Prof. M. K. Bhat
Two areas that grabbed maximum headlines in the News papers/TV channels in the last month were Kashmir and Baluchistan. Any problem in the former gets exaggerated sometimes more than the actual happenings and no problem of the latter gets highlighted due to the restrictions put on journalists to visit the area. Former bears the signs of development and melts the heart of 1.25 billion people at the time of any problem while as the latter one is at the receiving end of its rulers.
The story of Kashmir is quite different from that of Balochistan yet certain people have tried to equate the two and have started to take the utterances of Prime Minister Modi from Red Fort as a move to contain the happenings in Kashmir. It may work in that direction too but it is much more than that. It may perhaps make Pakistan to realize what it fails to realize. It conveyed to the world the sordid story of human rights violation in our neighborhood. It has sparked protests in different countries of world by Baloch people and gave a fresh air to their aspirations and frustrated Pakistan and china. It definitely will influence China’s economic corridor project.
India’s policy of non interference in the internal matters of another country is a good principle, if adhered by the other country too. It is useless when the opponent leaves no chance to interfere. The repeated attempts for peace with Pakistan has yielded little so a new approach remains the only way out. In Kashmir a small number of people trained and financed by Pakistan have made the total population its hostage. The majority cannot speak in front of the gun yielding terrorists with the sole motive to create tension in the area. These people work at the behest of their masters across the border. They fight a proxy war on behalf of Pakistan and the victim is an innocent Kashmiri. It has been difficult for Pakistan to digest the solidarity of people of J&K with India which they have proved time and again through their faith in the election process of the country.
Baluchistan and Kashmir bear different history and attitude from their respective Governments. Baluchistan was forcefully occupied by Pakistan as it was separate state at the time of independence. The ruler of J&K signed the treaty of accession. Baluchistan’s Khan of Kalat decided to join Pakistan in 1948 under the condition that defense, currency, foreign relations and finance would be controlled by federal government. Baloch resentment started in 1948, onwards till date. No press is allowed to visit Balochistan while as there is no such restriction in Kashmir. Pakistan used tanks and missiles to contain Baluch freedom struggle while as India feels for any small happening in Kashmir. The problem in J&K is confined to just three parliamentary constituencies of Kashmir while as it has no acceptance in Jammu and Ladakh.
Pakistan is a theocratic state while as India is a democratic secular country. Pakistan tries to settle outsiders to do away with Baloch culture and majority while as no one can buy any land in Jammu and Kashmir. The Government of India spends crore for the welfare of the people of the state while as Baloch resources are exploited by the people from Punjab province of Pakistan.
Baluchistan is having natural gas, coal, goldmines, tourism and fisheries etc, despite its richness in minerals its people fail to enjoy the basic facilities. It comprises nearly 45 per cent of Pakistan yet its share in the total GDP of Pakistan has been less than 4 per cent. It has the highest infant maternal mortality rate and lowest literacy rate in that country. In 2001-2 the poverty incidence in this province was at 48 percent while as in 2005-6 it stood at 50.9percent. contrary to this J&K is one of the largest recipient of grants from New Delhi totaling to $812 million per year .It has 4 % incidence of poverty one of the lowest in the country Its literacy rate stands at 66.7%. It hardly stands too far in any national parameter of economic growth.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s support to Baluch people from the ramparts of Lal Qila on independence day got the attention of the whole world towards the human rights violation in Baluchistan.
It got instant endorsement from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and America. It has helped in exposing the true face of Pakistan as the epicenter of terrorism and nullified its propaganda about Kashmir. India used to get defensive every time when Pakistan raked up the Kashmir issue despite Pakistan’s worst attitude with the people of Baluchistan, Pak occupied Kashmir and Sind. It tried to project itself as the self styled leader of the Muslims of the subcontinent. In the last seventy years of its independence it has failed to accommodate Mohajirs in its mainstream politics. The atrocities of Pakistan on fellow Muslims compelled the Bangla Bhandhu Shiekh Mujib-ul-Rehman to separate Bangladesh from the clutches of Pakistan, now the history is being repeated in Balochistan and Sind.
Pakistan never learns from its mistakes rather goes on nurturing terrorists as a matter of state policy. The gene of terrorism will one day swallow the whole of Pakistan. India as a big power in the sub continent cannot be mute spectator to human rights violation in its neighborhood. Its defensive rather lackluster approach over the years despite the offensive mood of Pakistan gave the latter enough space to poke its nose in the internal affairs of India.
India’s foreign policy as on today holds that any dialogue with Pakistan will be on Pakistan occupied Kashmir. Terrorism and talks cannot go together. Currently any talk of peace with Pakistan seems futile as it is quite difficult to ascertain who actually rules Pakistan. Its civilian Government is just a puppet in the hands of military.
Pakistan over the years has become the biggest terrorism exporting country of the world. Pakistan pours funds and infiltrators in Kashmir. It directly hits India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal etc Indirectly its exports go in Europe and America. India’s try for good relations only got Pathankot and Kashmir militancy. Pakistan has no room to deny its involvement when live terrorists were caught in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
It becomes imperative for India as a big country of the region to take care of the people of the region. Broadcasting programs in Baluchi language from all India radio is not enough but care needs to be taken to protect their culture and geography. India must activate its diplomatic channels to provide Baloch their due right and it must also work to bring the misguided youth of Kashmir in the mainstream. The all Party delegation is a welcome step in this direction.
(The author is Director (MAIMS) Guru Gobind singh Indraprastha University, Delhi)
Prof. M. K. Bhat