Baloch National Interest and the Middle East Conflict
1. Emotionally charged statements on the Middle East crisis, and thereby condemning the existence of Israel and depicting it as an evil state, on the same line as Pakistan – in my humble opinion – would not bring any good to the Baloch cause. Such gushing remarks reflect a degree of immaturity on our part and it also reveals our short-sightedness when it comes to our own interests. This kind of demagogic approach, though, gratifies our emotional needs and it may perhaps soothe our own pain as a nation that has been living under brutal occupation for over sixty years, but to see the whole conflict through our moral or (to put it correctly) leftist-revolutiona ry lenses, is going to be a naïve mistake and it does not conform to the broader interest of the Baloch Cause.
2. Baloch movement for emancipation is not – in any case – similar to the Islamic movement Hamas, nor is the conflict between Palestine and Israel comparable to the one we have against Pakistani and Persian states. The outlook of Baloch struggle differs from the Palestinian movement significantly as both theatres of conflict are located in two different geographical regions therefore, can be viewed into different geostrategic contexts.
3. Israel’s three-week long and multi-phased military offensive that claimed about 1300 Palestinian lives, among them innocent children and women who were caught up in the line of fire – without question – disturbed our conscience as a nation. Death of innocent civilians in Gazza is as regrettable as in Dera Bugti. It is, thus, absolutely fine to raise our voices against humanitarian catastrophe such as this one. But it is one thing to record our protest on the carnage caused by the Israeli Defence Forces, which invited a barrage of criticism from all over the world, it is quite another thing to link Baloch cause with Hamas as if they both are facing same enemy.
4. Despite, all our moral revulsion, this is in fact a political conflict, a war between two bitterly opposing wills locked in a series of battles, and both sides are killing each other not for the sake killing itself but for wider political objectives. And loss of civilian lives in any such conflict is the ugliest side of war. Having said this, my point is that prior to toss our moral support to a conflict which has little or no impact whatsoever on the Baloch cause – we must consider the fundamental question: does this approach serve the Baloch national interests?
5. Relying on paasion and reducing the whole Middle East to simplistic morality play where Good versus Evil is not a prudent way to respond. To make sense of a conflict, it requires deeper understanding of thorny political issues and disposition of actors whose interests are often unseen but they do shape the conflict on every level. As for the Baloch, there is no hope to gain much by simply rallying behind the crusading brand of politics of Hamas and Hezbollah. We have no stomach to go around pick up quarrels in the name of global justice. We all know the truth that it is not Hezbollah and Hamas flexing their muscles in the Middle East but a resurgent Iran that has hijacked Palestinian cause and continues to extend its influence through proxies.
6. At times, the Baloch existence is threatened by two powerful enemies from both sides; to the east, a Punjabo-Mohajer nexus – with the help of a huge military might – sets its eyes on Baloch lands and continues to expand westward. And to the west, an aggressive Persian design reinforced by militant Shi’ite impulse, employing a strategy to encroach Baloch lands through assimilation and by terrorising them to subdue. In these critical moments, the last thing we need is to repudiate powerful western nations who may not have a shred of sympathy for the browbeaten nation like ours but they are no friends of Pakistan and Iran. It’s, now, time for the Baloch, to learn to calculate their own interests rather than embarking on a utopian path to achieve global justice for others as the very idea of justice in the realm of international politics is utter folly.