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Jinnah recognised Balochistan’s independence

WorldJinnah recognised Balochistan’s independence

On 14 July 1947, when the 38th Parliament of the United Kingdom was debating the Indian Independence Bill, only one man among 640 MPs could foresee the future. Sir Godfrey Nicholson, a conservative MP from Farnham, warned the House that “if Baluchistan does not wish to join Pakistan, nothing in the world can save it from being forced to join Pakistan if the Bill passes in its present form; and that is a serious matter”. He was raising his concern on the Bill’s Clause 2, which read, British Balochistan would be incorporated into the newly established dominion, Pakistan.

In the Treaty of 1854 and again in 1876 it was agreed between Balochistan and Britain that Baloch areas would be used by the British Raj for strategic purposes and in return Britain would defend Balochistan from external threats. The Indian Independence Act was passed on 18 July. After17 days, on 4 August 1947, Jinnah as the founder of Pakistan, signed the standstill agreement with Balochistan’s sovereign Mir Ahmad Yar Khan. The clauses where Jinnah recognised Balochistan’s independence and agreed to seek legal opinion on the issue of leased areas (British Balochistan) were broadcast on 11 August 1947.

However, legal opinion was never sought and British Balochistan was incorporated into Pakistan against all international laws and treaties. The remaining territories of Balochistan under Kalat’s (the capital and the seat of the government) control were invaded by Pakistan in April 1948 and territories were merged into Pakistan until Kalat was surrounded by the Pakistan army. Balochistan’s sovereign, Mir Ahmed Yar Khan was forced to sign the accession treaty on 27 March 1948. The British did not keep their promise as agreed in the treaty, instead the invading Pakistan army was led by a British general, Sir Frank Messervy. Balochistan was betrayed and was forced to join Pakistan, hence Nicholson’s prophecy turned out to be true.

According to Dr Karimzadi, in the early days of partition, millions of people were killed while travelling to India or Pakistan. Even Chaudhry Rahmat Ali, who coined the word Pakistan, was not spared. He came to Pakistan from Britain in April 1948, his possessions were confiscated, he was harassed and the state which he helped create by dividing India, turned against its own creator. Having realised his ideas gave birth to an Islamic Basilisk, Rahmat Ali left Pakistan and returned to Britain, a Christian dominated society and where he lived the rest of his life.

Pakistan has been an antithesis of humanity and democracy since its creation. The magnitude of oppression in Balochistan under its occupation can be assessed by the numbers of victims. Since 2006, in just a decade, more than 20,000 people have been forced to “disappear”. Almost 3,000 people have been murdered in the custody of Pakistani forces, including lawyers, doctors, teachers, journalists and students. Pakistan uses different tactics to murder the Baloch people and their supporters.

On 8 August, a gathering of Baloch and Pashtun lawyers was struck by a suicide bomber at Quetta’s Civil Hospital, instantly killing more than 50 lawyers. Most of them Pashtun and Baloch, they had gathered in the hospital to collect their colleague’s dead body, who had been targeted and killed earlier in the day.

The million-dollar question remains that, in Quetta, where no Baloch can travel from one road to another without being subjected to constant army check-point harassment, how was it possible for a suicide bomber to wipe out an entire generation of lawyers without internal support?

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