The fable of the gold mines -by Saria Benazir

Balochistan is the largest among Pakistan’s four provinces, comprising 43 percent of land area of the country. Balochistan is fundamentally a clannish society possessing its own history, culture, behavior and norms. Balochistan became part of Pakistan as a consequence of agreements reached on 17th and 27th of March, 1948.

In these accords, Balochistan was ensured by Muhammad Ali Jinnah and the (federal) government that if the province became a part of Pakistan, its interests would be given priority.

The province was promised a special status within Pakistan, which is clearly mentioned in a speech that Mr. Jinnah made on 4th October, 1947. Despite being the richest province in terms of energy and mineral resources, Balochistan remains one of the most under-developed provinces. The Baloch therefore have long been demanding greater autonomy and a larger share of the dividend from natural resources. The denial of autonomy has been a major cause of the ongoing conflict.

The 1973 Constitution provided that the concurrent list determining the quantum of provincial autonomy would be revised after every 10 years. This has never been done. Upon assumption of Presidency in October 1999, General Pervez Musharraf promised to, among other things, work towards “strengthening the federation, removing inter – provincial disharmony and restoring national cohesion.” However, nine years later, Musharraf proved the saying “promises are made to be broken”

Balochistan crisis is a political problem which could only be resolved through dialogue. By using brute force, Pakistan has been trying to bulldoze provincial autonomy.

Hundreds of Balochs are being held without being charged or produced before courts. From the underpinning of Pakistan till present, the Baloch have been living in tremendous scarcity & dispossession, and their rights left unrecognized, A tribal land, wherein one would detect a cold war, continuing in the province – clashes within the feuds, and the dilemma, which is goaded by the presence of a large number of military personnel in the province has created a bummer – Indeed, in the existing circumstances, when a Baloch does not have access to even the basic commodities of survival, one can envisage the outcomes. Certainly, this must not be countered that these are the conditions, which lead to coercion – when the voice of the commons is concealed by vigor, there’s a constant risk of a mutiny, which at times can be stern enough to pound & bring the conditions under control.

The Baloch are living in timidity, which has deprived them of moving freely within the area, for that is not the situation in the rest of the provinces. Do we not trust them or what is the aspect of deploying so many troops in Balochistan? For there are around 800-900 check posts of the FC across Balochistan – one check post for every 8,000 people.

Moreover, there is a disgruntlement for the Baloch among the natives of other parts of the country, as they scarcely have even the least idea of the genocide, committed there.

The recent killing of a teenager in Karachi by the rangers caught the concentration of the Parliamentarians and came as a dreadful & humiliating occurrence for the entire nation – with the media, providing extensive exposure to the event. Did anyone ever bother to think that hundreds of the Baloch youth have been killed & abducted in the most awful & callous manner, or how the commons of that patch of Pakistan are debased?

The subject of missing people in Balochistan has been enclosed in a certain foreign journals, but the Pakistani media doesn’t heed to apply a few drops of ink on inscribing the human afflictions there, nor can our TV channels spare a few seconds to take account of a single happening in Balochistan in their dispatch, unless it’s so abysmal that they cannot defy to conceal it.

Our anchorpersons, which at times seem to be apprehensive & fretful about the Americas & the Middle East don’t even give a shit to the human rights desecration in Balochistan. “Charity begins at home” – Unless and until you cannot provide security to your own citizens, you can barely envision to provide safe houses to the foreigners in Pakistan, no matter, whatever the grounds for it may be, be it sympathy or strategic interests.

While taking account of the issues like illiteracy, honor killings, inequity, extremism, poverty and disease, it’s improbable for us to get exonerated of all these predicaments, unless we are not committed to educating every Pakistani, regardless of his ethnicity & gender, we cannot exterminate the prejudices from our society, if we aren’t reliable enough to consider every being on this soil as a Pakistani & considering his respect with relevance to his own, we cannot solve the problems of poverty, disease, unemployment etc, unless we assign ourselves to providing equal opportunities to all the Pakistanis & provide them chances to excel on the basis of credibility.

We can never triumph in the war against fanaticism, if we continue to give the forces free hand to annihilate our own people.

If Balochistan is developed, it can feed the entire Pakistan – hallowed with myriad natural reserves, with gold mines drenched in blood – No wells of water, but of blood – For how long can we endure? Numerous forces go on to intimidate our subsistence and at such a critical point in our country’s history, we need to recognize our faults and sit together to resolve them.

We need to open up new boulevards of enlargement in the province for the affluence of the Baloch and of Pakistan. Be enthusiastic enough to making use of the wealth, bestowed to Balochistan by nature & you won’t need to travel abroad and beg for their dollars.

That is a genuineness that the Baloch have never been antagonistic to Pakistan, they suffered & sacrificed for Pakistan, but their reaction is justified as we cannot close our ogles to the decades of deprivation & sufferings, through which the Baloch have passed. All we need to realize is that it’s not time to segregate, our ideology binds us together and we must assure not the repeat the mistakes of the 70s again, for it would lead to the creation of 4 new Bangladesh (s) or may be, even more.

The PPP Government remains unswerving to solving the Balochistan crisis, as it never called the Baloch, rebels for speaking for their rights. The Pakistan Peoples Party represents the people of Pakistan, regardless of their race, color or ethnicity.

It has always condemned the inhuman torture & slaughter of Baloch leaders & intelligentsia. Shaheed Mohtarmah Benazir Bhutto, on her return to Pakistan apologized the people of Balochistan for the injustices of past and promised to grant equal rights to people of Balochistan & give them access to their resources for the development of the province & opulence of the Baloch. However, her assassination snatched all the anticipates from Pakistan.

The legacy continues & I can see optimism in President Asif Ali Zardari, who is making efforts to redress the grievances of its people and solve the problems through dialogue and consensus. (Though, the hatred for him by some radicals lies much in the fact as well that he too is a Baloch).

As an admirer of the Bhutto –ism, the PPP & a devoted Pakistani, I feel the angst of my fellow Baloch in much the same way, as mine & believe that if we have to attain something worthwhile, as a nation, we require to shun our differences & share each others’ sorrows. Without Balochistan, Pakistan is like a body, cut apart from its soul.



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