Dalia Gebrial and Thomas Jeffrey Miley go head to head on this complex and topical issue
DALIA: Nationalism is one hell of a drug. No matter how many times it’s been declared dead, the idea of the nation finds a way of rearing its head and grabbing the political landscape by the throat. Particularly in times of crisis, nationalist language that otherwise seemed old-fashioned and gauche suddenly feels like the only way you can speak without being heckled off the political stage.
Fundamentally, the power of nationalism lies in its ability to appeal to a sense of common good. It’s a way of tying (some) people together in pursuit of an imagined positive future. As a socialist, I have sympathy with this. However, the problem is that nationhood is based on identity, rather than material principles.
Baluch ethnic minority group push a boat to the shore in the port city of Chabahar,
Just before imposing new sanctions on Iran, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the country’s “Cabinet is in disarray, and the Iranian people are raising their voices even louder against a corrupt and hypocritical regime”. While this is clearly true, it is also true that sanctions alone are unlikely to topple the government or force democratic reforms. For that to happen, foreign governments and domestic opposition leaders must take another critical step — to finally acknowledge the importance of the country’s ethnic minorities and develop policies to address their demands.
As Pompeo noted, Iran’s leaders have been facing significant pressure from within. A major driving force of the anti-government activity has been ethnic minority groups, in particular the Kurds, Azerbaijanis, Ahvaz Arabs and Baluch. Each has long engaged in protests, over issues ranging from the right to use native languages in schools and courts, to local health and environmental concerns, to broader calls for the end of the regime.
Baloch anger is not against the ethnic mix, it is rooted in poverty and the systematic denial of opportunities by the Pakistani establishment.
The November 23 attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi by Baloch separatists brought into global view, once more, the Baloch trauma. The Balochistan Liberation Army, which claimed responsibility for the attack, had warned the Chinese authorities against “exploitation of Balochistan’s mineral wealth and occupation of the Baloch territory”.
Regrettable as violence in any form is, this incident is an unfortunate reminder that Baloch complaints cannot forever be ignored. In fact, the constant refrain through Pakistan’s 70-year history is this: Balochistan appears to be on the boil again.
Thousands of people have been “disappeared” in Pakistan. And for those who reappear, life is never the same.
By Shah Meer Baloch and Rabia Bugti
KARACHI, PAKISTAN — This is a tale of every missing person who has borne the brunt of torture in a detention center.
The torture is meant to be painful but more painful and damaging is the psychological effect on the missing persons and their family members. The experience damages them mentally and reshapes their personalities.
According to a high court lawyer based in Turbat, land acquisition by an institution of the state becomes legal only if it follows the laid down official procedures. No other process, however elaborate it may be, makes it legal.
Mir Ibrahim Bizenjo owns land – a huge amount of it – in various parts of the coastal district of Gwadar. He also owns a lot of large motorised fishing boats — some registered in Pakistan, others in Oman across the Arabian Sea from Pakistan’s Makran coast.
And he has a business partner, Mir Imam Bizenjo, who is known as far as the United States. The two are related too: Ibrahim Bizenjo’s son Charagh is married to Imam Bizenjo’s daughter.
Paris: Almost a year ago, I was sitting in my Islamabad news bureau, working on some stories while monitoring local Pakistani news on television when my attention was drawn to a promotional video on one of the channels. The video produced by the Pakistan Army’s media wing, the ISPR (Inter-Services Public Relations) was being broadcast in connection to the upcoming Defence Day (6 September), a day to remember the India-Pakistan war of 1965. The ISPR had used a video clip of the then military dictator General Ayub Khan where he said something to the effect of “…the Indians do not know who they have challenged to war…” The promotional video then went on to imply how Pakistan thwarted this aggression and surprise attack from India.
Hyrbyair Marri, the fifth son of Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri, a former national leader and head of one of the largest Baloch tribes in Pakistan, was elected in 1996 to the Provincial Assembly of Balochistan and appointed minister but was later forced to flee Pakistan for Great Britain. Accused of leading the Balochistan Liberation Army — which he denies — Marri was charged and later acquitted of terrorism charges in the U.K. Today, he helms the Free Balochistan Movement, a pro-freedom political party.
By Karlos Zurutuza
OZY sat down with Marri to discuss Pakistani and world politics. This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.