A week in the life of a small war

Professor Naela Qadri in 1998 with poster: "Balochistan grows flowers, not atomic bombs."

Professor Naela Qadri in 1998 with poster: “Balochistan grows flowers, not atomic bombs.”

By Wendy Johnson

“For never was a story of more woe…”

The Baloch have been protesting features of their ill-fated gun-to-the-head marriage with Pakistan ever since this nation was occupied in 1948 by British-created Pakistan. At times the protests display poetic flourishes, such as the protest signs held in this first ever South Asia anti-nuke protest in Quetta led by Professor Naela Qadri in 1998. Naela’s poster reads “Balochistan grows flowers, not atomic bombs.”

And often the protests have been the stuff of entertaining spy novels, like the story recounted by Alistair Crooke who was briefly kidnapped by Baloch tribesmen:

     The tribespeople were in dispute with the government over water rights and when they caught sight in the car of what they assumed was a British diplomat – who happened to be en route to a meeting with the district commissioner – they couldn’t resist the idea of seizing him as a bargaining chip. Shortly afterwards the district commissioner’s office took a call. “This is Alastair Crooke. I’m afraid I might be a little late,” he apologised. “I’ve been kidnapped.”

     The district commissioner sent 12 Pakistani troops to retrieve Crooke, but they found him in no hurry to leave. He was, he said, going to stay put until something had been done about the tribesmen’s complaints. The soldiers went away, but returned with reinforcements. In the meantime, however, news of the hostage-taking had spread to nearby villages and several thousand tribesmen, many of them armed, had turned up. Still, he refused to budge until his captors had a chance to air their grievances. The diminutive Crooke sat on a rock and read a book until the Balochis were happy for him to leave.

But in five cases the protests evolved into full-blown insurgencies.

And in recent years, the Pakistan military and its proxy responses to this fifth Baloch insurgency and activism, in general, have exhibited jaw-dropping cruelty, not unlike the grisly and vindictive violence practiced by the infamous drug traffickers of Mexico.

In the middle of this current small war in Balochistan (a province which is often described with great understatement as “restless” and “troubled”), Pakistan prepares to hold general elections. Both within Balochistan and across Pakistan, the wave of election-related killings, bombings, kidnappings and threats of election day suicide bombings associated with these elections is head-spinning.

While Ahmed Rashid and others worry about future of the federation*, surveys conducted in Balochistan reportedly reveal that a majority of Baloch favor autonomy over independence (Grare and Haldar). These survey results are not fully reflected in social media, however, and although social media is no more representative of society as a whole than is a poorly conducted poll, one can question the accuracy of surveys conducted in a notorious no-go area for foreign journalists and a deadly one for local journalists and activists.

Still, while so much about this election is in dispute (To participate? or Not to participate? Is the election in Balochistan a referendum on secession?), one thing everyone can agree upon is that the level of violence in Pakistan is breathtaking. And one twitter timeline (@AnonymousBaluch) has been making notes.

This twitter feed is not without humor and reflective pauses. In addition to the running commentary related to attacks, there are quotes by Voltaire (“Religion is a spell that you’re under, snap out of it, revolutionize your life, become politically aware.”) and Thomas Sowell (“No society ever thrived because it had a large and growing class of parasites living off those who produce”).

Also included are references to other injustices (The Resentful Kurd: Possession of a half-lemon was cited as evidence against him for “supporting terrorism and spreading propaganda”), as well as a tip of the hat to the supporters of Pfc. Bradley Manning (“We’re excited to welcome our new assistant campaign organizer,Farah Muhsin Al Mousawi!)

While the Pakistani Taliban has guaranteed more carnage across Pakistan before mid-May, as of May 9th, the tweets below are a taste (incomplete) of what has transpired over the last few days in war-torn Balochistan. Thank you @anonymousBaluch for taking notes.

