Dr. Jumma Khan Marri visited Brussels last week on an unusual mission.
He is a leading tribal chief of Balochistan, a south-western province of Pakistan that has immense geo-political and geo-economic significance due to its location, and for having one of the world’s largest deep sea ports the Gawader Port. The port could be pivotal for connectivity between various economic hubs of the world including Europe.
Dr Marri spearheaded a separatist movement in Balochistan for three decades and was in exile, but in February this year he announced he is abandoning the movement realizing that stability in Balochistan was important in the current scenario so that people in the region can reap benefits from the rising economic opportunities with the development of Gawader Port.
Talking to media in Brussels, he explained that during his meetings at the European Institutions, he has cautioned policy makers about the misuse of asylum by some terrorists from Balochistan on the pretext of human rights. Some European countries have already denied asylum to several Baloch leaders and misuse of various forums by them which they were using to spread unrest in Balochistan and among Baloch diaspora in Europe.
During his visit Dr. Marri held meetings at the European institutions for the sake of awareness about the misuse of Human Rights Conventions by the terrorists. He met with the Baloch community in Europe with a view to harness support to bring the misguided groups on the right track.
Khan also informed media that after denouncing insurgency in February 2018 , he launched a party with the name ‘Overseas Pakistani Baloch Unity’ and was trying to talk to all misguided Balochs to lay down their weapons and join Pakistan mainstream politics through negotiations.
As an insider who had been actively supporting political uprisings in Balochistan, Dr. Marri emphasised that some Baloch people were being allured by outside forces in the name of nationalism, which just ends up worsening the socio-economic plight of the Baloch people as peace and stability remains a prerequisite for socio-economic development.
Marri said that in Balochistan, the huge economic potential arising from development of Gawader port, road networks and alternate power projects as part of China–Pakistan Economic Corridor offered great opportunities for the Baloch people and this is the time when people of Balochistan should avert incitement from outside and maintain peace in the province to take maximum benefit from these opportunities.
Marri also disclosed that he had been offered funding from spy agencies of several countries to organize insurgencies in Balochistan, but over time he understood the real motives, which were to destabilize Balochistan and to deviate world’s attention from the Kashmir issue. Such uprisings did not bring any dividends to people.
During his meetings at the European institutions, Marri also launched complaint against providing safe haven to Brahamdagh Bugti, Hyrbyar Marri and several other disgruntled Baloch leaders by different European countries, claiming these people have records of inciting violence in Balochistan, Marri is hopeful that many more Baloch will follow him and quit supporting violence in Balochistan. Several major defections are also expected as a result of his ongoing campaign.