A key leader of the Balochistan freedom struggle has thanked Altaf Husain, leader of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement for standing with him during his ordeal at the Zurich Airport Thursday.
Mehran Marri, along with his spouse and two kids, were detained at Zurich Airport after the army-managed government of Pakistan presented a dossier to the Swiss authorities about his alleged involvement in terrorism. The Swiss government has now put a life ban on Mehran Marri, a Briton, from entering Switzerland.
Mehran Marri arrived in Zurich to attend a much trumpeted Baloch unity moot of feudal lords, who are opposed to Pakistan’s military occupation of France-sized Balochistan. The moot was called by his brother-in-law Brahumdagh Bugti, president of the Baloch Republican Party. Others who were invited to the exclusive meeting were his estranged elder brother Hyrbyair Marri, brother-in-law Mir Javed Mengal, Bugti’s brother-in-law Sardar Chakar Khan Domki and the lone commoner Hammal Haider, a leader of the Baloch National Movement.
“Just wanted to let all of you know that last night I was released from detention at @Zrh_Airport and asked to leave #Switzerland. I am safe with my wife and children in Stutgart, Germany and will take the Swiss authorities to court for deporting a European citizen from a European country at the behest of the world epicentre of jihadi terrorism i.e. Pakistan. I want to thank all of you who stood by me in my dark hour. Thanks to Geo News, Times of India, TMI and Republic TV for reporting my ordeal,” he said.
Marri said, “A special thanks to my friend #AltafHussain of the @OfficialMQM for his statement of support to me and the ongoing Balochistan struggle to end Pakistsn’s 70-year occupation of our homeland. Bhai, we will never forget you as our fellow traveller,” he tweeted.
Altaf Hussain, who himself has been cornered by the Deep State of Pakistan, as most of his longtime colleagues in Pakistan have deserted him, in a long statement in Urdu expressed solidarity with Mehran Marri and expressed concern over the Swiss action.
Hussain showered praise on the Mehran Marri for his struggle against the corrupt army and ISI generals in the true tradition of his brave ancestors who always fought against the colonialists. He said Geneva is the city where the oppressed and voiceless congregate against the wrong doings of oppressor states and if victimized people of the world are denied entry there, then where will they go. “Has the Swiss government become subservient to the ISI?” he asked.
Mehran Marri had long been very close to the MQM leaders, specially now retired MQM leader Mohammed Anwar, who he says taught him international activism in Geneva; some Baloch and Indians insist Mehran Marri’s twitter account is handled by Toronto-based intellectual Tarek Fatah in Toronto–both Fateh and Marri deny that.
Islamabad accuses Marri, youngest son of late Balochistan freedom icon Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri, of being the chief of the United Baloch Army– a splinter group of the Balochistan Liberation Army, which Islamabad says is led by Hyrbyair Marri. The Marri brothers deny any links with any militant outfits, however. Islamabad also accuses Bugti of being the head of the Baloch Republican Army– a charge he vehemently denies.
In practical terms, Islamabad’s accusation against the Marri brothers or Bugti of being heads of guerrilla organizations, funded by India appears to be blatantly untrue. As much as I know about world history, no successful guerrilla warfare can be waged by commanders who live in Western comforts, thousands of miles away from the bloody battlegrounds of Balochistan. Secondly, no responsible power– much less resource starved India–, can afford to waste their taxpayers monies in such fashion, even if New Delhi is reportedly irked over Chinese investment of $62 billions to take over of the strategic port of Gwadar through the so-called China Pakistan Economic Corridor. In line with Islamabad’s habit of blaming India for all their wrongs, just three days ago, Pakistan’s second most important army general, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, Gen Zubair Mahmood Hayat, alleged that India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) had established a $500 million cell in 2015 dedicated to sabotaging CPEC projects, DAWN newspaper reported.
As much as I know had these leaders really been involved in militancy– like Dr Allah Nazar of the Balochistan Liberation Front–, they might have stayed back in the Baloch territories of Afghanistan or Iran, which have traditionally provided sanctuary to Baloch rebels. One of the Marri brothers, Mir Balach Marri, a member of the Balochistan provincial assembly was indeed involved in the militant struggle but was killed November 19, 2007– almost exactly 10 years to the date of the Baloch summit.
Bugti, the host of the Baloch unity moot that was scheduled to open Saturday, was dismayed. “Really shocked that Mehran Marri was stopped at Zürich airport and banned to enter Switzerland on Islamabad’s request. How a neutral country like Switzerland can do that. Looking forward to meeting with Swiss authorities,” he tweeted. He further said, “If any western country including Switzerland have any doubts about our activities then I here today invite all of them to come and be present among us and see what we are doing. This is really what we wanted to let you know the reality.”
Bugti had invited the the Marri brothers, the Marris’ brother-in-law Mir Javed Mengal– also accused by Islamabad of being the head of the smaller Lashkar-i-Balochistan militant group, his own brother-in-law Sardar Chakar Khan Domki a unity meeting to end longstanding squabbles among the Baloch gentry over petty issues.
Despite Mehran Marri’s detention at Zurich, it was not clear if the marri brothers have buried the hatchet against one another — their bad blood is said to have left nearly four dozen best Marri fighters dead in their ancestral Kohlu area. A web site named Baloch Warna run by Hyrbyair Marri’s group did not carry any news of Mehran Marri’s ordeal in Zurich. However, Faiz Baluch, one of Hyrbyair Marri’s close associates did tweet in Mehran Marri’s favor without naming him, “Pakistan abducts and detains Baloch women and children and Switzerland also stops and detains women and children at airports. Whats the difference between the two? Baloch nation cannot be pressurised by such tactic. The struggle will continue.”
Kashmir Pandit and journalist Aditya Raj of Republic TV, who has been covering Balochistan for some years now, in his tweet said, “#Pakistan did not want the Nov 18 all-party Balochistan meet in Zurich to succeed. All hotel bookings are cancelled as Islamabad was worried to see estranged brothers Hybiar and Mehran coming together with @BBugti and @hammalhaidar.”
Another senior journalist Chitra Subramanian, co-founder of the News Minutes who carved a place for herself in investigative journalism by her expose of the Bofors scandal, and who has been following Balochistan developments in recent years, tweeted, “Marri has been coming to Switzerland for over a decade. Few doubt this action is #China flexing a not-to-covert muscle behind the scenes.”
The very fact that the November moot was cancelled due to Mehran Marri’s deportation showed that neither he nor others who were scheduled to come are militant leaders; a militant leader may have easily sneaked into Geneva from the porous French border