A week in the life of a small war:

May 9**

  • Clashes and bomb blasts everywhere in #Balochistan. Shaterdown & wheel jam strike observed all over Balochistan.
  • Mashkay, Occupied #Balochistan: #Pakistan army post at Mehi attacked, 2 Pak soldiers killed, 4 wounded
  • Mand, Occupied #Balochistan: #Pakistan army post at Gawak hit by rocket, casualties expected
  • Awaran, Occupied #Balochistan: #Pakistan army post at Teertaj attacked, 3 Pakistani soldiers confirmed killed
  • Bulleyda, Occupied #Balochistan: #Pakistan army post attacked, 2 Pakistani soldiers killed
  • Bulleyda, Occupied #Balochistan: Vital #Pakistan army post rocketed & gunned, 5 Pak army killed
  • Update, Tump, Occupied #Balochistan: gunbattle continues
  • Tump, Occupied #Balochistan: #Pakistanarmy post attacked
  • Kalat, Occupied #Balochistan: 3rockets target #Pakistan army cantonment, exchange of fire, Pak army warning people to stay inside for searching
  • Six #Baloch abducted and a #woman seriously injured during New Kahan operation: Quetta: The #Pakistani forces have…”
  • Police warrant issued against teachers who refused to perform poll duties in Kharan.
  • Hub, Occupied #Balochistan: Loud blast and gunshots in city
  • Kohlu, Occupied #Balochistan: #Pakistan army post under attack, 3 rockets also fired at post

May 8

  • #Pakistan army & their Death Squad members, fighting went on for hours before the #Baloch Resistance slipped into the mountains

May 7

  • Kalat, Occupied #Balochistan: BalochFighters kill #Pakistan army death squad members & FC men in gunfight following attempted harassment of lady
  • House of Meeran Baloch, the chairman of BRSO was attacked and robbed by the members of Pakistani death squad last night in Quetta.
  • The same militant group also attacked house of Sana Baloch the organizer of BRP Hub zone last night. #Balochistan
  • #Pakistan army suffers heavy casualties in Awaran, Occupied #Balochistan in attack on convoy

May 6

  • Khuzdar, Occupied #Balochistan: House of ExMinister, ZafarZehri bombed, reports of fatalities. No official press releases yet.
  • Local population of Mekran, Occupied #Balochistan fleeing to Karachi & #Iranian #OccupiedBalochistan because of fighting

