence of the state. This will then reveal to the world the true nature of this mafia organisation. When there are not enough funds to run this criminal organisation, then you see how quickly it will crumble. Thus, the Punjabi army of Pakistan is only as powerful and stable as any large mafia organisation ever was.