Even before the evil nexus of exploiting Balochistan’s resources between China and Pakistan took concrete shape the Baloch were systematically targeted.
By: Mehran Marri
The recent visit of Chinese President Xi Jinpeng to Pakistan and his promise to pump in $46 billion into projects in Gwadar-Kashgar energy corridor threatens Baloch lives and Baloch rights as never before. To ensure that the financiers and their agents get full returns from these blood dollars the Pakistani establishment is taking steps to severely crack down on Baloch and their supporters who resent the exploitation of their resources.
To ensure success of their ventures the announcement by Pak Army to establish a Special Security Division consisting of nine battalions of the Army and six battalions of the civilian forces, and extending Zarb-e-Azab (military operation going on in North Waziristan) to Balochistan indicate that preparations for war on Baloch and their dream of secular and independent Balochistan is about be launched and this will mean intensification of crimes against humanity in Balochistan and the unleashing of death squads there.
Even before the evil nexus of exploiting Balochistan’s resources between China and Pakistan took concrete shape the Baloch were systematically targeted by the Pakistani establishment and their sponsored death squads. According to Mama Qadeer Baloch the Vice-Chairman of the Voice of Baloch Missing Persons the figure of missing Baloch exceeds 20000.
This figure though a very large one isn’t surprising as in a December 8th 2005 statement in Turbat the then Pakistani Interior Minisr Aftab Sherpao had admitted that 4000 Baloch were in their custody. The figures of the those killed after abduction collated from newspaper reports exceed 2000. There is a systematic ‘dirty war’ being conducted against Baloch.
Mass graves were discovered in Tutak in January 2014 and were the handiwork of the death squads let loose on Baloch but the commission set up to investigate couldn’t even find a person to blame. But that wasn’t surprising; for all the rhetoric that flowed freely in the SC not a single person was charged or punished for the crime of enforced disappearances. All state institutions here are equally complicit in crimes against humanity that are committed in name of security in Balochistan.
Not only are the Baloch being subjected to military operations and systematic harassment but are also being denied the right to express their grievances before people. There is complete curb on their freedom of expression in local and international forums; Mama Qadeer Baloch and Farzana Majeed Baloch the sister of, missing senior Vice Chairman Baloch Students Organization-Azad, Zakir Majeed Baloch were invited by the Sindhi Academic and Cultural Society of North America (SACSNA) to Human Rights Conference in March and were given required visa by the US Embassy but they were stopped from boarding the plane at last moment on the lame plea of their names being on the Exit Control List.
The Faculty of Political Science Department of Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) arranged a Seminar on Human Rights’ abuses in Balochistan under the title of “Unsilencing Balochistan” on the 9th of April 2015 in which Mama Qadeer Baloch, Farzana Majeed, Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur, a veteran of Baloch Nation Struggle and Human Rights activist, along with I A Rehman the Secretary General of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) were to speak but before any discussion could take place two persons on the 8th April came with a letter of the Director General of Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) and said this Seminar is cancelled. The faculty tried to reason but their pleas went unheard.
Then a human and social rights activist Sabeen Mahmud took the imitative and arranged the seminar titled ‘Take-2 “Unsilencing Balochistan” at the ‘The Second Floor’ T2f on 24th April. The discussion took place at T2f and the three first named panelists mentioned above took part in it along with Wusat Ullah Khan of BBC Urdu. Minutes after the event ended and Sabeen left for home she was targeted at a traffic signal and died while her mother was injured.
The civil society is up in arms and all fingers point towards intelligence agencies and certainly not without a reason. Now even those who provide a platform for expression of views are being targeted. Sabeen Mahmud’s murder must be condemned by the entire world. An innocent person lost life just because she gave Baloch an opportunity to speak. Her killing is a crime against Humanity.
The Baloch resentment is not only against economic plunder they resent the various political and military means used to disempower them politically and economically; they resent the crude attempts by Pakistan to change the historical secular social ethos with help of Madressahs and fundamentalist organizations under guise of charity outfits as have been used in Awaran after the September 2013 devastating earthquake.
The future of Balochistan is viewed very differently by Pakistan and Pakistanis on one hand and by the Baloch on the other. Pakistan sees it as the land where its burgeoning population can be accommodated; it is seen in terms of ports and harbours it has, they see it as the testing ground for A-bombs and assorted missile tests, they also see it as the energy corridor for their friend China because that corridor will surely spike the real estate prices which the elite will benefit from as they attempted to do in Gwadar. Balochistan is seen as a vast stretch of land with plenty of resources as ‘terra nullius’ a land belonging to no one waiting to be exploited for benefits of others instead of Baloch.
The Baloch see Balochistan as their motherland which they gave an identity to and which in turn did the same. They see it as the repository of their culture, history and way of life; they know that without land they lose all meaning and above all they resent the illegal annexation on 27th March 1948. The Baloch have crossed the Rubicon and will travel on the path they have treaded so long and given so many sacrifices for. The Baloch seek an independent, sovereign Balochistan.
Courtesy: EP Today