American Friends of Balochistan's Weisner appeals to Oman and UAE to help Balochistan
An American woman who has been a fighter for the rights of the voiceless people all her life has written to the governments of Oman and United Arab Emirates to step in to keep Gwadar in Baloch hands and help with creation of a sovereign Balochistan for their own long-term national interests.
Jane Eastwood Weisner, American political activist and General Secretary
of the American Friends of Balochistan, in her letter to Hunaina bint Sultan Al Mughairy and Yousef Al Otaiba, ambassadors of Oman and the UAE in Washington DC, said her support for independence of Balochistan is also in Oman’s and UAE’s interests. “I see this cause as imperative to the security of America and your countries, United Arab Emirates and Oman. Pakistan's occupation of Balochistan has put the strategic Gwadar port in the precarious situation of possible terrorist control?"
Weisner's letter to the governments of Oman and UAE comes in the wake of Chinese President Xi Jinping vision to connect Gwadar with Kashgar as part of his Maritime Silk Road plans and China's ambition to augment its "string of pearls" naval bases by developing a naval base in Gwadar.
She said Pakistan's cozy relationship with the Al Qaeda and ISIS could be problematic for the port's security. “At present, the port's operations are in the hands of China. The Chinese continue to grow more powerful in Central Asia as they expand their sphere of influence,” Weisner pointed out. “Is Islamabad a satellite of Beijing? Has the balance of power already shifted in favor of a Chinese government whose ever growing political and economic power is swallowing up Central Asia?” she asked.
Weisner said the economies of the UAE and Oman depend on free access to the Straits of Hormuz. “Your tankers of oil are the lifeblood of your countries' economies and must never be jeopardized. China's control might appear to be stabilizing in the short run. But never forget the goals of China's Navy to be more of a presence in the area,” she said.
Weisner said the Gwadar Port is a deep water port capable of docking a battleship. “Could China's sphere of influence include a battleship within miles of the UAE's and Oman's shores? At this time, not a possibility, but what about 20 years from now? The world must look beyond the present,” she said.
She emphasized economic growth and stability in the region must be autonomous to the nations of the Arabian Gulf of Central Asia. “Foreign control of strategic waterways cannot be left in the hands of China. Pakistan has chosen to let China suck the economic marrow of the Gwadar Port into her coffers, ever enriching the economic power of China against Baloch wishes.”
She said the question remains, do the UAE and Oman leave their countries' economies at the mercy of an ever growing, greedy China or support sovereignty for Balochistan? “As much as I understand the history of the region, the Baloch have centuries old ties with your countries as they have served your military and in police and have also contributed to business and commerce as loyal citizens,” she said.
Oman king Sultan Qaboos has always held Baloch, who are nearly 40 percent of Oman, in high esteem. Commander of the Royal Oman army is a Baloch named Maj.Gen Mattar bin Salim Al Balushi, while noted Omani businessman Yahya Nasib, chairman of the Yahya Group Holding and owner of the prestigious Dolphin Village, a distant relative of this scribe, was awarded the Order of the British Empire last year by Prince Harry. Tens of thousands of Baloch serve Oman army and police.
Gwadar was part of Oman for nearly two centuries and Pakistan claims it "purchased" it from Oman in September 1958. However, the Baloch are asking Oman to have the sale declared null and void.
Likewise, Baloch have long served in the UAE police, army and palaces of the different sheikhs as caretakers of their camels. One of the prominent families is called the Sharaf family who hold high position in banking and business. A noted member of the family is retired Maj. Gen. Sharafuddin Sharaf, who serves as the Chairman of MAC Sharaf Securities (U.A.E) and is former Dubai intelligence chief.
Weisner emphasized a free and sovereign Balochistan would be an ally not an adversary. “Gwadar must remain a commercial, free trade port. It must not be allowed to be part of China's strategic growth plans,” she concluded..