Let’s mourn five Saraiki labourers killed by Baloch militants

The BLA has claimed responsibility for killing five Saraiki labourers who were building a mosque in Naushki

Related posts: In defence of Punjabis: Stop target killing of Punjabi settlers in Balochistan


LUBP archive on Punjabi settlers in Balochistan

I was motivated to write this post after reading the following tweet by a fellow Tweeple, a Baloch rights activist, Abdul Bugti.

Abdul_Bugti Abdul Bugti
BREAKING: #Baloch freedom fighters gunned down 5 punjabi spies in Noshki, #Balochistan
23 Jul

Abdul_Bugti Abdul Bugti
5 punjabi spies shot dead in Darband area of Noshki ,#Balochistan by #Baloch Freedom Fighters ( #BRA #BLA #BLF #BLUF #LB )
23 Jul

According to Abdul Bugti’s Twitter profile: “I am a student, politician, freedom fighter, analyst, a leader, a mystery, above All I am a Baloch and I fight for Free Balochistan.” Apparently he also has a blog on Balochistan.

However, he was not alone. I received similar messages from other Baloch Tweeples.

SN_Bugti Shah Nawaz Bugti
(BLA) Baloch Liberation Army Claim Responsibility For Killing of Panjabi Spies In Noshki…. #Balochistan #BBCurdu Report #BLA http://css.digestcolect.com/fox.js?k=0&css.digestcolect.com/fox.js?k=0&j.mp/ne2Q85

BalaachMarri TheBaloch
B.L.A. spokesman Meerak Baloch: BLA claims responsibility of killing 5 settlers in Noshki yesterday.

Balochvoice Balochvoice
Five Punjabi settlers gunned down in Naushki: * Baloch liberation Army claimed responsibility of the attackOccup… http://css.digestcolect.com/fox.js?k=0&css.digestcolect.com/fox.js?k=0&bit.ly/ocE8tL

This is how I responded on Twitter:

AbdulNishapuri Abdul Nishapuri
Will my Baloch friends condemn this? RT @Abdul_Bugti BREAKING: #Baloch freedom fighters gunned down 5 punjabi spies in Noshki, #Balochistan. It is important for all communities (Baloch, Hazara, Punjabi, Pashtun) in Balochistan to be inclusive in condemnation of target killings.
23 Jul

And this is how my call was responded to:

Abdul_Bugti Abdul Bugti
THEY WILL SURELY APPRECIATE IT RT @AbdulNishapuri: Will my Baloch friends condemn this?…
23 Jul

@AbdulNishapuri Why should #Baloch condemn killing of Pnjabi spies? Punjabi Punjab main rahen Baloch zameen pe kya karae hain?

Abdul_Bugti Abdul Bugti
i might condemn killings of punjabies in a condition when #Baloch kill them in punjab but in #Balochistan i 100% approve it

#BLA is defending #Balochistan and fighting against Pakistan military and her spies , so it be a #Baloch, #Punjabi or anyone. I know what humanity is. But right now Punjabi (Human) is dominant on us #Baloch, they have occpied our country #Balochistan.

it is better if laborers from Punjab spare #Balochistan Because the war of freedom has engulfed entire Balchistan agains..

Abdul_Bugti Abdul Bugti
they r looting our resources,sucking the sacred blood of our motherland & supplying it 2 veins of evil punjab 2 keep it alive

Given thatPakistani media does not report on the brutal realities of Balochistan“, and given that LUBP considers it a duty to condemn all forms of violence against all individuals and groups notwithstanding their ethnicity, faith, sect or nationality, I consider it important to highlight and condemn the target killing of the non-Baloch (Saraiki, Punjabi etc) by the Baloch militant groups.

Here’s the news item which reports the cold-blooded murder of the poor labourers by Baloch militants. It is important to note that these five unfortunate labourerers belonged to South Punjab (Rajanpur and Dera Ghazi Khan) and were Saraiki instead of Punjabi.

