Balochistan: A story of discrimination – by Salma Jafar


A Human Rights Day Feature

Prelude: Often I wonder how can the Pakistani rulers and civil society be happy and content as they are, when one integral part of the country not only bleeds but is pining to cut away from Pakistan…and very few if any are much concerned about it, how can one be happy when people say Pakistan Murdabad…the very same people who tried to administer the province of Balochistan under various governments and took oath under the Pakistan constitution but as one Baloch youth tweeted “when I was a child I used to celebrate 14th August but now I regret”.  So it’s not that the people were always against Pakistan….circumstances have led people into standing up for an independent Balochistan. What can one do but resort to the other extreme with an unending onslaught of fundamental rights of a people. On Human Rights Day. I speak to all Pakistanis as Balochistan and hope you hear its Cry!

I am Balochistan, bigger than Germany and 44% of Pakistan’s land mass with an inverse population. I am 2-3rd of the country’s very strategic coastline, I have large deposits of coal, copper, lead, gold, other minerals. It is my coal which is 40% of the national product, I have been supplying 35% of natural gas to the whole country; but I have only 3.5%consumers; when I contributes 85 billion through revenues; I only get around 7 billion from the federal govt. 78% of my population has no access to electricity. 10 of lowest ranked (on the human development index) and 13 most underfed districts of Pakistan are mine. 92% of my districts are high deprivation districts and 91 % of my people live in these districts. Although I was always the poorest but over the years I have become poorer (rural poverty from 21 % 1999 to 57%) an upsurge of more than 200%, (urban poverty from 17.9% to 32.4%).

Only 49 % male and 14 % females are literate, 59% of my children are out of school, 87 % of these are the poor rural children. I have the highest maternal and child mortality rates worst than Afghanistan, I am home to the highest number of polio cases. I can go on and on with statistical evidence (presented through research and international organizations) of the injustice that has been meted upon me.

My tribal chiefs are blamed for keeping me illiterate and poor but my southern Pashtun population doesn’t have any tribal chiefs; ironically the situation for them is also the same, even my so called urban areas are deprived of basic necessities  – no Sardars; so this excuse by those who have usurped my rights is counterfeiting. If you visit me I will take you to my villages and your definitions of poverty and marginalization and deprivation will change.

I am used by terrorists and agencies for their cross border warfare, whether it’s the nuclear test or the shamsi base I am home to it all. I am used for all kinds of things but I am not treated with respect and as an equal partner when it comes to the rights of my men, women and children. I don’t accept this discrimination which is against the constitution of the country, against the charter of humanity and against the international human rights law. I respected the constitution of this country but every time my elected govt was toppled, every time I was bombarded. I have been bombarded by Pakistan army four times in 64 years!

My population lives by its code of honor, hospitable, generous and kind but when it comes to it – it is  vociferous and wrathful too. I became a province of Pakistan with the hope and dreams of living in a country that would respect me and my children. But instead I was robbed, they took my resources and left me and my children without education and in desolate poverty. When I ask for my rights I am termed as a traitor, then I lose patience, get enraged and my men pick up guns and take refuge in the mountains.

I had been going in vicious circles with men in power at the Center; every time they hold talks with me, every time they promise things to change and every time they backstab me. I got fed up yet again by the broken promises, empty slogans, hypocrisy and sham. While my Pashtun population still patiently or perhaps strategically holds on to the ideology of Pakistan my Baloch population largely wants independence from Pakistan. The Baloch youth are now rebellious and joining an uprising or more precisely according to Pakistani dictionary have become ‘terrorists’ and according to Pakistani military dictionary ‘bad terrorists’ because the very same army supports the ‘good terrorists’ for Kashmir and for Afghanistan. So discrimination persists even in the choice of terrorists – if you are from Balochistan.

