Is Pakistan heading for disaster in Balochistan?

Discussion in 'Balochistan - Freedom Struggle' started by Justin Joseph, Jan 16, 2012.

  1. Justin Joseph

    Justin Joseph Regular Member

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    Is Pakistan heading for disaster in Balochistan?

    Akbar Ahmed

    Pakistan must end its policy of killings and kidnappings of Baloch people and recognise the importance of the region.

    Despite Balochistan's rich cultural history and plentiful natural resources, Pakistan's government continues daily harassment and killings that are causing the people to think about independence



    [​IMG]

    Washington, DC - The behaviour of the powerful elite of Islamabad reminds me of the captain and crew of the RMS Titanic sailing into the night, heading straight towards an iceberg. The civilian, military and judicial authorities are locked up in a tussle coloured by political positions and personal egos. And there is a dangerous disconnect between Islamabad and the enormous problems that loom on the Pakistani horizon.

    Law and order appears to have collapsed in many parts of the country. In the north-east, the former Frontier Province, there are daily killings as suicide bombers and the army continuously fight each other. Unemployment is widespread and inflation is sky-high. And there is still a desperate shortage of electricity and gas in much of the country.

    But perhaps none of these problems is more pressing than the situation in Balochistan. If the simmering, but widespread movement for independence spins out of control, Pakistan will find it almost impossible to maintain nationhood. :thumb:

    I was reminded of Balochistan by the recent visit of Malik Siraj Akbar to my office. It made me happy to think back to my associations with its people and places, but I also became distressed as I thought of the current situation: a climate of killings and so-called "disappearances".

    Exclusive report on Baloch separatists

    In his late twenties, Malik comes from Makran and was born in its northern town, Panjgur. His sharp intelligence, awareness of the world and passionate arguments for his people reminded me of all the people I met in Makran as Commissioner when I was posted there in the mid-1980s.

    On arrival, what struck me was the resilience and faith of the Baloch, in spite of the widespread poverty and lack of economic development. Even after decades of the country's existence, Pakistan - it seemed - had done very little for the Baloch. There were only five miles of paved road in Makran - from the Commissioner's house, in Turbat, to the tiny airport. Flights were irregular and the telephone lines to the rest of the country were frequently out of order.

    A land of honour

    But I found it a fascinating experience: the people were welcoming and the area was redolent of history. Makran was, after all, where Alexander the Great got lost on his way to Persia after his battles in India. Over time, I had the privilege of meeting and getting to know legendary Baloch leaders such as Nawab Akbar Bugti, Mir Ghaus Bukh Bizenjo, Jam Ghulam Qadir and Mir Jafar Khan Jamali. From them, I learned that there was a time when a woman wearing gold ornaments could travel from the north of Balochistan to the south and not be molested.

    "There was honour," they said, "in the land."

    Nawab Bugti discussed Ibn Khaldun and the cyclical patterns of tribal society with me over dinner in his ancestral home in the Bugti Agency. He told me that Ibn Khaldun had kept him company when he was jailed by Pakistani authorities in Sahiwal. I often wondered how many Pakistanis belonging to the power elite had even heard of the Arab historian.

    I grew to appreciate and admire the Baloch. I knew it was most important to deal with them on the basis of honour. In turn, they reciprocated my sentiments and I was posted as Commissioner of three divisions consecutively. Even the imperial British acknowledged that the key to dealing with the Baloch was honour. Not surprisingly, the Baloch complain that Pakistani officials treat them worse than the imperial British.

    Malik, who has been a professional journalist all his life, has recently been given political asylum in the United States. Various threats and messages convinced him his life was in danger. He talks passionately and movingly of the hundreds of Baloch who have been brutally killed by the security agencies.

    The policy of "kill and dump" is causing fear and terror among the Baloch.

    "One chilling message engraved with a knife on the chest of a corpse said, 'Eid gift for Baloch'."


    He claims there is a systematic policy to eliminate the "cream of the Baloch professionals". He lists names and professions with depressing accuracy - professors of medicine, scholars of Baloch history and, of course, numerous journalists.

    "At least eight of my Baloch journalist friends have been killed over the past year," he said. Some had disappeared - until their mutilated, bullet-riddled bodies were found.


    Cultural onslaught

    The Baloch are angry not only at the killing of their intellectual and professional elite, but at what appears to be a wider, deliberate cultural onslaught. Security personnel, invariably non-Baloch, insult the Baloch at checkpoints by cutting off the shalwar, or baggy pants. More worryingly, Baloch corpses of those who have mysteriously disappeared are routinely found mutilated and desecrated. One chilling message engraved with a knife on the chest of a corpse said, "Eid gift for Baloch." :frusty:

    Nawab Bugti's brutal and senseless murder gave the Baloch independence movement a second wind [EPA]

    The brutal and senseless murder of Nawab Bugti and the deliberate insult to his corpse by President Pervez Musharraf acted as a catalyst in Balochistan. It gave the Baloch independence movement a much needed second wind - the Baloch now had a legitimate martyr for their cause. Paradoxically, Malik points out, Nawab was one of the few advocates for a united Pakistan.

