Prime Minister Gilani, on his recent visit to Quetta, asked the militants to shun violence and urged them to choose the path of peace. He was addressing the passing out parade of the recruits of Pakistan Army in Balochistan.
It seems that Mr Gilani was unaware of what his men in uniform and plain clothes were doing in Khuzdar, Gwadar and other parts of Balochistan while he was enjoying dry-fruits in the garrison city of Quetta on his short visit. In a very short span of three days, nine mutilated bodies of Baloch missing persons were found from different parts of Balochistan.
The first two victims of the brutal ‘kill and dump’ policy were Irfat Baloch and Kareem Jan Baloch. Irfat, a teenage boy, was a student of Turbat Degree College. He was abducted along with two other friends on September 23, 2011 from Pasni Cross. Their vehicle was intercepted when they were on their way to Quetta for a study tour. Kareem Jan Baloch, a political and social activist, went missing on August 8, 2011 from Tump, district Kech. He was detained illegally for 58 days before his brutally tortured body was found along with Irfat Baloch.
The whole of Balochistan mourned — strikes were observed throughout the province but the worst had yet to come. On October 9, the Baloch nation witnessed one of its most terrible days when the bullet-riddled bodies of 11-year-old Abdul Wahid Baloch (who was also called Balaach) and Ghulam Ullah Baloch, General Secretary of Baloch Watan Movement, were found from Baghbana, Khuzdar.
The young Balaach gained popularity when a picture of him wearing a Balochistan flag was posted on social websites a year ago. The shirt he was wearing read: ‘Jiye Azad Balochistan’. This picture went viral on social networking websites where it remained the display picture of many people for several days. But no one actually knew that this picture and Balaach’s participation in protests would actually turn out to be the reason for his brutal death. Balaach was abducted on August 8, 2011 from Khuzdar in the presence of several eyewitnesses. Personnel wearing plain clothes in several vehicles abducted him at gunpoint from a busy market in broad daylight. His tiny body had to bear inhumane torture for 62 days before a bullet in his brain ended his sufferings in October.
The levies found two other bodies from Kulanch, Gwadar on the same day. The deceased were identified as Sameer Rind and Abdul Mutalib Baloch. Sameer Jan Rind was abducted from Turbat during a house raid on October 14, 2010. The 24-year-old student was detained illegally exactly for one year. Sameer Jan’s sister struggled hard for the recovery of her brother. From TV shows to the judiciary, she knocked at every door but she could only get the tortured remains of her young brother. But that was not the end of the Baloch ordeal; some more sisters had to cry, some more mothers had to mourn. The bloody carnage continued unabated, this time for the families of Rashid Ali, Shafi Mohammad and Mirza Rind. Rashid Ali was the vice president of Baloch National Movement Mashkey zone whereas Shafi Mohammad and Mirza Rind were political activists belonging to Kalat and Hub respectively. At least four other political activists, mostly students, were also abducted two weeks ago.
This is not the first time that the powerful Pakistani establishment has introduced its kill and dump policy; the Baloch nation has witnessed many such episodes. They have been under ongoing assault since 2001, when the fifth military operation in the mineral-rich province started but it accelerated in mid-2010 when the bodies of missing Baloch persons started appearing. According to the International Voice for Baloch Missing Persons, an organisation mainly comprising family members of the missing Baloch, more than 13,000 Baloch political activists, students, doctors, journalists and social activists are missing. This figure includes more than 200 women and children.
In these conditions, with such hypocrisy and with such an extent of brutality, the invitation for peaceful talks and non-violence remains meaningless. Though the prime minister renewed his earlier pledge and said, “We are ready to go to the doorsteps of angry Baloch leaders to resolve issues through table talks,” which Baloch leader will actually shake hands with a person whose men are killing non-violent political activists on a daily basis? Prime Minister Gilani had earlier assured that the missing persons will start returning home soon. He did fulfil his promise and disappeared persons started appearing, unfortunately, as mutilated and tortured bullet-riddled bodies. More than 300 missing persons have been killed in detention since then.
But the oppressors must never forget that Balochistan has never been a piece of cake for occupiers and intruders. Through brutality and murder, they can earn the anger and never-ending bitterness of the Baloch but not their sympathies.
On the other hand, the criminal silence of the media, judiciary, human rights organisations and so-called Baloch nationalist leaders is beyond comprehension. The media and the judiciary keep concentrating on non-issues but turn a blind eye to brutalities and human rights violations by state-run agencies. The most shocking aspect of all this is the confusion amongst Baloch nationalist leaders. While the leaders remain confused, the killers and bloodthirsty vampires are not. These leaders should not forget that they are in fact Baloch and they are answerable to the Baloch nation for their criminal role. Instead of giving statements on non-issues, these leaders should understand their responsibilities and try to guide the public on countering these inhumane killings. No doubt this is not possible without unity but unity should not be at the expense of ideologies and rights.