Baloch activist Naela Quadri said CPEC was a military project because China wanted a military port in Gwadar.

Quadri is visiting Delhi as part of a tour of India to drum up support for independence in war-torn Balochistan from Pakistan.

Quadri said: “No country has the right to sell the ports of Baluchistan as this is disputed land since 1948. Not only China and Pakistan but even Barrick Gold should refrain from exploiting Baluchistan until it is independent”. She was referring to the Canadian-based company that had signed an agreement with Imran Khan’s government to extract minerals in Balochistan.

Many Baluchis living in India joined Naela Quadri in New Delhi (Photo: Rahul Kumar)

The Canada-based Baloch activist said China is the new colonial power while Pakistan is bankrupt, adding that the day Balochistan gains independence, Pakistan will be on its knees. “Pakistan sold our resources to China. The day China entered Balochistan, human rights abuses in Pakistan turned into genocide,” she alleged.

China’s CPEC, a massive infrastructure project, seeks to connect Pakistan’s port of Gwadar to China’s northwest Xinjiang region through a network of road, rail and port projects. Baloch rebels have carried out a number of attacks against Chinese nationals as well as CPEC infrastructure.

Quadri said that to get international loans, Pakistan even shows the resources of Balochistan to its future lenders.

About her visit to India, she said she was here to drum up support for the government in exile. Quadri said many Western countries have given their support to the Baloch government in exile and more will soon follow.

She added that the Baloch people want India to raise their issue at the United Nations. Referring to India as a powerhouse, she said: “In India, I have met civil society organizations that are empowering. I have drawn a lot of courage from these meetings. We expect a lot from the support from India”.

Congratulating President-elect Draupadi Murmu, Qadri said she called on the new president to show solidarity with Baloch women who are being tortured and shamed by Pakistani security forces. “Pakistan is doing to our women what it did to women in the Bangladesh war.”

Highlighting the killings by the Pakistan Armed Forces, Qadri said Baloch kidnapped people are dropped from helicopters on top of the hills. “Nearly 55,000 Baluchis are in the torture cells of the Pakistani army who make fake encounters with doctors, engineers, writers and students. These are people who have not seen the light of the sun and who are regularly tortured”.

Many activists joined her on stage from different denominations and groups. One of them was Acharya Yeshi, former president of the Tibetan government in exile.

Yeshi said that many freedom struggle activists from different regions came to Delhi for support and they were successful in their cause. He said, “India has played an important role in the struggle of Tibetans against China. All governments since the time of Jawaharlal Nehru have supported us”.

Focusing on China, he said that China had brought about the downfall of Sri Lanka. “It’s not in China’s nature to help India’s neighboring countries. They will all collapse under Chinese debt.”

Highlighting the role India has played in bringing peace to the region, Yeshi said, “India has hosted many communities from outside the country. They came to India and live here in peace.” Advocating for solidarity with the Baloch people, Yeshi said the different faiths and communities must come together to support each other for a peaceful and independent Balochistan.”

Baluchis living in India invaded the place to meet Qadri. Many Baluchis, especially from the Hindu community, became Indian citizens and vowed to continue the battle for an independent Baloch nation.

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