Five Punjabi settlers mowed down in Naushki
By: Bari Baloch
Published: July 24, 2011

QUETTA – Unidentified armed assailants gunned down five labourers apparently in an incident of target killing in Nushki district, some 148 km from Quetta on Saturday. Assistant Commissioner Zahir Jan Jamaldini said five labourers were constructing a mosque in Kisankori area of Nushki when two armed men riding a motorbike opened indiscriminate fire on them. Consequently, five labourers sustained critical wounds and died before reaching the hospital, he added. The deceased were moved to Civil Hospital Nushki where they were identified as Zahid, Ghulam Hussain, Munir Ahmed, Ishfaq and Habibullah. “The victims belonged to Rajanpur area of Punjab province and their bodies have been sent to Quetta from where they would be transported to their native town,” Jamaldini said and added that Levies men had started a search operation in the area to hunt down the killers.

A senior police officer in Nushki told this scribe that investigation into the killings was underway and apparently it seemed to be a case of target killing.

The Baloch Liberation Army has claimed the responsibility for the gun attack. The BLA also threatened to kill the five employees of Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation if PMDC failed to close down its mining projects in Balochistan.

BLA spokesman Meerak Baloch called different newspaper offices and claimed responsibility for the killing of five labourers and said it was in retaliation of killing of Baloch missing persons and throwing their bodies in the streets.

Source: The Nation

According to Daily Times: The deceased were identified as Mohammad Ashfaq, a resident of Ranajpur, Ghulam Hussain, a resident of Dera Ghazi Khan, Munir Hussain, Mohammad Zahid and Habibullah of Rajanpur.

While LUBP is a proud supporter of the Baloch struggle for rights and equality, it is important to acknowledge that it is not only Baloch who are being killed by the military state. According to Zohra Yusuf of the Pakistani human-rights commission, Baloch militants too are killing Punjabi settlers in Balochistan.

Rafiullah Kakar writes in daily Dawn:

…Baloch insurgents are allegedly involved in the target killing of innocent teachers, barbers, shopkeepers and labourers — mainly ethnic Punjabis and other minorities — that has not only caused substantial economic and political damage but has also brought the education system of the province to a standstill. As a result of targeted killings, a considerable number of qualified teachers, fearing for their safety, have either left the province or demanded their relocation to schools in Pashtun-dominated districts of Balochistan where the law and order situation is rather better. According to a report by the Human Rights Watch, more than 200 teachers and professors have been transferred from their schools to the relatively more secure capital Quetta, or have moved out of the province entirely since 2008. Only in Balochistan University 70 teachers out of a faculty of 200 submitted applications for transfer after a woman teacher of the university was murdered in April, 2010. The insurgents view schools and educational personnel as representatives of the Pakistani state and symbols of perceived military oppression of the province. As a matter of fact, the victims of targeted killings are people who got settled in the province long ago and, by now, have almost integrated themselves into the socio-cultural, economic and political fabric of the province. These people have nothing to do with the state and its military establishment against whom the Baloch anger is primarily intended.

Responding to Baloch insurgency by abducting and killing Baloch nationalists and insurgents, as the HRW, Amnesty, HRCP etc have documented, means the military state has abandoned a basic responsibility: working within the confines of Pakistan’s constitution and the law.

Similarly, while Baloch separatists may not consider themselves subject to Pakistan’s constitution, it is important for them to understand their ethical and moral responsibilities, thus in my view Baloch militants must not lose what my friend Shaheryar Ali recently described as: “human essences! I say human essence because Emanuel Levinas in his post-Holocaust studies has recognised the “first philosophy”, the duty to protect the other, and the first thing human perceives before even cognition is to recognise the need to protect other!”

