COMMENT : Morally convinced — Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

The state and its institutions have been ruthless to the extreme and have already upped the ante against the Baloch because they persist with their struggle

Mir Mohammad Ali TalpurAt the recent Supreme Court missing persons case hearing in Islamabad, Raja Irshad, the lawyer representing the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Military Intelligence (MI), while admitting that no evidence against the ‘Adiala 11’ existed said that they remained detained because these agencies were “morally convinced that they were involved in terrorism.” This statement has officially reiterated the ISI and MI’s position that if they are ‘morally convinced’ that someone is guilty then they do not need any evidence to kill, maim or incarcerate. It is worth mentioning that the bodies of the four original Adiala 11 accused were dumped, and when the others were presented in the court last year, such was their condition that a grief-stricken mother of an accused died of shock the next day. Next, the Attorney General admitted that 700 insurgents in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were held without trial but would not be released. How many Baloch are being held has not been confessed; the Voice of Missing Baloch Persons (VMBP) says 14,000 are missing. The powerless and blustering Supreme Court merely threatens action like the legendary raise seeker who threatened, “Raise my salary, otherwise I will…”

This simply means that if the agencies are morally convinced of someone’s guilt he can be killed or incarcerated with no recourse to justice. Little wonder then that of the thousands of the Baloch gone missing, nearly a thousand of them were tortured, killed and dumped all over Balochistan. This tally however does not include the innumerable persons killed during the operations in Mastung, Mashkay, Dera Bugti and Marri areas. The only justification for these atrocities is that the agencies are morally convinced that the Baloch are the enemy. Since 1947, Pakistani institutions are morally convinced that all the injustices against the Baloch are justified.

The recently enacted ‘Fair Trial Bill’ guarantees that even more injustices and atrocities will be perpetrated more vigorously and widely. A cartoon I saw ages ago remains etched on my mind; there was a chained emaciated person and a huge brute of a man with a cat o’ nine tails in his hand saying, “Without any fear of contradiction I can say…” Well, no one with a cat o’ nine tails confronting a captive need fear being contradicted. Therefore, what recourse do people have when unaccountable powerful institutions, not even abiding by their own laws, with a cat o’ nine tails in their hands are morally convinced that so and so is guilty?

C S Lewis said, “Of all tyrannies a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep; his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” This puts the Pakistani state’s behaviour in proper perspective. Pakistan was always an embodiment of robber barons guided and goaded on by omnipotent moral busybodies. Here beliefs and attitudes of institutions — enjoying absolute immunity because of the unbridled power they wield — are tempered by their conviction that their atrocities are morally justified. Therefore, hopes for justice have and always will remain a forlorn utopian dream. People are doomed unless they unite and resist injustices against all.

Self-righteous states transcend all boundaries and think they are infallible and omniscient. Unfortunately, the state’s conviction of its moral righteousness is not restricted to itself; the next step is forcing people to acquiesce to whatever it thinks is correct and best for them. This self-righteousness stems from a disconnect from reality and the attempt to impose one’s views is an extension of that basic folly, because such delusions never stay confined to source. Naturally, states with absolute powers and religious orientation always trample on human rights because they think they have a ‘divine’ sanction for that and they do not even need to provide a fig leaf for their depredations against people. Such states and their leaders think making people submit to their thought and philosophy is their divine duty. They try to coerce people into accepting their views and this coercion is limitless in its scope and brutality. Fortunately, people have their own minds and interests, and therefore they refuse to submit and all coercion eventually fails.

Religious extremism has been a scourge wherever it raised its head; however, it becomes doubly deadly when the state adopts it for suppressing the people’s struggle for their rights. The problems that such states and institutions create are proportional to the strength of their beliefs and the power they wield. Unsurprisingly, they commit all sorts of human rights abuses and atrocities with an exceptional zeal and passion. Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), the French Catholic philosopher, put it succinctly: “People never do evil so completely and so cheerfully as when they do it in the name of their religion.”

The Pakistan state is slowly assuming the status of the Alamut Castle of Hassan Sabah wherein resided his delusional assassins who created terror at his bidding, killing all those who opposed him. Pakistan and its institutions’ consistent adherence to the ‘strategic depth’ policy and the nurturing of strategic assets have made it a clear and present danger for the region and to the lives and limbs of the people residing within its geographical confines. This policy has isolated it in the world community and is steadily eating away at its social, political and economic infrastructure and all that remains is a politically, economically and socially bankrupt shell, which is artificially sustained by the use of or the threat of the use of force. This situation cannot continue indefinitely because the social, economic and political laws like those of physics work independently of desires, wishes and dreams. This shell is bound to collapse sooner or later under the weight of its follies.

These self-appointed infallible and omniscient states and institutions become extremely brutal and merciless once they sense the defeat of their beliefs and policies and their imminent end. The state and its institutions have been ruthless in the extreme and have already upped the ante against the Baloch because they persist with their struggle. It is this mindset and an unfavourable global situation that the Baloch are up against. The Baloch therefore see no option except that of resisting with everything at their disposal. The will of the people has to prevail eventually.

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

Courtesy: Daily Times

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