Swiss-based Baloch leader hopeful of Israel's help for freedom

 At the tender age of 22 when youths engage in romance, Brahumdagh Bugti, present chief of the largest and richest Bugti tribe in Balochistan was forced to go to the mountains to defend the rights of his hapless Baloch people. An unjust war was once again thrust upon the Baloch people 10 years ago by Pakistan’s military – the fifth since the resource-rich and strategically located France-sized country was forcefully occupied by Pakistan on March 27, 1948. His grandfather, Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, former Balochistan governor and chief minister of Balochistan, threw the gauntlet to the Pakistan army in defense of basic Baloch human rights and right to pursuit of happiness. A brutal military operation started, which continues to this day.

Brahumdagh Bugti’s grandfather was assassinated August 26, 2006 on the orders of then Pakistan coup leader and military dictator General Pervez Musharraf. Nawab Bugti had found sanctuary in the mountains of Balochistan-- the proverbial shield of the Baloch--after his ancestral Dera Bugti came under military attack. Chinese supplied listening devices and aircraft and US-supplied choppers, in addition to poison gas, were used during the commando action against Nawab Bugti. Pakistan government, which calls for jihad in Palestine and Kashmir – saying Jews and Hindus are enemies of Muslims--, routinely uses poison gas in Balochistan, even though Baloch people are Muslims, albeit secular. “It’s a miracle we are still alive,” Sher Mohammed Bugti, Brahumdagh Bugti’s right-hand and spokesperson for his Baloch Republican Party, recalled in downtown Geneva last week.  “We never thought we will survive.” In the ruthless bombings in his ancestral area, the Pakistan forces targeted anything that moved. “Let alone humans, they killed as many as 120 camels on a single day,” recalled Sher Mohammed Bugti.  

“Well done boys,” dictator Musharraf said, when he was informed about Nawab Bugti’s death along with two dozen comrades. At the time the news was conveyed to him, General Musharraf was inaugurating natural gas supply hundreds of miles away in the military stronghold of Punjab. Ironically, the gas was coming all the way from the Bugti territory. Rubbing salt to Baloch wounds, the military did not even allow a proper burial for Nawab Bugti, who throughout his political career spanning more than half a century never lost any popular elections in Balochistan.

Ever since Nawab Bugti’s killing, the situation in Balochistan has gone from bad to worse. Pakistan security forces, namely the Frontier Corps, Military Intelligence and Inter-Services Intelligence, have reportedly buried countless numbers of Baloch freedom activists in mass graves in Balochistan. In recent years, the situation has further aggravated as Pakistan and China want to connect the key Baloch port of Gwadar on the Straits of Hormuz with China for both strategic military and business-commercial interests. Pakistani media often accuse the Baloch freedom activists opposed to the the multi-billion mega project, that will turn them into a minority overnight, of being Zionist agents.

In this backdrop, Brahumdagh Bugti last Friday at his Geneva home looked back at how it all started. “The latest conflict was inseminated in 2002 when the government under Musharraf wanted to exploit more natural resources in Balochistan,” said Brahumdagh Bugti, now 33. His grandfather’s political stand was Pakistan could not be trusted as natural gas from the Bugti area was being taken to other parts of Pakistan since 1952, but Baloch tribesmen were cooking food with jungle wood to this day.

Brahumdagh Bugti is curious about politics and history and listens attentively to discussions. In a recent interview with an Israel News Talk Radio station, he expressed the hope that Israel will support his people’s struggle for a free and peaceful Balochistan in southwest Asia. One of his bosom buddies in Germany, Ashraf Sherjan, who says he is a fan of Ayelet Shaked, is a staunch advocate of Baloch friendship with Israel and Jews.  Brahumdagh Bugti, in his interview with the Israeli radio, said the situation in Balochistan was not different from what is happening in Syria, but the world knows little about the Pakistan army barbarism and brutalities in the backdrop of military censors. Pakistan had beaten up New York Times correspondent Carlotta Gall and had expelled Declan Walsh, presently Cairo bureau chief of the same newspaper, for their bold coverage of Balochistan.

To punish him for demanding independence for Balochistan, hundreds of Bugti tribesmen have been killed or maimed and some were burned alive in coal tar. Pakistan security forces also brutally killed Brahumdagh Bugti’s sister and niece some years ago. One can only hope Israeli ambassadors in Europe will take time to meet with Brahumdagh Bugti in Geneva to cement cooperation between the Baloch freedom lovers and the state of Israel for the good of all.

The Bugti land is the powerhouse of Balochistan, producing at least $11 million worth of natural gas each day.