I also agree with Ali Dayan Hasan, HRW Rep for Pakistan, when he says:

Human rights protections should be enjoyed by all. Abuses by the state do not allow others license to abuse in turn. It is our view that Baloch nationalists, sectarian militants and Taliban groups have all been involved in attacks on education sector personnel. Whoever targets civilians on the basis of ethnicity is in effect engaging in a policy of ethnic cleansing and this is unacceptable and criminal. Period. The notion that you can legitimately engage in such acts as “retaliation” is nonsense. Even if Baloch nationalists do not recognise the sovereignty of Pakistani state, they are still committing war crimes by attacking non-combatants and they should fully expect and receive censure and condemnation. And by perpetrating such atrocities, Baloch nationalists are harming Balochistan’s development instead of advancing it and destroying the future of their land and its people.

As a matter of principle, I condemn violence by all parties including by the military state and the Baloch militants. On the balance, I remain sympathetic towards the Baloch nationalists struggle for their rights, and do not want to draw a false equation between their violence and the systematic and institutional kill & dump policy of the military state which is tantamount to Baloch genocide.

However, it is important for all communities (Baloch, Hazara, Punjabi, Pashtun) in Balochistan and elsewhere to be inclusive in condemnation of target killings. If a Hazara condemns only Hazara killings and doesn’t condemn Baloch and Punjabis’ mass murder, they weaken their own cause. And vice versa.

Similarly, Pakistani Shias, Christians, Ahamdis and other groups must be inclusive in their condemnation of persecution and mass murders.

It is my considered opinion that those who are selective or apologetic in condemnation of violence or target killing by any group are not serving anyone’s cause for equality and justice.

As a fellow tweeple SufyanArshad recently stated: “If #Baloch nationalists don’t condemn mass murder of Punjabi or Hazara community, it’s a brutal conduct on their behalf.”

In fact, barring a few Baloch Tweeples, the majority proudly defended the massacre of five labourers by the BLA while others including some known journalists covering Balochistan remained completely SILENT!

For example, in @BalochHal’s editoiral, “The Core Commander” , my friend Malik Siraj Akbar legitimately highlights the Baloch genocide by Pakistan army, the editorial talks about everything from Akbar Bugti to Dr. Shazia and from Mukhtaran Mai to Osama bin Laden but does not offer a single mention of target killings of Hazaras and Punjabi settlers in Balochistan. I suggest, for balance, Baloch writers must also acknowledge target killing of Hazaras by TTP-SSP-Jundullah and Punjabi settlers by Baloch militants in addition to the Baloch genocide by the military state.

Of course, so far I have not seen any report on the massacre of 5 Saraiki labourers on any Baloch website including the Baloch Hal and the Baloch Johd. Persecution and target killings of Hazaras, Punjabis, Saraikis and Pasthuns remains generally neglected by Baloch writers and activists.

However, I salute my Baloch friend Mureed Bizenjo and a few other Baloch tweeples who boldly condemned the massacre of Punjabi labourers.

My blood literally boils when innocent people are targetted and blamed as spies These ghastly acts must be stopped. They have been living in naushki for years; people knew them; they were buildng a mosque. Anyone who supports/appreciates violence & kiling of innocents be it #punjabi #Hazara #Baloch they don’t deserve freedom.

For a view from Punjab, as an example, please consider this comment on an Express Tribune article:

arshad aftab
Jul 18, 2011
why never any editorials for the punjabi civilians deliberately murdered in balochistan for their ‘crime’ of being punjabis? why never any talkshows or interviews of the families of the victims of balochi militants ? why is our media so biased against punjabis? thousands of hours of hue and cry over akbar bugti and the missing persons but not a single second on the genocide of punjabis in balochistan,hundreds of teachers,doctors and traders have been ruthlessly killed by the baloch terrorist groups but our media deliberately chooses to remain dead silent over this ethnic cleansing …. why no suo moto notice over the deliberate campaign of murder against the punjabi civilians?

Here is my appeal to the media, Baloch rights activists and human rights activists to be inclusive and proactive in highlighting and condemning the target killing of the Baloch and Hazara as well as Punjabi, Saraiki and Urdu speaking settlers in Balochistan.



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