The biggest threat faced by the China Pakistan Economic Corridor apart from the grossly corrupt and incompetent Imran Khan government is from the Balochis who are determined to not come under Chinese occupation and are putting up a brave fight against Pakistan and Chinese forces who are subjecting them to unfathomable atrocities. To take the cause of an independent Balochistan ahead, Baloch leaders have agreed to form a government in exile and have urged India to remain proactive in the cause of Balochistan.
A new Balochistan government in exile has been formed as the Baloch leaders united to further the cause of an independent Balochistan. Munir Mengal, president of Baloch Voice Association who is in exile in Paris and Naela Quadri, chairperson of Baloch People’s Congress during a webinar announced their decision of forming a government in exile.
Mengal urged the Indian government to be proactive in the cause of Balochistan as he claimed that if the game plan floated by China is successful, it will spell doom for entire South Asia and South Asian countries.
It is pertinent to note that Tibet also has a government in exile which operates out of Dharamshala. Recently, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) awarded a grant of almost $1 million to the Central Tibetan Administration operating out of India, to “strengthen the financial and cultural resilience of the Tibetan people and contribute towards a sustained resilience of the Tibetan people’s economic and cultural identity.”
This is the first time the Tibetan administration received direct funding from the USA. India was asked to give its nod for the same, which it duly did.
Considering the fact that Tibet already has a government in exile in India, similarly, the country can host a government in exile for Balochistan if the policy corridors deem fit.
The Balochis are subjected to brutal human rights violations with Mengal also highlighting his harrowing experience when he was in the custody of the Pakistan Army where he faced brutal torture and went incommunicado for two years. Quadri, too, charged the Pakistan Army of indulging in organ trade of missing Baloch persons, directly copying from the playbook of the Chinese Communist Party.
Over the years, the Pakistan government has left no stone unturned to exploit the resource-rich province of Balochistan, which is the largest province in Pakistan in terms of land size,.
According to satellite imagery published by ThePrint, Chinese state-owned companies are exploiting the region with the tacit approval of Pakistan. In the early 1990s, Pakistan asked M-9 and M-11 missiles which China delivered in 1993. In return, Chinese state-owned Metallurgical Corporation of China (MCC) got the resource-rich Chagai region on a 20-year lease. The company found gold and copper deposits in two places named Sandak and Reko Diq.
The first excavation in the Reko Diq region yielded 200kg of gold and 1,700 tonnes of copper. Ore reserve of more than 5.9 billion tonnes was estimated and this sent a warning signal to the government of Pakistan that it made a bad deal. The government banned all subsequent mining activities. However, the Nawaz Sharif government awarded a fresh lease agreement for 10 years in 2013. According to analysts, the deal is very shady and grants tacit approval to carry out illegal mining activities in the region.
As China begins to occupy Balochistan, the Balochis are fighting back and attacking Chinese projects in the province including the important Gwadar port which is being developed at a massive cost of 1.62 billion dollars.
Recently, Pakistani security forces abandoned their check posts in Balochistan after they came under heavy stone pelting from protesters. The protests had erupted in Brabchah, Balochistan and spread across the entire province after a 4-year old was shot down by Pakistan Army-backed terrorists in Turbat City.
Over the past two years, the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) has targeted Chinese investments in Gwadar such as the five-star Zaver Pearl-Continental Hotel which is situated on a promontory overlooking the Gwadar port and they had also carried out an attack on the Chinese Consulate in Karachi in 2018.
The formation of Baloch government in exile is a good news for India and the Indian government must reach out to the Baloch leaders and offer its assistance.