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The Baloch must be the masters of their own fate

By: Dr. Jumma Khan Marri

China Pakistan Economical Corridor (CPEC) is an existential threat to Baloch national sovereignty and future destination, within few years after the completion of this criminal project Baloch will be outnumbered by Punjabis and Chinese off course by other nationalities from the region and around the world, Baloch will lose everything keeping in mind the Sui and other such mega projects which became a curse to Baloch instead of blessings.

Pakistan as a country, we refrain from calling it a nation because it was never a nation and will never be a nation as nations are not doctored but come into being naturally, has stumbled from crisis to crisis from the day one. All its wounds grievous or non- grievous have  been self-inflicted and to make the matters worse there never has been any critical assessment of the follies committed because the rulers have been satisfied that there have no mistakes on their part and only foreign conspiracies have been responsible for their woes. Wherever such mindset prevails all hope for justice and reform is lost. 

This being the fundamental approach of the rulers the people of different nationalities and different social classes have given up on any relief from the Pakistani State and have been seeking to remedy their situation as best as they can. Their first and foremost obligation being self-preservation they have tried to resist the injustices and this has often led to conflict and confrontation. The Baloch people have been in the forefront of such resistance because they have been subjected to repression and exploitation under name of Islam and national interest.

The Baloch though Muslim have a different cultural, historical and social system from other nations inhabiting the geographical entity known as Pakistan. Their leaders resisted the idea of being lumped into Pakistan under name of Islam in this regard this speech by the great Baloch nationalist leader Late Mir Ghaus Baksh Bizenjo in his speech to Kalat Assembly on 14th December 1947 stated, “we have a distinct culture like Afghanistan and Iran, and if the mere fact that we are Muslim requires us to amalgamate with Pakistan, then Afghanistan and Iran should also be amalgamated with Pakistan.” On April 1st 1948 the Pakistan Army marched into Kalat and though the Khan of Kalat capitulated, his brother Prince Abdul Karim Khan initiated resistance.

 With that assault on Kalat began the long process of army actions, arrests of leaders and workers, enforced disappearances, internal displacements and utter neglect of welfare of Baloch people. we would like to emphasize on the fact that this process of human rights abuses was all the more severe and sustained in Balochistan than in other provinces because the rulers felt that it was essential for them to wipe out the strong sense of identity that Baloch possessed.

They knew for certain that until and unless the Baloch identity and individuality was completely crushed they would keep facing resistance from them. When human rights abuses have such sinister goals you can well imagine the magnitude and scale of exploitation, repression and oppression that the Baloch must have suffered at the hands of Pakistan.

The policy of unbridled oppression and repression has always been implemented with a vengeance in Balochistan. There is long list of disappeared persons, incarcerations without trials and the innumerable staged ‘encounters’ in cities. The countless ‘encounters’ that transpire in remote areas remain unheard of.

 The Human Rights abuses in Balochistan and against Baloch people are very much deliberate and planned with the purpose of frightening them into submission and making them accept the domination of the establishment. The intended domination is for the purpose of exploiting the resources of Balochistan for purpose of the majority province and interests other than those of Baloch.

Compounding the repression and exploitation is the wilful neglect of the people affected by natural disaster which amounts to the severest form of human right abuses; the recent catastrophic rains and consequent flooding have severely affected 23 out of the total of 29 districts in Balochistan. 2.5 million People have been affected, 50000 homes have been destroyed and 0.1 million houses partially damaged in over 2000 villages. The initial dead exceeded 160 and now that toll must have risen due to factors like disease, exposure, snake bites, drowning and malnutrition etc. The government sources estimate losses up to 10 billion rupees.

Not long back they had announced the planned establishment of a new sea-port at Sonmiani for which they were acquiring land at the price of Rs.1/acre. The rulers have never been interested in developing Balochistan for the Baloch; these mega-projects too are a part of the planned human rights abuses. Through these mega-projects they want to make Baloch a minority in their own land and this is one of the harshest human rights abuses.

In passing we would like to point out that the fundamentalism threatening to undo this country today is of their own making because they didn’t allow different cultures and different people to live lives of their own. They demanded and they imposed conformity and they only way they could achieve that was to allow the fundamentalists a free hand; that licence to do what they pleased so that differing cultures and people may conform has brought about the disaster that the people are facing there today.

 The Baloch need to be masters of their own fate to contribute to world peace and development because under the sixty years that they have spent under the yoke of Pakistani colonists they have not only suffered immeasurably as a nation and a people but have not been able to contribute to world history which they are quite capable of making significant contributions because of their secular politics and democratic traditions of their much maligned tribal system.

As the world is now essentially becoming polarized on religious basis and also on the lines of haves and have not’s, not to mention on lines of being client states of the surviving super power or being opposed to it, it becomes all the more important that secular democratic forces are strengthened to resist the injustices being perpetrated on various grounds. The need for an independent identity for Balochistan was never greater though we do realize that this a difficult task as no one wants to disturb the status quo that though it is patently unjust it is accepted by most for reasons of self-interest and convenience.  

The Baloch demand their historical, economic, cultural and political rights so that the benefits which their land provides are for them and not for those who have always exploited religion for their ulterior motives. The Baloch have bravely resisted the ever increasing violations of their rights and they will continue to do so till a Baloch lives.

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