IT is said that ‘common sense’ is not as common as it ought to be. Had it been so the world would not have suffered the way it has. Even today a world that has seen so much death and destruction has not yet learned to live in peace.
The global arms industry and war machines continue with arms proliferation and war mongering, refusing to use that ‘uncommon sense’ because for them wars are highly profitable.
The transgressions of the civil-military elite in this unfortunate country have made it an even sorrier place because they have no redeeming characteristics that could alleviate the suffering or soothe the pain they generate.
They as a class are socially, politically and temperamentally programmed, geared and fine-tuned for unrestrained loot and plunder.
Thanks to the arrogant, avaricious and short-sighted policies of the rulers, Balochistan has been perpetually blighted by colossal problems of a very serious nature; making it a bottomless pit of deprivation and destitution laced with menacing despotism for the people.
Ironically, those responsible for these ills have expediently chosen to blame the people and their leaders for the same. This blaming of the people and their leaders is absolutely malicious and fraudulent because the reality not only contradicts their claims but also brands them as the guilty party.
Zaman Khan Chalgari Marri, a practicing lawyer, was kidnapped on August 19, along with another lawyer Munir Ahmed Mirwani from Quetta. On September 6, his mutilated body was found in Mastung.
He leaves behind an inconsolable wife, seven daughters, a son, a grieving family and an angry Baloch nation.
On August 24, the Balochistan Bar Association had gone on a three-day strike and accused intelligence agencies of kidnapping both the lawyers. The Balochistan High Court chief justice, who took suo motu notice of the kidnapping, had asked the authorities concerned for both the lawyers’ safe and early recovery. However, these directives went unheeded because those who kidnapped him are answerable to none. He has been murdered because he is a Baloch and every Baloch is now deemed a suspect by the state.
A sense of desperation and urgency seems to grip the Establishment in its policies regarding Balochistan. This is particularly evident in its militarization, its exploitation of resources and grabbing of real estate. Their urge is so overpowering that they have become heedless to the resentment and hostility that these policies generate among the people.
In Balochistan, militarization and exploitation simply cannot be divorced. In fact resources are the reason behind all the confrontational policies that have been pursued and implemented since partition. The calamity has been aggravated by incompetence, corruption and downright knavery in all projects and ventures undertaken there.
Injustices by the state against people targeted for absolute domination are committed both subtly and blatantly. Military operations are the overt aspect while the policies of pernicious economic deprivation, which are equally or even more devastating and debilitating, are the subtler aspect. Both forms of oppression have been perpetually committed against the people of Balochistan by the state since 1948. They have been systemically and shrewdly employed with an efficiency and perseverance unheard of in other governmental activities. This anti-people policy has resulted in making Balochistan the poorest province and its people the neediest and the most deprived in the region.
The insidious economic deprivation policies have been surreptitiously implemented and intimately complemented by the military operations. These over time have intensified and enlarged in scale and magnitude, proving that the resistance to injustices has increased and not decreased as a result of the surreptitious or blatant state violence.
BNM organised an intellectual talk on the occasion of the 11th August, the day when Balochistan got freedom from The Great Britain. Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur veteran Baloch activist and intellectual shed light on the historical details of 11 August 1947. Below is the text of his draft.
Dear and Respected Friends,
The date 11th August 1947 has immense significance for the Baloch Nation and Balochistan and has been the landmark for Baloch history particularly their present-day history. The acceptance of Kalat State’s (Balochistan) Independence by the British colonizers and the leaders of yet to come into being Pakistan on August 4th under the “Standstill Agreement” led to the 11th August declaration of Independence. The British not known for honouring treaties had accepted its 1876 Treaty obligations with Kalat State to render it a special place among the then Princely States and thus agreed to accord Kalat State independence along with India and Pakistan.
Balochistan with a geographical spread of approximately 347,641 square kilometers (134,000 square miles) is located in western Pakistan, bordered by Iran on the west, Afghanistan on the northwest and commanding nearly 750 miles of coastline of the Arabian Sea to its south. It extends nearly to the northern shores of the strategically important Straits of Hormuz.
Its unexplored resources of gold, copper, limestone, fluorite, iron ore and oil are considered the largest in the region. Gold deposits exceed $ 12 billion and proven iron ore deposits exceed 23 million tons. As far as oil is concerned, the Amoco survey in the past had shown multi-million barrel deposits apart from the huge gas reserves.
All my life I have wondered why this country with so much potential has lagged so far behind even those European countries that were decimated by WW II or Japan which was minced and milled with A-bombs for its affront of Pearl Harbour. This country was unscathed by any disaster of those proportions.
The human material’s quality at the top has always been suspect here, but then too laws of natural development do take their course in spite of human follies. Something of titanic proportions must have been awry here to have taken us backwards instead of forward.
The resources of Balochistan are being squandered without a thought for the human or environmental consequences. The frantic and frenzied pace of bequeathing concessions and privileges to foreign firms to exploit the resources of Balochistan has predictably intensified in scale and magnitude. The human and historical rights of the people there have always been ignored and trampled upon arrogantly and callously.
The army operations, the forced disappearances, the extra-judicial killings, the incarcerations, the acquisition of land by the armed forces under different pretexts, the Gwadar land scams and concessions to foreign firms are all a part of an established policy of depriving the people of their resources and rights. The main thrust of this policy is to subdue the populace through economic deprivation. The goal is to coerce the population into acquiescence so that exploitation can be conducted in a threat-free environment of submissive people.