Polls in Balochistan have always simply provided the much needed legitimacy to the brutal actions that the establishment had taken to suppress the rightful demands of the Baloch nationalists
The elections in Balochistan will be less than credible because elections held in an environment of terror and harassment, where people are permanently terrorised by the security forces and their proxy death squads can never be free or fair. The turnout will be naturally extremely low due to the overall security situation, which has for long been appalling for the Baloch and Hazaras, and also the boycott. Although the physical turnout will probably be extremely low, the participation figures will be manipulated to give them a semblance of respectability. Incidentally, the turnout even during the un-boycotted and peaceful elections of 2002 was a pathetic 29 percent. The people’s interest in elections in Balochistan waned a long time ago as these brought them more misery and sufferings while only the elected and their families thrived. The extremely successful strikes of May 9 and 10 have put paid to expectations that people can be forced to come out to vote.
A frustrated enemy is a vicious enemy because sensing failure he resorts to underhand measures but tries to give them a semblance of legality so he can justify it to others. Undoubtedly he looks for justifications but in the last analysis his logic is that of the parable of the wolf and lamb; he is bent on doing evil he doesn’t really care for justifications and legality and commits all the crimes under the sun to ensure his survival. Though he uses all ploys and ruses he eventually fails because the wheels of history move according to its own laws and cares not a whit for the power of those who wish to defy its laws. This adage applies to historical processes in its spirit, essence and application; “Though the mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small; Though with patience He stands waiting, with exactness grinds He all.” History grinds to dust those who flout its laws.
The Pakistani establishment is trying to solve the problems by the very same methods that created them in the first place
Seemingly, warped logic motivates the Pakistani establishment where the Baloch or Sindhis are concerned. I was not amazed at reading the news that the Balochistan High Court (BHC) demanded an explanation from the federal information secretary, the chairman of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority, the provincial information secretary and Balochistan public relations director as to why its order about stopping statements of militants belonging to banned organisations from being disseminated by electronic and print media had not been implemented. It is pertinent to mention that in October 2011, the BHC banned reports about militants in the media. This demand comes in the wake of the March 15, 2013 notification of the interior ministry that the Baloch Students Organization (Azad) and Jeay Sindh Muttahida Mahaz (JSMM) stood banned, ironically with a clutch of Pakistan’s former but now out-of-control proxies, as terrorist organisations.
There certainly is a motive behind this obsession with being elected; there is a lot at stake in monetary gains and prestige
The caretaker prime minister (PM) Justice (retd) Hazar Khan Khoso reportedly was to undertake a trip to Balochistan for convincing the ‘disgruntled Baloch leaders’ to participate in the general elections. The caretakers, like their predecessors, are clutching at imaginary straws. This essentially vain effort reminds me of a Sheikh Saadi parable. A king concerned about the welfare of many dervishes (sages, ascetics) residing in his domain gave his vizier money for distribution among them. The vizier returned a few days later with the money unused and said he could not find any dervish. Annoyed, the king said that there were plenty. The vizier calmly explained, “O’ King, the real Dervishes wouldn’t touch the money and those who wanted it were phonies not dervishes so I didn’t give it to them.” Those opposing elections will not be meeting the PM and those already deeply involved and needing no convincing are falling over each other to meet him. The caretaker vizier’s Quetta trip to find dervishes will also be futile. Those who matter are not in Quetta while those talking are already bending over backwards to oblige and certainly those phonies are not the answer to Balochistan’s problems.
Little do political parties in Balochistan realise that the noose of disaster, devastation and desolation will tighten around the neck of the people
Ironically, an irony that escaped him, Sardar Akhtar Mengal’s decision to participate in the forthcoming elections coincided with March 27, the day Baloch nationalists observe as a ‘Black Day’, because that day in 1948, Balochistan was forcibly annexed, depriving the Baloch of their freedom. Interestingly, on March 25 on arrival he had said that nothing had changed since his last September Supreme Court (SC) appearance. He said since then 70 bodies had been dumped and 60 target killings had taken place. He said institutions were mistakenly trying to impose their views by force and had pushed Balochistan to the present critical situation. He added he would not have lived four years in exile had there been constitutional rule in the country and was of the view that free, fair and transparent elections could not be held without ending interference by the intelligence agencies, and moreover, the caretaker government was unlikely to succeed in restoring law and order in two months, where previous rulers had failed. He emphatically added it was not clear how the elections would be held in a ‘bloodstained’ Balochistan.
Gwadar with deeper Chinese involvement will become the new battleground of Baloch nationalism versus the Pakistani establishment and Chinese interests
When a person, in his opening lines, terms the May 28, 1998 Chaghai nuclear explosion as historic, it creates misgivings about the purpose of that write up. Mr Usama Nizamani in his article “Gwadar: an emerging paradigm for Pakistan and the region” (Daily Times, March 19, 2013) did just that. Celebrating any nuclear explosion as historic is a downright insult to the memory of Hiroshima and Nagasaki’s victims. It is analogous to celebrating ‘small pox’ and ‘Black Death’ as a blessing for mankind. A nuclear explosion that killed a mountain and adversely affects those living there can only be trumpeted as historic by those bent on destroying the world.