KARACHI: In the last week of November 2011, Qadeer Baloch, a retired UBL employee from Quetta did something that no grandfather should have to do. He held his four and a half year old grandson’s hand and took him to see his son Jalil Reki’s mutilated bullet-riddled body and made sure the kid got a good look at it. Qadeer Baloch also had a chat with the boy and told him who had killed his father and why.
For more than two and a half years Qadeer had been lying to the boy. “When Jalil was picked up he was only two,” says Qadeer Baloch. “He had a hole in his heart and the doctors told us not to put him under any stress. So I kept telling him that his daddy was away on business.”
Qadeer speaks in measured sentences, there is no bitterness or anger in his voice. His account of his son’s disappearance and death two years and nine months later is incredibly detailed. Every few minutes he produces a document, a newspaper clipping or an affidavit from a witness to prove his version of events.
Jalil Reki was the information secretary of Baloch Republican Party, a relatively new Baloch nationalist party that emerged after Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti’s Jamhoori Watan Party split into a number of factions after his murder. “Jalil was offered the post of Secretary General, but he was a bit bookish, so he chose to become the party’s information secretary.”
On February 13, 2009, they came for Jalil Reki in two pick-up trucks and two unregistered cars, FC men accompanied by intelligence officials in plain clothes. “His friends had warned him that he might be picked up but he was campaigning for his missing colleagues. He said if I run away who is going to write all the press releases? He was returning from Friday prayers, he saw them and tried to run but they threatened to shoot him and he surrendered.”
For the next two years and nine months Jalil Reki became a missing person. There are more than 8,000 if you believe Baloch nationalists, hundreds according to human rights organisations, 1,100 according to our interior minister Rehman Malik and none according to our intelligence agencies. Senior journalist I. A. Rehman wrote in these pages more than two years ago:
“Instead of offering the embittered Baloch redress and satisfaction the authorities have chosen to quibble over the number of missing….”
For Qadeer Baloch Jalil Reiki wasn’t a disputed statistic. He rallied other families and started an organisation called Voice of the Baloch Missing People. They camp outside the Quetta, Islamabad and Karachi press clubs sometimes for three months at a stretch. Journalists mostly ignore them. They sit behind rows of photos of their martyrs and the missing. In his picture Jalil Reki has a faint smile, a trimmed mustache and the deep eyes of someone who thinks a lot.
“I talked to him about his political activities. I knew what he was doing was dangerous. But he told me he wasn’t selling heroin or doing anything immoral.” Qadeer Baloch himself was politically active as a NAP member in the seventies and remembers the good old days when authorities booked you on false charges, arrested you, you tried to raise bail. “None of this stuff where a person just disappears from the face of this earth.”
In the years that Jalil was a missing person, he was able to talk to his family only once. “It was around Eid and all the officers were away. Some poor soldier took pity on him. We received a call on our landline and someone gave us a mobile number and said put one thousand rupees balance into this account and wait for the call. I went to two shops and put five hundred rupees twice into the phone account. I was worried that if I bought the balance from one shop, the call might not come. We received a call late in the night. He sounded confident. He said they had punished him a lot. I understood that he had been tortured. He said he had been kept in a dark room all by himself. His wife started to cry. Jalil told me not to beg anyone for his release. I was sure they’d let him go. Because killing him would serve no purpose. He would be battered, bruised and probably psychologically damaged, but he would be alive. That’s what I believed all along.”
Qadeer Baloch would hold on to this belief for another two years, right up to the moment when he saw his son’s body.
Meanwhile he kept getting reports of Jalil’s sightings from Baloch activists who were released after spending two to three years in the military-run dungeons. “They used to take turns giving azaan,” Qadeer says with a certain pride. “And after finishing the azaan, after saying la ilahha illallah they would announce their name as if it was a part of azaan, so that the other prisoners would know who you were and that you were still alive. They did it because if they ever got out they could tell your families that you were alive.”
Qadeer filed cases, turned up for hearings. “A colonel came up to me once. He said, we really feel bad for you, you are an old
man, you look like a sharif admi.” Qadeer was courteous. “I said if you really feel bad for me, you should let my son go. And they reassured me that if my son was a political activist he would be released.” Qadeer believed them.
Then, two years and eight months after he was taken away, Jalil Reki stopped being a missing person. He became a dead person. A mutilated, shot-in-the-heart dead person.
“Someone saw a ticker on Vush channel. They didn’t have the heart to tell me so they just said can you switch on Vush channel, there is some news. There it was, my son’s name. It said his body had been found near Turbat.” Qadeer still didn’t believe it. “Why would they kill him after keeping him alive for almost three years?” But then he saw a picture in the daily Intikhab and was convinced. “The night you spend in the grave, you are not going to spend anywhere else. At least my son died a martyr, his name is part of history.”
A little later Qadeer received a call from the assistant commissioner of the area who said they’d arrange to have the body delivered. “I refused. I said leave him there. Your job was to take him away. Your job was to kill him. You have done your job. I can do the rest myself.”
