Mr Hyrbyair Marri a known Baloch separatist leader who has been granted political asylum in UK and lives in London since 2006 in exile. As Pakistan is demanding his extradition from UK for fuelling insurgency in the province of Baluchistan. In an exclusive interview with Viewsaround Editor Mr Manish Rai says Baloch struggle is not getting any foreign support and it’s a movement of masses.
Will you accept greater autonomy for Balochistan like – allocation of more fund, share in the natural resources, and more participation in the government if offered by the government of Pakistan?
For us there is no substitution to freedom. After all Balochistan is our homeland and the resources of Balochistan belong to the Baloch nation. We have to realise one simple fact that Balochistan is an occupied country and it is unreasonable to suggest that we should plea for a bit of our own resources and freedom from the occupiers of our homeland. It is Pakistan who need to withdraw all their forces from our nation. Why should we ask for more resources or fund when we own this land and the Baloch are the owner of every inch of Balochistan? The Pakistan army and other forces in Balochistan are the invaders and colonisers of the Baloch land. They are the ones who are committing heinous crimes against humanity; arresting, disappearing, torturing and killing Baloch men, women and children. They are the ones who are exploiting and plundering our resources. Baloch people just want to live in their homeland with dignity. This simple demand means the end of colonial rule in Balochistan. That is why Pakistani army and security forces are destroying Baloch villages by indiscriminate bombing of peoples’ houses and their shops and farms are being set on fire. Baloch nation is going through all these atrocities for nothing less than full independence of Balochistan.
Where do you see the Baloch struggle going in future?
The Baloch struggle, as I see it, is progressing and getting closer to their ultimate goal. That is a united independent Balochistan. In every struggle and liberation movement there are ups and downs. Therefore, the Baloch liberation struggle is not an exception, there are unforeseen hurdles but a committed and a free spirited nation like Baloch nation will overcome all these difficulties and will eventually regain their independence. Unlike, colonial theocratic and artificial states of Pakistan and Iran, Baloch nation has a whole future ahead of it. While, there is no future for these corrupt and criminal artificial states. As these colonial geopolitical structures get more autocratic and violent the Baloch liberation struggle gets deeper and more intensified. So I would reiterate that the Baloch struggle is moving forward steadily and Baloch are advancing toward their goal.
Why there is no coordinated efforts for Baloch struggle many organisations are working for the same cause but with no coordination?
There was good coordination between pro-freedom Baloch forces until 2009. We had succeeded in bringing most of Baloch progressive political organisations and parties under one coordinated working pattern. But after this time some parties and organisations opted to work and make decisions without consulting to their likeminded organisations. They could not see the broad picture of the Baloch liberation struggle. A few gave priority to their petty interests and some even have violated the international laws and human rights conventions. Having said that we continued our efforts to unite the Baloch nation for a common purpose which is the freedom of Balochistan. We have been working on this issue for many years. Despite some minor setbacks we have succeeded to reorganise many political parties and individuals that are genuinely working for a free and democratic Balochistan which is at the final stages to form a coordinated struggle again.
If Balochistan gets its independence then what kind of state it will be an Islamic Republic or secular democracy?
Baloch culture and outlook are secular and inclusive. For the Baloch people the overriding priority is humanity. We see human beings as humans not as believer of any faith and ideology. For us every individual is entitled to their beliefs and point of views. We believe religion is a private matter and it should not be mixed with politics. The Punjabi and Persian colonisers use Islam in their politics just to justify their brutal colonial systems in the name of Islam. The Baloch state will be a democratic state. We rely on power of reason and free thinking to resolve our problems. Although Baloch are predominantly Sunni Muslims but there are several other religious minorities in Balochistan and we also have a large population of Zigri Baloch. Their rights should be respected and protected. In a free Balochistan they will have full freedom to practice their faith and religion that is why I believe in a secular democratic Balochistan.
We have drafted the Balochistan Liberation Charter and presented it to all the stake holders for further improvement and feed backs. Most of the comments that we have received have come from ordinary Baloch from all over Balochistan. One thing that Baloch masses have proved over and over again and that is also true in case of Baloch Liberation Charter is that, common Baloch are more forward looking and committed to cause of freedom than many of those who privileged tribal backgrounds and claim to be leaders. This is our hope that it is the Baloch masses that will get freedom from occupying states.
