The Baluchistan issue has recently worsened to the extent that Baloch leaders have refused to sit on the negotiating table with Pakistani authorities. Their issues include missing persons, control over Baluchistan’s national resources, unemployment, and provincial autonomy which has now gone to the extreme demand of secession. As opposed to the PPP’s and PML(N)’s non serious attitude towards the Baluchistan issue, Imran Khan and his party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf have always taken this issue seriously as outlined below.
PTI’s efforts for Baluchistan
At the start of February 2012, PTI Chairman Imran Khan visited Baloch leader and former Chief Minister of Baluchistan, Sardar Akhtar Mengal and Baloch nationalist Harbiyar Marri. In his visit, Imran Khan expressed sympathy and unity with the Baloch people over missing people, violence in the region and indifference of successive governments towards the grievances of the province. “We will address grievances of our Baloch brothers through reconciliatory talks in a democratic way and will end military operation,” Imran Khan assured.
Imran Khan should be applauded for taking up the issue of Baluchistan as a crucial one and for accepting the demands of Mengal and Marri. Both the above-mentioned leaders’ agreeing to meet Imran Khan goes on to show that Imran Khan and PTI have a far better standing in the eyes of the Baloch leaders than any other party in Pakistan politics, either ruling or in opposition.
Imran Khan has further stated that the Baluchistan issue is a grave one and that PTI will talk to all stakeholders over the issue. He claimed that his party is in touch with the family of Khan of Qalat and that PTI would announce a wide-ranging strategy for resolving Baluchistan issue in PTI’s rally in Quetta.
PTI Baluchistan President Qasim Khan Suri has been continuously working in Baluchistan for the inclusion of Baloch people in mainstream politics and to end Baloch youth’s isolation from the rest of Pakistan’s political activities.
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Foreign Interference in Baluchistan
Pakistan has time and again blamed India of playing a role in the already volatile region of Baluchistan and of trying to weaken Pakistan by doing so. Though India has denied the charges, doubts about Indian involvement in Baluchistan linger on.
On February 9, 2012, the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the United States House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs summoned a hearing on Baluchistan. Dr C. Christine Fair, Ralph Peters, T. Kumar, Ali Dyan Hasan and Dr. M. Hosseinbor gave evidence in that hearing.
Dr. C. Christine Fair has described her experience in the hearing in the following words, “When I agreed to participate, I was told that the hearing was intended to be a general introduction to the various crises in Baluchistan, their causes and the impact of these issues on U.S. interests. However, as the date of the hearing neared, I learned that the event would serve other purposes. When I sought guidance about the precise issues I should discuss in my testimony, the committee staff member told me, in some exasperation, that ‘we want to stick it to the Pakistanis.’ He continued that for a decade the Pakistanis have been killing us in Afghanistan.”
Less than a week after the hearing, Congressman Rohrabacher initiated a Resolution “Expressing the sense of Congress that the people of Baluchistan, currently divided between Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan, have the right to self-determination and to their own sovereign country.”
Dr. C. Christine Fair has concluded about the conference in the following words, “I can say with some certainty that the hearing and the Resolution that followed it have much more to do with partisan politics, and possibly resource-grabbing, than with any interest in the ongoing human rights crises in Baluchistan.”
Imran Khan has spoken against the resolution on Baluchistan initiated in the House of Representatives in the United States and has called it a breach of Pakistan’s sovereignty. He has said that his party will introduce a new program to mitigate the grievances of our Baloch brothers in PTI’s rally to be held in April this year in Quetta.