In 2008 the new ruling political party apologized to me on the basis that they have learnt from their past mistakes they made in Balochistan. I also hoped that now democracy will be the best revenge for me also and it will compensate for all the injustices till now. But PPP also didn’t keep the promise; it never tried to negotiate with the estranged. Instead of bombardment this time my youth are picked by the security forces and killed, torchered and dumped on roadsides, 300 dumped bodies of Baloch in less than 2 years time! Most of these are students and political workers and even journalists who have little to do with the war but support and believe in independence of Balochistan. I fight back (with one of the largest army in the world) again my leaders, my political workers and my students are killed for supporting the independence, they are not tried, they never appear in courts, they go disappearing are tortured and later the bodies are dumped. They don’t deserve a fair trial those who preach law violate the very laws and constitution of Pakistan; through this state terrorism.

I am war torn – the beautiful land which was a tourists’ heaven is now a killing field in many instances.

My teachers my doctors and other professionals have fled from this land for fear of their lives This itself has been so unfortunate for me to watch. My heart bleeds to see my own people being killed and fighting with each other, but this discontent has been created to make me weaker. I am becoming a land that is simmering with several conflicts now and who has brought all this upon me? – remember it all started with asking for the fundamental rights of my people.

I don’t need these economic packages anymore; I fought for that too long, I want my political rights to be respected. You have to understand that mine are a fiercely independent people. This doesn’t augur well with the brutal and undemocratic forces who want to oppress, so where will this lead to, because to work out a solution you will have to talk to my people unarmed, you will have to stop killing and dumping, you can’t hold a gun on my head and ask me to give up mine. The choice this time is not yours Pakistani establishment, it is mine – as I have finally decided to be a chooser and not a beggar!


19 responses to “Balochistan: A story of discrimination – by Salma Jafar”

  1. Balochistan’s is a story of shame which remains grossly ignored by Pakistan’s mainstream media and opinion leaders.

    Thanks to Salma Jafar for writing on this topic.

    Happy Human Rights Day

  2. I’m touched by this excellent read with precise statistics, Balochistan has been ignored over the years and today when the day has been dedicated to Balochistan we do not celebrate but mourn the missing and the dead of Balochistan and express their right to self-determination. Thanks for writing on a much needed subject. Highly appreciate the effort.

  3. Excellent piece of writing! It is important to share the insights of this beautiful land that has sadly only been neglected and trampled so far. Looking forward to more insightful readings.

  4. Thank you for your courage! We need more people like you to speak out against such injustices. Please keep writing and informing us of the perspectives of the mostly ignored and oppressed, the Balochis.

    I am from Punjab and personally, I am horrified to see the policies the state and the military are pursuing in Balochistan.

  5. Though it is only a cry but it is a very effective cry, at least very well presented. Who can deny the facts mentioned in this input?

    No civil government can do any remedial action, because no civil government is free to do so. On the issue of Baluchistan, military has the only say. Even Supreme Court has joined the party by staying the digging of gold mines that would have brought some eye washing for our Baluch brothers.

    I see no light at the other end of the tunnel. The Baluchi young leaders, what they had been whispering among themselves are now openly declaring on line in TV talk shows.

    Since I myself fail to forward any solution to this grave issue, this crying article merits the full credit.

  6. Very well written article. I appreciate LUBP and Pakistan Blogzine on a clear stance to highlight minority issues, Balochistan issue and the fake human right activists role. Salma Jaffar, Mureed, Laiba are the sane voices and should be appreciated at every platform. Keep it up!

  7. no more talks,no more negotiation,only freedom… well written but too much late…. give our beloved brothers back to us.Give our past 60 years.We will talk and set togather. And handover us those Generals who killed our beloved…

  8. Balochis are hardworking and loving people. Gradually Balochistan is developing, Gwadar will soon come up as a big city. Through NFC award, Balochistan’s share has already been extended. Many balochis are my close friends, I have been to many remote parts. I feel situation will improve and Pakistan will get stronger.

  9. Excellent and undeniable compilation of facts. But Salma jee, Islamabad’s hearing-impaired rulers and super establishment has opted a policy of physical, cultural and economic genocide. Now its up to us what way we choose – wait for our turn to be killed and dumped on road side or unitedly rise against these institutional and systematic discrimination.

    Please keep it up, you have a strong pen and very appealing writing skills.