Qadeer remembers the torture marks on his son’s body. He had a video made and kept it as evidence. He lists Jalil’s wounds without betraying emotion, as if remembering his son’s collection of books. “His left hand was like this,” he turns his own right hand into a limp fist. “Broken and swollen. His whole right arm had been burnt badly. His entire back was covered with clusters of tiny marks, not sure if they were cigarette burns. There were three bullets in and around his heart. Although he had been killed two or three days earlier, his body was fresh. Like a martyr’s.”
These days Qadeer Baloch, along with families of missing people, is camped in front of Karachi Press Club. The camp includes a 13-year-old girl whose father, a doctor, has been missing for three years. She refers to Qadeer as the ‘missing person uncle’.
The idea of setting up a camp in Karachi or Islamabad is to facilitate media access to these families. But the media generally ignores them. When was the last time mainstream newspapers or television channels showed a mutilated body of a young Baloch? The same TV crews which fall over each other to cover every little demonstration demanding the release of Pakistan’s most famous former missing person, Dr Aafia Siddiqi (who undoubtedly is a victim of similar state atrocities here and abroad) cannot be bothered to give any air time to these families.
Why did they kill Jalil? Qadeer thinks for a moment “While Jalil was in their custody, a few days before they killed him, there was an attack on a military checkpost in Chamalang where more than 30 soldiers and an army major was martyr….” Before he can complete the word ‘martyred’, Qadeer stops. “In which soldiers and an Army major were killed.” he corrects himself.
“They wanted revenge. It didn’t matter who had done it. It didn’t matter that when the attack happened Jalil had been in their custody for two years and nine months.” The FIR that he registered after Jalil’s disappearance names the ISI chief as the main accused.
It was before the funeral that Qadeer decided to take the four and a half year old with a hole in his heart to see his father’s body. “My friends and family tried to stop me. But I had been lying to the child. He would ask if daddy was away on business why did we have so many of his pictures around the house. I didn’t want him to grow up with the regret that I didn’t let him see his father one last time. So I took him and showed him his father’s body and told him everything.”
Qadeer has thought about his actions that day many times over but he doesn’t regret anything. “One of Jalil’s eyes was badly damaged and my grandson asked me who had done that to daddy. I said Pakistani agencies. And then he asked me who were Pakistani agencies. And I told him that too.”
Above seen picture is actually one of the top headlines of today’s Daily Tawar, an Urdu daily newspaper known for its brave coverage of the state atrocities in Occupied Balochistan. The headline reads “Killings of women is against Baloch traditions, [state] must not compel us to go to the mountains – Members Balochistan Assembly”.
I don’t know whether or not the state atrocities in Balochistan & Baloch genocide by occupying forces will at least compel those (MPAs) to resign from their seats but this headline drove me to write this blog post. They, the MPAs or you can call them state puppets, remained silent when the occupying forces were launching massive military operations against Baloch in different areas of Balochistan, Military jets, gunship helicopters, tanks were bombarding the civilian populated Baloch areas and ground troops were busy massacring innocent Baloch.
They didn’t utter a word when occupying forces were/are abducting Baloch youth (particularly the moderate, educated and active ones) from streets, colleges, public places, transport centers and while travelling. They deliberately closed their eyes when Zarina Marri, Hanifa Bugti & hundreds of other Baloch women were abducted by occupying forces and being used as sex-slaves in torture cells. And the list goes on and on but the MPAs always preferred their seats and salaries than Baloch and Balochistan.
Baloch nation know all of them quite well and knows this as well that the Baloch inside those pro-pakistanis is already died at the very time when they decided to join the Pakistani politics and joins those hands colored with blood of the Baloch martyrs. I just want to solace them not to worry, it would not hurt anymore, if the previous atrocities by the occupying state didn’t shacked their anima, neither will the forthcoming do. So stop worrying YOU ARE ALREADY DEAD
By: Abdul Bugti
In Baloch traditions and in every civilized society in any kind of dispute, quarrel or war be it as much fierce or inhuman, it is a cowardly and shameful act to target, harass or kill an innocent particularly a woman, children or an aged-person. I don’t know about others as much but in Baloch society women has a great respect and enjoys special immunities in quarrel, disputes, and tribal conflicts and in any other situations of unfavorable relations between families, groups and tribes.
Women are considered as symbol of honor in Baloch society and in any condition they are completely immunized from any kind of hurt or damage from the rival group. Even Baloch history is full of examples where woman have played a vital and effective role in resolving decades long bloody tribal conflicts.
But now we are face-to-face with an enemy, the Pakistani state, which doesn’t know any humanity, civilized society rules and is completely ignorant of every kind of war rules. Its forces are unleashed on civilians and innocents and are free to do anything to anyone anywhere they want. Military operations, bombardments by jet fighters, gunship helicopters, tanks and burnings of houses, garners of farmers, and indiscriminate killings in Balochistan by ground troops of occupying forces of Pakistan need not to be mentioned as they are everyday matter. Abductions of civilians including political activists, students, lawyers, poets, intellectuals, writers and recovery of their bullet riddled, badly tortured mutilated dead bodies is another nightmare witnessed in Balochistan every day.
