The chair of the largest student organisation of Balochistan BSO-A has said that Baloch nation will rise even from their ashes to regain the lost freedom. Karima Baloch, one of BBC’s most inspirational and influential women of 2016, was talking to an audience gathered on 11 August in Toronto, Canada.
The event was to mark Independence day of Balochistan. on 11 August 1947 Balochistan was declared as a free state by the British Raj.
Ms Baloch, who has claimed asylum in Canada due to security threats, said that Baloch have never lost their souls to darkness. “We did not accept slavery as our fate”, she said.
Commenting on annexation of Balochistan with Pakistan on the pretext of Islam, Karima Baloch said “Baloch were Muslims but they had always been a distinct cultural entity, therefore, they could not give up their distinct identity for Islam. When Mr Mohammad Ali Jinnah asked the sovereign Baloch government to give away Balochistan’s free status and join the newly-created but militarily strong Pakistan on the basis of Islam, Baloch parliamentarians unanimously refused.”
Ms Baloch finished her speech on a powerful note, “Today, 70 years earlier, we achieved our independence from the British. We’ll achieve it again from Pakistan. We are a nation of phoenixes. We’ll rise every time from our ashes with the will to regain our freedom. It depends on the “free world” how many times it is willing to see us reduced to ashes.”
Following is the full transcript of Ms Karima Baloch’s speech
Ladies and gentlemen, I sincerely appreciate your participation. and thank you all for your time and support for this noble cause.
Today we celebrate Balochistan’s Independence Day. The British colonizers left Balochistan a free state on August 11, 1947.
The independence was hard achieved. And easily lost.
On March 27th, 1948 Pakistan’s military marched through Baluchistan and occupied it. Against the wishes of its people. Against the wishes of its parliament.
When Mr. Mohammad Ali Jinnah had earlier asked the sovereign Baloch government to give away Balochistan’s free status and join the newly-created but militarily strong Pakistan on the basis of Islam, Baloch parliamentarians unanimously refused.
They had argued that it was true the Baloch were Muslims but they had always been a distinct cultural entity; therefore, they couldn’t give up their distinct identity for Islam. The speech of Mr Ghaus Bakhsh Bizenjo, the opposition leader of the then independent Balochistan, is on the record.
It was not only a refusal to join the Islamic state of Pakistan. It was also a refusal to join a new pan Islamist movement for world dominance.
The creation of Pakistan was the first major success for this Islamic movement. After the fall of the Ottoman Caliphate, which was the last Sunni Islamic caliphate, Muslim leaders throughout the world felt betrayed and threatened. The creators of Pakistan exploited this fear in the Muslims of South Asia that Islam was under threat, and campaigned for the creation of Pakistan on the model of Ottoman Caliphate.
Pakistan’s continuous support for pan Islamist militant groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS, comes from this ideology of its foundation. They are natural allies working together for the same old goal: the restoration of the Islamic caliphate.
The leaders of Balochistan refused to become part of this Islamic movement back in 1947. They are refusing to join it now. And they have paid heavily for it. They lost their freedom. They have lost thousands of precious lives under Pakistan’s rule in their struggle for the restoration of their freedom.
The Baloch are an otherwise ordinary, easily ignorable people. They are very few in numbers inhabiting a large inhospitable land. They have no major contribution to human civilization. No large army. No modern arms. They can’t boast of a Nobel laureate. They don’t have a cuisine. They aren’t mentioned in world’s history books.
Yet there are two Baloch features that make me proud of my people. Firstly, they are a small nation surrounded by Islamic fanaticism in Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan, but they have adamantly maintained their secular nature. Secondly, they have uncompromisingly and continuously fought for their independence and identity against mightier foes like the British, Pakistan and Iran.
Today, 70 years earlier, we achieved our independence from the British. We soon lost it to Pakistan and its Islamic ideology. True. But I wonder what kept our struggle alive in these seven dark decades. Our people were bombarded from air in joint Pakistan-Iran military operations. Our entire villages were burnt to ashes. Our activists killed-and-dumped in thousands. We suffered all that in isolation. The champions of liberty and human rights never spared a glance at our sufferings. We never received a helping hand. Nor a word of condolence. I wonder what was it that my people kept rising like a phoenix from its ashes.
I don’t really know. But I know that after every battle we lost, after every wound we endured, we never lost our soul to darkness. We didn’t accept slavery as our fate.
World powers and international institutions might not consider the Baloch people and Balochistan of any significance; therefore, they have left us on our own. It might seem my people are fighting for the independence
of Balochistan, but, in fact, we are fighting for an idea that all men or women have the right to be free.
If you accept Pakistan’s monopoly over violence and stand as bystander watching it massacre my people because you think the stronger party can violate the basic human rights of a weaker people, you are not helping the human race. Despite all your achievements in science and human civilization, you are not helping the humankind. If you allow the stronger to harass and wipe out the weaker, you are allowing another Auschwitz to happen.
If you stay silent as Yazidi women and children are being sold in slave markets, you should not expect it will stop there. These mass graves, these genocides and encroachments on human liberty in far-fledged lands of no significance will creep into the serenity of your homes, into your lives one of these days. There are no bystanders in an instance of injustice. As Desmond Tutu said: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor”.
I’m as worried about the survival of my people in the hands of an Islamist Pakistan and its fundamentalist army as the callousness of the so-called free world.
Today, 70 years earlier, we achieved our independence from the British. We’ll achieve it again from Pakistan. We are a nation of phoenixes. We’ll rise every time from our ashes with the will to regain our freedom. It depends on the “free world” how many times it is willing to see us reduced into ashes.