The Quick Sands of South Asia

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The avid Indo – US desire to see a separated Balochistan reminds one of the sad fate of the ‘independent Kurdistan’. They conspired, cajoled Kurds to revolt against Ottoman suzerainty, funded, armed, supported their separatist struggle to the hilt and sheltered wanted Kurds in their countries. They tried every trick in their diplomatic tool kit but made a terrible mess and failed them miserably. As a result the Kurds were left in a lurch and are now a populace practically unwanted in Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran, the four countries whose borders this hardy but unfortunate race straddles. This four footed geographical poise is the real bane of the Kurdish ambition to achieve a statehood. US’ Iraq wars were the closest they came to giving Kurds a ‘homeland’ but shied away as that would have forced them to take their finger out of this strategic pie cooking since long at the head of the Middle East and under the soft belly of the ever defiant Turkey. They manufactured Daesh latter to keep all Arab states on the Euphrates and the Tigris rivers downstream to the Strait of Hormuz on the hop. Kurds are doing a perfect job keeping Turkey at bay and the countries around them apprehensive. That completes the troubled mosaic of the Middle East where Yemen war is additional icing over the cake.

They seek to replay their Kurdistan failed fiasco, this time, in Balochistan with multiple possible objectives in mind. Their planned presence in turbulent Balochistan whether physically or through proxies will threaten BRI underbelly right where it springs off into Central Asia from Chinese mainland as also retard or even grind to a halt CPEC, the crown jewel of the BRI initiative in South Asia. CPEC, it may be recollected allows China a strategic land access to the Indian Ocean through a single highly reliable strategic partner Pakistan. Nowhere can such a marvel of strategic foresight be given a form and repeated with such great global effects. The last was opening of the Suez Canal a century ago. Balochistan also provides the American strategic planners with an opportunity to reinsert in the region after their inglorious and perhaps irreversible eviction from Afghanistan and can fulfill their global design to create a pincer effect against Russia through Central Asia in conjunction with their nibbling advance towards Ukraine.

Yet another important aspect of this Machiavellian US maneuver is that the arc of instability originating from the shores of the Eastern Mediterranean Sea southwards will be completed to include a possibly truncated Pakistan, Afghanistan extending to Eurasian heartland, by Balochistan in ferment but in a somewhat controlled chaos unlike Yemen or Somalia. Those within the radiation zone like Gulf States and Oman will fall in line worried for their own security from the elements of unrest and disruption so let loose in the region. UAE and KSA are already showing signs of apprehension and are attempting to reduce other threats mainly from Israel.

It should be interesting to note how India is trying to take advantage of and accentuating the evolving situation in Balochistan. India has had a long standing desire to see Pakistan be pliant or failing which go in order to share borders with Iran and Afghanistan, easy land access to Central Asia and on to Europe for trade and travel like olden times. Additionally to be able to singly or jointly with the US radiate a potential threat to Chinese BRI and before that was to pose a check to expansion of the Chinese zone of influence into South and Central Asia from that direction. Pakistan has steadfastly refused to oblige Indian desire and acted as a drag over her regional power ambitions which forced India to opt officially for seeding separatism, supporting terrorism and stirring ferment in Balochistan. Activities and capture of Indian spymaster saboteur their serving Navy Commander Kulbhushan Jhadev from Balochistan and corroboratory policy statements by Indian PM Modi and their NSA Ajit Doval are an irrefutable proof.

At this stage mosaic of this Byzantine conspiracy becomes more interesting as if out of a John Masters’ or Rudyard Kipling’s novel plot and the plot really begins to thicken. Deposed Baloch Sardars are picked up as willing accomplices and provided finances, weapons, safe havens in US, India, Iran and Afghanistan, as also projected in media and UN forums as freedom fighters. Afghanistan had been a conjoined twin with India since decades so was easily coopted. More suave was Iran which had close friendly relations with Pakistan. Khomenite revolution in Iran was a windfall for Indian establishment. Khomeni had declared his disgust with Pakistan to an Indian delegation in France before his departure for Tehran. India has worked on this Pakistan negative sentiment ever since and the Iranian establishment has by and large kept up their hostility towards Pakistan. It started off from a historic sectarian revulsion towards Sunni Pakistan supported by KSA and was cleverly reinforced by India constructing the mouthwatering Chahbahar port for the so called lucrative international trade to and from Central Asia via Iran and Afghanistan.

Iranians readily swallowed the bait and became a part of India’s strategic encirclement maneuver against Pakistan. That is how Kulbhushan Jhadev had a base station in Chahbahar, entered and exited Balochistan via Iran and Baloch terrorists along with their families have a secure and safe haven in Iranian Sistan province bordering Pakistani Balochistan. Many reports have highlighted how Tehran aids and abets the Baloch terrorist networks operating against Pakistan LEAs – these terrorists exfiltrate into Iran when chased. Night vision goggles, long range sniper rifles and other equipment are held by these terrorist groups – which are said to be of Iranian origin. Based on this, our LEA had to expensively revamp its counter terrorism strategy. During recent Naushki and Panjgur terror attacks against FC camps, the communication channels of the terrorist groups were traced back to Iran, in addition to handlers in India and Afghanistan.

Ajit Doval was instrumental in linking Baloch terrorists with the TTP in Afghanistan after he had managed a marrying up between Nangrahar based TTP fugitives and Daesh in Afghanistan. All this was happening with the full approval of that clown Ashraf Ghani administration.

Pakistan must sometime marvel at the kind of straight faced duplicity and hostility harbored by her neighbors except China and rethink its response strategy. There is no point reinforcing the error of playing ‘good boy’ before these bullies particularly the westward ingrates. Any cross border aggression we must retaliate with full force and not be apologetic about the safety of our people, country and the troops. Our policy of regional appeasement has not and will not work.

As far ‘separated’ Balochistan, it will remain a hallucination and a pipe dream. They betrayed Kurds after a solemn undertaking to give them an independent country. Treaty of Sevres 1920 promised a referendum which the British backed out from in 1927 after the Kurds declared Republic of Ararat .The way Kurds have been left in a lurch and suspended, Baloch might face even worse if they follow drooling the dangling bait of independent Balochistan. The effort is for the re-stamping US influence in the region not really for the sake of Baloch independence ipso facto. To realize that dream Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan’s Baloch territories will have to be carved out. As the very notion is three footed therefore the seeds of failure are built into it ab initio. Thereafter, the Baloch people will become an unwelcome entity in all the three countries. Baloch have taken centuries to migrate from Nineveh Iraq fighting and escaping to reach Balochistan where they were left alone to live. From here there will be nowhere to go this time. Make your choice wisely.

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