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What was to be an important discussion on the Balochistan freedom struggle in the Capital was dampened by the refusal of India to provide a visa to author and Baloch activist Naela Quadri Baloch, who is also the president of the World Baloch Women’s Forum. Her son, Baloch activist Mazdak Dilshad Baloch, however, was present at the event that took place at the Constitution Club of India on Saturday evening.
The discussion, titled Baloch Nationality: Internal Colonisation of Balochistan by Pakistan, organised by India Policy Foundation, had on its panel GD Bakshi, Tarek Fatah, apart from Mazdak. Curiously, Naela was denied a visa while travelling from Kabul. Organisers of the event, who had sent out invitations with Naela’s name on them, said that the visa was not given due to some “technical reasons”.
“She was first denied a visa due to some technical reasons; we reapplied. But, I think the time was too short a time for the Indian officials, with most bureaucrats in the MEA busy with the surgical strikes in Pakistan,” Rakesh Sinha, director at the IPF, told ANI.
Mazdak, however, remained clueless. “She had applied a while ago, and was in India over a month ago; I don’t know why was she denied a visa,” said Mazdak.
The denial of the visa is significant given Prime Minister Modi’s clarion call to help the Balochi freedom struggle. And, Union minister of external affairs Sushma Swaraj’s speech at the UN last week bringing attention to the cause. However, the denial of the visa could also point at India’s reluctance to go beyond drawing accesses to the Balochi people in Pakistan.
In the discussion, Mazdak spoke about the coolie camps in Balochistan. “Pakistanis torture, rape and murder Balochi people in these camps. And after that their bodies are airlifted and dumped on our hills. Most of these bodies have organs missing, and some are wrapped in the Balochi flag. This is done to tell us what will await our fate if we fight further for our independence,” he said.
Tarek Fatah spoke about the duplicity of Jinnah, who duped the people of Balochistan. “We were a protectorate of the British government, not an Indian princely state,” he said. “We must remember that Qalat was the first embassy in Karachi where the Balochi flag would fly high. Balochistan was an independent state.”