U.S. officials may be pursuing a foreign policy that would seriously undermine not only U.S. interests but the interests of all those forces that believe in secularism and peace in Southwest Asia, especially Baloch freedom lovers who want the establishment of a secular Balochistan in southwest Asia.
Though some U.S. officials are calling for the skull of Julian Assange and have gone to the extent of branding him a "terrorist," the Aussie might have done a great deal of good by exposing the weaknesses in U.S. foreign policy regarding Balochistan, a bulwark of secularism in a region haunted by extremism .
WikiLeaks latest cables show ithe U.S. instead of engaging Baloch leaders was relying solely on Pakistan army chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani and the infamous Inter Services Intelligence when it came to matters pertaining to Balochistan's future.
Balochistan is a Texas-sized region that was left divided into three by Britain. Extremely "sexy" in strategic terms, Balochistan area under Pakistani army occupation is slightly bigger than New Mexico; the area under Iranian Ayatollahs is the size of Nevada; and that under Afghan control is the size of West Virginia.
Balochistan is in the throes of an independence movement that has left thousands dead in the last five or so years. The Baloch call the uprising their Fifth War of Liberation since their forced occupation on March 27, 1948 -- seven and half months after the British left India divided.
The present uprising is being led by three young but charismatic leaders Dr. Allah Nazar Baloch, Brahumdagh Bugti and Hyrbyair Marri.
Of them Dr. Allah Nazar Baloch is inside Balochistan, while Brahumdagh Bugti was until recently in Afghanistan, while Hyrbyair Marri, who is the senior most among the three, is in London. Intriguingly, though these leaders are playing a key role not only in countering the Wahabi-based Taliban and Al Qaeda in Balochistan, but are also a thorn in the side of the Iranian Ayatollahs the U.S. policy makers, including the Pentagon, appear to have put all their eggs in the basket of the Pakistan military GHQ.
Others who have a soft corner for the freedom movement -- they are not active participants in the independence struggle -- are Baloch Nelson Mandela and former Balochistan chief minister, Sardar Akhtar Jan Mengal, and tribal leader Khan of Kalat, Suleman Daud, whose ancestors once lorded over Balochistan as head of a tribal confederacy.
The Guardian in London has published the secret cables http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/us-embassy-cables-documents/93284.
A cable dated 20 January 2007, and cleared by senior defense representative Caitlin Hayden said Assistant Secretary Richard Boucher asked President Hamid Karzai if he knew where Brahumdagh Bugti was. Karzai responded that a lot of Bugtis come to Afghanistan. In fact, over 200, with their sons and money, have come. Karzai said he advised them to go to the United Nations for asylum, but many were frightened and are in hiding.
Brahumdagh Bugti is the heir of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, former governor and chief minister of Balochistan, who was killed extra judicially on the orders of former Pakistan coup leader General Pervez Musharraf.
The United Nations declined to deal with the issue, considering it too sensitive, WikiLeaks cable showed.
Karzai said he was "not interested in having them in Afghanistan as it was too much trouble."
In his meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, who like Pakistan ambassador to the United Nations Hussain Haroon is widely suspected of being closeted gay, Karzai had said that the Bugtis were not terrorists and represented nobility in Afghanistan, so it would be hard to turn them over to Pakistan. Boucher clarified that it was the grandson that the Pakistanis were after for instigating an uprising.
Karzai responded that fomenting uprising does not make one a terrorist. The real terrorists were Bin Laden and Mullah Omar. Afghanistan needs a sign that Pakistan will stop supporting these terrorists. Boucher asked Karzai which side should move first and queried whether Afghanistan could take the grandson into custody or strike some political deal. Karzai explained that the Bugtis would blame the United States if Afghanistan turned them in. There would be disgust toward both Afghanistan and the United States.
Karazai said he knew the late Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, who was highly respected in the U.S.
A former U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, Robert Oakley was a close friend of the slain Bugti and had called him a "martyr." Oakley had beforended Bugti when he was the governor of Balochistan and had publicly stated that
Karzai explained that Bugti had once tried to call Karzai but he had refused for the sake of good relations with Pakistan. Now he cannot forgive himself for refusing.
The senior Bugti was killed when his sanctuary was attacked by Pakistan's U.S. supplied jets and Cobra helicopters on
Karzai assessed that Pakistan had troubles with many other tribes too, as a result of its trying to divide and conquer and turn the tribes against each other. Pakistan needed to address the bigger picture, Karzai urged.
Halfway through the discussion of Bugti, Karzai signaled that the issue was too sensitive and asked that notetaking be suspended.
WikiLeaks expose of the cables have given the world, including people in Balochistan, a rare insight on how their fate is being decided in Washington DC and the army GHQ in Islamabad without their knowledge or will.
Earlier in fall Mehran Baluch, a younger brother of Hyrbyair Marri, told the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, Balochistan needs WikiLeaks as the government of Pakistan has kept the foreign media out of the restive territory.
In his latest interview, Julian Assange defended the freedom of information: