25-year-old Mazdak Dilshad Baloch appears much more assured and confident than his age. Living in Canada since 2014, Mazdak and his wife arrived in India a few months ago to build public opinion in favour of freedom struggle for Balochistan. He spoke to Shitanshu Shekhar Shukla in an exclusive interview. Edited excerpts:
Are you in favour of talking to Pakistan?
No. We are opposed to talking to Pakistan as long as Balochistan is occupied by its army. Until we are an equal party, we will not talk. If the Pakistan army withdraws for a neutral force/power to monitor and oversee, we can talk to Pakistan and hold them accountable for their misdeeds.
China is investing huge in CPEC (China–Pakistan Economic Corridor). How do you look at it?
China is exploiting the resource-rich Balochistan. It is unacceptable to us. CPEC is a project that stands to connect China’s largest province Xinjiang with Pakistan’s Gwadar port in Balochistan. It has got China’s boots on our ground. Balochistan is endowed with rich but largely unexploited reserves of copper and gold.
Pakistan has deployed 15,000 personnel, mainly serving army soldiers, to secure the corridor. China has been helping Pakistan carry genocide in Balochistan since ‘50s. In return, Pakistan awarded China with CPEC to loot the resources of Balochistan to the tune of 16 kg gold every day. It is a military corridor to give China naval base in Gwadar port. Instead of empowering us, it is killing us. Our consent is must. Our resources should be in our possession. Our land should be in our hands. Nobody should take our resources. We are under occupation of Pakistan. 150,000 people had been evicted from the route of the trade corridor by security forces to clear the way for roads and other infrastructure.
Would you call upon China to immediately shelve this project?
We have asked China to stop this. Naela Quadri Baloch has written a letter to the mothers/women in China. Mothers are all of the same kind. She reached out to the mothers in China to stop the genocide perpetuated by their government. But it has fallen on deaf ears. It serves China’s interest to kill us.
Would you call upon India to intervene and free Balochistan from Pakistan in the same way as India freed Bangladesh in 1971?
Yes, we will be happy whichever way India wishes to help us get freedom: militarily or diplomatically or otherwise. We need help at all levels. We need India’s moral and diplomatic support. We need India to internationally lobby for us at UN forums. If India directly intervenes to liberate us, we will be too happy. We will ask for it, because we are dying.
Do you support India’s surgical strike in PoK?
Yes. PoK is illegally occupied by Pakistan in much the same way as Balochistan is. Kashmir is burning because of Pakistan’s proxies and jihadis. India is much entitled to surgical strikes. We will welcome India to extend the similar surgical strikes into Balochistan and save us. More and more people are kidnapped and killed there every day. But the world remains a mute spectator.
Do you think Pakistan is a terrorist state?
Pakistan is very much a terrorist state. It is a manufacturer and exporter of terrorism. Terrorism is central to their economy policy. Pakistan is just four districts of Punjab. Sind wants independence, so does Balochistan. Islamabad westwards is dominated by the Afghans. Only Punjab and the army are left of Pakistan. It is not a country but a concentration camp to hold different nations by force and brutal butchery. Pakistan is an artificial country. Why would it have got torn in 1971 otherwise? Bangladesh bore the brunt. One lakh women got raped in Bangladesh. It is not an organically evolved nation. Pakistan was conceived in Cambridge as a proxy by the British to rule the whole subcontinent. We had been independent when Pakistan came into being. Balochistan became an independent country on August 4, 1947 and the declaration was made on August 11, 1947, days before Pakistan was created.
But we were occupied because they wanted to exploit our rich resources, water and land.
Can Pakistan hold for long?
No, it can’t. The pressure is building up and Pakistan will soon blow up into pieces. The more force is used to suppress, the louder will be the reaction. The day the world stops their financial, diplomatic support and put sanctions against Pakistan, it will disappear from the world map. Pakistan had created local al-Qaida and ISIS groups in the region, in the same way that it had once created al-Shams and al-Badr in Bangladesh.
