The policy of repression in Balochistan has always been indiscriminate, but now it is the students who bear the brunt.
Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur
The world knows Balochistan as the 44 per cent land mass of Pakistan, but most do not know that becoming part of Pakistan was not its own choice. It wanted coexistence, but was forced to merge with Pakistan. Moreover, it isn’t ‘terra nullius’ (nobody’s land), but is seen as such. There are people in Balochistan too; people whose lives have been destroyed by injustices that they have been subjected to since the forced merger on March 27th 1948.
Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s use of force to make Khan accede forever forfeited civilians’ say in Balochistan’s matters and gave unchallenged dominance to the military. This injustice also resulted in the Baloch people’s eternal mistrust in Pakistan; prompting resistance which to date has not only continued but intensified in proportion to atrocities and injustices against the Baloch people.
TIME and again, well-meaning people have demanded the creation of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to resolve the problems of alienation and insurgency in Balochistan, believing that this commission would be just as workable here as it was in South Africa in the ’90s.
However, they disregard some critical factors which had impelled and facilitated the TRC’s efforts to heal the wounds of apartheid. Remember that this commission became possible only when the scenario changed completely after the white minority under F.W. de Klerk accepted the principle of majority rule in 1991 and negotiated the end of apartheid with the ANC.
Following transfer of power, the TRC was set up in 1995 and a person of Bishop Desmond Tutu’s eminence undertook the responsibility of conducting the exercise. Black South Africans, in spite of the rancour and hatred fomented by decades of discrimination, indignity and exploitation, accepted the commission because it had the support of Nelson Mandela. The white minority, meanwhile, went along with the idea since it had run out of options.
The PKR 18 billion (US$ 297 million) Saindak copper-gold project in the Pakistani province of Balochistan has been run by a Chinese contractor on a 10-year lease without any independent monitoring for the past three years
Saindak Metal Limited released figures in May this year, as reported by Daily Times, May 11, 2009, that 7.746 tonnes of gold, 86,013 tons of copper, 11.046 tons of silver and 14,482 tons of magnetite concentrate (iron) worth US$ 633.573 million were produced during 2004-08.
Following is the English version of the full text of Mir Mohammed Ali Talpur’s speech he had given at the seminar on Banuk Karima 2nd death anniversary organized by Baloch Yekjehti Committee at Quetta Press Club on 21 December 2022.
My Respected Fellow Travelers my Salam to you all.
Some people in history and movements come to represent not only the movements they are associated with but leave an enduring and unforgettable legacy behind that encourages others to follow their footsteps to take humanity forward on towards the goals of a dignified life of respect, equality and freedom.
Banuk Karima was such a person because she not only was a political and a social activist she was the pioneer for women’s participation in politics of resistance in Balochistan where women though held in respect and dignity were hesitant to participate in politics; it was Banuk Karima who blazed the trail and opened up the closed paths for women participation in politics of resistance and it is for this reason that Baloch women and men feel that her death anniversary on 21st December is the most appropriate date to celebrate and observe “Baloch Women’s Day” as a mark of respect for her work and dedication.
On the occasion of the second death anniversary of Banuk Karima Baloch, two seminars were organized by Baloch Yekjethi Committee, one at the Quetta Press Club and the second at Gwadar Press Club. A large number of women and the general public participated in these events.
Baloch intellectual Ustad Talpur, Khurram Ali, Shahzeb Advocate, Dr. Mahrang Baloch, Zeen Gul, Taj Baloch, AR Dad, Dr. Manzoor Baloch, Shari Baloch, and Khan Zaman Kakar were the speakers at the seminar in Quetta. The speakers discussed the political struggle of Banuk Karima, her sacrifices, and martyrdom. They paid rich tribute to her ultimate sacrifice for her motherland.
Sammi Deen Baloch of Voice for Baloch Missing Persons, Vice President of JUI Balochistan Khalid Waleed Safi, former Chairman of BSO Saeed Faiz Advocate, and Abdul Wahab Baloch of Baloch Yekjethi Committee were the speakers at the Gwadar seminar.
At present the Baloch naturally ask the question: an amnesty to what end? They say that they were in amnesty, i.e. not at war, before they started resisting the injustices and if they had opted to remain acquiescent to the injustices there would not have arisen a need to fight and consequently of an amnesty
Opposition leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on December 7, opening the projected three-day debate in a joint sitting of the National Assembly and the Senate, demanded an urgent dialogue with the Baloch leadership not represented in parliament or not consulted yet, as well as dissidents who took up arms after granting them what he called a ‘meaningful amnesty’.
The non-local rulers not only refused to integrate with locals but also considered learning their language below their dignity. Imposition of Urdu as the compulsory national language soon after partition was a manifestation of the terra nullius mindset
Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur
In 1770 Lieutenant James Cook claimed possession of the whole east coast of Australia by raising the British flag at Possession Island off the northern tip of the Cape York Peninsula — after declaring it terra nullius (empty land). Terra nullius is not a geographical term but is a political concept adopted by the colonialists in which people simply cease to matter. They chose to declare Australia terra nullius not because they were unaware of the people living there but because they considered the indigenous people as irrelevant and inconsequential.
People cannot be wished away and confrontation erupted once the first fleet of British convicts, soldiers and officials arrived in Australia in 1788. In 1790 the Aboriginal chief Pemulwuy with his son Tedbury led guerrilla-style resistance, which lasted several years.
The problem of missing persons and torture is not a new phenomenon here. It has been practiced against dissidents the establishment felt threatened by, with varying degrees of brutality and gruesomeness. Balochistan has had more than a fair share of disappeared persons
Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur
“Speech is silver but silence is golden” is an adage that Nawab Mohammad Aslam Raisani, the chief minister of Balochistan and chief of Sarawan, either never heard of or decided to ignore. A few days back in a press-talk at Khuzdar he came up with an outrageously insensitive and preposterous statement that most of the missing persons had “deliberately gone underground to malign the country’s intelligence agencies”.
Reiteration of Musharraf and Rehman Malik’s theory of volitional disappearances by one who as a tribal chief and chief of Sarawan is under moral obligation to protect the rights of any Baloch who has been wronged is beyond comprehension. Aslam Raisani’s statement has added insult to a grievous injury. He has forfeited his moral right to represent the Baloch people either as a chief or a chief minister.
MULLAH Naseeruddin, the sardonic sage, once decided that he could make his donkey survive without fodder because it was proving expensive and troublesome. In spite of objections he began reducing the fodder daily by a fistful. This continued for quite some time until one day a dejected Mullah told people that the foolish donkey died just as it was getting used to living without fodder.
He said had it survived one more day without the last fistful it would have got used to living without food and he would have been spared a lot of trouble and expense.
The brutally blatant murders of the Baloch National Movement (BNM) chairman, Ghulam Mohammad Baloch, Lala Muneer Baloch and Sher Mohammad Baloch of the Baloch Republican Party in Turbat on the 3rd of April after their abduction from office of Kachkol Ali may come to haunt the federation as the day on which the dream of keeping Balochistan in the federation eventually unraveled and also be remembered as the day when Baloch finally gave up on the dream of living within the intransigent federation which has never cared much for their rights or their sentiments.
This blatant violation of human and political rights of Baloch cannot be attributed to some rogue elements within the establishment nor can be blamed on ‘hidden-hands’. The details point an accusing finger at those who have always been calling the shots in Balochistan and who with this abominable act wanted to convey message to those who fight for their rights that they will be given no quarters. This outrage was deliberately committed with the intention to suppress dissent and resentment.