WASHINGTON DC: November 17, 2008. A key player in Baluchistan politics, Baloch Republican Party general secretary Dr. Bashir Azeem, has praised the efforts of the Baluch and Americans to highlight the plight of the Baluch people under Pakistani army
Dr. Azeem was Sunday speaking on phone from Quetta with veteran journalist and founder of American Friends of Baluchistan, Ahmar Mustikhan, in connections with the upcoming International Tribute to Nawabzada Bala'ach Marri in Washington DC on November 29, under the auspices of the American Friends of Baluchistan.
Baloch Republican Party was launched by Nawabzada Brahamdagh Bugti, grandson of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, former governor and chief minister of Baluchistan, who was killed extra-judicially by Pakistan army two years ago, to carry on the mission of driving out the Pakistan army from Baluchistan.
Another important leader of the Baluch freedom fighters also called on Mustikhan to praise the A.F.B. efforts, but requested anonymity.
The BRP leader ruled out any capitulation in talks with the new government in Pakistan. "Our demand is Baluch lands and resources belong to the Baluch people and Pakistan should end its illegal occupation," he said. "What can we talk with a government that has
No clue how long it will last in office," Dr. Azeem asked.
He said vested interests and paid agents had tried to mislead the Baluch diaspora over the recent contacts of President Asif Ali Zardari with Baluch leaders.
Dr. Azeem said there was complete unity among the rank-and-file sarmachars, or freedom fighters, and referred to the recent interview of Baluch nationalist leader Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri in which the veteran leader made it clear the Baluch would accept nothing short of freedom from slavery.
President Zardari, who privately takes great pride in his Baluch heritage, has in recent months been in active contact with almost all Baluch leaders. But the Baluch leaders have clearly told him they doubt if he has any real powers as the power bastion in Pakistan is the army, which is led by terrorist Punjabi and Mohajir generals.
Tens of thousands of Baluch have been killed in five army operations in Baluchistan since its forced occupation in March 1948. Just in the last two years, thousands perished in the forced exodus from the Bugti and Marri areas, scene of a brutal army crackdown in which phosphorous bombs were used.
The victims include Nawab Bugti and Nawabzada Bala'ach Marri, former member of the state assembly who had refused take oath of allegiance of Pakistan.
Dr. Azeem said the Baluch nationalist parties have given a call of complete shutter down on November 20 to mark the first anniversary of the killing of Nawabzada Bala'ach Marri by Pakistan army in the Sarlath area of Baluchistan. Former premier Benazir Bhutto visited Nawab Marri to condole his son's death, inviting the ire of army generals. She was killed the following month.
The BRP leader hoped the new administration will undertake steps to undo the past wrongs by cutting off military aid to Pakistan.
Mustikhan said the A.F.B. is of the considered opinion Pakistan army is a part of global terrorism and as such can only become a part of the solution if its size and budget were cut to 20 percent of its present strength.
Pakistan army, fourth largest in the world and armed with nuclear weapons, has an annual budget of more than $10 billion.
In a message to the Baluch diaspora, Mustikhan urged full participation in the November 20 shutter down in Baluchistan and November 29 meeting to pay International Tributes to Nawabzada Bala'ach Marri in Washington DC.
He regretted that there were some lowly black sheep among the Baluch who were trying to belittle the sacrifice of martyrs and heroes like Shaheed-i-Baluchistan Nawabzada Bala'ach Marri. "I request such elements, who have absolutely no standing in Baluch society, to think twice before underestimating the capabilities of the Baluch freedom fighters," Mustikhan said, adding they will be duly exposed.
Dr. Nazir Bhatti, editor of the Pakistan Christian Post, will be the chief guest at the memorial meeting in Washington DC on November 29 at 1:00 p.m. The meeting will be held at the new Busboys and Poets venue on 5th and K Streets, northwest DC.