Freeing kashmir, chaining Baloch – by Rashed Aurakzai

Khabar Nama lines of innocents disappearance, killings and tortures, house-searches, bullet spreeing on rallies in Indian Held Kashmir comes to one’s mind when Balochistan insurgency is in news. How naive or dishonest of us not seeing both through the same lens? Like the former, the latter was also annexed controversially. Both have the pro and anti-state divide among its populous. Both are victims of their Federation’s arrogance. Freedom fighters have chosen rebellion and armed struggle as means to their ends, missing sympathy and support internationally. Both movements are accused of ‘foreign hand’ to weaken ‘occupying’ states. Both are lead by variety of factions each proving its own salt. Kashmiri Struggle is embedded in religious sentiment and that of Baloch in nationalism but both are suffering from leadership deficit, clarity of mind, unity and strategy.

Baluchistan has been ignored by its ‘occupying’ state for too long due to its scarce population and distance from capital. Shallow and narcissistic ‘religion’ based ideology has failed to create love and sense of Pakistani Nationalism not only among Balochs but among all groups except Panjabi Speaking Ethnicity of north Punjab and Urbanite middle class. Population as criterion for resources is the apple of discord. The Panjabi dominant establishment created one unit to counter Bengalis’ majority and were even then short of 50% despite state’s manipulation of statistics. Islamabad cannot see beyond itself. The Security State wants all to obey and not question.   Baloch’s bravery accompanied by his political activism, defies this norm. He may not be right in all his perceptions but not at all wrong is asking control of his resources and end to military occupation of their ‘Father-Land’ . They, like Kashmiri are treated persona non grata in their ancestral land belonging to them for the last 5000 years. Baloch like Kashmiri is persecuted, tortured and killed by their own paid army. The vast but least populated province with abundant natural resources has through some pro-establishment Sardars been looted and deliberately kept backward. State’s blaming of tribal system for backwardness is self contradictory as it has not even tried once to eliminate these parallel social systems in the country and at times has obliged and patronized them to its benefits. Ruling class have erased Khanates, Princely states and Nawabdoms where wanted. In short the (Deep)State and their Civilian elites are not bothered about Balochistan inhabitants but about their resources.

The unfortunate land of brave and courageous Balochs has the least human development index in the country. Health and education spending are next to nothing. Balochistan’s provincial budget is less than that of the federal capital. As a result, their population is receding. It is also threatened by demographic changes for being turned from majority into minority. Their concern is genuine and based on their experience in Lasbella, Quetta, and Gawadar. Almost half of its jobs and educational quota is taken by settlers mostly from Punjab. The Lordship, Iftikhar Chaudri is one such example. Military has encroached whatever cultivatable land was available. Ability to do comes by doing. Justifying settlements for Baluchistan’s lack of skills and education is like inviting the English to run our country for our lack of competence. Continuous Deprivations on one hand and callousness of Islamabad on other have left Balochs with no options but to demand freedom. To Pakistan, they mean nothing. Their voice hardly reaches policy makers. If you (Islamabad) don’t care about them, let them have their own way. Off course one can’t force one’s brother to live with him. Balochs are closer to Afghans by history and geography than to 63 year old Pakistanis.

They have been pushed against wall. The compromising 80 years old Nawab and ‘Qaid Ka Sipahi’, Akbar Khan Bugti was mercilessly murdered by heavy artillery for raising voice against a rapist military officer in his locality. Any gentleman would have done the same. Had he not defended his honour by standing for a helpless Dr. Shazia, the next victim might have been his own Baloch women. They have yet to repent on Bengal? The whole military is up against a few disorganised, emotional and angry juveniles who can far better be brought to justice by mere District Police Officer or Sub Divisional Magistrate. Stop making King Kong out of Kitten. Is Pakistan so weak to be scared of a few stray youths? And if there is any ‘foreign involvement’, intelligence agencies should make Halal their salaries and show us at least one ‘Kasab’, otherwise stop painting everything   Nasim Hijazi, Ibn e Safi’s way.

The colonial remnant, para-military force called 2nd -Frontier Corpse ( FC) is comprised mostly of Pakthoons. Beside guarding Durand Line, these militias were used by Raj to check local uprisings, in case ‘Political Agents’ failed. Their policy of pitching Sikhs against Musalmans, Rajputs against Afghans has been kept alive by their predecessors. It’s like gladiators in arenas. One tribal pitched against the other, eroding ethnic harmony of Balochistan for the past 63 years. Baloch has every right to demand FC’s disbandment and have their own police or levies to replace it. The pride and honour of freedom loving Indo-Iranian tribes will not let a foreign soldier guard their land. They will always take it for occupation. There is no harm in respecting their norms and nature, since millenniums before Pakistan’s conception; these tribes have survived all odds, both manmade and natural.

Balochs, too have to analyse recent history of armed struggles and reconsider their chosen course. Kashmiris had to accept at last that militancy infact damaged their cause. LTTE, after decades of resistance could not live to realize the dreams they swallowed cyanides for. Hammas also stands isolated and blamed. Chechen Rebels have totally been annihilated only making it difficult for millions of peaceful Russian Muslims, now being sceptically eyed for ‘potential threats’. Post 9/11 is a world of political correctness and we must be able to calculate and decide the effective and pragmatic means to our dreams. Guns are glamorous, but they cant win you the argument. Wars end at tables. Killing settlers wont scare them away nor return your misgivings. Instead you lose the much deserved sympathy. As a matter of fact we all are victims of our ruling elites. This blood sucking group is not solely Punjabis but opportunists from all ethnicities. Our Khans and Maulvis, Your Nawabs and Sardars, their Waderas and Mirs are integral part of it. A common Panjab is no more at any advantage than his counterpart in Thar, Larkana, Multan, Dera Bugti, Pishin, Waziristan, Gilgit or Derajaats. We all need freedom from our ruling leaches who divide us countless lines and rule us.

We all have to work it out. Secessions have hardly been about what’s being sloganed. We are cheated every time. It hasn’t been solution but only change of masters. Are we any better without India or Bengal without us? We all are knitted now by more stronger bonds than religion, ethnicity, citizenship or profession. That bond is of poverty, oppression and injustice. We all are victims. Let’s not waste time in cults with no ends.

Source: Viewpoint



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