May 5

  • #Pakistan army abducts 10 from Saryab locality of Quetta, Occupied #Balochistan
  • Shaheed Goshal Bugti, A #BRA freedom fighter martyred during clashes with occupying forces in Pelawagh #DeraBugti.
  • Panjgur: Khudabadan a #BNP Canditate’s (dog) Jahanzaib’s house attacked with a Rocket launcher
  • Turbat, Occupied #Balochistan: #Pakistan army vehicle targeted with remote control bomb on the airport road, followed by intense firing
  • Clashes between Baloch Republican Army & occupying forces accompanied by their local ‘Lashkar’ in Pelawagh area of Dera Bugti, #Balochistan
  • Update,Mand, Occupied #Balochistan: Gawak abductees: MuradMohammad S/o MullaBux R/o Mand
  • Update, Mand,Occupied #Balochistan: Gawak abductees: Khalid S/o MohammadAli,Wazir S/o NabiBux
  • Update MAND, Occupied #Balochistan: Several people abducted following attack on #Pakistan army at Gawak: AbdulRaoof S/o MohammadAli
  • Additional #Pakistan army units being sent to Kharan,Occupied #Balochistan
  • Khuzdar, Occupied #Balochistan: #Pakistan army has cordoned-off the entire market and checking everyone
  • “Mugheri tribe area was attacked by Frontier core in Bhag area Bolan, They were not Sarmachars”
  • Heavy fighting goin on btwn #BalochFighters n #FC who hav surrounded the #Bolan area of #Balochistan
  • Just in! Independent election candidate convoy attacked in Sibbi #Balochistan
  • Pakistan Army using helicopters & chemical weapons in Bolan battle.
  • In Balochistan, 13 terrorists have been killed while 1 Frontier Corps Jawan embraced Shahadat in aclash in Bhag area
  • Daily Times – Gas pipleline blown-up in Dera Bugti. #Balochistan
  • Pakistani forces surrounded Mashkay from Last night: #Balochistan
  • Update, Bhag, Occupied #Balochistan: #Pakistan army claims killing Resistance leader Gulbahar Morani in massacre of alleged rebels
  • Khuzdar, Occupied #Balochistan: #Pakistan army backd Death Squad lead by Shafik Mengal torches buses 4 playin music
  • There is intense fighting raging in Mashkay, Occupied #Balochistan, no news coming out of the area, #Pakistan army has cut all comms to area
  • Dera Bugti, Occupied #Balochistan: Intense fighting b/w #Baloch Resistance & #Pakistan army backed militia
  • Occupied #Balochistan: #Pakistan army has threatened to drag people out of homes & take them to polling stations <
  • Shafik Mengal, boss of #Pakistan army DeathS quad has vowed imposing Sharia in Occupied #Balochistan & ending secularists
  • Mashkay, Occupied #Balochistan: #Pakistan army ha laid siege of the city since last night & intense clashes continue
  • Mand, Occupied #Balochistan: #Pakistan army patrol vehicle destroyed in bomb attack, casualties inflicted
  • Awaran, Occupied #Balochistan: #Pakistan army post comes under intense fire, casualties expected
  • Chamalang, Occupied #Balochistan: #Pakistan army vehicle hit by landmine 7 soldiers killed.
  • Besak, Occupied #Balochistan: #Pakistan army post attacked, 3 soldiers killed, 4 injured
  • #Pakistan army conducts search operation in #Baloch localaities of Quetta, Occupied #Balochistan, accepts taking captive at least 16
  • update, Bhag, Occupied #Balochistan #Pakistan army accepts massacring 13 suspected rebels in search
  • Turbat, Occupied #Balochistan: 7 #Pakistan army men desert campaign, army officials report incident to Police
  • Bhag,Occupied #Balochistan: #Pakistan army conducts search operation, gun fight with locals leaves 6 dead, including 2 Pak army men

May 4

  • Pakistani forces have abducted Abdul Rehman S/o Khair Khan Marri & Abdul Sattar S/o Mubarik Marri from Winder #Balochistan Today.
  • Last Night Occupying forces attacked & Set on fire the House of BRP Leader Gulzar Imam Baloch& looted valuables things in Parom: #Balochistan
  • Awaran,Occupied #Balochistan: #Pakistan army abduct AsifBaloch s\oHaji raheem
  • Breaking: 4 Occupying Pakistani forces got killed in #Kohlu, attacked by Baloch Freedom fighters
  • Innocent Baloch including women & children came under military siege in Panjgor & other areas, as occupying state announces its elections.
  • #Pakistan army setting up machinegun posts in schools and mosques & focing civilian transporters to transport troops
  • Turbat! Clashes b/w BALOCH FREEDOM FIGHTERS & PAK ARMY. 3 trucks of army totally destroyed most them killed, Dead bodies on road
  • Update, #Pakistan army reinforcements attacked: Shahpuk, Occupied #Balochistan; 20 confirm kills, 3 trucks confirmed destroyed
  • Awaran, Occupied #Balochistan:Baloch citizens asked to remove Balochistan flag by #Pakistan army, subjected to violence for not complying
  • Kech, Occupied #Balochistan loud explosion heard
  • Shahpuk, Occupied #Balochistan: Intense fighting continues #Pakistan army pillaging operation, explosions and gunshots rocking city
  • Kech, Occupied #Balochistan 3 #Pakistan army trucks blown up, over a dozen Pak soldiers confirmed dead, many injured, body parts scattered
  • Mashkay, Occupied #Balochistan: Police station destroyed in bomb attack
  • Awaran, Occupied #Balochitan: #Pakistan army post attacked, reports of damages
  • Tump, Occupied #Balochistan: heavy casualties inflicted on #Pakistan army by Resistance sniper & infantry units.
  • Punjgur, Occupied #Balochistan: 5 Pak soldiers killed, several injured in rocket attack on post followed by machine gun & rifle fire
  • Shahpuk, Occupied #Balochistan: #Pakistan army reinforcements attacked with 5 IEDs en-route battlefield, army discounts damage
  • Shapuk, Occupied #Balochistan 3 explosions heard during initial firing, #Pakistan, one person abducted
  • 4 #Pakistan army helicopters spotted heading 2wards Khuzdar, helicopters flying low over Noshkay, Occupied #Balochistan
  • Khuzdar, Occupied #Balochistan; Body of unidentified male dumped #Pakistan army D Squads active in area
  • 2 #Balochs abducted from Vinder, Occupied #Balochistan, Police denies event, witnesses afraid
  • NaseebBaloch abducted by #Pakistan army from Turbat, Occupied #Balochistan dumped mutilated, dead in #Karachi

