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We have a friend in PM Narendra Modi, says Baloch dissident leader Khan of Kalat

Mir Suleiman Ahmedzai came equipped with colonial era documents to substantiate his claim that the resource-rich region’s accession to Pakistan will not hold in an international court.

india Updated: Feb 25, 2017 01:43 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar, London, Hindustan Times
Balochistan,Narendra Modi,Prime Minister
Mir Suleman Dawood Jan Ahmedzai addresses a seminar at the House of Lords in London on Thursday.(HT Photo)

Seeking to scale up the demand for an independent Balochistan, Mir Suleiman Ahmedzai, who holds the title of ‘Khan of Kalat’, took his cause to Britain’s House of Lords and told the media that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was a “friend of Balochistan”.

Ahmedzai, who first told Hindustan Times in August last year of his hope that India will help the cause of the Baloch people, at least diplomatically, came equipped with colonial era documents to substantiate his claim that the resource-rich region’s accession to Pakistan will not hold in an international court.

During a seminar at the House of Lords on Thursday which was attended by British MPs and others, and during a media interaction later in the day, Ahmedzai was trenchant in his criticism of Pakistan but left no doubt of his hope and desire for support from India.

He reiterated his appreciation of Modi’s mention of Balochistan during last year’s Independence Day address. Modi had referred to rights violations in Balochistan and other parts of Pakistan, angering the government in Islamabad.

Ahmedzai said: “We have passed on our message to Modi through the media and without the media. The only voice we heard in our support in so many years was Modi’s. I am confident that we will get support from the west, India and even from China”.

Baloch leaders, he said, were in touch with most Western parliaments, including the US Congress, to explain the situation.

Read: Will go to India for help, says Baloch dissident leader Khan of Kalat

“Balochistan is an occupied land. The Baloch are victims of geopolitics. Pakistan was allowed to occupy Kalat Balochistan and has created a false narrative. My appeal to the international community is to help us regain our dignity and independence from the cradle of terrorism: The Punjabi military state and establishment,” he said.

Unlike Pakistani leaders, whom he alleged “plundered” Pakistan and brought the money to London to live a luxurious life, the 52-year-old Ahmedzai said he came to Britain in 2006 with nothing after being sent by his people to advance the cause of an independent Balochistan at the international level.

A significant aspect of Ahmedzai’s engagements was the support extended by another prominent Britain-based Baloch leader, Hyrbyair Marri, leader of the Free Baloch Movement. Ahmedzai’s aides rejected the allegation that Baloch leaders were not united in the cause for an independent Balochistan.

The Baloch, Ahmedzai said, will defend their land and “push back the Chinese”, who are partners in the $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC): “The more China comes (to Balochistan), the more the Baloch issue will rise.” According to him, the Baloch saw the CPEC as the “China-Punjab Economic Corridor”, since it will largely benefit the people of Punjab, Pakistan’s most populous and prosperous province.

The “pushback” against the Chinese, he said, was a matter of timing, but it will happen the same way the Afghans rebelled against the Russians. Ahmedzai went on to say that when many Baloch were being killed, no way of fighting for the Baloch cause was off the table.

“They are killing us. Should we give them flowers, bouquets? We have got enough proof of human rights violations by the Pakistan state. Once we have proper support and means, we will approach international courts for justice,” he said.

The Khan of Kalat, perceived as one of the most popular Baloch dissident leaders, ridiculed Pakistan for its alleged efforts since the last month to portray itself as a victim of terrorism, and regretted the situation in which “the more nuisance you do, the more billions you get from the international community”.

Ahmedzai has said in the past that the Khanate of Kalat, the largest princely state in the erstwhile Balochistan Agency, was acceded to Pakistan by his grandfather in March 1948 “by the barrel of the gun”. He has lived in Britain since he left Pakistan in 2006.

First Published: Feb 24, 2017 09:27 IST