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

Leading dissident leader Khan of Kalat has said Baloch activists will approach India and Iran in their pursuit of Balochistan’s independence from Pakistan.

world Updated: Feb 23, 2017 22:12 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times, London
Mir Suleman Dawood Jan Ahmedzai,Khan of Kalat,Balochistan
Mir Suleman Dawood Jan Ahmedzai (centre) addressing a seminar on ”The history of Balochistan revisited” at the House of Lords in London on February 23, 2017. At extreme right is Bob Blackman, MP. (HT Photo)

Baloch leaders will approach India, Iran, Afghanistan or any country in their pursuit of Balochistan’s independence from Pakistan, leading dissident leader Mir Suleiman Ahmedzai said on Thursday.

Addressing a seminar in the House of Lords attended by British MPs and others, Ahmedzai, the Khan of Kalat, came down heavily on Pakistan and called it a “cradle of terrorism” in the region.

“We are a proud nation. We reject foreign domination by the Punjabis. Pakistan was allowed to occupy Balochistan historically. The international community, particularly the British crown, should help us regain our independence,” he said.

Mentioning various treaties since the early 19th century, Ahmedzai said Balochistan’s independence and sovereignty was reaffirmed by British representatives on several occasions. Letters to that effect were sent to his father and grandfather.

Ahmedzai, 52, 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”.

The Khan of Kalat is considered one of the most popular Baloch dissident leaders. His writ reportedly runs across Baloch-inhabited regions of Afghanistan and Iran. Ahmedzai has lived in Britain since he left Pakistan in 2006.

According to Ahmedzai, the $46-billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is considered by the Baloch as the “China Punjab Economic Corridor” as it will largely benefit the people of Punjab, Pakistan’s most populous and prosperous province.

Pakistan, he said, is terrorising its own people.

Copies of several historical documents supporting the cause of independence of Balochistan were distributed at the seminar, which was followed by questions.

The MPs who attended included Bob Blackman and Nigel Huddleston, who is chair of the Democracy Forum that organised the seminar.

Baloch dissidents, many of them living in self-exile in Europe, were enthused when Prime Minister Narendra Modi raised the issue of rights violations in Balochistan last year. Ahmedzai had welcomed Modi’s remarks and said India could do a lot diplomatically to address the rights abuses.

First Published: Feb 23, 2017 21:58 IST