May 3

  • Pakistani forces offensive on innocent Balochs in Panjgor, kindled many houses of the civilian villagers to force them to vote
  • brothers, Samiullah & Sanaulah abducted by #Pakistan army today from Panjgur, Occupied #Balochistan 
  • Breaking: Bullet-riddled body found in Khuzdar
  • ISI abducted innocent Baloch boy, torture, killed in custody then throw body in khuzdar area of Balochistan 
  • Bullet riddled dead body of #Muhammad Hussain recovered in #Mastung Balochistan

May 2

  • B.R.A fighters attacked an occupying army check-post with automatic weapons in Cinema Square, Turbat. Inflicted heavy losses
  • A camp of Baloch Republican Army freedom fighters has been attacked by occupying Pakistani forces in Parom area of Punjgor, #Balochistan
  • Baloch Republican Army camp has been attacked in Paroom Panjgor by Paki Army, Sarmachars resist bravery and kills 10 occupying troops.
  • #Pakistan army desecrates grave of slain #Baloch nationalist Jalil Reki & beats mourners

May 1


  • #Pakistan army deployed, Awaran,Besima,Kharan,and Noshkay areas of Occupied #Balochistan
  • #Pakistan army also abducted 9 from Kharan,Occupied #Balochistan & one Shoaib Jozan for Jozan area
  • #Pakistan army also set ablaze homes and crops and looted shops during the same incident in Punjgur, #Balochistan
  • #Pakistan army abducts 20 from Punjgur, Occupied #Balochistan after ransacking homes & subjecting to torture in raid
  • #Baloch Resistance accepts attack on the house of key #Pakistan army death squad member MullahAmar in Bulleda, Occupied
  • #Baloch Resistance targets gas pipe to #Karachi at Dera Bugti, attacks #Pakistan police offices in Turbat
  • #Baloch Resistance targets #Pakistan army post in Lehri, Occupied #Balochistan, 2 army men killed & 4 injured
  • Photo: Fresh military troops arrives in Dera Bugti to intensify Baloch genocidal policies
  • #Baloch Resistance repulses #Pakistan army gunships in Kalat & adjoining areas. Regular #Pakistan army deployed in Kharan, Noshkay, Kalat
  • Bullet-riddled body dumped at Jusik, Occupied #Balochistan identified as Balach M Bux


* * * End * * *

Courtesy: Crisis Balochistan


*One would not know that Balochistan is part of the Pakistan federation by glancing at major Pakistan news source dawn.com which lists on its homepage all provincial capitals as news categories, except Balochistan’s.
**To make individual tweets more readable, I deleted references to other twitter feeds and added spaces between some words.

Links in this article:

http://balochwomen.webs.com/ and http://balochwomen.webs.com/apps/photos/photo?photoid=156292071
















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