`Baloch fighting war of survival in Pakistan`

Two key Baloch leaders termed a resolution moved by some US lawmakers for self-determination in Balochistan as a positive step.

Last Updated: Feb 26, 2012, 12:35 PM IST

Washington: Terming a resolution moved by some US lawmakers for "self-determination" in Balochistan as a "positive" step, two key Baloch leaders living in exile in America said on Sunday that people of the province are fighting the "war of their survival" in Pakistan.

Nationalist leaders Waheed Baloch and Razzaq Baloch, in separate interviews to a news agency, said that for the first time the international community, the US in particular, seems to have listened to the voices of the people of Balochistan, who they alleged are experiencing genocide unleashed by the Pakistan Army and ISI in particular.

Their comments came as Republican representative Dana Rohrabacher and two other lawmakers recently moved a resolution in the US House of Representatives, saying Balochis - now divided among Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan – should "have the right to self-determination and to their own sovereign country; and they should be afforded the opportunity to choose their own status”.

The Obama administration, however, has said that the introduction of any resolution does not in any way imply US government`s endorsement of any particular policy. "I think that (Congressional resolution) is a positive step. I appreciate those Congressmen who took this step and brought this question to the Congress, the American administration, people of Pakistan and the international media," Waheed Baloch, former speaker of Balochistan Assembly, said.

Stating that the Balochs are "fighting the war of their survival in Pakistan”, he said the top priority for the international community is to urgently stop the "genocide" of the people living in Balochistan who, he asserted, never accepted the merger of their province with Pakistan after the colonial British rulers left India in 1947 resulting in Partition.

"Due to its rich natural resources, Balochistan is the last economic hope of Pakistan. Islamabad is now targeting to change the demographic profile of Balochistan," he said.

"Pakistan is doing genocide of the Baloch people, in particular the youths...," alleged Waheed Baloch, who in the US heads Baloch International League for Peace and Freedom; a non-governmental organisation registered in Washington. Razzaq Baloch, general secretary of the Balochistan National Party USA, said the Congressional resolution on self-determination and a previous hearing in a Congressional sub-committee on human rights "violations" in the province is a positive development.

"Pakistan is using two things to control Balochistan. They try to terrorise our people, so that they can control our resources. They are trying to run the country with Balochi resources and American help," Razzaq Baloch said.

Razzaq, who now lives in Florida, said the international community has now started listening to the cries of the Baloch people.

He alleged that the government of Pakistan has used massive force to suppress the true voices of the Balochi people.

"They are using their military power. The jet aircraft were supposed to be used against the Taliban and terrorists and they are using them against us," Razzaq alleged.

Pakistan, he claimed, wants to control Balochistan because of its strategic location.

"This is for the first time that someone in the Congress has recognised our plight. Both the Republican and Democratic party are supporting the Balochi cause. This is a positive thing for us," Razzaq said.

Asserting that it was for the people of Balochistan to decide their future, he said historically the province had never been part of Pakistan.

"We never opted to merge with Pakistan. Pakistan has occupied our land. They want to terrorise our people," he said.

"Now for the first time the civilised world has started listening to us," said Razzaq, who has been living in the US since 1993.

PTI