Page last updated at 11:59 GMT, Sunday, 22 March 2009

Royal asylum seeker's Welsh home

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Khan Suleman Daud, the 35th Khan of Kalat, who has been seeking asylum since July 2007, wants to take Pakistan for the International Court of Justice

By Carl Roberts
The Politics Show, Wales

A royal asylum-seeker from the Balochistan province of Pakistan is living in Cardiff while he attempts to take the plight of his people to the International Court of Justice.

Khan Suleman Daud, the 35th Khan of Kalat, has been seeking asylum since July 2007, while at home he owns palaces and employs hundreds of staff.

You've probably never have heard of Balochistan, but Khan Suleman is determined to put it back on the political map.

At home in his three-bedroom home in Cardiff, His Highness - as it says on his passport - is surrounded by historical agreements signed by his forefathers and the British rulers of India in the 19th Century.

"I chose Cardiff because of the weather, and life is a bit easier here than a more cosmopolitan city like London," he said.

"Life is too fast there. And the main thing is that you have mountains around you so whenever I get bored and remember my country... I take a stroll over there and a walk."

Of course I'll go home, whether I live or die my graveyard is over there
Khan Suleman Daud, the Khan of Kalat

For a short period after the British left India in the late 1940s Balochistan was an independent nation bordering Afghanistan and Iran.

It also shared a border with Pakistan - until Pakistan took it over in 1948.

Some Baloch still bear a grudge against the British for not defending them against the Pakistani "invasion".

These days Balochistan, in south western Pakistan, is seen as a haven for the Taleban.

President Obama this week said he was considering US drone attacks in the area to counteract Taleban insurgents near the capital, Quetta.

Khan Suleman says the Baloch people have also come under attack from Pakistani authorities in an attempt to dampen down Baloch moves for self determination and even independence in the area.

Location map

He fled his homeland in 1997 and vowed to travel to the International Court of Justice in The Hague over what he sees as Pakistani atrocities against his people.

He has applied for political asylum - fearing he would be killed if he returned home.

But the Khan's asylum application has been rejected, and that rejection was upheld at an asylum tribunal in November 2008.

He is currently appealing against that decision in the House of Lords on a point of law.

In a statement, the UK Border Agency said that they would not remove anyone from the UK while there are any outstanding legal appeals or applications - so he's not going anywhere - certainly not home.

"I am here because of my people and because of what they have given me to take to the international court (of justice). I've come here to do whatever I can for the plight of my people, and your government has left me marooned on this island," he said

Last ally

Taleban forces are tolerated in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan, and the Khan says that young people feeling persecuted by Pakistan could turn to the Taleban.

He plans to return home one day but he has a warning for his people's former ally - the UK Government.

"Of course I'll go home, whether I live or die my graveyard is over there. The thing is that your government is acting in a very short-sighted way. They should think long term.

"The only people who are secular in that region are the Baloch, and if you (the UK Government) want to lose your last ally on the ground... that is your choice," he said.

The Pakistani High Commission has been asked for a statement but has not responded yet.



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