October 1, 2016, Constitution Club of India, New Delhi
Chair: Prof. Avanijesh Awasthi, University of Delhi
Speakers: Sh. Mazdak Dilshad Baloch, Baloch Freedom Activist
Sh. Vivek Katju, Former Diplomat & Thinker
Maj. Gen. (Dr.) G.D. Bakshi (Retd.), Defence Expert
Dr. Tarek Fatah, Canadian author and activist, Founder, Muslim Canadian Congress
On 1st October 2016, India Policy Foundation (IPF) organised a Seminar titled ‘Baloch Nationality: Internal Colonisation of Balochistan by Pakistan’. The speakers at the seminar were Mr. Mazdak Dilshad Baloch, Baloch Freedom activist, Maj. Gen. GD Bakshi, War Veteran and Defence Expert and Mr Vivek Katju, Former Ambassador of Afghanistan. The Guest of Honour of the seminar was Mr. Tarek Fatah; Canada based noted thinker, writer and liberal activist. The session was chaired by Prof. Awanijesh Awasthi from University of Delhi.
Addressing the seminar, Prof. Rakesh Sinha, Hon. Director of IPF, asserted that India has a long tradition of standing for the oppressed masses. He said thatthis has always been part of civilizational, cultural and intellectual legacy of India. He stated that Balochistan is illegally occupied by the Pakistani Regime. Unlike other Indian princely states which joined either India or Pakistan at the time of independence, Balochistan was an independent sovereign nation with its own parliament. He further attacked human right organizations like Amnesty International for their hypocritical silence on Baloch issue. He also mentioned that West and USA in particular, have been deliberately maintaining silence on the Baloch issue and have shown escapist tendencies while voicing the human rights violations in Balochistan.
He further said that India’s support has changed the dynamics of Baloch issue and unmasked all those who considered themselves as champions of Human Rights. Prof Sinha had put forward the proposal of acceptance of political asylum to Balochistan Republican Party (BRP) leader, Brahmdagh Bugti which was cheered by the audience and given a consent.
Addressing the audience Mr. Mazdak Dilshad Baloch, presented the historical overview and contemporary plight of Baloch people. He stated that more than 20000 Balcoh have been abducted, killed and dumped. He said that women are mistreated in torture camps and kids are butchered for showing their solidarity with leaders of Baloch movement. He revealed about the ‘Kill and Dump’ policy of Pakistan to the audience. He talked about the brutalities of the Pakistan army on civilians which has suppressed the Baloch voice. He highlighted that it is the people of Balochistan who are carrying forward their struggle and are determined to continue to fight till independence of all Baloch including kids, women, young and elderly people is achieved. He thanked the Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi and the External Affairs Minister Ms. Sushma Swaraj for their support and requested India to continue its interest and help to Balochistan on historical, cultural and humanitarian grounds.
Mr. Tarek Fatah said that Pakistan is a state of mind and not a country. He said that Pakistan has mal-intention for everyone including its neighbours and its own citizens of other ethnicity and religion residing inside Pakistan. Tarek Fatah narrated the historical background of Muslims religious and political aspirations in South Asia region.
He was critical of the role of Mohammad Ali Jinnah in deceiving Baloch people and taking over their land forcefully. He added that the politics of South Asia has changed in recent times and it will shape itself to move in a decisive direction. He addressed that India needs to honour its National Anthem which takes pride in Sindh and Punjab. He said that Baloch pride is incomplete without Nawabs and Sardars. He also reiterated that India has to take lead role in bringing peace and stability in the region.
Maj. Gen. G.D. Bakshi was of the opinion that since independence, defensive policy and porous borders of India have costed the country thousands of lives. He said that recent shift to an offensive defence policy has neutralized the pressure on borders. He stated that after thirty years we have a leader as our Prime Minister who has a deterministic approach towards border and international matters and believes in take decisions. He warned India about the malicious intent of China behind financing China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The location of CPE Ccorridor lies close to Punjab and Rajasthan which would have been cheaper had it been across the Sindhu River. He said this clearly reveals the strategy of China to pressurize India in future using different fronts. He insisted that help to Baloch cause will be helping ourselves as CPEC and the construction of Gwadar port in Balochistan can hurt our own interests in future.
Mr Vivek Katju gave a realistic picture of the region and relationship of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran with Balochistan region and the need to honour the aspirations of Baloch. Prof. Awanijesh thanked the speakers and lauded the courage and determination of Baloch people.
A booklet titled ‘BALOCHISTAN – What World Needs to Know’ was also released in English and Hindi. The Booklet has been edited by Dr. Geeta Bhatt, a faculty at University of Delhi. The content contributors to the booklet are – Sh.Vinay Joshi, Human Rights Activist and Columnist, Ms. Prerna Kumari, Advocate, Supreme Court and Dr. Anil Kumar, University of Delhi. Turn out of the audience for attending this seminar indicated its huge success. This was well received in the press as well as social media.
Launch of booklet titled ‘BALOCHISTAN – W hat World Needs to Know’ in the Seminar