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Pakistan’s treatment of the wife of detained retired Indian navy officer Kulbushan Jadhav has angered 1.32 billion, mostly very decent, people in the world’s largest democracy and justifiably so.
The Pakistan government on Tuesday claimed that Jadhav’s wife Cheetankul was made to remove her shoes during their meeting on December 25 as “there was something” in them, according to News18.com; Pakistan spy service ISI even stole Cheetankul’s shoes, which they have now sent for forensic examinations.
Not only this, Jadhav’s mother Avanti Jadhav and Cheetankul were made to remove “mangal sutra”, bangles, and bindi before they could meet him, India’s External Affairs Ministry said in a statement.
Pakistan’s treatment of the two Jadhav ladies, just like his sentencing to death by a Field General Court Martial in April, was a violation of international laws and stood in stark contrast to how India treated Pakistan’s 93,000 Pakistani soldiers after their surrender at Paltan Maidan on December 16, 1971. The month was same December, 46 years ago, but the behavior of the two countries was there for the entire world to see as India treated the defeated soldiers with dignity and grace. In after thought, India made a most horrendous blunder, of Nehruvian proportions, to let the Pakistan PoWs who had killed more than three million Bengalis and raped 400,000 Bengali women to walk free without trial for their crimes against humanity in Bangladesh.
One of the people most suffering at the hands of Pakistan’s rogue, terrorist army that calls the shots in that artificial country, whose real founder was Lord Mountbatten rather than the tuberculosis-ridden Muhammad Ali Jinnah, are the Baloch people of France sized Balochistan. When prime minister Narendra Modi was elected in 2014, there was a collective mourning at the Rawalpindi army GHQ as Pakistan generals were calling him the “Butcher of Gujarat”, and still do the same, but the God-forsaken people of Balochistan were joyous.
In India, Modi instilled confidence in a nation whose people had for centuries suffered the worst genocide in human history, 100 million Hindus killed by foreign invaders. “There was a history of a handful of Muslim warriors coming with swords to kill and conquer entire villages and towns. Modi changed that as chief minister of Gujarat,” says Pakistan Christian Post publisher and editor, Nazir S. Bhatti, who now lives in Philadelphia.
A man of the people, by the people, for the people who rose among the teeming millions of India to serve almost one-sixth of humanity, Modi has the reputation of being a bold and frank man, not some wily, cunning and corrupt politician whose handshake is fraudulent.
Premier Modi made the people of Balochistan even more joyous when last year he spoke out for them from the ramparts of the historic Red Fort. Hopes were raised that Indian ambassadors in Western capitals will openly talk about Pakistan army war crimes in Balochistan. Pakistan army has left 35,000 Baloch killed, buried more than 6,000 of them in mass graves, since the start of a bloody insurgency in 2005, while the fate of 21,000 Baloch victims of enforced disappearances remains unknown. It was also hoped Modi would personally meet Western leaders and tell them about Balochistan like Indira Gandhi did for Bangladesh in 1971.
All we could see was some incoherent statements by Indian diplomats, mostly in response to Pakistan’s accusations that India was committing war crimes in Kashmir, a cradle of Hindu and Buddhist civilization that the jihadis in Pakistan want to conquer as part of their grandiose Ghazwa-i-Hind, or Battle over India, dreams. According to some Islamic texts, Prophet Muhammad promised eternal glory to Muslims who subjugate India in that battle.
It is pertinent to point out, India had not supported the Baloch in any way until the Kargil misadventure launched by Gen Pervez Musharraf in his capacity as army chief, prior to his October 1999 coup. Jihadis, who want to destroy India, are a darling in the eyes of Pakistan army and GHQ was made explicitly clear by Gen Musharraf who recently said he loves the Islamist Jamaat-ul-Dawa (JuD) and and Lashkar-eTaiba (LeT), whose founder Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, who has a $10 million bounty on his head for his role in the Mumbai carnage of 26/11 in 2008.
