Justice Markandey Katju-
The recent attack in Karachi by Balochi freedom fighters has prompted me to write this article.
Pakistanis often demand the right of self-determination for Kashmiris. But there is a well-known adage ‘ People living in houses with glass windows should not throw stones at others ‘.
In my article ‘ The truth about Pakistan ‘, which had been published in the Pakistani newspaper The Nation ( see online ), I had mentioned that Pakistan is a fake, artificial country, created on the basis of the bogus two-nation theory, and I have often said that it is bound to reunite with India ( see Mission Statement in indianreunificationassociation.weebly.com ).
For what is Pakistan? Original Pakistan was destroyed in 1971 by the creation of Bangladesh. Now the rump state of Pakistan consists of Punjab, Sind, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa ( formerly NWFP ). These were all part of India from Mughal times.
Balochistan, the largest province in Pakistan, was in fact an independent kingdom known as the Khanate of Kalat. In 1839 it was invaded by the British, but though it remained partially occupied by British troops, by the 1876 treaty with the Khan it was recognized as a sovereign state.
On 11th August 1947, the British Govt gave independence to Balochistan, which was then not part of Pakistan which got independence three days later on 14th August. It was only on 27th March 1948 that the Pakistani army forcibly occupied Balochistan, and declared it part of Pakistan.
Thereafter repeated struggles for independence were made by the Balochis, in 1948, 1963, 1968, 1973, etc and since 2003 these are ongoing. The Pakistani army, which is largely Punjabi dominated, has killed tens of thousands of Balochis, and thrown bodies of many from helicopters in ravines and mountains. Many atrocities on Balochis, like rape of their women, are of common occurrence. The Baloch independence struggle is ongoing, the latest incident being the attack on the Karachi stock exchange recently.
Balochis have a different culture and language from other Pakistanis, most of whom are Punjabis. Balochistan has huge natural resources in gas, coal, gold, copper, sulphur etc which have been handed over to the Chinese by the Pakistan Govt, while Balochis are kept marginalized and poor. This has naturally bred deep resentment among the Balochis against Pakistan
As regards Sind, the Jeay Sind ( Long live Sind ) movement for an independent ‘Sindhudesh’ was launched by the Sindhi leader G.M.Syed, and the struggle is still going on.
The same can be said of the Pashtun speaking people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. These are tribal people, who, like their Afghan counterparts, are strongly freedom loving, and are hostile to the Pakistani army, which is largely Punjabi, and is regarded as an occupying force.
So next time Pakistanis talk of self determination for Kashmiris they should look behind at the fire burning in their own backyard, showing no sign of subsiding, rather threatening to turn into a conflagration.
[Justice Markandey Katju is former Judge, Supreme Court of India, and former Chairman, Press Council of India. The views expressed are his own].