But the worst in our enemy is that it has started targeting women. Countless women and children are killed by occupying forces since the enforced annexation in 1948. Recent Victims include Zarina Marri, a 23 year old Baloch woman; teacher by profession, along with her 1 year old son was abducted on Dec 05, 2005 from Kohlu, Balochistan by occupying forces of Pakistan. Her whereabouts still remain unknown but according to Muneer Mengal, a Baloch leader and a victim of abduction and torture by Pakistani forces told she has been kept as sex slave in torture cells. Also the Asian Human Rights Commission confirmed it. Complete report here
Another victim is Miss Hanifa Bugti; a 50 year old woman Baloch politician affiliated with Baloch Republican Party was abducted on January 20, 2011 from Quetta by occupying forces and still missing.
Pazo Bibi, a young Baloch woman abducted by occupying forces on December 31, 2011 from an adjacent area of Sui, Dera Bugti during a military operation and was reportedly gang-raped by occupying forces and severely tortured and she later bleed to death and her dead body was dump near her house from a fast moving vehicle.
Several women were killed along with many men of Marri tribesmen in a recent massive military offensive in Kohistan-e-Marri region of Balochistan.
Another Baloch woman recent victim of Pakistani brutality is Jannat Bibi, She is killed during an offensive of Pakistani forces in Dera Bugti. Details here
And today the most cowardly and shameful act of the occupying forces was witnessed when Sister of a Baloch pro-independence leader Nawab Brahumdagh Bugti and granddaughter of Shaheed-e-Azam Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti was killed along with her teenage daughter and their driver in Gizri Bridge, Karachi when the armed-men of secret agencies of Pakistan opened indiscriminate firing on their car when they were on their way back to home after attending a wedding of a close relative.
She was wife of Mir Bakhtiyar Domki, a tribal head of Domki tribe. Apparent reason of her killing is to hurt the Baloch leader Nawab Brahumdagh Bugti and his family emotionally as they are far away to be hurt physically.
We the Baloch are believed to be born fighters and our mother sing us stories of warriors in their berceuse. Baloch have fought against every invader from Alexander the great to the British imperialist forces but had never faced such shameless and coward enemy who can stoop this low to fulfill his dirty goals. The only word I can say is we the Baloch are really ashamed of the shameless enemy, The Pakistani state and its forces.
Courtesy : Daily Tawar
By Adeenag Baloch
|Photo by Karlos Zurutuza: Baloch children drawing water from Helmand River|
Courtesy: Sri lanka Guardian
Original Article : http://www.srilankaguardian.org/2011/11/pakistani-state-structure-in.html
The Tolerated enemy of the state
by Matthias Daum, Journalist. Based in Zurich. Writing for DIE ZEIT and Neue Zürcher Zeitung
Three e-mails and a phone call sufficed to meet with him here. Brahamdagh Bugti wants to talk about his history and his dream of freedom for the Pakistani province of Baluchistan. The world, Switzerland and especially the migration officials in federal Bern, where is pending since January 2011 his asylum application, he wants to show I’m a politician, not a rebel or terrorist.
But his presence in the vicinity of Geneva, where Bugti lives with his mother, his wife and three children, who brings Switzerland into trouble. Because at first July in Baluchistan kidnapped two Swiss tourists and taken to North Waziristan. The Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan, an al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group wants to exchange them for 100 the two comrades who are sitting in Pakistani jails. Brahamdagh Bugti, who has proven nothing to do with the kidnapping, understands his delicate position: “I am convinced to 99 percent that I’m going to get asylum, I am pursuing. I’m just scared about to me that one exchanges against the Swiss hostages. “
For humanitarian reasons this will not happen. In Pakistan, he would receive no due process. Because Brahamdagh Bugti, grandson of the highly respected tribal leader Nawab Akbar Bugti and his designated successor, is for Pakistan and Osama bin Laden for the U.S. was: public enemy number one. What made him that?
Politicians or rebel, good or bad – who is Brahamdagh Bugti?
Brahamdagh Bugti pulls a paper out of his leather satchel and rummaged for a pen. He skilfully sketched a map. Pakistan and its provinces. He explains, is in Baluchistan, a lunar landscape in the southwest of the country is raging, a dirty war, knowing nothing of the world. For aid agencies and NGOs Baluchistan is a no-go area – even for the Red Cross. Independent foreign observers who are familiar with the situation on the ground want to speak only anonymously to the public. The topic is too sensitive, “Every diplomat who takes the word of Baluchistan in the mouth is yelling,” Baluchistan is Pakistan for what. Tibet for China is – a matter of destiny. It’s about uranium to copper to oil to natural gas in the soil of Balochistan.
Nevertheless, there is in the province of blatant poverty. Chiefs as the living from the tithes of their Bugtis serfs. Eight out of ten people have no clean drinking water, nine out of ten cook on wood fires. And the Iranian-Baloch never even saw each other even as Pakistani. Since its founding in 1947 they revolted against the central government five times. Again today. Tribesmen hunt railway lines and gas pipelines in the air, or they deliberately murdered policemen, soldiers, border guards, guest workers, teachers. It supports the Baluchis of the United States and Afghanistan. The great power betriebt a perfidious double game, as well as the Pakistani army and its intelligence agency ISI to benefit from U.S. military aid. And the answer to the Baloch rebellion this with brutal violence, independence fighters and their political supporters are abducted, tortured, discarded their bodies in ditches – Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International took over the atrocities committed on both sides of book until you also put it in front of the door .
