Baloch women leader seeks India’s help for independence
Mumbai, Nov 1 (IANS) World Baloch Women’s Forum (WBWF) President Naela Quadri Baloch on Tuesday sought India’s help for the cause of an independent Balochistan, but urged that the issue should not be mixed up with Kashmir.
The Canadian-based leader in self-exile, currently travelling around the world to drum up support for Balochistan’s independence from Pakistan, cited the alleged atrocities on Baloch women, genocide of Balochis and severe violations of human rights of the Baloch people.
“Pakistanis do not accept Balochis as their citizens, nor are we interested in becoming their citizens. We have been ‘independent’ since centuries, how can Pakistan claim its their internal issue?” she asked at a meet-the-press programme organised by the Press Club of Mumbai, presided over by India-Pakistan friendship activist Jatin Desai.
Claiming that atrocities against Balochis have increased after China entered the scene, she also held it (China) equally responsible as the Pakistan Army for the “genocide” of the Baloch people.
In this context, Quadri also voiced concerns over China’s growing influence in the Indian Ocean.
She attacked the Pakistan Army and charged it with using chemical warfare, allegedly kidnapping and killing Balochi women and children, and trading in their organs like eyes, kidneys, liver, etc.
Quadri welcomed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s initiative on the Balochi struggle during his Independence Day address this year followed by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s speech in United Nations.
Though expressing disappointment over the lack of support from previous Indian governments, she said it was probably because they were in a coalition which has its own limitations.
“But, Modi has a clear mandate and he should support us. But the issue of Balochistan’s independence should not be linked with Kashmir,” Quadri urged.
She noted that an independent Balochistan, which has a long coastline, will help India open up its trade with Central Asian countries besides curbing Pakistan-sponsored terror.
Quadri said the Balochis were lobbying hard for a “government-in-exile” as a step towards an independent Balochistan.
In Mumbai for four days now, she said she was overwhelmed by the warmth of the people of ‘Bombay’, and from the 500 Baloch-origin families settled here, besides another 800,000 scattered across India.