US warned over deals with Pakistan; talk to Baluch directly
WASHINGTON DC: The De Jure Ruler of Baluchistan, Khan of Kalat Suleman Daud Ahmedzai who is to Baluchistan what the lateZahir Shah was to Afghanistan, at a meeting Saturday urged the US to differentiate between friends and foes and talk to the Baluch leadership directly.
At least one American participant voiced concern over President Barack Obama's use of the term “Pakistani people.”
“We are a natural, strategic ally to the US,” Ahmedzai told participants of a meeting to commemorate the 61st anniversary of the the Pakistani occupation of Texas-sized Baluchistan on March 27, 1948.
Ahmedzai said throughout history Baluch in southwest Asia have played a key role in policing the region in the interests of justice and fair play and could likewise defeat the terrorism emanating from there today.
Ahmedzai was talking to Americans and Baluch in the US on phone from Cardiff, United Kingdom, at a meeting organized by the American Friends of Baluchistan Saturday.
Ahmedzai warned that any agreements that the US makes with Pakistan over the heads of the Baluch would not be binding on the people of Baluchistan, who have have fought four wars of independence since the forced occupation of their homeland on March 27, 1948.
Ahmedzai's grandfather and previous ruler of Baluchistan, Mir Ahmedyar Khan, was cheated and forced to sign the so-called Instruments of Accession with Pakistan founder Mohammad Ali Jnnah.
Interestingly, Jinnah was taken aboard by Ahmedyar Khan as his lawyer to prepare the papers for Baluchistan end of relationship with Britain in 1947.
Baluchistan independence was announced on August 11, 1947, couple of days ahead of Inida's and Pakistan's, but the huge territory lost its statehood on March 27, 1948. Pakistan tested its so-called Islamic Bomb in Baluchistan in May 1998
Ahmedzai, whose direct ancestors ruled over Baluchistan for more than three centuries before Pakistan's forced annexation in March 1948 said the US should learn from its past mistakes of putting all its eggs in one basket-- the Pakistan army.
The US had relied heavily on Pakistan for its strategic needs but fell victim to the 911 terror attacks. Though the US launched a war on Afghanistan and the new administration of President Barack Obama has pledged to reinvigorate the more than seven year old war, Pakistan -- the main culprits in the 911 attack -- got a 11 billion dollar reward in spite of providing safe haven to Al Qaeda.
At the Saturday event, Ahmedzai, whose title is the Khan of Kalat and who the Baluch look upon as their natural leader, spoke with Nabi Baloch, the presiding council member of the American Friends of Baluchistan, Fauzia Deeba, leader of the World Sindhi Institute, Walt Landry, executive director of Think-tank for National Self-determination, Inc. and Begum Razia Rab, chief of the women's wing of Jamhoori Watan Party and confidante of slain Baluch governor and chief minister Nawab Akbar Bugti.
AFB presiding council member Nabi Baloch told the gathering the struggle of the Baluch was a legitimate struggle as it was against gross injustices and the Baluch desire to become the owners of their own land and resources.
“The situation in Baluchistan is akin to what is happening in the Niger delta where those who own the gas fields are some of the world's poorest,” he said.
Walt Landry said he was extremely concerned over President Obama's reference to Pakistani people and Afghani people.
“He's a very bright guy and should know better there is no such thing as Pakistani people [as Pakistan is not monolithic],” Landry said. He regretted some of Obama's speech writers may not be doing their research right.
Greg Phillips, a DC native, said he had learned a lot a great deal about the anguish of the Baluch people and the loss of their statehood through a video documentary made by New York team led by writer Wendy Johnson and Ann Nocenti.
Speaking at the meeting Razaia Rab said, “Now they have started picking up women.” She said during his lifetime, Nawab Bugti had advised her to go overseas fearing she would be arrested by the Pakistani state agencies.
WSI leader Fauzia Deeba regretted the kidnapping of John Solecki and said it seems the Baluch youths have been pushed to the wall to take such extreme actions. She pointed out the whereabouts of nearly 141 women are still unknown.
Earlier, the meeting a held a minute of silence over the captivity of Solecki.