Activists seeking liberation of the Balochistan province in Pakistan are divided over the issue of forming a government-in-exile.
Even as the president of the World Baloch Women’s Forum Naela Quadri is in New Delhi, seeking political support for establishing a government-in-exile, Baloch Republican Party’s Brahamdagh Bugti questioned her mandate to do so.
Bugti who has sought political asylum in India said Quadri does not represent the entire Baloch community, therefore, could not take a decision on behalf of the people of the troubled Pakistani province.
Soon after Quadri told HT that the proposed authority will be “independent and autonomous” and not “under any umbrella”, Bugti took to social media criticising her move.
“Naela Qadri is not representing Baloch people. Rather than supporting they are damaging the Baloch cause by their insane actions. Government-in-exile is a national issue and national issues cannot be announced without national consensus,” he tweeted.
Quadri, for her part said suggestions will be taken from the Baloch people spread across Iran, Afghanistan and Europe. “…there are about 40 million Baloch people, more than the population of several nations; they should all be part of the decision,” she said.
Quadri, who is New Delhi to garner support for a government-in-exile, said India will not have a say in the formation of the government, but should recognise Baloch people as separate from the Pakistanis.
She said it is a matter of humiliation for the Baloch, struggling to break away from Pakistan, to be identified as Pakistani nationals.
“Indian government should tell all its embassies and high commissions to issue travel documents to the Baloch based on their separate identity. “We do not want the green passport (Pakistani passport), we will have our own passport (when we have own government),” she told HT on Wednesday.
Quadri who fled Pakistan is a well-known activist now based in Canada and has been tapping governments for support in Afghanistan and Bangladesh. “… We need support from Afghanistan, but India is our first priority,” she said adding, “We want a friendship based on barabari (equality). We have never been ghulams (slaves) and we don’t want to move from Pakistani subjugation to Indian control.”
Quadri, who asserts that people’s legitimate struggle for freedom cannot be denied, however distinguishes the separatist movement in Kashmir from the Baloch quest for freedom.
“The identity of Kashmir has changed to a Muslim identity. Muslim is not a nation. It (Islam) is a religion. Are you asking for a religious or a national identity? Kashmiris should decide that. If you want Muslim identify, how can you divide a land on religion? Do you want a Pakistan again?” Quadri said.
She also blames Pakistan for violating the UN resolution by refusing to keep the army out of PoK and said violence is being used to “crush the people” of the region.