Saturday, February 25, 2012

Balochistan of Pakistan

60 years ago, they shook hand to form Pakistan. Now those hands seem to part away.

So finally we have the Baloch separatist movement leader (or so he proclaims to be) come out and blatantly speak out in favour of things that would infuriate any man that has self-respect and dignity to counter any foreign word, let alone intervention, against his home country. The self-exiled Balochi separatist leader, Brahamdagh Khan Bugti had recently said that he would appreciate and support foreign intervention in Balochistan, even if means India has to foot soldiers in Pakistan.

Although we totally condemn the acts of US Senate Representative passing a resolution in favour of recognising Balochi's self-determination which is in breach of International laws as well as condone the acts of Brahamdagh Bugti who like all coward “leaders” opt to sit out and call themselves leaders. However, the history of this resourceful and sparsely populated, yet beautiful piece of land is well-documented and well-covered by everyone associated with Pakistan. One can't deny perhaps the negligence the people of Balochistan have to go through over a period of more than six decades. And as much as we blame US and its allies teaming up with separatist leaders like Brahamdagh Bugti, the onus of this negligence, deprivation, ignorance on the part of our leaders fall equally and probably in some cases, much heavily. For example, the sole person that has done almost everything in his power as a witless and sinister President of Pakistan to lay the seed that would eventually break Pakistan  is none other than Pervez Musharraf.

We on Saif's Den have written much about Musharraf being in most cases the sole and only reason for the state that Pakistan is in. Never has Pakistan been in this state where every common Pakistani finds his beloved country in, and so do our Balochis brothers and sisters. It’s highly unlikely, living in Pakistan and not having Balochi friends, as we all have had. And unsurprisingly – as well as much to our relief -  Balochis love Pakistan and share the same feeling for Pakistan as every one of us do. So where is the difference? And who is creating this gap between us?

It is pertinent to take a note of the fact that things didn't exactly start in the province as one would had wanted to, especially in a new country like Pakistan. Since the creation of Pakistan, skirmishes have been making headlines when it came to Balochistan news. There have been reportedly as many as five major conflicts between Balochi separatist movements and Government of Pakistan, with the fifth one still ongoing since 2004 and the longest of all. The fact that Army was more often than not used in these conflicts didn't exactly help matters as it only managed to repress the situation temporarily with a heavy hand, instead of resolving it.

On 26 August 2006, the crisis further deepened when former Chief Minister of Balochistan, Akbar Khan Bugti was killed in what was by all means, an army operation looking to end Baloch nationalist's life. At that time, the news was welcomed in Pakistan but what it did was, it galvanised the insurgency in the province to a level that foreign countries are speaking of it. Though, at this point it’s needless to mention, the brazen army operation was carried out again on the command of Pervez Musharraf. We don't exactly know what Bugti was or what he really did against Pakistan, but was an army operation the only last thing left?

The trouble is, anything and everything Musharraf did in his sticky tenure as a Military dictator has exacerbated issues in Pakistan and the prime example of it is Balochistan which has experienced some of the most difficult time during this last decade. Let me assert this, we are not exactly the Army as it’s the only institution left in the country that is least corrupt among all but it has does have blood up its sleeves.

The fact that Pakistan still grimaces in pain when they remember the effects of 1971 experience, but sadly have short memory to recall the causes that led to that teary loss of an arm. The history is, in all its fury, repeating itself with same injustice that led Bengalis onto the street against the writ of the state, the same inadequacy that forced Bengalis to forge hands with India to fight for their freedom and the same lack of self-determination that pushed Bengalis to fight for their rights in the ugliest of manners.

There have been number of stories of atrocities and brutal killings of Balochis in the province that have been pouring out and all the fingers point towards the coveted Armed Forces of Pakistan, who has always managed to sneak past accountability. The case of missing persons was taken up by Chief Justice which resulted in his swift ouster, in 2007. There has been equal number of accounts of forced abductions of journalists and scholars by none other than intelligence agencies, only to be either let go with threats of dire consequences or a body to be found at a corner of a street riddled with bullets. Now we do hate to believe such stories and accounts as this might just be another act by foreign hands to widen the gap between the people of Pakistan and the Armed Forces of Pakistan as well as (confirmed) reports of Brahamdagh Bugti's attempts to create ripples in the province while sitting in the safe surroundings of US and India. But we can't afford to lie to ourselves and that is we as a nation have failed our brothers and sisters in Balochistan, and we continue to fail to stand up for them.

For a moment we can sit down and believe that the reasons behind East Pakistan forming into Bangladesh were foreign (India and possibly Israel) but there is little to doubt the reasons what spilled Bengalis onto the street. It was the failure of West Pakistan who wielded more power over a part of their own. Similarly, Balochistan has historically been deprived of their rights and this was cunningly used by foreign powers as a mean to twist Pakistan's arm into submission. Pakistan did submit itself in '71, and there are all the more reasons to believe it happening again, until and unless the situation in Balochistan isn't solved without guns and tanks. I, a non-Baloch but a Pakistani stands up for Balochistan. Stands up for Pakistan. The question is, how many of you can?

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