    Islamabad has always underestimated, and therefore mismanaged, those living on the periphery. Islamabad tends to dismiss Balochistan because of its tiny population - about eight million of Pakistan's total 180 million people. There is also the prism of racial and cultural arrogance through which the Baloch are seen. Then there is sheer ignorance: the rich culture and traditions of the Baloch are generally not known in Pakistan.

    Those who do not learn from the lessons of history, it is said, are doomed to repeat it.

    In a different context, but one which illuminates the Balochistan situation, Islamabad's treatment of East Pakistan cost it half the country in terms of population. The colossal blunders and arrogance of the power elite of Islamabad and the tragic killings of 1971 led to the creation of Bangladesh.

    "The Baloch must be made to feel an integral part of the federation; they need to be treated with honour and dignity"

    Pakistanis seem to forget that Balochistan may only have a tiny population - but comprises 44 per cent of Pakistan's land territory. They forget it has vast natural resources and hundreds of miles of sea coast which make it a key geopolitical area. While Balochistan can survive without Pakistan, it is Pakistan that simply cannot survive without Balochistan.

    Time is running out

    Everything, therefore, must be done to resolve the civil war situation in that province. The stakes are too high for Pakistan. The power elite, obsessed with the place intrigue involving the sordid "Memogate" affair, needs to focus its attention on Balochistan.

    Prime Minister Yousuf Reza Gilani and General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, head of the army, need to fly to Balochistan together and, setting aside personal egos for the sake of the country, apologise to the people of Balochistan for the grievances they have suffered. They must promise a new beginning and radical shift in Pakistan's strategy for the Baloch. The Baloch must be made to feel an integral part of the federation; they need to be treated with honour and dignity.

    This initiative should have been taken after the disastrous actions of Musharraf in Balochistan. Muddling through is no longer an option - time is running out for Pakistan.

    Perhaps these Pakistani leaders, no doubt both patriotic in their own ways, need to ask themselves what the great MA Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, would have done in a similar situation. Jinnah would have met the people of Balochistan and ensured that they knew they were a welcome, respected and genuine part of the federation of Pakistan. No democracy can be built on the foundations of the kind of mistrust and anger that prevails in Balochistan.

    When I asked Malik what he had to say to Pakistan, he replied: "My message to Pakistan is simple: everyone should be provided equal opportunities of progress and prosperity. Who would like to live in a country which sends bullet-riddled dead bodies of young Baloch professionals on a regular basis? Underestimating the situation in Balochistan would amount to committing political suicide."

    Professor Akbar Ahmed is Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic studies, American University, Washington DC and author of Journey into America (Brookings Press 2010). He was Pakistan's High Commissioner to the UK and Ireland.

    Is Pakistan heading for disaster in Balochistan? - Opinion - Al Jazeera English
     
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  3. Tolaha

    Tolaha Senior Member Senior Member

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    Struggles start bearing fruit when limits of endurance have been crossed. Baloch's, in general, never got onto the concept of Pakistan and seems to have crossed their limits long time back. But you still don't see a "1971" happening there. Lack of critical mass maybe? There are far too many Pashthuns and Pakjabis when compared to Baloch's unlike as in the case of East Pakistan vs West Pakistan.

    Probably Pashthuns should get separated from the Pakjabis for the Balochs to have any meaningful chances to get out of Pakistan. Until then. this will be just a dream!
     
  4. sayareakd

    sayareakd Moderator Moderator

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    we will be first one to give recognition to new nation, they need all the encouragement.
     
  5. vijaytripoli

    vijaytripoli Regular Member

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  6. Justin Joseph

    Justin Joseph Regular Member

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    We should help these innocent Muslims who are suffering from genocide by pak army.

    But our politicians are known for not taking any action.

    The genocide by pak army in Baluchistan is on the same lines that they have done in east Pakistan (Now, Bangladesh) where they have killed millions of Muslims and raped hundred thousands of Bengali Muslim women.

    Pakistani army is the biggest killer of Muslims in the world, they are responsible for:

    - Death of millions of Kashmiri Muslims

    - Death of Millions of Muslims in Afghanistan

    - Death of millions of Muslims in East Pakistan (Bangladesh)

    - Death of millions of Muslims in Pakistan (Baluch, Sindhi, Shia etc.)
     