Head of the recent wave of violence against the central government should be Brahamdagh Bugti. Pakistan says. Why, however, Switzerland will provide a most wanted person of a visa? No comment means that the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). There are only two possibilities: Either you did not know who you let into the country. Or are you deliberately played its part in an international solution to the problem.”Without connivance of the ISI, it would not have been possible Bugti, to come to Switzerland. This is a deal between Pakistan and the U.S. – and possibly other states. For it was surprisingly quiet when it became known, where Bugti infected. That would have provoked more reactions, it would happen against the will of Pakistan, “says the TIME one informant with contacts in intelligence circles, who knows the region very well. To illustrate, he says: “In the Swiss embassy in Islamabad was never a screaming ISI agent on the mat”.
Even in Pakistan, the mood remained relatively quiet. Quoted as saying in late March, the newspaper The Express Tribune, a pro-government source: “Apparently Islamabad is indeed against Bugtis asylum application, but at the same time it is satisfied that he from Switzerland in the Baluchi insurgency can not fuel continued,” This also explains why not. extradition request was made. A Brahamdagh Bugti, away quietly put the home in Geneva would be neutral, that is an asset not a burden in cooperation with Pakistan. Especially when it comes to the liberation of the two Swiss hostages. Bugti and plays with the game. Pronouncements of his followers, he met UN officials in Geneva and Swiss officials, he dismisses as nonsense.”The important thing is that my asylum application is accepted. Now it’s’ survival, says Bugti. Only after the end of August in the New York Timesportrait made, the Pakistani government made some racket: In an article in the daily newspaper The Dawn said a spokesman that they had requested the extradition from Switzerland Bugtis. Alone in Bern nobody knows about it.
But Bugti who is? The called party is directed to the chair, takes a sip of his latte macchiato, “Yes, there are rebel Bugti. But I have nothing to do with them. “He was a political leader, chief of the Baloch Republican Party.
Only thing is not that simple. Even though policy experts such as Albert Stahel, or the French anthropologist and expert Baluchistan Georges Lefeuvre (“Bugti was not a terrorist” is) (“Bugti has no blood on their hands”) over the western Swiss newspaper Le Temps took the man’s defense. ”In the beginning was” sure Bugti involved in bombings, says another TIME informant. In the WikiLeaks documents of the U.S. Consulate in Karachi, one reads: “The Baloch Republican Party is the political arm of the Baloch Republican Army. . Both are (presumably) headed by Brahamdagh Bugti “And compared to the Guardian Bugti himself said a year ago in a telephone interview: “We want to solve the problem politically, no one wants to take up arms. But given what happened, the armed resistance is necessary. “
Brahamdagh Bugti was also there when his master, who commands about 13,000 square kilometers of land and 150,000 people and an asset has 40-50 million dollars in the summer of 2005, vowed revenge. Compared to the magazine Economist said at the time his aged grandfather, Nawab Akbar Bugti, “It is better to quickly die in the mountains than slowly in bed,” From the dazzling old, the Jean-Jacques Rousseau, translated into Baluchi had, in 1953 as exotic to the coronation. by Elizabeth II attended with 29 years ago was for a short time Minister of Defence of Pakistan, became an overnight resistance fighters.
What had happened? Brahamdagh Bugti from obsolete. He talks about the roots of his people in ancient Mesopotamia, Medes and Persians, Alexander the Great and the British colonial masters – until he finally ends up in January 2005. Then raped an army captain, the doctor Shazia Khalid Baloch.The story made the rounds of the Baloch anger boiled over. Bugti fighters committed attacks on security forces and gas pipelines across Pakistan had been cut off gas supplies. The Army did what they always do in such situations: slap on.
On 17 Units in March 2005 attacked the desert fort of Dera Bugti. Result: 57 dead, many of them women and children. The bullets just missed the tribal headquarters of the Bugtis, where resided also Brahamdagh Bugti. ”The next day the army has” apologized, telling the young Bugti. There were several meetings between the army and Belutschenstamm. But the sluggish talks.”Who Bugti has given the authority to speak on behalf of Balochistan?” Intoxicated with the Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. For him, the time was still firmly in the saddle, the old Bugti was the key to the largest natural gas fields in Pakistan.
The situation escalated: Belutschenrebellen attacked with rocket launchers to a campaign event of Musharraf. And 17 December 2005, the army fired at Dera Bugti again. Sun attracted the Nawab Akbar Bugti 80-year-old and his favorite grandson, who had grown up after the death of his father with him, in the mountains. A manhunt began. In late August 2006 Pakistani army troops ransacked the fugitives in the mountains. From his hiding place, three miles from his grandfather who saw the disaster coming Brahamdagh Bugti: At six clock in the morning, the four fighter jets appeared on the horizon. 50 feet of him broke down the bombs. His camp for the night flew into the air, his laptop and his passport had been destroyed. Even today, he listens to the right ear little, leans forward again and again in conversation over the coffee table.
