By Reema Shaukat
BALOCHISTAN a resource rich province of Pakistan has always remained in limelight. Particularly after CPEC and development of operational port at Gwadar, its worth has increased manifold. Unfortunately history suggests that this province, because of domestic and foreign propaganda, was made victim of political turmoil and separatist movement. West and its media particularly have never understood the security dynamics of Pakistan. For them Pakistan today is a country which breeds extremism. Time and again foreign media is found active in propagating against Pakistan with their agenda to destabilise a country fighting successfully against extremism. Regrettably, rebels have always sought foreign help and they have used foreign assistance to achieve their objectives of maligning Pakistan.
One such organization Balochistan Liberation Army which is a declared terrorist organization by Pakistan as it has extensively remained involved in attacks against Pakistan security forces, once again has started propaganda on Balochistan. Its leaders are mostly asylum seekers, running propaganda campaigns and often come up with new names just to confuse public and gain sympathy for their objectives. An organization named Balochistan House based in Switzerland with a backing of Swiss advertisers and BLA generated a so called propaganda or whoopla to free Balochistan. In Switzerland posters and bill boards carrying a logo “Free Baluchistan” by “Balochistan House” have just become public on every site and even public transport like buses were used to spread malicious cause. Pakistani authorities while taking serious note of this incident have summoned Swiss envoy on the display of anti-Pakistan posters and an insidious paid campaign against Pakistan.
According to Foreign Office of Pakistan, a strong protest was lodged with the Ambassador on allowing the use of Swiss territory by elements linked with a terrorist organization perpetrating terrorism and violence in Pakistan. It was underlined that these posters had been sponsored by a terrorist organization proscribed by Pakistan as well as some other countries. The ambassador was asked to convey to his government, Pakistan’s strong protest on allowing its space to a terrorist organization to carry out activities against Pakistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, in contravention of the UN Charter and international law. The Swiss Government was urged that as a host country and a close partner, action should be taken against the perpetrators of such a malevolent campaign.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Permanent Mission to United Nations at Geneva demanded Swiss government to take strict actions against the culprits involved in this act. In his letter, the Permanent Representative of the Mission, Farrukh Amil said the use of Swiss soil by terrorist and violent secessionists for nefarious designs against Pakistan and its 200 million people is totally unacceptable. He said that the terrorists or elements linked with terrorists operate openly in the peaceful and serene city of Geneva for their propaganda campaigns is a matter of grave concern. The ambassador said that “Swiss authorities should be alert about presence of Balochistan Liberation Army terrorists or elements linked with such terrorists in Geneva.”
It is relatable to note that Indian propaganda in Balochistan can never be ruled out. To destabilise Pakistan, India has always supported Baloch separatist movements. Arrest of Indian spy Kulbhushan Yadav, his confessional video and PM Modi words on the Indian National Day in 2016 clearly signify India has never accepted Balochistan as part of Pakistan. His speech narrated Indian worries about Pakistan and one can easily understand India’s covert propaganda in our country in which India is using terrorism as one of tool. Indian propaganda in Balochistan is not hidden now and those who believed earlier that India has no interest in Balochistan is a mere assumption now. India openly speaks and support insurgency in Balochistan and avowals given by Baloch insurgent leaders actually portray Indian mind-set behind them. Indian Prime Minister’s reference to Balochistan, which is an integral part of Pakistan, only proves Pakistan’s argument that India, through its main intelligence agency RAW, has been provoking terrorism in Balochistan. Propaganda in Balochistan is not new as in past unrest often hit the province but with initiation of CPEC in Balochistan which will turn province as one of booming region, many non-state actors are active with their evil plans in Balochistan. Likewise, creation of Hind-Baloch Forum and setup of Baloch Operational Cell narrate Indian plans to destabilise Pakistan and sabotage its development. Indian frustrations on Balochistan are visible from a fact that UN general Assembly which every year conducts its annual session, India last year raised issue of Balochistan there.
Again when UNGA is convening its meeting, India while stepping up its offensive against Pakistan on the Balochistan issue at the UN Human Rights Council, said “Pakistan is a nation that practises terrorism on its own people and the sufferings of the people of Balochistan are a telling testimony in this regard. Pakistan’s human rights record in Occupied Kashmir and Balochistan is deplorable. It has had no hesitation in using air power and artillery against its own people, not once but repeatedly over the years”. With all such allegations it is high time for Pakistan to raise its voice on Indian propaganda and expose India’s own human rights violations and brutalities in Kashmir.
— The writer works for Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies, a think-tank based in Islamabad.
Originally Published in Pakistan Observer