Never a day of indignation – Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

People generally believe that evil visits others and they will remain safe. They therefore do not bother to protest when others are victimised by the state perpetrated evil of oppression, suppression and dirty war

Mir Muhammad Ali TalpurThousands of protestors marched in Mexico City on the Day of Indignation marking the first anniversary of 43 students’ disappearance on September 26, 2014 in Iguala. People from the entire spectrum of society participated. They chanted: “They were taken alive, we want them back alive’” and also “No more disappearances and no more deaths.” Marcelo Brodsky, who has immortalised the missing people in his photographs, rightly says: “When there is a disappearance it is worse in a way than death. It is permanent; it is a crime that continues.”

 یومِ غضب کبھی نہیں منایا گیا

The Mexican federal government claims that Iguala’s and Cocula’s local police had detained the students before turning them over to the local drug gang, which then allegedly killed them and burnt their remains. A team of international experts sent by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights reviewed the government’s investigation and found it flawed, and concluded that the bodies of 43 students could not have been burned at Cocula’s rubbish dump. The government’s forensic experts identified two of the students from the burnt remains recovered there.

The Mexicans are wary of their government’s claims of innocence because of its evil past. They remember the Tlatelolco Massacre in which an estimated 30 to 300 students and civilians were killed by the military and police on October 2, 1968 in the Plaza de las Tres Culturas in the Tlatelolco section of Mexico City. The massacre occurred 10 days before the opening of the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. More than 1,300 people were arrested by security police. It never has been ascertained how many were killed there that day. The 43 students’ disappearance therefore prompted the Day of Indignation.

The Mexicans came out in droves to protest the disappearance of these 43 students but here the tale is different. Mama Abdul Qadeer Baloch, the vice-chairman of the Voice of Baloch Missing Persons, claims that more than 20,000 Baloch have gone missing since 2005 but his figures are rejected out of hand as being exaggerated and meant to malign Pakistan, the paragon of compassion. They do not seem to care or even ask what happened to those 4,000 Baloch whose arrest then Interior Minister Sherpao admitted in a press conference in Turbat on December 8, 2005. There is no record of those unfortunate 4,000 Baloch being tried or released and since then the mutilated bodies of thousands of Baloch have been found all over Balochistan, even in Karachi.

On the 15th of this September the home secretary of Balochistan, Akbar Hussain Durrani, stated that provincial law enforcement agencies had arrested more than 8,363 suspected militants under the National Action Plan (NAP). He added, “A total of 204 terrorists were killed by security forces during different operations and raids in the province,” and that 1,840 intelligence based operations had been conducted in Balochistan. They usually admit only those arrested in front of witnesses and sometimes not even them. The brutal scorched earth policy being implemented in Awaran, Mashkay and other areas is neither acknowledged nor its figures released and no one knows how many have been killed, arrested and displaced in those operations. The Durrani figures are just the tip of the iceberg.

Here the missing Baloch do not evoke sympathy generally because the establishment through its education system and biased media has succeeded in presenting the Baloch people in an extremely negative manner as uncivilised, anti-development and above all as anti-Pakistan. The people in general have swallowed that hook, line and sinker, and eye the Baloch suspiciously.

People generally believe that evil visits others and they will remain safe. They therefore do not bother to protest when others are victimised by the state perpetrated evil of oppression, suppression and dirty war. This dirty war, however, is not restricted to Balochistan alone; Sindh suffers as well: Dahir Dahesar of the Jeay Sindh Muttahida Mahaz (JSMM) was the latest victim last month. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has suffered for long and this atrocity is compounded by the frequent, indiscriminate air strikes on people in strife stricken areas where all are bunched under the label of suspected militants.

Recently, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police compiled a report on “enforced disappearances” for the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances (CIED). It states that the police received a total of 1,066 cases of “enforced disappearances”. Of them, 651 persons were still missing while 415 were traced. Interestingly, most of the traced persons were either interned in notified internment centres or were set free by their captors. In eight of the cases in Swat, the missing persons were killed by their captors. The Hazaras also are missing but their ‘missing’ is voluntary as they migrate to safer climes to escape death, mutilation and persecution here.

The historic 106-day and 3,000-kilometre long march by Mama Qadeer Baloch, Farzana Majeed and family members of the Baloch missing persons was a march of indignation by the Baloch and a very unique political and social event that should have been espoused by millions but was not. A political and social protest of this magnitude would have initiated a political and social movement elsewhere but was conveniently ignored here. Nothing here seems to provoke indignation among the people unless of course it is projected by the media and has the blessing of the army. There is never a day of indignation here unless officially sponsored.

The apathy and insensitivity here towards the plight of those missing is poignantly expressed by German poet Bertolt Brecht’s 1935 poem ‘When evil-doing comes like falling rain’:

“Like one who brings an important letter to the counter after office hours: the counter is already closed.

Like one who seeks to warn the city of an impending flood, but speaks another language. They do not understand him.

Like a beggar who knocks for the fifth time at the door where he has four times been given something: the fifth time he is hungry.

Like one whose blood flows from a wound and who awaits the doctor:his blood goes on flowing.So do we come forward and report that evil has been done us.

The first time it was reported that our friends were being butchered there was a cry of horror. Then a hundred were butchered. But when a thousand were butchered and there was no end to the butchery, a blanket of silence spread.

When evil-doing comes like falling rain, nobody calls out ‘stop!’

When crimes begin to pile up they become invisible. When sufferings become unendurable the cries are no longer heard.

The cries, too, fall like rain in summer.”

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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