WASHINGTON DC: To belie the Pakistani claim that Baluch do not want independence, one of the main Baluchistan independence movement leaders in the Pakistani occupied territories has urged world powers to organize a referendum in Baluchistan under the aegis of the United Nations to ascertain the national aspirations of the Baluch people.
"Impossible. Impossible" Baluch national hero Nawab Brahamdagh Bugti, said, when asked about any chances of a compromise with the Pakistani civilian and military leadership over the future of Baluchistan, adding that his troubled and bleeding homeland needs the help of the international community.
Talking to this correspondent on phone from an undisclosed location Saturday, he said international intervention in Baluchistan is a must to end Pakistani state terrorism.
"We don't need any deal as there is no question for any give and take," Bugti said, "They are stealing our resources, rather looting us at gunpoint in the backdrop of a slow genocide."
He emphasised the need of a solution towards ending Pakistani occupation of Baluchistan through a plebiscite under international monitors.
Pakistani media reports had suggested President Asif Ali Zardari, known worldwide as "Mr. Ten Percent," and his handpicked home minister Rahman Malik -- infamous for his role in the Iraqi oil-for-food scam -- were planning an amnesty for Baluch resistance leaders, including Bugti.
"European, U.S. and other international organizations should administer and monitor the referendum," Bugti urged. "If the result shows the Baluch are not in favor of independence, I shall withdraw my demand," he said.
Bugti said more than 80 percent of the Baluch people are in favor of an independent Baluchistan and decried the Pakistani establishment for repeatedly accusing India and Afghanistan of backing the Baluch resistance movement.
Bugti's spokesperson Sher Mohammad Bugti said the settlers who are part of the Pakistani occupation of Baluchistan will not involved in the referendum, neither will any Pakistani government agency play any role in it. "Only UN and ineternational agencies will carry out the exercise in full transparency, without any Pakistani intereference or involvement."
Sher Mohammad Bugti said those who think a refendum under such circumstances will fail have no root among the masses and are detached from the ground realities of Baluchistan.
"I want to make it clear help to the Baluch engaged in a defensive war is not a bad thing. We will welcome any and all aid to our struggle," Nawab Bugti said.
He said Baluch people were living under Pakistani slavery and those who want to an end to this slavery are being tortured , killed and their decomposed bodies found as many as 20 days after their death.
He said the chapter of talks with Pakistan was over after the killing of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, 80. "He was willing to talk with everyone, but his house was bombed twice and he was forced to go to the mountains."
The elder Bugti was killed on the orders of Pakistan military dictator and coup leader, General Pervez Musharraf on August 26, 2006. In a recent interview, Musharraf said the decision to assassinate Bugti was made by the entire leadership of the Pakistan army.
Bugti is a grandson and political heir of the slain leader. The elder Bugti had groomed him as his successor after the Inter Services Intelligence got his most loved son Salal Bugti killed in the summer of 1992.
Former U.S. ambassador to Pakistan Robert Oakley, who had befriended the elder Bugti, had called the slain leader "A martyr for a just cause." While still in Islamabad in the early 1990s, Oakley had said Bugti was competent to become the governor of any state of the United States, arousing suspicion in the infamous Inter Services Intelligence about U.S. intentions in the region.
"When we go to the mountains to protest the Pakistani military atrocities, they try to portray the Baluch as terrorists," Bugti said, adding there is a discernible change in the political climate as international awareness about the Baluch movement was growing steadily.
He said five brigades of Pakistan army, totalling 15,000 mercenary soliders, are today busy conducting a militay operation in the Dera Bugti and adjoining areas alone.
"in addition there are at least 80,000 Pakistani soldiers at the cantonment in Quetta, 10,000 in Khuzdar and 5,000 in Sibi," Bugti said.
He said recently there has been a huge reinforcement of Pakistan's mercenaries in the Mekran area.
He said there were at least 43,000 non-Baluch Frontier Constabulary militiamen all over Baluchistan plus 15,000 men of the Sindh Rifles on Baluchistan's borders with Sindh, who have also been mobilized against the Baluch political resistance.
To a question, he said the Baluch would welcome help of the International Security Assistance Force.
He said Pakistan must accept the sovereignty of Baluchistan, apologize at the international fora for crimes against the Baluch people, withdraw its forces from Baluchistan, agree to a referendum on Baluchistan under the aegis of U.N. monitored by observers from Scandinavian nations, U.S., E.U., Canada and others, and must answer to the international community and be held accountable for its rapacious exploitation of Baluchistan resources.
He said once these steps were taken, the Baluch would decide their future relationship with Pakistan.
Saying that actions speak louder than words, he said there has been no let up in the military actions against the Baluch people since the civilian rulers took office but had in fact heightened.
"Let alone the armed resistance, even those who are involved in political struggle from the platform of the Baluch National Front, Baluch National Movement and Baluch Republican Party are being killed. The world must take notice of the brutal torture and slaying of Ghulam Mohammed Baluch, Lala Munir Baluch and Sher Mohammed Baluch in April, the recent torture killing of Rasool Bakhsh Mengal and the killing of Majeed Bugti. Last year they burnt alive three people in Dera Bugti. The fate of Jalil Reiki is not known to this day. The killings, disappearances and torture of thousands of Baluch neccessitate intervention of the international community in Baluchistan."
He said the Pakistani state was also trying to silence any voice of dissent by even killing the messengers like the media. "They recently beseiged the offices of the Daily Azadi newspaper in Quetta," he said.
He said the Baluch involved in the defence of their motherland face a web of conspiracies and pointed to the difficulties created by the Pakistan military authorities against Nawabzada Hyrbyair Marri in London last year when he was arrested under false terrorism charges, but subsequently exonerated.
He strongly condemned the abduction of Norwegian-Baluch citizen Ehsan Arjemandi, 34, who was abducted by the Military Intelligence on August 7 and hoped the Scandinavian nations would play a major role in ending the state atrocities in Baluchistan.
He said in spite of the conspiracies of the intelligence agencies, he considers differences among his family members as a non-issue. " I have never spoken out aganist anyone of them," he said, "I have no personal difference with any of them."
He said he believes the Baluch people will be the final judge as to whose action is in the best interest of their homeland and their future.
Other than Bugti, who is the youngest among the top Baluchistan leadership, those openly calling for an independent Baluchistan include legendary Baluch national leader Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri, 90, Baluch national heroes Nawabzada Hyrbyair Marri and Dr. Allah Nazar Baloch, and the De Jure Ruler of Baluchistan Khan of Kalat Suleman Daud.
A coalition of grassroots nationalist organizations grouped together in the Baluch National Front are also openly demanding an independent Baluchistan and breakup of Pakistan.
Texas-sized Baluchistan was annexed illegally by Pakistan in March 1948. At the time, the Baluch bicameral parliament Diwan-i-A'am and Diwan-i-Khas had both unanimously voted for an independent Baluchistan.