Daily Archives: September 19, 2021

The real challenge in Balochistan

Sardar Ataullah Mengal was wrong in saying that only Akbar Bugti could speak for Sui. Every Baloch has a right in this respect equal to Akbar Bugti. Abandoning this principle will amount to replacing one set of autocrats with another

The recent events in Sui are a manifestation of what afflicts the country’s ruling classes. They are also an expression of a people’s outrage at the rulers’ arrogance and their utter disregard of their rights. The people were outraged not only at the rape of a female doctor who had agreed to serve in the wilderness but also at the continued rape of their rights and resources since the very inception of Pakistan. They indicate what the future is going to be like if the rulers persist in their belief that overwhelming firepower is the panacea for all their problems.

The BLA is certainly not a figment of some fertile imagination. This is apparent from the scale of its activity. Since 2003, 1,529 rockets have been fired and 113 bombs exploded in Balochistan. Despite Baloch leaders’ reluctance to directly answer questions about its existence and the government’s attempt to minimise its significance, it cannot be wished away. Theories about its sponsors abound. The oddest one suggests that it is being helped by the USA which is not happy with China’s role in Balochistan. Fingers have also been pointed at Iran. But does not Iran oppress its own Baloch population? One thing is certain: there are people out there determined enough and having adequate resources to sustain the attacks. The BLA’s activities may not be an adequate expression of the deep and pervasive popular resentment but they are an expression nonetheless.

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