After the Kargil misadventure, it seems like India thought it wise to do a tit-for-tat against Pakistan. There can be no denial that India did provide some support to the Baloch clandestinely since early 2000s, but those who received the support were extremely corrupt. According to Sunil Raman, former BBC journalist and head of Public Affairs for Hill & Knowlton Strategies in India, “India supported Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) leader in exile, Khaibak Maari (sic), for long. Financial support to such leaders has made little tangible difference, argues an intelligence agency officer. On condition of not sharing his name, he said that a few of these exiled leaders used Indian financial support to pick up expensive cars and homes. That defeats the entire purpose of backing exiles, he remarked.” Raman apparently misspelled the name of former Balochistan minister, London-based Hybyair Marri.
India’s support did see Baloch exiled leaders buy cars such as Rolls Royce, top of the line Lexus and Bentley, and expensive mansions in posh locales in the West. It is not clear if the former governor and chief minister of Balochistan, Nawab Bugti, misread the level of Indian support in early 2000 and threw the gauntlet at Pakistan army as before that the chief of the Bugti tribe had worked peaceably and amicably with Pakistani soldiers for nearly six decades. At the time, Balach Marri, who was assassinated in 2007, was living in London, but went back to Pakistan in 2002 to end a tribal rivalry with Bugtis. He also contested and won a provincial assembly seat from his native Kohlu. In his final days, Nawab Bugti tried his level best to seek Kabul’s help but all he got was a deafening silence from the Afghan capital, which was then under President Hamid Karzai– honest Pashtuns advise Baloch not to expect much from Kabul.
Much blood has flown down the Bolan River since that time. It is true that in early 2000 the Bugti and Marri tribes had just a single powerful chieftain– Nawab Bugti and the late Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri– who lorded over their tribes and controlled their adjacent fiefdoms as judge, jury and executioner, but today the situation is totally different. The Marris have at least four “nawabs” while the Bugtis have three “nawabs.” The tribal leadership cant be trusted in Balochistan was evident when Rolex-loving Nawabzada Gazzain Marri returned to Pakistan after a deal with the Deep State in fall this year, ending his 18-year exile in the UAE. In his recent interview with Pakistan’s prestigious Herald monthly magazine, former Balochistan chief minister Dr Malik Baloch said during his tenure he held successful talks with two exiled Baloch leaders Geneva-based Brahumdagh Bugti and Cardiff-based Khan of Kalat, Mir Suleman Daud and that both of them had agreed to return to Pakistan.
In other words, Dr Baloch obliquely hinted that though Bugti and Daud were ready to return, they did not because of Pakistan army obduracy not to talk with the Baloch. The soldiers prefer to settle everything through the barrel of the gun.
While rejecting the leadership of the blue blooded Baloch feudal lords, Sunil Raman does make a mistake that India should put all its eggs in one basket — Balochistan Liberation Front (BLF) of Iran-based Dr Allah Nazar. Dr Nazar, who was brutally sodomized while in Pakistan ISI custody ten years ago, was a promising politician but has lost much of his sheen due to the criminal activities of the BLF. Countless Baloch that the BLF has killed includes his own brother-in-law Daulat M. Hasni and his old comrade Dr Qambar Qazi. One of the most honest politicians from Balochistan, former assembly speaker Akram Dashti has provided a list of 243 Baloch killed by militants on a charge they were informers, simply because they did not agree with militancy. As the army has annihilated his entire family, there is a mixed feeling about Dr Nazar in Balochistan; he continues to threaten his political rivals with death. The militant organization is reportedly represented by the Baloch National Movement (BNM) in the West; BNM leaders deny they are a political arm of the BLF, however.
If any support is provided by India it must be to honest and clean Baloch public diplomats, intellectuals, scholars and activists, not the same people who have wasted millions of dollars. The Aegean stables of the security services need thorough cleaning; it is heartening that an audit was underway in New Delhi already. Future support, if any, if provided by India to militants, must be on strict condition that they will abide by the Laws of War and will never touch unarmed civilians, like they have been doing all these years. These militants have marginalized themselves in politics by dropping all forms of struggle, including democratic and parliamentary struggle, and focusing only on armed violence instead.
