Baloch leader Brahumdagh Bugti to seek asylum in India

Bugti, who spoke to Indian embassy officials on Monday over telephone from Geneva, has been living in Geneva for the last six years, and his application for political asylum in Switzerland is “pending with the Swiss authorities”.

Written by Shubhajit Roy | New Delhi | Updated: September 20, 2016 2:47 am
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Brahumdagh Bugti, who is leading the Baloch movement against Pakistan while living in exile in Switzerland, is planning to go to the Indian embassy in Berne on Tuesday to seek political asylum. India, which does not have an asylum policy, is non-committal so far on his proposed application.

Bugti, who spoke to Indian embassy officials on Monday over telephone from Geneva, has been living in Geneva for the last six years, and his application for political asylum in Switzerland is “pending with the Swiss authorities”.

“This (seeking political asylum in India) was the decision of the central committee of the Baloch Republican Party, which has 17 members. Today, we had a meeting of the central committee in Geneva — which was attended by six members in person and another six over Skype. The remaining members could not join since calls and internet of our leaders are monitored in Pakistan,” Bugti told The Indian Express.

The six members who attended the meeting had come from the UK and Germany. Government sources said they would examine Bugti’s application, if and when it comes. “Right now, we have not taken a decision…it will be a political call, after studying the implications,” said a source.

Bugti, grandson of slain Baloch leader Akbar Bugti, went into exile in Afghanistan after the death of his grandfather in 2006. He moved to Switzerland in 2010 and has been living there since. The leader of the Baloch Republican Party (BRP) also said his party would approach the International Criminal Court against former and current Pakistani Army Generals, including Pervez Musharraf, Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Raheel Sharif, besides ISI top brass for the atrocities on people of Balochistan.

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Bugti said his party would seek the help of India, Afghanistan and Bangladesh to file a case against China at the International Court of Justice, saying Beijing was “involved” along with Pakistan in unleashing violence on Baloch people.

He also appealed to India to come out with a policy initiative so that people facing “atrocities” in Balochistan can feel secure in India. He said many more Baloch leaders may seek asylum in India and added “we will see who all will need asylum (in India)”.

The move comes after weeks of deliberations within the Baloch refugee community across the world, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi raised the Balochistan issue twice last month — first at the all-party meeting and at his Independence Day speech.