Balochistan rebels Pakistan government
Ethnic tribes in Balochistan, southwest of Pakistan, have long been demanding the right to self determination and control over natural resources as they accuse Islamabad of oppression and exploitation of their population AFP PHOTO/Banaras KHAN/Getty Images

Bangladesh has reportedly backed its neighbour India and said it would soon come out with a declaration on alleged human rights abuses by Pakistan in its south-west region Balochistan. It has hailed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for highlighting the Balochistan issue during his speech delivered on India's Independence Day on 15 August.

Islamabad has been accused of violating human rights in the erstwhile East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, as well as for harbouring terrorists. The Balochistan issue is reported to be somewhat similar to what Kashmir is to India.

Hasanul Haque Inu, Bangladesh's minister of information, who is visiting India, told The Hindu that in 1971 Bengalis were "targeted" by Pakistan's military in East Pakistan which broke away from the mainland to become Bangladesh.

The Pakistani government is said to be facing strong hostility among the people of Balochistan ever since the country came into existence in 1947. Pakistan's military has been accused of abuses, including executions, torture, arrests and indiscriminate violence.

"Pakistan has a very bad track record as far as addressing aspiration of nationalities is concerned. They learnt nothing from the defeat of 1971 and continued to practise the same policy of repression and are now targeting the Baloch nationalists," Inu said.

Just like a part of Kashmir, Balochistan is said to be under Pakistan's control unlawfully for a couple of decades soon after the India-Pakistan partition in 1947.

"I want to speak a bit about the people in Balochistan, Gilgit, Baltistan, and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir," the Indian prime minister said in his Independence Day speech. Modi's remarks on Balochistan came a day after Pakistan dedicated its Independence Day celebrations on 14 August to the "independence" of Kashmir.

Coming out in support of Modi's assertion now, Inu said: "Bangladesh is constitutionally bound to support liberation struggles and we will soon declare an official policy on Balochistan."

Referring to the 1971 war against Pakistan, Inu said Pakistan had not learnt from its "historic mistakes". "Pakistan exports terror and needs to be confronted about the futility of its policies that it has refused to change till now," Inu said. He added that his country was wary about Pakistan's activities that could promote cross-border terrorism and impact regional security and cooperation in South Asia and among Saarc nations.

The Bangladeshi minister also sought an explanation from Islamabad on "what it wishes to achieve by promoting cross-border terrorism in South Asia and by repressing democratic nationalities like the Baloch in its territory".