By Nasir Naveed
What can an independent Balochistan offer to the US?
- China will not be able to enjoy the luxury to use Gawadar port, for this purpose it will have to have a fresh agreement with the government of Balochistan followed by an agreement with the government of Pakistan, which would not be an easy task because US pressure on the newborn state of Balochistan would force it to refuse to China. China usually avoids unnecessary troubles in its dealings, it may reconsider it plan to use Gawadar and it would establish US hegemony in the Arabian Sea.
- The US can use Balochistan as a base to launch an attack on Iran and Balochistan can facilitate the US in this regard in return of US pledge to support Balochistan in acquiring bordering areas in Iran where the Baloch are living which the US can happily commit.
- The US can use Balochistan to weaken Taliban by pushing Quetta Shura out of Quetta; by this US would be in a position to negotiate with Taliban from the position of strength which would help it in bargaining with Taliban. As the US is planning to have an agreement with Afghanistan by which it can stay in Afghanistan beyond 2014 which is likely to be executed soon. By this the US would be easily in a position to transport energy all the way from Central Asia to Arabian Sea. Thus Balochistan would be the best possible reliable energy corridor for the US.
- Balochistan will be an uninterruptible route for NATO supply to Afghanistan, which would be more reliable. The US will once again get Shamsi Air Base; therefore, the CIA will be free to use it for drones to hit militant outfits.
- Balochistan has immense natural resources especially gas, gold and copper and many more. The US companies will get contracts to drill these natural resources which would be beneficial for both the US and Balochistan.
- The US will put more pressure on Pakistan through various means to prove that its nuclear weapons are not safe and secure and it would be difficult for amputated and bleeding Pakistan to resist pressure effectively.
- The secession of Balochistan will encourage other provinces of Pakistan to struggle for the same fate. Although its opposite argument can be that insurgency in other neighboring countries of Pakistan will start and it will be difficult to stop the balkanization of the region. The bottom line is that we should be more concern about our country and the rest is none of our business.
We can save Balochistan and save Pakistan from disintegration by taking prudent decisions. The following steps can help us in bringing Balochistan back in the mainstream politics.
- All forms of military operations must be stopped immediately because to use force by giving it various names would further aggravate the situation.
- A high level committee should be formed and it should be head by a Baloch and most of its members must be Baloch. The committee should work independently and it must point out what are main problems of Balochistan and it should give recommendations to solve the problems. Government of Pakistan must implement the committee’s recommendations. Any delay will have dangerous consequences. Most importantly timeframe must be set for this committee which should not be more than three months.
- The recovery all the missing persons of Balochistan must be a top priority of the government.
- Our intelligence agencies must provide credible evidence to the government of foreign involvement in Balochistan and the government must take severe actions against those countries. Making allegations without hard evidence will serve no purpose.
- There must be no sacred cows in the country and neither individuals nor institutions must be above law.
- A serious action must be taken against the banned organizations.
- Any part of Pakistan must not be used as safe haven for militants. We should kick out all foreign militants without picking and choosing.
In international relations only national interests matter. We should not ignore harsh realities. In 2003 it was Iran, which told the world about A Q Khan network and we had to face the wrath of world, which damaged our credibility and provided the US an excuse to deny nuclear deal to Pakistan which it offered to our eastern neighbor. Iran is getting isolated in the international community due to its alleged nuclear ambitions; therefore, we should not jump in the controversy between Iran and West.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai stated in an interview that the Afghan soil would not be used to attack Pakistan but when the Salala incident happened. Hamid Karzai could not even dare to condemn it and he was only interested in Pakistan’s presence at the Bonn conference.
Our fragile economy coupled with heterogeneous society doesn’t allow us for radical changes in our foreign policy. Our civil-military leadership should be on the same page to cope with chronic internal and external challenges.
The Writer has done M.Phil in Strategic and Nuclear Studies from National Defense University Islamabad, Pakistan. He can be contacted [email protected]