“Can’t buy me love” – Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

Those who will accept this dirty money are surely not those who have any love for Balochistan and assuredly they will not have it for Pakistan either; their loyalty is to money

Mir Muhammad Ali TalpurRecently, the Balochistan government offered the Baloch who are struggling for their rights to give up the sacred cause of their motherland for amnesty. It reminded me of the famous Beatle hit song of yore, “Can’t Buy Me Love”, because money cannot buy love and loyalty. The lyrics are:

Can’t Buy Me Love

Can’t buy me love, love

Can’t buy me love

I’ll buy you a diamond ring my friend if it makes you feel alright

I’ll get you anything my friend if it makes you feel alright

Cos I don’t care too much for money, and money can’t buy me love

I’ll give you all I got to give if you say you’ll love me too

I may not have a lot to give but what I got I’ll give to you

I don’t care too much for money, money can’t buy me love

Can’t buy me love, everybody tells me so

Can’t buy me love, no, no, no, no

Say you don’t need no diamond ring and I’ll be satisfied

Tell me that you want the kind of thing that money just can’t buy

I don’t care too much for money, money can’t buy me love


Can’t buy me love, everybody tells me so

Can’t buy me love, no no no, no.”

On June 26, Balochistan’s so-called Apex Committee announced a general amnesty plan for all home-based Baloch militants who are willing to renounce violence and lay down their arms. Under this scheme, small-time fighters will be paid Rs 500,000, mid-level commanders will get one million rupees while top commanders will be paid Rs 1.5 million. They say these rich cash prizes were being offered to ensure that surrendering fighters do not rejoin the insurgent groups. They hope people will sell their ideals for a pittance. In 2012, Nawab Zulfikar Magsi announced Rs 10,000 in general for all fighters surrendering their weapons in Balochistan. This charade is being played out to arrange more rent-a-crowd surrenders that took place recently.

Conscience and patriotism are not bought by money; money only buys mercenaries and that is what they will get for these handouts. The problem with the establishment is that it never learns and thinks that money is a panacea for all problems, but this should not come as a surprise because those who worship Mammon think all are their co-religionists. This offer too results from the same thinking because those who made the offer live and die for money; they believe that everyone is afflicted with the same disease and they keep offering money — not their own — to even those who live for higher ideals.

This offer, ludicrous as it is, is just to camouflage their real intention of a brutal crackdown in Balochistan, which is already in full swing. In an operation on June 30, conducted in the Mashkay area of Awaran, the house of Dr Allah Nizar was attacked and his brother Safar Khan and his nephews Suleman and Zakir Baloch were killed along with a few other relatives. Killing somebody and labelling them militants is the only justification that they have ever offered when the lives lost are those of the Baloch. The forces — the establishment or its proxies — that operate in Balochistan have total impunity and they have remained above the law since March 27, 1948.

Killings have continued but the Baloch struggle has not waned. Nawab Akbar Bugti’s killing, Balach Marri’s killing, the killings of thousands of others and the abductions of countless Baloch has spurred the Baloch to resist even more passionately; these killings will do the same. People do not give up ideals for fear of death. On the contrary, these make them even more committed. This is how steel is tempered and history is made.

In Saadi’s parable in Bustan, a King who worried about the wellbeing of dervishes in his city gave his vizier a bag of gold coins, asking him to distribute them among the dervishes. The next day, the vizier returned the bag of gold coins as it was. The king demanded an explanation. The vizier said: “Oh king I could not find a single dervish.” Infuriated, the king said, “I know for certain that dozens reside here.” The vizier said: “Oh king, those who were dervishes did not want the money and those who wanted money were not dervishes so I did not give them any.” Therefore, those who will accept this amnesty money are surely not those who have any love for Balochistan and assuredly they will not have it for Pakistan either; their loyalty is to money. As for the real dervishes, they will not even glance at this money.

The government is trying to make capital out of Khan Kalat Mir Suleman Dawood Jan’s agreeing to hold talks with its delegation by presenting him as someone who represents Balochistan and that he can influence those resisting injustice since March 27, 1948 to give up their struggle. They are wrong on both counts; he represents them and his sphere of influence does not even include his immediate family. People are wondering in which category of amnesty he will be included — the Rs. 1.5 million or the one million rupees one.

Jokes apart, some people ask who is there to talk and settle issues? Yes, Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri is no more but he would never have talked. Presenting Khan Kalat as the spokesperson of the Baloch and face of reconciliation is a lame Pakistani attempt to make the Baloch accept injustices they have faced and will face. The Baloch will not let their immeasurable sacrifices be a bargaining chip for any Khan or Sardar.

Saadi Shirazi says: “Agar az jahaan, Huma shawad madoom

Kas na rawad zair-e-saaya-e-boom”

(Verily, Huma’s shadow is not here today providing benediction

But only absolute fools will seek owls’ shadow for benison).

The era when Sardars and Khans defined political and social relations is no more. No self-respecting Baloch is going to either accept the money or, for that matter, any person who is ready to pawn for personal benefits the immeasurable sacrifices they have made for their motherland.

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


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