Mama Qadeer Baloch, leader of the Voice of Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP), had a meeting with UN officials in the United Nations office in Islamabad the other day, and presented a memorandum for onward transmission to the UN Secretary General. By doing so, he has disappointed all those who have been supporting the cause of missing persons all along.
The document demanded to investigate issues of missing persons, target killings, enforced disappearances, alleged involvement of agencies in heinous crimes, and a UN fact-finding mission to investigate mass graves and international standard DNA tests to identify bodies. United Nations Information Centre Director Vittorio Cammartoa said that the concerns of the marchers were handed over in the form of a petition which was addressed to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Already on 17th February, 2012, three Republican panjandrums had moved a resolution in the US Congress for self-determination for the Baloch.
The proposed bill had stated that “Balochistan was divided between Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan with no sovereign rights of its own. Already, world maps, showing Pakistan all splintered up into extinction with its Balochistan province together with Iran’s Sistan-Baluchistan region becoming a Greater Balochistan, were published. This Great Game of the US strategic map-makers has been in full play in Balochistan province for quite some time, and dollars in bagfuls and munitions have been flowing in to further stir insurgency and buying up influential loyalties of some politicians, media men and so-called intellectuals, analysts and panelists. A clutch of dissident sardars’ scions have been parading in foreign countries as champions of their suppressed and oppressed Baloch serfs and slaves on whose toils and sweat they have flourished phenomenally, and have been bandying about a Balochistan independence charter that their handlers and financiers have pushed into their hands.
This is sheer hypocrisy and perfidy, plain and simple, as they have all the rights constitutionally. These rights had been usurped by their tribal sardars and chieftains, and of course by the central government in the past that has all along pampered these oppressors, suppressors and exploiters at the cost of the exploited lot. Many analysts appearing on private TV channels in talk shows express sympathy with the insurgents that are allegedly killed by police and security forces, but they downplay the target killings of teachers, professors, doctors and even skilled and semi-skilled workers coming from other provinces. They also keep mum over killing of innocent Baloch people by the mines and IEDs placed by the insurgents. Balochistan has indeed remained in the throes of ethnic, sectarian and tribal feuds for decades, as tribalism is firmly rooted in Balochistan. Ethnic and tribal identity is a potent force for both individuals and groups in Balochistan with the result that there exists deep polarisation among different groups.
Each of these groups is based on different rules of social organisation, which has left the province inexorably fragmented. Tribal group-ism has failed to integrate the state and enforce a national identity. In the heat of the debate, even basic facts are being glossed over wittingly or unwittingly, if not out of outright ignorance. Balochistan is not just Balochs. It is very much Pakhtuns as well. They indeed make up more than half of the province’s populace. They have been as much the sufferers of the centre’s injustices as have been the Balochs. The public discontent in their areas runs as high as it does in the Baloch belt. Yet none over there has taken to insurgency nor harboured any separatist sentiment. Balochistan is also very much Hazara too. Their ancestors may have migrated from Afghanistan as had the Balochs from Syria, but in every way they are the sons of soil as are the Balochs. Despite being particular target of grisly sectarian bloodshed, they have not given in to separatist tendency.
Then Balochistan is very much Punjabi settlers too. Indeed calling them settlers is an atrocious misnomer, as they are as native of Balochistan as are the Balochs. It is since centuries that they have been there. Since generations, it has been their abode. With their toils and sweat in the field and on the farms, they have catered to its needs for menial jobs like carpentry, washing laundry and haircutting.
Urdu-speaking migrants are also in Balochistan since the independence, and they have made the backbone of the province’s educational system that they raised from a scratch. Yet, both particularly the Punjabis have been the bleeding target of ethnic cleansing at the hands of the Baloch insurgents and extremists, as indeed are the Pakhtuns, who too are being systematically hounded out of the Baloch belt from their ages-old residences and businesses. The government has to understand the vicious plan of enemies of Pakistan, and try to unite the nation to frustrate their designs.