Helicopter galloped along the ridges, they set off paratroopers who combed the area. ”The satellite phone had betrayed us,” says Bugti. ”I’ve told my grandfather that he should turn it off, but he refused.” On the third day of the attack, on 26 August announced that the government: The old Bugti is dead! And with him 32 of his tribesmen.
Quiet Bugti told his story. Not once flew over the nervous glance of a fugitive his face. Not once he goes into conspiracy theories.
After the death of his grandfather’s grandson marched for 19 days using the surviving fighters and local leaders to walk to Afghanistan. From there he sent for his family. At first they lived in Kandahar, then in Kabul, where they moved every three months, the phone number Bugti changed every two weeks. On several occasions tried to Taliban or Al Qaeda fighters to kill him.Once the ISI provided the Afghan journalists Nawab Momand, who knew Bugti, 800,000 dollars, so he served as suicide bombers strike. The man refused. One other time was in the Wazir Akbar Khan district of Kabul Nobel up a car bomb that Bugti was. But he always got away. He was warned. ”The Afghan intelligence chief was like a brother to me,” says Bugti.
Knew what to Switzerland when she Bugti issued a visa?
But gradually increased the pressure on Pakistan, Afghanistan, its neighbors.Musharraf and his intelligence Bugti wanted at any price. ”He was the rotten tooth in the U.S. relationship with Pakistan,” says an insider. On 24February 2010 decided Bugtis fate – again in his favor. FBI Director Robert Muller met with the Ministers of Interior of Afghanistan and Pakistan for talks in Islamabad. They talked about a deal. For in Lahore was the Taliban leader Mullah Berader in prison for burning the U.S. interested. ”We should exchange some kind of> Berader against Bugti ‘consider’ Brahamdagh Bugti had become a pawn in the hands of the Americans: The U.S. ambassador in Islamabad advised in a dispatch.. But she hesitated. The United States themselves had an interest in Baluchistan, as the second most important supply route to Afghanistan through the province. And according to information provided by the Guardian, the CIA operates a secret landing strip for their drones flying in the tribal area of attacks against Taliban and al-Qaeda. So burst the deal. But the Belutschenführer had gone on out of the Hindu Kush region.
Two hours have passed in Geneva luxury hotel. ”You do not want to stay for lunch?” Asks Bugti. We order the overpriced Caesar salad and a club sandwich. Brahamdagh Bugti claimed to have knowledge of these intrigues only find out in hindsight. Nevertheless, he made contact with the UNHCR.”We had to get away from Kabul, it had become too dangerous.” Bugti With whose help eventually came to Switzerland to this day remains a mystery.The UNHCR says it has nothing to do with it. They wanted to put him in Ireland, France and Norway were under discussion – all of the plans failed.In Bern, we read: “The DFA can not publicly comment on visa decisions, the concrete individuals relate to” What is clear only that Bugti was awarded in October 2010 at the Swiss Consulate General in Dubai with a probably fake Afghan passport for a tourist visa. . In Geneva, he met with his lawyers and discussed the situation. Later he traveled back to Dubai at least twice. Only in the spring of 2011 he brought his family to Geneva.
Here he is now the moderate politicians in exile. Fear? No, he had never been to Switzerland. ”Although I sometimes have the feeling that Pakistanis follow me” A few days later we read in Pakistani media that ex-President Musharraf is sought on arrest warrants. He did give the killing of Nawab Akbar Bugti in the old order. A nation is looking for the man who once took their worst enemy to the track. ”I want to make like in Dubai, something with real estate: Bugti’s grandson is dreaming of a peaceful future. I do not understand something. “The rebel leader as a broker. But a moderate attitude to him could cost the sympathies of Belutschenjugend at home. Not only the Pakistanis are hated even their own elites, whose youth in Karachi, Dubai and London leads a sweet life of luxury. So one can understand his warning of a radicalization of the boys also quite different: namely, as fear of losing their own livings.
Original Article : http://www.zeit.de/2011/45/CH-Bugti/komplettansicht
By Mir Sohaib Mengal
The media and the judiciary keep concentrating on non-issues but turn a blind eye to brutalities and human rights violations by state-run agencies
Prime Minister Gilani, on his recent visit to Quetta, asked the militants to shun violence and urged them to choose the path of peace. He was addressing the passing out parade of the recruits of Pakistan Army in Balochistan. It seems that Mr Gilani was unaware of what his men in uniform and plain clothes were doing in Khuzdar, Gwadar and other parts of Balochistan while he was enjoying dry-fruits in the garrison city of Quetta on his short visit. In a very short span of three days, nine mutilated bodies of Baloch missing persons were found from different parts of Balochistan.
The first two victims of the brutal ‘kill and dump’ policy were Irfat Baloch and Kareem Jan Baloch. Irfat, a teenage boy, was a student of Turbat Degree College. He was abducted along with two other friends on September 23, 2011 from Pasni Cross. Their vehicle was intercepted when they were on their way to Quetta for a study tour. Kareem Jan Baloch, a political and social activist, went missing on August 8, 2011 from Tump, district Kech. He was detained illegally for 58 days before his brutally tortured body was found along with Irfat Baloch.
