I want the Baloch to get back the true Meaning of Life! Do you? – by Salma Jafar

Cross-posed from Pakistan Blogzine

A topic so close to my heart that it’s hard to write on, but on Laibaah’s request here is a take on the issue of Balochistan and in particular the issue of missing persons which is the core of the problem.

The issue of Baloch missing person remains unresolved by the democratic government even after nearly 4 years. Whilst every other day is a shocking mutilated-bullet-riddled-body found of a missing person; but this was not enough. Now the relatives of missing persons are reporting from their protest camp in Quetta that they are receiving threats to call off the strike. The Human Rights organizations and civil society in Pakistan ( apparently on a holiday) need to wake up to the violation of human liberty to protest, to seek justice and to raise voice. These threats cannot deter the Baloch from asking for their rights but curtailing the right to protest under a democratic regime makes this democracy highly dubious and reflects poorly on the ruling party; going politically bankrupt to say the least, as it has no political solution for Balochistan!

Everyone knows that at this point in time Balochistan needs a political solution neither an economic nor a military solution. But it seems those in power have lost all good sense to see the writing on the wall. The interior minister on twitter after some prying question on Balochistan said:

“Friends It is my pleasure that I am unwanted for those who are friends of terrorists and Zalman. My actions will continue against them” 16 Oct via Twitter

So for him, the Baloch as well as people like us who agitate with them against the extrajudicial killings are all “Terrorists” and “Zalman” or “Friends of Terrorists and Zalman”. The minister uses the word ‘terrorists’ so loosely and so often that it has lost its meaning; even if it had one. The interior minister’s ‘Reconciliation’ starts and finishes at the doorsteps of MQM; understandably so because MQM is not a terrorist organization!

If you ask the PPP member of human rights parliamentary committee; she shies away from the very topic; although claims to be the first one in championing other human rights issues; so selectivity in human rights issues is another trend that is followed unabashed.

On other occasions the PPP leaders have been harping on the strings of “a representative govt of the people in the province” “Balochistan package” and “NFC awards”. To be fair the NFC is a remarkable achievement but unfortunately too late to make a difference to the polity of the province. The situation has turned rather gross and the estranged Baloch don’t have anything to do with these packages. Whereas the actual issue is between the estranged Baloch and the State, not between the Balochistan govt and the federal govt as it used to be. So let’s not fool ourselves!

No genuine effort has been made to bring the estranged Baloch to the table and why should anyone! The ones sitting in Balochistan assembly and the cabinet won with a few thousand votes each – due to the nationalists’ boycott of the 2008 elections (Baloch and Pashtun nationalists did not participate in elections). Therefore calling it a “representative provincial govt of the people” is itself a farce. Moreover if the estranged Baloch are mainstreamed back into politics- where will the 51 member cabinet (as of last heard) out of the 65 member provincial assembly go? as the nationalists are likely to sweep the elections. The federal govt is somehow hiding behind this amorphous monster of falsehood—and knowingly!!

As a matter of fact no one can stop the PPP to take that first step of reconciliation towards the estranged Baloch. The lesson from history it seems has either not been learnt or has been buried with Shaheed BB Sahiba. Therefore it is now urgently crucial for the human rights organizations to not just give statements but to uphold the international instruments Pakitsan is either a signatory to or has ratified; in this case for what is happening in Balochistan.

So call me a “friend of the terrorists and Zalman” Senator Rehman Malik! But I want the Baloch to get back the true Meaning of Life! Do you?



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