Article 8 and 9 of Balochistan Liberation Charter read as follows:
Article: 8- Equality between men and women is one of the core principles of the Balochistan democratic movement. In the free and democratic Balochistan men and women will be treated equally and entitled to all rights, protections and freedoms under the law. This equality would be in all sphere of society, in civil, economic, educational, social, cultural and political rights.
Article: 9- The Baloch national struggle for a free and democratic Balochistan is inclusive. It is for all people from all walks of life in Balochistan and outside Balochistan. These include all freedom loving men, women and children regardless of their political persuasion, ethnic background or ideological and religious belief.
Some organisations like – BLA or BRA are using violent means like – targeting migrant workers, attacking government establishments. Do you support this kind of activities?
I do not support violence and targeting of civilians whether it’s done by Pakistan army or any Baloch groups. However, we have to look at the root cause of violence in Balochistan. When one occupies and colonises a nation by violent means, kills and abducts thousands of people and displaces millions of Baloch, then some people would inevitably react violently to defend themselves. When the victims try to plea for help, they are ignored and occupying state manipulates the news and blames the victims for violence. The state run media also sides with occupying forces and reports what they are told by their military. The cause of violence in Balochistan are the occupying armies. The illegal occupation of Balochistan itself was an act of violence and violation of international laws.
The Baloch fighters have generally followed the principles of international laws and limited their struggle within Balochistan whereas the Pakistan army came all the way from Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa to attack the houses of Baloch people and capture and kill innocent Baloch. So the Baloch are defending the sanctity of their houses, their families and their country against foreign occupation. Every human being has the right of life and self-preservation. Pakistanis think it is justified for the French to fight against the Nazi invaders but it is not right for the Baloch to defend themselves from Islamo-fascist Punjabi and Persian armies. We do not believe that. For us every person and nation should have equal rights.
Do Baloch people are getting any kind of foreign support in their struggle?
I am not sure what support are you referring to. To my knowledge Baloch are neither getting diplomatic nor military or financial support from anyone. However, the world is slowly becoming aware of the Baloch struggle and the Pakistani and Iranian state atrocities against Baloch people. There are people around the world who sympathise with Baloch people and express their support for our struggle. We expect more from organisation like the UN and other popular international bodies because these organisations are still not doing enough to stop Baloch genocide by Pakistan and Iran.
What is the level of support and influence Baloch nationalist organisations enjoy among the masses? As it been regularly stated by Pakistan state that only few tribes and their chieftains are running this campaign and ordinary Baloch are not part of it?
Majority of Baloch support the liberation movement which mean the Baloch struggle is supported by Baloch masses. Despite state atrocities, disappearances of thousands of people, the kill and dump policy, Baloch nation continues to support the freedom struggle.
The Baloch nation also completely boycotted the Pakistani elections in 2013, more than 94% of Baloch population did not take part in elections. This makes it clear what level of support for freedom struggle is among Baloch masses.
The claims of Pakistan about few tribes or chieftain have become obsolete and the struggle has spread in every corner of Balochistan. No Sardar or Nawab is leading the current Baloch struggle, it is the educated Baloch youth who are at the forefront. Most of the Sardars are pro-establishment and are with Pakistan but they do not enjoy the support of Baloch nation.
None of the enforced-disappeared Baloch or those who were killed by Pakistan were sardars or Nawabs they are all ordinary Baloch and the reason of them being killed is that they support the Baloch freedom struggle through peaceful means.
The occupying states claims are baseless and they have always been baseless. These states are killing children for expressing their desire for a free Balochistan. Despite the subjugation and exploitation of Baloch nation Pakistan claims that Baloch are happy living under Pakistani occupation. If they say that Baloch people prefer Pakistani colonial system to freedom then why have they deployed hundreds of thousands of army and security personnel in Balochistan? Why the free and independent international media and observers are not allowed to visit Balochistan. Why human rights organisations are not allowed because the occupying state crimes against humanity is in progress in Balochistan.
You ever plan to go to Balochistan ending your exile?
It is the desire of all informed and responsible Baloch to live in their homeland. I consider myself one among them and we all want to be in a free and sovereign Balochistan to serve our country and people as best as we can