Archive for Balochistan

Religion as a panacea for Baloch nationalism

Posted in Pakistan, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on May 28, 2010 by Umer

By Malik Siraj Akbar

Striking Quetta’s Civil Hospital on April 16, 2010, a young Baloch suicide bomber, Haq Nawaz Baloch, killed at least eleven people, including two top police officials and a television journalist. This attack was dissimilar from ones previously carried out by Baloch nationalist guerrilla fighters against government installations and its security forces. Thus the largely secular Baloch society was introduced to an uncommonly new phenomenon of religious extremism and one for which it is almost totally unprepared to respond.

Unfortunately we cannot regard this suicide bombing as a unique occurrence. Just three days before two teenage sisters were acidified in the Dalbandin town of Chagai District in Balochistan by unidentified persons riding a motorbike. The girls were punished for the “crime” of not observing strict Islamic Hijab. Hailing from an extremely poor family, the girls were rushed to a Quetta hospital. Their faces are burnt but due to the lack of proper medical facilities their medical treatment is unsatisfactory.

An underground militant group calling itself as the Baloch Gharatmand (Honored) Group had, days before launching the first staggering attack, circulated a leaflet warning women in the area that they should leave their homes without being accompanied by a male family member. According to the interpretation of the shadowy group, being unaccompanied by a male family member is “un-Islamic” and should therefore be “punished” by those who ignored the warning.

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Socialism i Amal

Posted in Communist Movement, Poetry, Literature, Art with tags , , on October 26, 2009 by Umer

Baloch poem by Gul Khan Nasir with English translation:

Marchi dunya pa tarr o taab aa inth
Socialism ai amal pa daab aa inth

Sindh ai waddayra waaja lakkaanee
Lenin ai thaw gwashe jawaab aa inth

Chaudhary zar shulunchen Punjaab ai
Socialism aa pa paych o thaab aa inth

Khan saahib gon sheethagaan zarr ai
Gham aa mazdoor ai cho rabaab aa inth

Mir saahib Baloch ai kaandaalen
Mao Tse Tung ai cho kithaab aa inth

Man kay marzaan kaheebee gupthaaraan
Dil man angaaraan cho kabaab aa inth

Dung aa osaartha kilakkaa darwesh ai
Qaatil ai fikr gon sawaab aa inth

Duzz kot waalee aa pa dilmaan inth
Heeken duzz-paal cho sahaab aa inth

Gurk lotith shuwaanee aa ramag ai
Pishee peegaanee washain waab aa inth

Mosh dilmaanag inth pa anpaan aa
Thola murgh aa pa chait o thaab aa inth

Zarr o zoraanee waaja bay hoshain
Korain syaah maaray man ziraab aa inth

Aqal peenz aa inth waaja kaaraanee
Bojee ish fikr ai neen saraab aa inth

Cho na zaananth ay mir o waddayra
Paad saamraaj ay man rakaab aa inth

Waahren kaaree o bazzagen dehqaan
Siraynish basthag pa inqalaab aa inth

Dap labeesee ay daur gwastha shutha
Neen hamaa beeth kay man kithaab aa inth

Usthamaan wath wathee neen boothaar inth
Waajag ai waajagee habaab aa inth

Aa bigindith Nasir maujaanee
Bayrakay zurtha cho gulaab aa inth

English Translation
(I’ll do my best to try and translate this poem accurately)

Today, the world is changing fast
Socialism’s charm is in full swing

Sindh’s Wadera, with a bank balance of millions
Is telling Lenin how socialism should be

Punjab’s rich andpompous Chaudary
Is twisting and twining socialism

Khan Sahib (of The Pashtuns), whose pockets are full ofcash
Is (pretending to be) trembling in agony [like thestrings of a violin]

On the pain of the proletariat
Mir Sahib (of the Balochs) is looting the impoverishedBaloch farmers (not the big landlords)

On pretext of enacting land reforms (like Mao)
Even as I am uttering these words

The fire burning in my heart is barbecuing it
The dacoit has donned the mendicant’s garments

The murderer’s thoughts are of earning rewards from God
The defendant wants to be the judge

Thieving pigs desire to be compared to friends of theProphet
The wolf yearns to be made the shepherd of the sheep

The cat dreams of getting pieces of fresh meat
The mouse is craving for flour

The jackal is impatient to get its hands on the hen
The rich and powerful are asleep

The black snake (the bourgeoisie) is burning
The bosses’ brains are located in their heels

The ship of their thoughts is sailing towards a mirage
These Mirs and Waderas fail to realize

That imperialism is about to leave (its foot is in thestirrup)
The poor labourers and farmers

Have their loins girded, and are ready for a revolution
The age of flattery has gone

Now things will happen as they do in the books
The public have become their own masters

The bubble of the aristocrats is about to burst
Take a look at the tides of change

Nasir is moving forward with the red flag

(Balochi Poem Written By

Gul Khan Nasir
On 18th October, 1975
In Central Jail Mach)