The whole of Balochistan mourned — strikes were observed throughout the province but the worst had yet to come. On October 9, the Baloch nation witnessed one of its most terrible days when the bullet-riddled bodies of 11-year-old Abdul Wahid Baloch (who was also called Balaach) and Ghulam Ullah Baloch, General Secretary of Baloch Watan Movement, were found from Baghbana, Khuzdar.
The young Balaach gained popularity when a picture of him wearing a Balochistan flag was posted on social websites a year ago. The shirt he was wearing read: ‘Jiye Azad Balochistan’. This picture went viral on social networking websites where it remained the display picture of many people for several days. But no one actually knew that this picture and Balaach’s participation in protests would actually turn out to be the reason for his brutal death. Balaach was abducted on August 8, 2011 from Khuzdar in the presence of several eyewitnesses. Personnel wearing plain clothes in several vehicles abducted him at gunpoint from a busy market in broad daylight. His tiny body had to bear inhumane torture for 62 days before a bullet in his brain ended his sufferings in October.
The levies found two other bodies from Kulanch, Gwadar on the same day. The deceased were identified as Sameer Rind and Abdul Mutalib Baloch. Sameer Jan Rind was abducted from Turbat during a house raid on October 14, 2010. The 24-year-old student was detained illegally exactly for one year. Sameer Jan’s sister struggled hard for the recovery of her brother. From TV shows to the judiciary, she knocked at every door but she could only get the tortured remains of her young brother. But that was not the end of the Baloch ordeal; some more sisters had to cry, some more mothers had to mourn. The bloody carnage continued unabated, this time for the families of Rashid Ali, Shafi Mohammad and Mirza Rind. Rashid Ali was the vice president of Baloch National Movement Mashkey zone whereas Shafi Mohammad and Mirza Rind were political activists belonging to Kalat and Hub respectively. At least four other political activists, mostly students, were also abducted two weeks ago.
This is not the first time that the powerful Pakistani establishment has introduced its kill and dump policy; the Baloch nation has witnessed many such episodes. They have been under ongoing assault since 2001, when the fifth military operation in the mineral-rich province started but it accelerated in mid-2010 when the bodies of missing Baloch persons started appearing. According to the International Voice for Baloch Missing Persons, an organisation mainly comprising family members of the missing Baloch, more than 13,000 Baloch political activists, students, doctors, journalists and social activists are missing. This figure includes more than 200 women and children.
In these conditions, with such hypocrisy and with such an extent of brutality, the invitation for peaceful talks and non-violence remains meaningless. Though the prime minister renewed his earlier pledge and said, “We are ready to go to the doorsteps of angry Baloch leaders to resolve issues through table talks,” which Baloch leader will actually shake hands with a person whose men are killing non-violent political activists on a daily basis? Prime Minister Gilani had earlier assured that the missing persons will start returning home soon. He did fulfil his promise and disappeared persons started appearing, unfortunately, as mutilated and tortured bullet-riddled bodies. More than 300 missing persons have been killed in detention since then.
But the oppressors must never forget that Balochistan has never been a piece of cake for occupiers and intruders. Through brutality and murder, they can earn the anger and never-ending bitterness of the Baloch but not their sympathies.
On the other hand, the criminal silence of the media, judiciary, human rights organisations and so-called Baloch nationalist leaders is beyond comprehension. The media and the judiciary keep concentrating on non-issues but turn a blind eye to brutalities and human rights violations by state-run agencies. The most shocking aspect of all this is the confusion amongst Baloch nationalist leaders. While the leaders remain confused, the killers and bloodthirsty vampires are not. These leaders should not forget that they are in fact Baloch and they are answerable to the Baloch nation for their criminal role. Instead of giving statements on non-issues, these leaders should understand their responsibilities and try to guide the public on countering these inhumane killings. No doubt this is not possible without unity but unity should not be at the expense of ideologies and rights.
Baloch nationalism has been suppressed by extremist forces like Lashkar-e-Jhangvi
By Vikram Sood
Abductions of Baloch nationals and their disappearances are now routine. In a matter of three days in October, nine mutilated bodies of Baloch missing persons were found from different parts of Balochistan like Khuzdar and Gwadar.
This list is endless. The rest of the world is, however, far too involved with what is happening in the Arab world or Afghanistan- Pakistan.
The Baloch have had a long list of economic, political and social discrimination against Islamabad. There are a few courageous writers, and the diaspora that feeds the websites and Twitter.
The Human Rights Watch (HRW) in its report, ‘We Can Torture, Kill, or Keep You for Years: Enforced Disappearances by Pakistan Security Forces in Balochistan,’ says hundreds of people have disappeared since 2005 in Balochistan.
The HRW has documented 45 cases of enforced disappearances and torture by Pakistani security forces in 2009 and 2010. No one really gets to hear of what is happening in the padded cell.
The largely forgotten and ignored Baloch however keep reminding the world that they are in the midst of their fifth war of independence against their Punjabi oppressor. Here in India too the Baloch issue is hardly noticed mostly because the western press has not commented on it for months.
