In a move that is sure to surprise many, a leading Baloch lobbyist in the US who for many years has been calling for separation from the state of Pakistan, has decided to end activism against the very country he long accused of allegedly violating Baloch rights.
Dr Wahid Baloch, founder and President of the now-defunct BSO-NA (Baloch Society of North America) graduated from the Bolan Medical College (University of Balochistan) in 1990 and went into self-exile in the US in 1992. Over the past decade, he has been lobbying for the separation of Balochistan province in meetings with American Congressmen, military/intelligence officials and diplomats. Wahid has long been claiming that the Pakistani state is engaged in an alleged ‘genocide’ of Baloch people and that the country’s aim is to allegedly ‘plunder’ the vast minerals and resources in the province.
In January 2014, Dr Wahid Baloch had released an appeal letter to the US, India and Israel, asking for their direct assistance in preventing an alleged killing spree of Baloch people at the hands of “Pakistani terrorist army”.
In his latest press release dated 26 May 2014, Dr Wahid Baloch took a big U-turn from his previous activities by announcing disassociation from what he calls, “the so called war of independence of Khans, Nawabs and Sardars”. He vowed that the BSO-NA will work “within the Pakistani federation with the elected Balohcistan’s government and pro-federation democratic, secular and nationalist forces of Pakistan to fight for and ensure the rights of Baloch people within the federation”.
The text of the original press release is as follows:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 26, 2014
WASHINGTON DC: Baloch Society of North America (BSO-NA) disassociate from the so called war of independence of Khans, Nawabs and Sardars and will work within the Pakistani federation with the elected Balohcistan’s government and pro-federation democratic, secular and nationalist forces of Pakistan to fight for and ensure the rights of Baloch people within the federation. This was announced today by Dr. Wahid Baloch, President of BSO-NA, a leading Baloch body based in Washington DC.
“Why should we the ordinary middle class Baloch fight this so called war of Independence of these Khans, Nawabs and Sardars and get ourselves killed for them so they can establish their Khanate and Nawabi and Sardari system to enslave the ordinary Baloch people. If they are sincere with Balochistan then they should go back in Balochistan and fight this war by themselves to get killed like the middle class Balochs, instead of enjoying luxury life in Europe, ” said Dr. Baloch.
“We ask the Middle Class ordinary Balochs to not be misguided and brainwashed by the fancy slogans of these Khan, Nawabs and Sardars as they are not there for ordinary Baloch but only want them to be used for them and get killed”.
We ask all our Baloch brothers and sisters to shun this so called war of independence, as this is not a war of Independence for the ordinary Balochs, but a war of death and destruction, elimination and permanent enslavement of Balochs people by these Khans, Nawabs and Sardars.
Therefore, We are dissociating from this so called wars of independence of Nawabs and Sardars and we will not be a part of this war anymore to get our middle class ordinary Baloch peoples killed for them and we ask all our ordinary Baloch brothers to shun this war of Sardars and Nawabs imposed upon the middle class Balochs. This is not a war of freedom but a war of elimination of Middle class Baloch leaders, students and intellectuals.
Baloch Society of North America soon will announce it’s new policy to work within the federation after consulting with friends and supporters in coming days and to expose this so called war of independence of these Nawabs and Sardars.
Four days later i.e. on 30 May 2014, Wahid announced the dissolution of BSO-NA and subsequent establishment of a new body by the name of Baloch Council of North America (BCNA), “where the policy of hate and bigot will be replaced with the policy of love, mutual respect and understanding, cooperation and support, confidence and trust building measures, acceptance and tolerance, and accommodation”.
According to Wahid, the objectives and aims of this newly-formed body are:
1. To unite all Baloch people to secure the Baloch rights, including the right of self-determination, within the Pakistani Federation.
2. Pursue these aims exclusively through nonviolent means.
3. Promote and preserve the Baloch secular identity, Balochi language, culture and traditions.
4. Promote friendship, tolerance, mutual respect, understanding and cooperation among the various Nations and ethnic groups within Pakistan and with other Nations around the
5. world through organized events, dialogue, meetings and conferences.
6. Defend the rights of all nationalities, ethnic groups and religious minorities in Pakistan.
7. Protect women and children from exploitation, abuse, honor killings and child labor.
8. Protect freedom of speech and freedom of the press and ensure equal protection under the law for all citizens.
9. Promote, defend and encourage transparency, accountability, democracy, democratic institutions and rule of law in all public and private governance including the executive,
10. judicial, and legislative branches of government in Pakistan.
