- Envoy says Switzerland shouldn’t let dissident Baloch leaders use its territory
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has lodged a protest with the Swiss government for letting a banned-outfit, Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), operate from its soil to spread ‘free Balochistan’ propaganda.
In a letter to Ambassador Valentin Zellweger, the permanent representative of the Swiss government at the United Nations, Pakistani envoy to Switzerland Farukh Amil has taken up the matter of posters raised in the area around Rio de Ferney in Grand Sacconex, Geneva, terming the incident as a belligerent attack on the “sovereignty and territorial integrity of Pakistan” by giving calls for ‘free Balochistan’.
Farukh Amil also drew the attention of the ambassador towards the failure of the Swiss authorities in taking action against terrorists of BLA – a group of Baloch separatists listed by Pakistan, United Kingdom (UK) and other states as a terrorist organisation.
The envoy said that the BLA had been using its Geneva hideout, Balochistan House, to attack the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the state of Pakistan, despite the fact that attack on the sovereignty of any state is a violation of the UN charter.
“Any notion of free Balochistan is a flagrant attack on sovereignty and territorial integrity of Pakistan. The fact that such attack emanated from Switzerland is deeply regrettable. Excellency you may kindly note that Balochistan House, which apparently sponsored these posters, is an affiliate of Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA),” the letter reads.
The envoy noted that the BLA is a listed terrorist organisation under the laws of Pakistan and other countries, including the United Kingdom. The US state department has also categorised several of its activities and actions as acts of terrorism, the letter adds.
“The mutually overlapping leadership of Balochistan House and BLA have committed grave crimes against security forces and civilians in Pakistan, including attacks against women and children. These included targeted assassinations as well as bombings to execute mass killings,” the envoy stated. Ambassador Farukh Amil added that the BLA was also involved in religious and sectarian violence, including attacks against Christians and Shia Muslims in Pakistan.
The envoy also demanded the Swiss government to fully investigate the incident with a view to blocking its recurrence in the future. He also urged the Swiss government to proceed against the local accomplices of the BLA and deal with those individuals/companies like APG SA advertising agency who wittingly or unwittingly support BLA.
Terrorists linked with BLA and other banned religious outfits have been carrying out attacks on personnel of law enforcement agencies and civilians in Balochistan. Pakistan has time and again blamed India for funding Baloch and religious terrorist organisation for creating unrest in the mineral-rich Balochistan.
These claims have been backed by reports from several senior US and other Western officials who have accused India of funding terrorists to destabilise Pakistan.
A confirmation of this allegation came from former US defence secretary Senator Chuck Hagel who in a video suggested that India has over the years “financed problems for Pakistan” using Afghan soil.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi added more meat to the claims of India’s Balochistan agenda in his speech made on India’s National Day on August 15, 2016, where he referred to Balochistan.
“The people of Balochistan … have thanked me in such a manner, from places that I have never been and never had a chance to meet, they have sent wishes to the people of India and thanked us,” the Indian prime minister said.
“The time has come when Pakistan shall have to answer to the world for the atrocities committed by it against people in Balochistan,” Modi said. Modi’s reference to Balochistan was eulogised by Brahamdagh Bugti, a separatist leader listed by Pakistan as a terrorist.
“I thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi on behalf of the whole Baloch nation. And we hope that the Indian government and Indian media and the whole Indian nation will not only raise voice for the Baloch nation but also strive to help practically the Baloch independence movement,” he asserted.
India’s hawkish National Security Advisor AK Doval had almost issued a threat to Pakistan when he said that India’s troublesome neighbour could lose Balochistan if there was a repeat of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.
It is pertinent to mention here that the Baloch separatist leaders mostly visit New Delhi and Kabul where they are hosted and taken care of. Pakistan has time and again raised the issue of India funding terrorist attacks in Pakistan.
Following Doval’s threats on Balochistan, Pakistan arrested India’s senior intelligence operative, Commander Kulbhushan Jhadav, from Balochistan on March 3, 2016, who confessed to funding, training and planning terrorist attacks in the province.