This is despite the fact that we are routinely accused of interference in Balochistan and we even admitted to discussing this allegation. (Anyone remember the inglorious communiqu © at Sharm el Sheikh two years ago?) Balochistan has suffered not only from neglect by its own governments but also by the rest of the world.
The nationalists among them insist that Balochistan had declared its independence on August 11, 1947 and want a reversal of that.
Their problem is that they are divided, the political structures are weak and that traditional leadership of the Mengals, Marris, Bizenjos and Bugtis has weakened, dispersed or been eliminated. Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, the leader of the Bugti tribe was killed in August 2006.
Akbar Bugti’s grandson escaped to Switzerland while Khair Bux’s other sons Hyrbair, Mehran and Ghezen live overseas. Balaach Marri, the son of Nawab Khair Bux Marri who himself has campaigned for Baloch independence, was killed in Afghanistan in November 2007.
The Baloch believe that both Akbar Bugti and Balaach Marri were killed under orders from General Musharraf. Added to this have been the killings of Shias, carried out in recent times by the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.
These Sunni extremists, are possibly in league with the Taliban’s Quetta Shura, adding to the confusion about what is happening in the province. Baloch nationalism is, as before, sought to be suppressed through the use of religious forces.
Balochistan always had a strategic relevance for the West. After Germany surrendered in May 1945, a reappraisal of the long term policy of interests of the British empire argued that Britain must retain its military connection with the subcontinent and that, if necessary, Balochistan should be detached from India.
As it turned out, all of Pakistan came under Anglo-American influence after independence. When the massive Baloch insurrection of 1974 broke out Zulfiqar Bhutto had to resort to the use of the Air Force. Peace was restored after General Zia assumed power in 1977. Since then, till today, the struggle has been intermittent but has never died down.
Balochistan has enormous reserves of gas, gold and copper, as well as untapped sources of oil and uranium. Its strategic importance is also as a prospective energy transit route. It adjoins the Arabian Sea and the Straits of Hormuz, through which 40 per cent of the world’s oil resources pass annually.
The exploitation of these natural resources in combination with repressive and discriminatory state-run policies have led to armed uprisings in the province.
Logistic supplies to US and NATO forces in Afghanistan which land in Karachi are also routed through Balochistan. This explains why the US/NATO prefer to ignore events in Balochistan. This could, however, change once the US dependency on routes through Pakistan changes to the Northern routes.
The writer is a former chief of Research and Analysis Wing (RAW)
By Khalid Hayat Jamaldini
What is going on in Balochistan? Is it terrorism? Is it struggle for provincial autonomy? Or is it a Baloch revolutionary movement, aimed at breaking the chains of slavery and changing the status quo–Pakistan’s totalitarian colonialism?
Baloch professors, politicians, intellectuals, human right activists and journalists are brutally gunned down during daylight, while students, political activists and poets are kidnapped in the darkness of night. Their bodies, when found, reveal cruel and agonizing deaths.
News reports make it sound as if the government of Pakistan is unaware of who is behind the chain of murders; the country’s law enforcement agencies also feign ignorance. The victims, however, blame the country’s intelligence agencies for these hideous acts. National and international human rights organizations, like the Human Right Commission of Pakistan, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, draw similar conclusions: they all blame the intelligence agencies of Pakistan.
Officials of Pakistan’s intelligence agencies, however, deny such allegations. To date, these intelligence agencies have held foreign hands responsible for the chain of assassinations in Baluchistan. If Pakistan’s intelligence agencies claims are true, the fundamental question is why have they failed to prevent these brutal acts and bring the perpetrators to justice?
Logically, there are three possibilities that account for the failure to prevent the serial killings of Baloch intellectuals: 1) The government, particularly its intelligence agencies, is unwilling to prevent these criminal acts, 2) they are incompetent to do so, or 3) they themselves are behind the murders.
The overall impression of the public is that the Pakistani government at large is not willing to take any actions to prevent these organized crimes against the Baloch people. In the last six decades, not one individual has been caught or brought to justice for any of these murders. This injustice and failure on the part of Pakistani officials has widened the mistrust and disrespect of Baloch people towards Pakistan.
In the past 60 years, Pakistani officials at both the federal and provincial levels have continuously made false promises about positively changing the conditions in Balochistan, whose people have been reduced to poverty. Each ruler coming to power in Pakistan apologizes to the Baloch people for past wrongdoings and promises to change the living conditions of Balochs, a suppressed nation, but they all have failed to abide by their promises. Instead, the stated mission of “doing more,” in effect, translates to a kind of torture on a variety of levels related to the quality of human life, e.g., economical, educational, basic rights, human rights–all are negatively impacted by Pakistan’s efforts to do more for the Baloch.
Considering the bitter experiences of the past, as well as the present’s fearful circumstances, many Balochs have once again given up hope and have stopped dreaming of a better future within Pakistan. The reason and logic behind such decision is vivid: their future will never be bright while living under, in effect, Pakistani captivity.