Only 3 per cent people participated in last elections held in 2013 in Balochistan. How much support does it mean for the Baloch freedom movement? There is a government in the province after all. How much support do you enjoy among the common people?
It is not a tribal movement but a political movement led by the masses. The common man identifies himself with this movement. Three per cent participation is an axiomatic truth. People who participated in the 2013 polls had nothing to do with the freedom movement. They drew benefits from Pakistan. But 97 per cent people didn’t even cast their votes. If Pakistan had even an iota of faith in democracy, it would have granted us freedom. Democracy allows the dissenting people to choose their land. Brexit is an example. Europe is truly democratic. But we are held by force. We have been a free country, free nation for 705 years.
How can the world be sure of your claim to enjoy support of Baloch people for the freedom movement?
No international media or international inspection team is allowed by Pakistan to enter into Balochistan. That is a big handicap. People are allowed to travel only up to Karachi or Lahore. So, we have only our struggle and movement to prove the point. Three per cent people participated in the last elections held in Balochistan in 2013. It adds to the evidences. That is why Pakistan and China have joined hands in desperation to crush our movement. But they will fail and we will win. We have grown stronger without any support from anywhere of any kind.
Historically, whom do you blame for your slavery and dependence?
Muhammad Ali Jinnah, of course. He backstabbed us in 1948 even though Balochistan had paid Jinnah as much gold as he weighed against his fees as a legal counsel for getting back the areas of Balochistan under lease with the British. When the Balochistan approached India’s first Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru for help, he refused to help. Still, Balochistan refused to join Pakistan, only to be attacked. That attack has since continued till now.
Brahamdagh Bugti, the Switzerland-based leader of the Balochistan Republican Party, another major separatist outfit, has approached India for political asylum? Should India accept to undo the mistake committed by Nehru?
The leaders are different and so are the political circumstances. Political asylum should be a matter of policy and not a favour to an individual. I request India to formulate an asylum policy for Baloch freedom fighters. It will build a formal bridge of friendship between India and Balochistan. Always a friendly country, India is known for helping the people in distress. First Baloch leader in 70 years to come to India, Naela Quadri Baloch publicly asked India for help for freedom of Balochistan.
Did she meet PM Modi or Home Minister Rajnath Singh for help?
I don’t know. But she has been meeting several political leaders in India. India and independent Balochistan are in a win-win situation. Free Balochistan will be secular, democratic, peace-loving, nuclear free, terror-free, pluralistic, and gender-balanced. India needs an independent Balochistan. An independent Balochistan will be a friend of India and will serve India’s interests. Unlike Pakistan, we want to see a strong and prosperous India. We don’t want to see Pakistan at all. PM Modi has been kind to us. He has listened to us and spoke about us from the ramparts of Red Fort on August 15. Sushma Swaraj followed it up in the UN. His team is working on it. As for Bugti’s asylum plea, it is between him and India to decide.
Pakistan accuses India of funding your movement through RAW, IB. Is it true? Who funds you?
I have never heard of it. I don’t know of any such help. If we had received any kind of help from India, we would have been free long ago. We have not yet got any help from India. But our leaders have come to India for the first time, publicly asking for help. We hope India will help this time. We are asking for help openly, publicly. We are not hiding. Pakistan tries to snub our movement by putting several tags on us. But we will openly admit if India lends any help. It is our right to ask for help. Whoever supports us, we will publicly welcome.
Is there going to be a Balochistan government-in-exile? How soon will it take the shape?
A couple of days ago, Naela Qadri and Baloch leaders in Afghanistan met in Kabul over this issue. They have agreed to form a Baloch government-in-exile wherever it is possible, terming it as need of hour. Besides, they also called upon Afghanistan to join India to help Balochistan become independent. Much depends upon who supports our government-in-exile. Because support will also mean standing up to the Pakistan, the terror capital of the world. Pakistan plays on fears of the world. Bluff is central to their policy.