COMMENT: Gods of wanton destruction — Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur


Whenever disasters have struck, the UN and international relief organisations have been restricted to Quetta’s Hotel Serena due to unjustified restrictions imposed in the name of security

The recently beheaded body of Dr Khalil Asjad Dale, of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), kidnapped by the Taliban from Quetta in January, was found in Quetta on Sunday, April 29. A letter with it audaciously declared: “This is the body of Khalil who we have slaughtered for not paying the ransom amount.” The Taliban claim responsibility but the police are putting a spin on the kidnappers’ identity because ‘strategic assets’ are sacrosanct here.

The fact that Dr Khalil Asjad Dale was a Muslim did not deter his Muslim captors, nor did the fact that he was serving humanity, which shows the Taliban’s disregard for humanity or religion. When people motivated by religion act so wantonly and reprehensibly, it highlights the severity of the social meltdown within society and the state. Kidnapping for ransom is a lucrative business for these ‘state-nurtured’ fundamentalist outfits who think they have divine endorsement as well. In stark contrast, the UNHCR’s Quetta director John Solecki, who was kidnapped to highlight the Baloch issue by nationalists in 2009 was released unharmed sans ransom. The agencies had exacted revenge against the Baloch by killing three prominent nationalists, Ghulam Mohammad Baloch, President Baloch National Movement (BNM), Lala Munir of the BNM, and Sher Mohammad Baloch of the Baloch Republican Party (BRP) on April 9, 2009.

The Pakistani state has sponsored fundamentalists in general to help realise their dream of a ‘theocratic state’. It has invested heavily in these ‘non-state actors’ in the hope of unfurling the crescent flag at Lal Qilla or at least Srinagar; for being the bulwark of the Ummah, of being the heir to the mantle of the Islamic world’s leadership, of standing up to the US, and of securing ‘strategic depth’. Little wonder then that Pakistan has become a decrepit entity at the relatively young age of 65.

Tragically, it persists in doing, with ever-increasing vigour and commitment, all that has been behind its undoing. It continues to support and sponsor its ‘strategic assets’ who are responsible for terror around the world and responsible for 35,000 civilian deaths, still counting, and wanton terror here. They refuse to learn and continue to drag people into an abyss of deprivation and destruction for fulfillment of their fantasies.

The state has now embarked upon the mission of establishing a ‘beachhead’ against the nationalist struggle in Balochistan in the form of Jammat-ud-Dawa (JuD), whose unwelcome presence is about to be imposed upon the Baloch who are wary of its sinister intentions, which it cloaks in the garb of charity and assistance (and now Pakistani nationalism). Balochistan over ages has remained free of sectarianism and religious ill will, but with the JuD working under the aegis of the army and the Frontier Corps, and as an auxiliary to them, the atmosphere is set to be poisoned.

The Baloch’s dislike of sectarianism and fundamentalism prompted them to reject the overtures and attempts of the premier fundamentalist coalition, the Difa-e-Pakistan Council, to garner support by convening an All Parties Conference in February. They also kept away from their March 9 ‘Day of Solidarity’. Having failed with these ploys, now the JuD’s Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation has decided to take a 350-member team of doctors, teachers and engineers to rural areas of the province. Hafiz Saeed, its chief, says his party will prove that the government needs the JuD’s ideology to resolve the issues of Balochistan. Some ideology! This is ominous and portends bad tidings for Balochistan because the JuD sows seeds of vicious sectarianism in the name of charity, the fruits of which Gilgit, Quetta, etc, have already reaped. Their venom-soaked charity sows bitter crops of hate.

Ironically, there have been disasters in Balochistan where international help was offered but refused. In June 2007, Cyclone Yemyin battered coastal Balochistan and affected 1.5 million people. People’s woes doubled when after initial acceptance, the permission to the international relief organisations was revoked abruptly, ostensibly on security concerns. Moreover, even relief operations carried out by the Baloch Students Organisation and other nationalist organisations were stopped, and their camps forcibly dispersed. Similarly, in June 2010 when Cyclone Phet wreaked havoc in Gwadar, Pasni and other coastal towns, relief was again denied. Whenever disasters have struck, the UN and international relief organisations have been restricted to Quetta’s Hotel Serena due to unjustified restrictions imposed in the name of security. The internally displaced persons have been denied relief and this policy of denying international relief to the Baloch is apparently not up for change.

The JuD is being sponsored because their plans correspond and supplement the plans of the state. State-nurtured ‘strategic assets’ have so far claimed 35,000 plus lives with their terror campaign but it seems the gods of wanton destruction are not satiated yet and demand more mayhem; hence the JuD’s entry in Balochistan.

The people of Balochistan would do well to remember that these forces of regression if given an inch would take a mile. These forces were mum for a decade on the NATO supplies, but once the government dithered, they now dictate, and this has been the case in all fields. Naturally, these forces have come to dominate the entire society with their fundamentalist ideology, which has now taken a stranglehold. If the Baloch cede even an inch of space to them, they will certainly regret it because with the finances and support available to them, they will irredeemably poison Baloch society with their hate agenda.

Tailpiece: It would be unjust to overlook Lyari’s plight. Nazi and Israeli tactics of collective punishment are being threatened and implemented. People there are without food, water and electricity and even humanitarian help by the Edhi Foundation is being denied. The government and media projection are obfuscating the humanitarian crisis there as a crackdown on criminals. Many enthusiastic Baloch activists are comparing it with Gaza, but I think it is too early for such an analogy because there are too many grey areas, and Gaza’s reputation was not built in a day. If the people of Lyari learn their political and military lessons properly — for this the Baloch political activists have a crucial and important role to play — from this brutal assault, and if the future leadership is purely political and nationalist, then the second round, whenever it may come, will be a new chapter in urban Baloch struggle.

The writer has an association with the Baloch rights movement going back to the early 1970s. He tweets at mmatalpur and can be contacted at  mmatalpur@gmail.com

Courtesy: Daily Times

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