For the Balochs to rid their lives of brutality, racism, totalitarian rulers, inequality and injustices, those men and women who have a vision of national prosperity–a prosperity that can be enjoyed by the entire Baloch nation–have again organized and started a revolution with the aim of winning the rights of the people of Baluchistan. Simply put, they are organizing to secure their human rights, civil rights, civil liberties, and democratic rights as described in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Like every other independence movement, this struggle or movement for liberty has been continuously suppressed by Pakistan and labeled as “terrorism and anti-state activities.” The irony is, of course, that every meaningless visit by Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Gilani or Interior Minister Rehman Malik to Balochistan (aimed at reconciliation) is welcomed by the recovery of innocent, disappeared Baloch youth’s tortured dead bodies.
Mir Sohaib Mengal, in his latest article “The killings and the promises” published in a leading Pakistani newspaper, Daily Times Pakistan, on 19 October, 2011, writes about the recent visit of the Pakistani Prime Minister to Balochistan. It seems that Mr. Gilani was unaware of what his men in uniform and plain clothes were doing in Khuzdar, Gwadar and other parts of Balochistan while he was enjoying dry-fruits in the garrison city of Quetta on his short visit. In the very short span of three days, nine mutilated bodies of Baloch missing persons were found in different parts of Balochistan.
Similarly, Mr. Rehman Malik, who was recently awarded an honorary PhD degree by the University of Karachi (a very divisive point among scholars who question in which capacity he was awarded such a prestige degree), has always filled his pocket with lot of phony stories about issues in Balochistan during his visits. Just recently, for example, Dr. Rehman claimed that he is in touch with the leadership of Baloch separatist groups and has made them agree to table talks. He has said further that the nation would soon hear good news related to this matter.
Prior to Dr. Malik’s statement, the same tactic was used by Senator Lashkari Rasani, the younger brother of the Chief Minister of Balochistan. Both statements were rejected by different pro-independence groups who described them as propaganda for the purpose of creating misunderstanding among the groups and among the people of Balochistan, and to jeopardize the movement by employing mischievous strategies to fan hostility within the Baloch groups and political parties.
For their part, Baloch insurgents reject accusations that they are involved in terrorism or anti-state activities. They characterize their activities as a revolution, one in which hundreds of Balochs of different ages and backgrounds have lost their lives at the hands of Pakistani intelligence agencies who disappear and extra-judicially murder Baloch. Baloch locals also describe military operations carried out by Pakistani forces in many different districts of Balochistan. In this insurgency, Baloch tribal chieftains have also not been spared. The Chief Minister, the Governor, ministers and bureaucrats have all been attacked, as have Balochs who belong to various pro-autonomy parties and who would prefer to remain a part of Pakistan, as well as settlers, particularly the Punjabis (an ethnic group from the Punjab province of Pakistan and also known as the ruling class of the country). Some of these attacks are claimed by Baloch insurgents. Responsibility for others is harder to determine for claims and counter-claims are routine and there is no one to investigate anything in the fog of this war. Baloch insurgents have long appealed for international human rights investigators and journalists to come to Balochistan to conduct their own investigations, but very few have ever responded to this plea, primarily because the Pakistan government both discourages and/or outright prohibits outsiders from visiting Balochistan.
The Baloch insurgency shares some features with sister revolutions in Libya, Egypt and Tunisia. Like the citizens of these countries, the Balochs suffer from relative deprivation, meaning that they are deprived of real political power and democracy. In addition, many are tortured to death because of their political activism. If the Baloch, like others, want to change their future, they have to rid themselves of the tyrannical regime under which they live. 60 years of rule by successive Pakistani governments has done nothing to improve the lot of the Baloch people. In fact, the Baloch, as a whole, probably suffer a level of deprivation greater than many of the citizens in Libya, Egypt and Tunisia, for little revenue from resources extracted from Balochistan by Pakistan has ever reached the Baloch public. It is this overwhelming deprivation that drives the insurgency. The Baloch want to harness Balochistan’s natural resources to meet the needs of its population long deprived of adequate food, shelter, health services, physical and mental security, and an ability to assert its identity and so on.
This time the current movement has an edge over previous ones–and that is the enthusiastic involvement of educated Baloch youth from different professions, intellectuals and women. There is an eagerness on the part of the public and activists to bring change in order to enjoy a better future in their homeland. Furthermore, it is observed that preference is not given to emotional speeches and press statements by the leadership, the effects of which are not lasting.
What the Baloch have to admit, however, is the harsh reality that their unity, at present, is not healthy enough to bring rapid change. The Baloch still have to work hard to overcome their flaws. Due to their hard work, the world now knows about the barbarism of Pakistan towards the Baloch people. But now the Baloch pro-independence political parties have to step up. They should come up with clear policies regarding how they can make Balochistan a better place to live and invest in. They have to focus on how to unite their people and they have to stop sniping at each other. They should concentrate on table talks to end their differences, rather than giving rivals ammunition with which to imperil the revolution. They still have a long way to go to accomplish that which can only be achieved by unity, committed persons, visionary leadership and excellent team work, but start they must–this fog of war will never lift and development will never begin without it.
The writer belongs to Balochistan and writes on the issue of Balochistan for international and national websites and papers. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org