    Bangalorean, arunpat and sayareakd like this.
  7. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Things are getting restive in Balochistan!

    It does not auger well for Pakistan, which as it is, is in a big mess with a poor economy and infighting between the Govt and its Army and Judiciary!
     
  8. Virendra

    Virendra Moderator Moderator

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    PA is Wajib-ul-Qatal :D
     
  9. KS

    KS Bye bye DFI Veteran Member

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    irrelevant
    You forgot the Palestinian Muslims murdered by Zia.
     
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  10. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Editorial: Rehman Malik Is Not a Foreign Agent

    In scathing criticism directed at the federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik, a senior minister in the Balochistan government asked during a session of the Balochistan Assembly if the former was an agent of the foreign governments. Maulana Abdul Wasey, the senior minister from Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, while commenting on Mr. Malik’s consistent hostile and offensive statements in flagrant support of the military operation and violation of human rights in Balochistan, said the minister’s attitude had generated speculations that he was not Pakistan’s minister but an agent of the United States, India or Israel tasked to alienate his own people.

    A short and direct answer to the Maulana’s question, whether or not Mr. Malik is a foreign agent, is an emphatic no. Rehman Malik is a patriotic Pakistan whose commitment with the Pakistani army and links with its intelligence agencies are beyond any doubt.

    Rehman Malik’s derogatory attitude to the Baloch people was also highlighted by former chief minister Sardar Attaullah Mengal during his recent meeting with ex-prime minister Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif in Karachi. The veteran Baloch leader pointed out how Malik added salt to the injuries of the victims of the conflict. In another interview with Dawn News, the elderly Baloch leader said negotiations between Balochistan and the federal government were out of question in the midst of confrontational and humiliating remarks by the interior minister in response to the Baloch demands.

    Rehman Malik continuously discredits the Baloch nationalist movement by blaming India, Afghanistan and ‘other foreign forces’ for fomenting tensions in the province. He also categorically denies the involvement of the country’s intelligence agencies in the enforced disappearance, torture and killing of the Baloch youths. The minister says Islamabad will continue its operations in Balochistan to establish the ‘writ of the government’ until armed Baloch nationalists totally abandon their struggle.

    The minister, on his part, has totally failed, despite repeated requests by the media, to produce any evidence of foreign assistance to the Baloch nationalist movement. He even does not know the accurate number of the people who have disappeared from Balochistan since 2004 because he still insists that no one is missing. According to his version, the government has safely resurfaced all the missing persons. So, there is no issue of disappeared people at all, he says.

    Calling Mr. Malik a foreign agent is in fact absolute insult to all foreign “agents” of positive change. We remember how the Inspector General of the Frontier Corps (FC) Major General Ubaidullah Khan, had once termed the Human Rights Watch an agent of foreign governments. The non-local-non-Baloch FC chief had actually reacted to a strong-worded report of the global human rights watchdog which held the FC responsible for many violations of human rights in the province.

    Hence, ‘foreign agents’ are in fact the only remaining friends of Baloch and Rehman Malik does not surely qualify to hold this humane title. Today, the people of Balochistan look at foreign organizations, such as the Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, the Guardian and BBC (Urdu Service), New York Times Washington Post and the Committee to Protect Journalists as their ultimate sources of hope to attract the international community toward the injustices being committed to the people of Balochistan.

    Rehman Malik simply can’t be a foreign agent because he is devoid of respect for humanity. As a matter of fact, the world outside Pakistan is largely a civilized and respectful one where citizens’ basic human rights are recognized and protected. The minister is no one in a country where the army runs a state within the state. If Mr. Malik has managed to simultaneously secure his life as well as the portfolio he holds then he should be considered as an extra-achiever. After all, his words and actions do not come from him. They are the words and deeds of the army which the poor minister is dependently compelled to deliver.

    The actions of the Pakistan army inside Balochistan contradict with whatever ideology and core principles it believes in. If the custodians of the borders affirm allegiance to Islam, then there is no endorsement in 114 chapters of the Quran for killing and dumping innocent teenagers.

    Besides losing the political ground in Balochistan, Islamabad has miserably lost a moral battle against secular Baloch. It is insignificant what answers General Musharraf, General Kayani or Rehman Malik will have twenty years down the line when orphaned Baloch children and widowed women will meet them. What should worry them are future confessions by their own grandchildren admitting how ashamed they are of their grandparents’ brutalities in Balochistan even in the 21st century.

    Editorial: Rehman Malik Is Not a Foreign Agent | The Baloch Hal
     
  11. Nagraj

    Nagraj Regular Member

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    denial of this fact by pakistanis is amazing....
     

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