Baloch and Balochistan

Posted in Pakistan with tags , , on September 6, 2009 by Umer

Asma Jahangir on the Balochistan Issue

Police threaten indiscriminate revenge killings in Balochistan

Posted in International Affairs, Pakistan with tags , , , on September 4, 2009 by Umer

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 2, 2009 
ALRC-CWS-12-04-2009

HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL 
Twelfth session – Item 4

A written statement submitted by the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC), a non-governmental organisation with general consultative status

PAKISTAN: Police threaten indiscriminate revenge killings in Balochistan

The Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC) wishes to bring to the attention of the Human Rights Council the situation of human rights in Balochistan, Pakistan’s south-western province, which is deteriorating day by day due to the heavy-handed policies being adopted by the government towards nationalist groups. In response to the recent increase in violence committed by nationalist militants, a high-ranking police official threatened in a press conference on August 21 to begin killing people indiscriminately in the province in retaliation. 

Mr. Ghulam Shabbir Shiekh, the deputy inspector of police, Nasserabad range, announced on Friday that the police will kill 40 local persons in revenge for the militants’ alleged abduction and murder of 20 policemen in July and August. No targets, however, were specified. Mr. Shiekh also threatened that if any bullet was fired at the police, the police would fire 100 bullets indiscriminately back at the locality from where the bullet was fired. If any rocket was fired at police stations, the police would fire 10 rockets back. 

The announcement by Mr. Shiekh was the most recent attempt by Pakistani state agencies to instil fear among Baloch nationalists. Earlier, in January, 2009, journalists received threats from the Director of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) for writing editorials demanding investigations into allegations that the army is running torture cells and detaining female prisoners. The Director, who also holds the rank of Major General, threatened to withhold official advertisements and payments from the newspapers if they continued their “malicious” campaign against the army. Some television channels disclosed the threats publicly, but the Federal Minister for Information denied that the ISPR Director has made any such announcement.1 

These developments reflect the serious situation of human rights in Balochistan, which continues to degrade despite the government’s promise to revive law and order. After the removal of General Musharraf, the newly elected government of Asif Zardari announced in 2008 that military operations in Balochistan would be halted. Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani and government parties apologized before the parliament for military excesses committed during the operations there. 

In reality, however, no serious effort has yet been undertaken to resolve the rampant problem of illegal arrests and extra-judicial killings that plague Balochistan. Rather than adopting democratic institutions, Prime Minister Gilani has accused nationalist groups of being run by Indian agents. Cases of disappearances have continued to take place in the same way as they did during the military regime of Musharraf. Personnel of the Frontier Constabulary (FC) have arrested victims during the daytime and taken them into jeeps without registration plates. Victims are reportedly being transferred to military-run torture cells and kept in incommunicado until confessional statements have been forcefully extracted. 

As of August 2009, an estimated 60 persons had been forcibly disappeared in Balochistan in 2009. This represents an increase from the estimated 39 cases of forced disappearance that were reported having been committed in the last nine months of 2008. A total of 99 cases of disappearances have taken place since the newly elected government came to power last March. The members of FC are being afforded impunity for these acts, as the police are claiming having no knowledge about the arrests and subsequent disappearances. Furthermore, under the state of emergency declared by General Musharraf on November 3, 2007, a Constitution (Amendment) Order, dated 20 November 2007, was issued.2 Under this amendment’s section 6, the addition of Article 270AAA to the Constitution ensures that no acts performed by any State authorities or members thereof can at present be challenged in any court in Pakistan, including the Anti-Terrorism Court or the High Court. This amendment continues to grant total de facto impunity to all State-actors in Pakistan. In order to undo this amendment to the Constitution, the Parliament (the Senate and the National Assembly), is required to vote to do so with a two-thirds majority. Since the removal of Musharraf, however, the Parliament has thus far failed to undo this amendment, and the legacy of the emergency continues to be the key obstacle that is preventing the fight against impunity and for justice concerning violations of human rights in the country to date. 

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Silence on Balochistan

Posted in Pakistan with tags , , , , , on September 1, 2009 by Umer

The closure of Daily Asaap, an Urdu newspaper from Balochistan, has gone unnoticed in great parts of Pakistan. The closure of the widely read and respected newspaper is followed by an assissination attempt on the Editor-in-Chief of the newspaper in February this year. A few days before the newspaper was closed down, the main office of Daily Asaap in Quetta was surrounded by Frontier Constabulary troops and Intelligence agencies officials. It is as clear as daylight that the newspaper has been “voluntarily” shut down due to permanent intimidation and harassment caused by the troops deployed at the gate of the newspaper.

It is highly disconcerting that no major newspaper, news channel, or organization of journalists has taken up this issue in any substantial manner. While the media of Pakistan considers it fit and proper to raise the issue of lawyers’ hooliganism, and rightly so, what stops them from launching a full-fledged campaign against a savage attack on the freedom of speech in Balochistan? Where are the demonstrations, road blocks, and hour long programs? One would expect the media to come out with all strength in defense of free speech and against the harassment of journalists. Sadly, this is not the case.

The closure of Daily Asaap will further alienate Balochistan from the rest of the country. The major perception in Balochistan is that people in the rest of Pakistan, particularly in Punjab, are the least bothered by any occurrence in Balochistan no matter how grave. The silence on the closure of Daily Asaap will further strengthen this perception. While the State agencies hopelessly try to find causes of Baloch grievances in foreign powers, it is we as the people of Pakistan who need to introspect to find where we have wronged the Baloch people.

Pakistan’s Baloch: Life on the Margins of Punjab

Posted in International Affairs, Pakistan with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 13, 2009 by Umer

On the 62nd Anniversary of Balochistan’s unsuccessful bid for independence.

Pakistan’s Baloch: Life on the Margins of Punjab

The Baloch have been living in a state of emergency ever since 1948, when their territory was incorporated into the nation of Pakistan. Under the thumb of Islamabad, their rights and autonomy have been deliberately ignored by the international community, which has its own agenda for the region. Balochistan declared its independence on August 11, 1947, three days before Pakistan.

By Karlos Zurutuza

Translated from the Spanish original by Daisann McLane

A woman walks slowly across the Dera Bugti desert, laden with wood for her cooking fire. She’s headed towards the town of Pir Koh. For several hundred meters, she follows the gas pipeline that extends north, towards the Punjab. She got lucky; it isn’t easy to find wood in the Dera Bugti desert. Islamabad also got lucky when it discovered natural gas beneath this rocky landscape. Thanks to the gas deposits, the Punjabis have been cooking, heating their houses in winter and producing electricity for half a century. But natural gas has yet to arrive in Pir Koh.

“What has Pakistan given us?” asks Ahktar Mengal, in his home in Quetta, Balochistan’s capital. “The Punjabis [Pakistan’s dominant ethnic group] have confiscated everthing: our property, our resources, and above all, our rights. Mengal is the tribal leader of the clan that bears his name, and also the president of the Baloch National Party (BNP). It’s difficult to find a house in Quetta that’s more under surveillance–and, as a consequence, more carefully guarded–than his.

“Why has the world forgotten us?,” exclaims the sardar (tribal leader) of the Mengal clan.

It’s possible that the world has, indeed, forgotten the Baloch people, but has anyone forgotten Balochistan? Let’s take a look. Obama needs it for his oil pipeline, TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India), Iran and India need it for the IPI (Iran-Pakistan-India), and so does Qatar. China’s constructing a gateway to the Persian Gulf at the port of Gwadar. Meanwhile Australia, Canada and Chile are extracting tons of gold and copper from Baluchistan’s enormous reserves, the second largest in Asia. The greedy scramble for Baluchistan’s treasures will probably heat up even more when the vast stores of petroleum and uranium hidden beneath its deserts are opened up.

“They didn’t even hire us to work on all these projects. The majority of the workers came from Punjab and other parts of Pakistan,” complains Bari, another unemployed 30-something from Quetta.

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Baloch Martyrs Day – 15 July

Posted in Pakistan with tags , , , , , on July 16, 2009 by Umer

15-july-baloch-martyr-day

 

On October 6th 1958, Pakistani forces attacked Kalat and arrested the Khan of Kalat Ahmed Yar Khan. As the news spread throughout Balochistan, the Baloch nation’s anger turned into a national revolt which has been known in Baloch history as the Second Baloch Uprising.

Nawab Nauroze Khan Zarakzai, who led the Baloch uprising, was born on 1875 in the house of Sardar Pasondh Khan Zarakzai in tehseel Zehri of district Khuzdar in Balochistan. During the Second Baloch Uprising, he and his brave commanders had frustrated Pakistani State’s attempts to crush the revolt. After a year, the government of Pakistan sent a mediator and promised on the Holy Quran that the Baloch leadership will be given immunity and their demands will be negotiated.

As soon as Nawab Nauroze and his companion stepped down from the mountains, they were arrested. After a kangaroo trail in Hyderabad Jail, Mir Wali Mohammad Zarakazi, Mir Gullam Rasool Nichari, Mir Sabzal Khan Zehri, Mir Musti Khan, Mir Bahwal Khan, Mir Jamal Khan and Mir Batay Khan were awarded death sentences. They were executed on 15th July, 1960.

Due to his old age, Nawab Nauroze Khan’s death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. At the age of 90, Nawab Nauroze Khan died in Hyderabad Jail on December 25th, 1965.

The sounds of thunder coming from the mountains of Balochistan have kept the legacy of Shaheed Nawab Nauroze Khan and his comrades alive. Now no one can cheat the Baloch nation from its freedom. It has been decided.

The torch of Baloch liberation is also illuminating the path of the workers and peasants of Punjab, Sindh, and Pakhtunkhawa. It is in the light of this torch they see barbarity of the ruling elite of Pakistan and resolve to support the Baloch nation’s right to self-determination including succession.

No retreat!
No surrender!
No compromise!