    God bless Balochistan,

    Sana

  10. Baloch must give up a life of reaction which is part of slavery; we must fight intellectually spiritually and unite each others with thriving spirit of love for freedom, and be as one and build a nation not party or personality. We must fight for a life of action, not reaction. Our aims should be liberty in life that needs highest form of unity of propose that requires the highest and finest discipline, honesty and modesty.

  11. Good article but Balochistan also asks that she was occupied
    back 1947,now she demanding occupier army (one majority ehnic group) should leave now, let people of Balochistan chose their destiny.

  12. While the rulers from Aabpara have left no stone unturned to keep Balochistan deprived, poor and bleeding from all aspects, the self proclaimed freedom fighters have also launched a suicide attack on the present and future generations by killing the teachers, doctors and small labourers. The existing lot of educated youth is being eliminated both by the ‘agencies” as well as by the hardliners themselves, the chances of educating the next generation are becoming increasingly remote due to non-availability of teachers. The saddest is the death of ancient tribal values where the weak, the outsiders and the women were not targeted.

  13. A beuatifully fact figured article with some exact statistical work onit. But it don’t think the last para is the subject towards solution anymore….

  14. A good article, stats are fine, what’s the way forward. All members of Balochistan Assembly become ministers almost in every government. JJON (jeda jitay Oday Nal Translation (who so ever wins Boloch Parliamentary leaders are with him)). Deep thinking is req….. who will do that. Solution can be thought by increasing investment for improving standard of life, education, more security to populace and by developing small safe and well planned towns. Long way to go, let us see a begining for better tommorrow.

  15. Balochi fighters will have to understand that their future lies with Pakistan. They are being unintentionally used by US and India for weakening of Pakistan. Even if they get the so called freedom, they will live under cruel tribal system for next 1000 years and tribal elders will not let schools and roads come to them Surprisingly, the biggest road network projects in Balochistan were initiated by Musharraf. The great mian saab, and BB didnot have the vision to spend in Balochistan.

  16. Army has no role in kidnapping and killing of Balochi citizens. This all is happening due to foriegn sponsored movement , who kill locals and punjabis alike in Balochistan to give an impression that it is a tit for tat business. These sold out militants only create an impression that a war like situation exists in Balochistan. Reality is, there is no Army operation in Balochistan at all.

  17. ARMY DOES NOT KIDNAP AND DON’T CARRYOUT EXTRA JUDICIAL KILLINGS. THOUGH I AM IN FAVOUR OF BALOCHISTAN RIGHTS AND I HONESTLY FEEL THAT THEY HAVE BEEN IGNORED, I ALSO DECLARE THEIR OWN TRIBAL LEADERS EQUALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THAT. THEY HAVE BEEN EATING UP WHAT EVER HAS BEEN GIVEN TO BALOCHISTAN. SAME IS THE CASE FOR ENTIRE PAKISTAN, THERE ARE MORE POORS IN PUNJAB THEN POPULATION OF COMPLETE BALOCHISTAN. PEOPLE OF PUNJAB ARE ALSO BEING EXPLOITED AND SO IS THE CASE FOR SINDH AND KPK. WHAT ABOUT KASHMIR, HAS WORLD EVER SAID A WORD ABOUT IT. ON 20 MISSING PERSONNEL EVEN USA IS FOUND CONCERNED BUT WHAT ABOUT THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE MISSING FROM KASHMIR. UNDERSTAND THE GREAT GAME BEING PLAYED BY USA IN COORDINATION OF INDIA.IT IS AIMED AT CUTTING PAKISTAN TO SIZE. TIGHTENING THE NOSE AGAINST IRAN, NOT LETTING PAKISTAN TO BE USED AS AN ENERGY CORRIDOR AND HAVING AN EASY ACCESS TO CENTRAL ASIAN REPUBLICS. THINK MAN BEFORE U LOOSE A PART.

  18. Re: Whomever produced the statement that this was an excellent site really needs to possess their brain examined.

  19. hi
    I want to know about the real name of Balochestan.
    (Balochistan or Baluchistan or Baluchestan).