India may recognise Baloch leader Bugti as government in exile: How practical is the decision?

“People of Balochistan, Gilgit and PoK (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir) have thanked me a lot in past few days, I am grateful to them.” — Prime Minster Narendra Modi in his Independence Day speech.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi sahab on behalf of the whole Baloch nation. And we hope that the Indian government and Indian media and whole nation will not only raise voices for the Baloch nation but also strive to help practically the Baloch independence movement.” — Brahumdagh Bugti of Balochistan Republican Party.

And, just a month after Independence Day, this is what the Baloch leader had to say.

“We have decided that we will formally file asylum papers to Indian Govt. We will start work on it right away. We expect all kind of help from India.” – Bugti

Modi’s reference to Balochistan and its people during his Independence Day speech opened the earlier uncharted gates for the exiled Baloch leaders, who applied for asylum in India barely a month after.

They are making unprecedented speech and remarks against Pakistan possibly to appease India more. It can also be seen as a show of loyalty towards India in these troubled times when the countries are caught in a blame game over the Kashmir violence that erupted after Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani’s death.

Bugti, on Thursday, said that Pakistan should be declared a terrorist state, reiterating the statements of some Indian politicians after reports that the MHA was examining his asylum application in India.

Baloch leader Bugti on his way to the Indian embassy to inquire about the asylum process. Twitter/ @BRP_MediaCell

Baloch leader Bugti on his way to the Indian embassy to inquire about the asylum process. Twitter/ @BRP_MediaCell

This seems to be working in his favour because as DNA reported, if the relations between India and Pakistan keep deteriorating, the Modi government may allow Baloch expats to establish their government in exile.

The report further said that Bugti can be provided a place the Bilochpura village of Baghpat in Uttar Pradesh, where many ethnic Balochis have been living since Babur’s period

A NewsX report quoted some sources as saying, “If Pakistan does not stop using terrorism as a state policy to harm India, the government can take a policy decision to give persecuted Baloch leaders and people the political space to seek freedom from Pakistan’s occupation.”

Soon after his grandfather Nawab Bugti was killed in one of the numerous air strikes by Pakistan in 2006, Bugti founded the Baloch Republican Party. He is accused by the Pakistani government of leading the Baloch Republican Army, a separatist group designated as a terrorist organisation in Pakistan.

Bugti lived in exile in Afghanistan first and since then in Switzerland.

For the uninitiated, a government in exile is a political group which claims to be a country’s legitimate government, but is unable to exercise legal power and instead resides in a foreign country, according to Wikipedia.

To corroborate, according to the University of Chicago Law review, “With respect to the governments-in-exile, two kinds of recognition have to be distinguished: one is the continuing recognition of the government existing in the country immediately preceding the occupation, and of their successors; and the other, recognition ab origine of a newly created governmental authority on Allied soil.”

Reviewing it in the context of Bugti, Balochistan is legitimately a part of Pakistan, which nominates the head of the provice or the governor. The head of the government of Balochistan is the chief minister who is elected by the Balochistan Assembly.

Although the princely states which formed the Balochistan region did not willingly accede to Pakistan after the partition, the Khan accepted to merge with Pakistan, an article in The Nation said. Therefore, although grudgingly, Balochistan is a part of Pakistan.

Neither was Bugti’s government in power before the accession to Pakistan nor can it be recognised as a legitimate government. Moreover, since 1972, the Balochistan Republican Party was never in power.

However, the review also states that, “recognition may be extended to newly created governments without territory and without continuity.” This is possibly what the Modi government is planning to do with Bugti.

Previously, Dalai Lama was welomed by then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in 1959. According to CNN, the Indian government took in the refugees and helped settle them in Dharamsala.

According to a PTI report, the Tibetan government in exile was set up by the 14th Dalai Lama after a failed uprising in China.

According to a report by The Diplomat, Nehru ignored Chinese Premer Zhou Enlai’s warning not to give asylum to the Dalai Lama. It also says that that the root of Beijing’s mistrust of Delhi began because of India’s decision to grant the monk asylum.

Nehru’s “welcoming of the Dalai Lama created a fissure between India and China that persists even today,” the report read.

India manged to irk Pakistan and possibly create a permanent foe back in 1959. By granting an asylum to Bugti, will India exacerbate its relations with another neighbouring country?

Updated Date: Sep 23, 2016 18:06 PM

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