There can be no two views the white men of the West created Pakistan and they are the ones who will ultimately undo it. A bastard child of the British Raj, after Pakistan was created by the illegal division of India in 1947, she was groomed as a prostitute on the world stage by none else but Washington DC. Every good and every bad begins mostly in the capitol of the US and India needs to focus on this rather than be overly confident that because of its fast growing economy everything will on their own volition fall in place in Washington DC. There are signs that the US is changing its old policies under President Trump, but an early version of the $700 million defense assistance to Pakistan bill that required Islamabad to show it had taken steps both against the Haqqani network and Lashkar-e-Taiba, was later toned down as Lashkar-e-Taiba was struck off. The softening of US stand towards Pakistan is mainly because of the US military-industrial complex lobby– supply of arms to Pakistan makes good sense as it helps the US economy, according to this lobby. After that when President Trump unveiled his Afghanistan policy, calling upon Pakistan to do more to end terror sanctuaries, according to Defense One publication, Pakistan senate responded by passing a resolution to demand of the US to pay compensation for the victims of CIA drone attacks. Unfortunately, Pakistan appears to have also outsmarted India vis-a-vis Russia, an ally of India during the Cold War era. Russia is now pressing India to become a partner in the exploitative China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to collectively use the Gwadar Port, but India must tell both Moscow and Beijing that in the eyes of New Delhi Balochistan is no different from its states of Kerala and West Bengal as majority of Baloch to this day remain pro-India.
It is true that Pakistan is no more than a pampered but rabid puppy of China. It is also true that India (population 1.32 billion) has to do lot of catch up with China (population 1.38 billion); India’s GDP is 2.45 trillion while China’s is 11.79 trillion (China is 4.81 times bigger than India in GDP terms); India’s per capita income is $6,600 per year while China’s is $15,400 (An average man in makes China 2.33 times more than an average man in India); and India’s forex and gold reserves is $402 billion and China’s is $3,053 billion (China is 7.60 richer than India in terms of forex and gold). But if India can challenge China on Doklam plateau it can do so in Gwadar too, provided there is a will in New Delhi to do so. All that India has done is pinching Pakistan in Balochistan, rather than a sincere effort to help the people of Balochistan. At the international level other than Modi speech and minister of external affairs Sushma Swaraj speech at the UN general assembly the following month, nothing was done in the field baring some disorganized noise in Geneva, Brussels etc. Pakistan on the other hand, sent the army’s blue-eyed boy Senator Mushahid Hussain, twice in as many years to Washington DC to talk about India’s war crimes in Kashmir.
One significant thing that has happened is a Free Balochistan advert campaign in Geneva, London and New York. Pakistan accuses India of financing those adverts; if Pakistan charge is true India needs to do a lot of soul searching. Though the adverts did create some awareness as many Westerners had not even heard the word Balochistan, let alone Pakistan’s secret dirty, war there by violating more than two dozen clauses of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, countries are not freed by adverts. It was in fact tragic that in stead of the United Nations and organizations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) highlighting the Balochistan issue, it was commercialized even at the international level as if Balochistan was some kind of stage drama. In contrast, Pakistan ganged up with Saudi Arabia and Turkey on the Rohingya issue and brought it into international limelight within no time; apparently, ISI is far ahead of RAW. India could have done the same kind of global outreach on Balochistan by ganging up with western democracies, specially France, which is sympathetic towards Balochistan, but did not.
As #ChappalChorPakistan trended on twitter after Pakistan’s mistreatment of the Jadhav ladies, a most daring statement on the Jadhav case came from Dr Subramanian Swamy, who said a permanent solution to the problem was splitting Pakistan into four. This statement by Dr Swamy, which is music to the Baloch ears, is not new but unfortunately such statements are not followed by any real actions by New Delhi. In addition to the Nehruvian bureaucrats, the old school doves in the BJP also contribute to the do-nothing and just wait and see policy on Balochistan.
