Has Arab-sponsored Salafism infiltrated Baloch struggle?

Baloch mourn Nawabzada Balach Khan Marri's killing by Pakistani military. Gazain Marri, elder brother of Balach Marri, organised this condolence meeting in Dubai in 2007.

Ikhtiar Hussain

If you look at it: the rise of the UAE, especially Dubai, is proportionate to the fall of Karachi. You may not believe it today, but the fact is that Karachi used to be as significant a commercial hub of Asia as Hong Kong. It was even more preferred destination for world business than Hong Kong. For instance, it was Karachi which was the Asian centre of world airlines. Karachi was promoted by world travel agents as Dubai is promoted now.

But come General Zia ul Haq’s Islam and jihad, and Karachi became the killing field it still continues to be. All airlines closed down their operations. Tourists disappeared too.

During Karachi’s heydays, no one had heard of the United Arab Emirates, Dubai included. Now the tables have turned. Dubai is what Karachi used to be.

But the fear of the UEA sheikhs is still there. Wikileaks have made it public that after Saudi Arabia, the largest financer of terrorism in Pakistan is the UEA. Now that the Gawadar Port is ready to be used, there is an ongoing nationalist struggle in Balochistan. It is well known that if Gawadar is fully functional, Dubai will suffer as the hub of Middle Eastern shipping industry. Thus it is in the interest of the UAE if Gawadar remains nonfunctional on account of the problems in Balochistan. The government of Pakistan should seriously look into it. The Arabs are the source of terrorism in Pakistan through their proxies like the ISI and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. Certainly these proxies will be a great barrier to any such investigation. It is up to the government how to handle these criminal outfits.

The active presence of UAE-ISI backed Lashkar-e-Jhangvi serves a dual purpose in Balochistan.  By utilising a tiny section of misguided Baloch youth to kill Shias (belonging to Hazara, Pashtun and Baltit backgrounds), it perpetuates strife in Balochistan.  LeJ’s violent acts also aim to delegitimize the Baloch Nationalist struggle by infusing it with an intolerant ideology.

Today’s violent attacks are a tragic reminder of the senseless violence that will only harm a genuine Baloch struggle.  Such violence is a cornerstone of Salafism that has been inculcated via LeJ and Jundullah- two Gulf financed Salafist groups that are tearing apart the secular fabric of Balochistan.

(Ikhtiar Hussain is a human rights activist who lives in Bronx in New York. He can be contacted at: jim123@rocketmail.com)



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