Peter Tatchell: The people of Baluchistan have a right to self-determination

Share
Related Topics

Ever since its annexation by Pakistan in 1948, Baluchistan has been subjected to a quadruple whammy of military occupation, political domination, economic exploitation and cultural hegemony. Just like Israel's settlement programme on the West Bank, Islamabad has a settler scheme to colonise Baluchistan. It is encouraging Punjabis to move to the region. The aim is to make the Baluch people a minority in their own homeland.

Punjabi supremacists have imposed an alien language, Urdu, on Baluchi-speaking people. Borrowing from the tactics of apartheid in South Africa, which forced black children to be schooled in Afrikaans, Islamabad has dictated that Urdu is the compulsory language of instruction in Baluch educational institutions. The cultural conquest also involves the radical Islamification of the traditionally more secular Baluch nation. Large numbers of religious schools have been funded by Islamabad with a view to imposing Pakistan's harsher, more narrow-minded interpretation of Islam. This is fuelling fundamentalism.

The West's attitude towards the plight of the Baluch people is less than honourable. Because Britain and the US want Pakistan as an ally in the "war on terror", they have armed Pakistan and acquiesced with its suppression of the Baluch people. Pakistan's war against Baluchistan is strengthening the position of the Taliban, who have exploited the unstable, strife-ridden situation to establish bases to terrorise the... Baluch people and enforce the Talibanisation of Baluchistan. The Pakistani military... bases in Baluchistan are also hideouts from where Taliban fighters mount military operations in Afghanistan.

If the nations of the world want to strike a blow against the Taliban and fundamentalism, they should seek an end to Pakistan's repression in Baluchistan and support the Baluch people's right to self-determination. Baluch secular nationalism could act as a powerful bulwark against the Talibanisation of the country, which ultimately threatens all the people of Pakistan and Afghanistan – and the wider region.

The best way to resolve this issue would be a UN-supervised and monitored referendum to allow the people of Baluchistan to freely and democratically determine their own future. If tiny East Timor can be an independent nation, why not Baluchistan?

This is an excerpt from a speech given at the United Nations last month www.petertatchell.net

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing & Sales Manager

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable organisation within the leisure i...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Recruitment Genius: Doctors - Dubai - High "Tax Free" Earnings

£96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
British Prime Minister Tony Blair (L) pictured shaking hands with Libyan leader Colonel Moamer Kadhafi on 25 March 2004.  

There's nothing wrong with Labour’s modernisers except how outdated they look

Mark Steel
 

Any chance the other parties will run their election campaigns without any deceit or nastiness?

Nigel Farage
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker