Archive for National Liberation

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.

Continue reading

National Democratic Revolution

Posted in Communist Movement, International Affairs, Pakistan with tags , , , , , , on February 22, 2010 by Umer

by Danish Khan

When we try to investigate the region of South Asia, the conflict of the Jammu and Kashmir flashes our imagination. More than 100,000 lives have been lost in the bloodiest dispute of the Jammu and Kashmir between India and Pakistan. It will not be wrong to say that the establishments of both India and Pakistan working on the agenda of Imperial powers have exploited the conflict of Kashmir as a popular tool to keep millions of people of the sub-continent under the clouds of darkness, poverty and misery. While during all this time the people who have been most affected by this ever lasting dispute are the unfortunate people of the Jammu and Kashmir. It is essential that the legacy of Kashmir dispute should be put to an end, and a new dawn should emerge from the beautiful mountains of Kashmir which will ensure a prosperous and peaceful future for the coming generations of sub continent.

The present status of the Jammu and Kashmir is similar to a neo-colony. When I will use the term Kashmir, I am referring to the whole region of the Jammu and Kashmir. The armed forces of both India and Pakistan have occupied the territory of the Kashmir. The people of Kashmir have been denied from their basic civic liberties. To make sure the status quo in the Kashmir, the India and Pakistan are spending almost three forth of their economic budget on the military. If we analyze the means of production of the Kashmir they are pre-capitalist in nature. In these harsh realities it is inevitable that only the scientific knowledge of Marxism-Leninism has a potential to emancipate the most oppressed and exploited people of the Kashmir. In the light of Marxism-Leninism a “National Democratic Revolution” can solve this conflict by emancipating the people of Kashmir from occupation, oppression and exploitation. National Democratic Revolution in Kashmir can also trickle starts the series of “people’s democratic revolution” in the sub-continent. Because the defeat of arm forces of India and Pakistan in Kashmir can only weaken their stranglehold in their own countries respectively. Thus it will be a huge opening for the people’s movement in India and Pakistan to take control of the state affairs and close all doors for Imperialism.

Continue reading

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. 

Continue reading

Comrade Iqbal Bali: A Tribute

Posted in Communist Movement, Pakistan with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 15, 2009 by Umer

by Dr. Faheem Hussain

My dear friend and a great revolutionary, Mohammed Iqbal, affectionately know by all his friends and admirers as Bali, died on 19 June in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, following complications after major heart surgery.

Comrade Iqbal Bali

Comrade Iqbal Bali

How does one talk of this man so full of energy? For me it is impossible to imagine Rawalpindi without him. For the last forty years he was the moving force in all the demonstrations and meetings held in Rawalpindi to promote democracy in Pakistan. In this article I will talk about how I knew him and about some of his political ideas. The activities that I will highlight pertain basically to the period from 1969 to 1989 when I worked closely with him. I left Pakistan in 1989 and withdrew from taking active part in the democratic movement because of personal reasons and because of the collapse of the left and the trade union movement.

Bali’s political activism goes back to the days in the sixties when he was a radar technician in the Pakistan Air Force. He got into a lot of scrapes while in the air force as he stood up to officers who mistreated ordinary airmen and fought for the rights of the latter. Several times he was punished for this.

He moved to Rawalpindi in the late sixties when he was immediately involved in the 1968-69 student movement against the Ayub Khan dictatorship. At this time there was a rebirth throughout Pakistan of socialist and Marxist ideas inspired by the great Vietnamese resistance and the student movements in Europe and America against the war and for greater democracy. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was also riding this wave with his slogans of “roti, kapra, aur makan” (food, clothe and shelter). In Rawalpindi too there were many people discussing the concept of reviving a communist movement. Bali was part of a group of young idealistic people wanting to overthrow the oppressive capital social order in Pakistan. There were such groups consisting of intellectuals, students and workers springing up in all the major cities.

He worked with the People’s Labour Front (PLF), newly founded in Rawalpindi by Riffat Hussain Baba (now at PILER in Karachi) and Nazir Masih (Secretary-General of the Municipal Worker’s Union of Rawalpindi). (Sadly Nazir Masih, another great figure in the workers’ movement in Pindi, died many years ago). In its heyday the PLF was the main trade union federation for the major industries of Pindi and Islamabad, including the large Kohinoor Textiles Mills on Peshawar Road. The PLF played a leading role in negotiations for workers rights. There was many a heroic battle that should be recounted by others. During his PLF years Bali ran study circles with workers and wrote pamphlets and helped to distribute them and to paste them on walls around the city. He was always an activist who did not like long theoretical discussions and he wanted to immediately get into action.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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!