Two events last week in two corners of the world had a single underlying message – trouble is brewing for Pakistan. While the United Nations was watching the verbal brickbats between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir issue, a group of protesters almost went unnoticed outside the building in Manhattan. A large group of muhajirs (also written as Mohajir) were gathered outside the UN building protesting against the Pakistani establishment. Meanwhile in India, the representative of a top Balochistan independence leader was granted a political platform for the first time. The TOI reports that videos of the muhajir demonstrations have caused some anxiety in Pakistan. The media in the country expressed its shock that such a demonstration was taking place when Pakistan was still trying to put Kashmir back on the agenda. Who are the muhajirs? Muhajir, the Arabic word for immigrant, is a term used for Muslims who migrated to Pakistan from India during the partition.
A largely Urdu-speaking population, the muhajirs were the ones who were instrumental in the formation of a separate nation for Muslims.
It is because of them that Urdu became the official language of otherwise Punjabi-speaking Pakistan. It is not that muhjirs are a socially backward community. Many muhajirs have found name and fame in the country and outside. Prominent among them is former army chief and Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf.
Muhajirs of Pakistan demonstrating against Pak establishment at UN. MQM USA
But videos of the demonstrations at the UN show hundreds of muhajirs chanting ”Azadi” (freedom), which is the rallying cry for some separatist Kashmiris in J&K. The TOI reports that this demonstration was organised by the US wing of Pakistan’s mainstream Mohajir Quami Movement, which openly acknowledged its role and the rallying cry in a statement.
”MQM USA chapter was protesting against state terrorism on 50 million Mohajirs in Pakistan. Mohajirs and their representative political party are being labelled as Indian and RAW agents in Pakistan by country’s ruling elite. Pakistan’s judicial system has failed to provide any justice or relief.”
Pakistan believes that the protest was masterminded by India.
Islamabad has, till now, failed in providing any evidence against India that could conclusively prove that New Delhi is holding the strings to such movements. New Delhi has always been able to back its claims of Pak-sponsored terrorism on Indian soil on the international stage. The US has also been able to trace a money trail linking Kashmiri separatists to Pakistani government. While Pakistani political establishment never misses a chance to raise the J&K issue both on diplomatic as well as strategic platforms accusing India of “occupation”, a video showing Pakistani police brutality on demonstrators in the Pak-occupied Kashmir region left Islamabad red faced. And then there are Balochs Mohajirs are not the only ones whose increasing restiveness is giving sleepless nights to Pakistan. Balochs, who have been demanding a separate state of Balochistan, have now stepped up their activity outside the country thanks to the presence of prominent Balochis in UK and US.
They have been lobbying for separate statehood in Washington and London. Till now New Delhi was playing it safe, even as Balochi leaders were repeatedly requesting India for assistance.
But The Hindu report on the presence of a representative of a top Baloch leader in a political meeting in India shows that New Delhi has decided to openly come out in their support.
New Delhi-based Balaach Pardili, a representative of Hyrbyair Marri-led Baloch Liberation Front/Free Balochistan Movement, appeared in public on October 4 under the banner of Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena (BSKS). Vikas Swarup, official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, confirmed the report pubished in The Hindu and said that the presence of the Baloch representative proves again that “India has always been home to the persecuted people from all over the world.” Pointing at the presence of Pardili in Delhi, Pakistan now believes it has proof that India is lending support to Baloch liberation struggle. Chidanand Rajghatta writes that with a section of the Mohajirs heading down the ”azadi” track, Pakistan’s tenuous hold on Balochistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, and New Delhi turning the spotlight on Pakistani human rights violations, Islamabad is finding that its support for Kashmir separatism in India has its own blowback.