11. Support, defend and protect all democratic and national institutions in Pakistan.
12. Denounce all greedy corrupt leaders, Khans, Nawabs, Sardars, Chudhries and Waderas, who are working for their personal interest rather then the collective benefit of the masses.
13. Denounce terrorism, violence and extremism in all of its forms and shapes.
14. Work with world leaders, the United Nation and think tanks to promote global peace, freedom and justice for all.
Nearing the end of his latest announcement, Dr Wahid Baloch said that the BCNA “will lead, inspire and defend Baloch rights, land, coasts and resources for all Baloch people within the federation of Pakistan”.
He closed his message with the ominous words “Pakistan Zindabad, Balochistan Sabz bath” (Long Live Pakistan, Evergreen Balochistan).
Details of the BCNA office in Washington D.C. are as follows: 1629 K Street NW, Suit 300 Washington D.C., 20036 Tel: (202) 349-1682 Fax: (202) 331-3759
In his message dated 30 May 2014, Dr Wahid Baloch expresses desire to work with the National Party (NP) and Baloch National Party (BNP) to shun militancy and bring stability to Pakistan. He also urged Baloch and non-Baloch militants to give up terrorism against the state of Pakistan.
Of particular note are his words: “This body will work to support, defend and protect all democratic and national institutions in Pakistan. This body will not work against the national integrity of Pakistan nor will be a part of those who are trying to break up the country”.
A source for Terminal X, when contacted for comment, said that this announcement by Dr Wahid Baloch was the result of intensive backdoor diplomacy between Pakistani diplomats in the US. The Government of Pakistan has been very serious in its efforts to bring all warring Baloch factions to the table for a dialogue and sort of whatever issues they have in a peaceful manner. Another source said that the powerful Indian lobby in the US has suffered a big blow because of Wahid’s announcement to shun anti-Pakistan activism. On the other hand, power-hungry warlords and sardars in the US and Europe, including Hyrbyair Marri, Mehran Marri, Brahumdagh Bugti et al still maintain their hatred for the state of Pakistan. Their lobbying, which is funded by New Delhi from the behind-the-scenes, still continues.
Another source, when commenting on this development, told this scribe that this effort is the result of the Pakistani military’s assurance to the government in Islamabad that it will fully support and encourage any measures to bring upset Baloch leaders to the dialogue table.
In a news item on the Balochistan News Network blog, also run by BSO-NA (now BCNA), Dr Wahid Baloch “exposes” Pakistani politician Mehmood Khan Achakzai of the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PKMAP), whom Wahid calls as an ‘even greater danger to Baloch interests than Punjabis’.
He writes: “Pashtuns in Balochistan are exploiting the Baloch resources more than Punjabis. They have succeeded to use the ‘Fear Tactics’ to convince the Punjabis that if they are given equal share in Balochistan, and even more, then they will counter the Baloch separatism against Pakistan and keep Pakistan alive, but the fact is that Punjab’s this policy is not only alienating the Balochs, the real stake holders of Balochistan, but are making them to pick up guns against the state and that’s what we are seeing these insurgencies again and again. If Punjabis learn from their mistakes and not give-up to people like Mahmood Khan Achakzai’s blackmailing, keep the Baloch people in loop and accommodate them well in Pakistan, and respect and honor their genuine demands, then there will be no fighting. Still time for Punjab to take heed, make the right choices and take the right steps in the right direction”.
On another note, Wahid Baloch is apparently living upto his announcement and encouraging Baloch youth to shun violence and extremism. In a Facebook post dated 13 July 2014, Wahid demands immediate recovery of Zahid Baloch, leader of the Baloch Students Organization (BSO) who is believed to be under arrest:
The exact “new” role of the BCNA under Dr Wahid Baloch’s leadership is yet to be seen on a formal and more on-ground basis. For now, it seems Wahid will have a hard time ignoring or maybe even countering scoffing remarks by some of his old comrades and allies who have long been engaged in advocating the breakup of Pakistan on India’s behest.
After all, the warring nawabs and sardars in self-exile overseas, who exploit the sentiments of their downtrodden people back in Balochistan province to instigate terrorism against the federation of Pakistan, don’t receive bags of money for no reason.
Whether or not this welcoming, positive reversal by Dr Wahid Baloch is long-lived remains to be seen.