Canadian intellectual Tarek Fatah, who has visited India quite a few times to talk about Balochistan, echoed Dr Swamy’s statement and tweeted, “After watching the humiliation inflicted on Cmdr. Jadhav’s wife, I sincerely hope India’s ‘Aman ki Aasha’ lobby, specially the NGO Aunties will re-evaluate their naivity towards Islamabad and stand up for Hindustan. As long as Pakistan exists, it’s objective is Ghazwa-e-Hind.” It is true that there are lot of misguided elements in India’s civil society, Bollywood and media– not only aunties but also uncles–, who talk about peace with Pakistan through the “Aman ki Asha,” an ISI-approved project.
As expected, Indian peacemakers were openly siding with Pakistan on the issue and berating the Modi government. “I don’t understand why Indians are having a problem accepting the possibility of
#KulbhushanJhadav being an Indian spy. Instead of trying to get him out of Pakistan, BJP Government is using him as a pawn for their divisive politics and spreading hatred against Pakistan. Sickening,” Ram Subramanian, an ad filmmaker, who has launched many campaigns/movements for Indo-Pak peace, tweeted. “Pakistan will not admit that Kasab was theirs. India will not admit that Jadav is ours. People of both nations will admit that we are ruled by warmongers,” Subramanian said. There is no comparison between the two cases: Kasab was caught on camera mowing down Mumbaikars during the 26/11 attacks in commercial capital of India, but there is no such evidence against Jadhav. All the ISI could obtain from Jadhav was a forced confession, after Hitler-style torture in ISI dungeons, that has no value in an independent civilian court.
However, ISI is not sincere with even its own approved projects such as Aman ki Asha was clear by the abduction of Raza Mahmood Khan, 40, a member of the Aghaz-e-Dosti (Initiation of Friendship) with India. He was abducted from Lahore earlier this month and his fate remains unknown. Likewise, the fate of Lahore journalist female Zeenat Shehzadi, who had tried to help an Indian national in his love life, is unknown; Zohra Yusuf, chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), told this correspondent that the HRCP was unable to meet her and she is undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Rawalpindi.
As far as the Jadhav case goes, there are no doubts the former navy commander was abducted by the dangerous Saudi-financed salafist Jaishul Adal from Chahbahar and handed over to the ISI. There are numerous reports of the Jaishul Adal making inroads in eastern (Pakistan occupied) Balochistan by an undeclared alliance with at least one militant outfit, Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) faction of London-based Hyrbyair Marri. If however, it is true that Jadhav was indeed a RAW agent the question arises why the life of this best son of India was put into harm’s way in this reckless manner. Was it the banniya mentality of the babus in New Delhi to spend as little as possible on crucial missions that compromised Jadhav’s safety? A France-sized country like Balochistan needs scores of agents, not just one, if any covert operation is to be successful. Already Pakistan ISI’s budget is equal to that of RAW’s, — if not more– and while the overall RAW budget is estimated at $500 million, Pakistan budget for stone-pelters in Kashmir alone is estimated at $90 million per year.
Resource-rich Balochistan, with a GDP size of Switzerland– according to Fatima Bhutto–, has an extremely sexy position in the Gulf as its 400-mile coastline forms the northern lip of the Straits of Hormuz. It is interesting to note here that one reason why the CIA undertook Operation Cyclone, the most expensive covert operation in US history, to throw Russians out of Afghanistan 1979-92 was the US concern that Soviet Russia will reach the warm waters of the Gulf. President Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser the late Zbigniew Brzezinski had warned Carter in May 1979 that, “the Soviets would be in a position, if they came to dominate Afghanistan, to promote a separate Baluchistan [then and now part of Pakistan], which would give them access to the Indian Ocean.” On Brzezinski bidding the first half million dollars were dispatched two months later– months before the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979.