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Sep 1, 2009


“The Gulf widens”

By Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

The brutally blatant murders of the Baloch National Movement (BNM) chairman, Ghulam Mohammad Baloch, Lala Muneer Baloch and Sher Mohammad Baloch of the Baloch Republican Party in Turbat on the 3rd of April after their abduction from office of Kachkol Ali may come to haunt the federation as the day on which the dream of keeping Balochistan in the federation eventually unraveled and also be remembered as the day when Baloch finally gave up on the dream of living within the intransigent federation which has never cared much for their rights or their sentiments.

This blatant violation of human and political rights of Baloch cannot be attributed to some rogue elements within the establishment nor can be blamed on ‘hidden-hands'. The details point an accusing finger at those who have always been calling the shots in Balochistan and who with this abominable act wanted to convey message to those who fight for their rights that they will be given no quarters. This outrage was deliberately committed with the intention to suppress dissent and resentment.

The deceased were important members of the Nationalist scene and assigned important committee positions by Chief Minister Aslam Raisani to look into case of the “disappeared” persons. Ghulam Mohammed Baloch played an important role in efforts to secure Solecki's release a fact acknowledged by the US Embassy. This means that those who committed this heinous act consider no one to be beyond their accountability.
The Baloch are outraged as their protests across the province show but they are hardly surprised because this isn't the first gruesome violation of their rights. They do not expect it to be the last either. A short recollection of past would enlighten those who do not know much about the traumatic history since 1947. With every injustice the mistrust has deepened and the gulf has widened.

The first assault on Kalat took place on the 27th of March 1948 and Khan of Kalat Ahmad Yar Khan under duress signed the Instrument of Accession to Pakistan. His younger brother Shahzada Abdul Karim the Governor of Makran took up arms to resist the injustice. The second unjust and illegal assault on Kalat, 6th of October 1958, once again on false pretences and premises prompted Nawab Nauroz Khan Zarakzai, a septuagenarian, to take up arms and lead the Baloch resistance. In both these instances a wave of repression and reign of terror was let loose all over Balochistan. Political leaders and activists were incarcerated in the notorious ‘Quli camp' in the Quetta Cantonment. Attempts to suppress rights created more antagonism and animosity.

On 19th of May 1959Nawab Nauroz Khan along with his fighters surrendered near Anari Mountain after authorities' promised on Quran that his demands will be met. But they were then shifted to the Quetta cantonment and tried by a special military court and sentenced on July 7th 1960.

The death sentences were carried out on the 15th of July 1960 at Sukkur and Hyderabad Central Jails simultaneously. Nawab's eldest son Battay Khan Zarakzai, along with Sabzal Khan Zarakzai and Ghulam Rasool Nechari were hanged at Sukkur while Jam Jamal Khan Zehri, Masti Khan Musiyani, Wali Mohammad Zarakzai, and Bahawal Khan Musiyani were hanged at Hyderabad. Nawab Nauroz and his minor son Mir Jalal Khan were imprisoned. Nawab himself died in prison on December 25th 1965. The dead bodies at Hyderabad jail were received by and transported to Balochistan by Mir Rasool Baksh Talpur.

The 60s decade saw sporadic Baloch resistance led by Mir Sher Mohammad Marri, Ali Mohammad Mengal and others until the dissolution of One-Unit and 1970 elections gave a glimmer of hope that the Baloch would get a chance of restricted self-rule. But the subsequent illegal and unjust dismissal of Ataullah Mengal Government in February 1973 and incarceration of Baloch leaders shattered those hopes. This injustice naturally led to resistance and large scale military operations against Baloch were launched on 21st May 1973 with army first moving into Mawand, Marri area. The 1973-77 operations resulted in severe sufferings of Baloch population in the province; forcing thousands of Marris and other Baloch to seek shelter in Afghanistan.
After a lull Musharraf Government unleashed a war of terror against Baloch in 2005 with sustained military operations which eventually resulted in death of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, Nawabzada Balach Khan Marri and hundreds of other innocent people. The plague of missing persons was once again visited upon the people with vengeance. This tactic had been brutally employed during the 1973-77 conflict and I personally knew many of those who disappeared then. Asadullah Mengal son of Ataullah Mengal and Ahmed Shah Kurd, an activist, were abducted from Karachi never to be heard of. How many of the missing persons, past and present, have survived the ordeal is difficult to say but not many must have as is apparent from the stone-walling concerning disappearances.

Naturally the authorities, with Rehman Malik in forefront, have been coming up with lame excuses of judicial probes, high powered commissions, rewards for information and theories of conspiracy. This is exactly what one would expect of them, what is extremely disgusting and depressing is the fact that some political leaders and media persons are trying to give the culprits a clean bill of health in the same way that Musharraf gave to Captain Hammad in Dr. Shazia Khalid rape case in Sui.

Former Jamaat-i-Islami Amir Qazi Hussain Ahmed in a speech at Mansoora Seerat College alleged that India and US were involved in recent Baloch nationalist leader's murders. (Dawn April 12th) This is the height of stupidity and obscurantism. Who would Qazi Sahib blame for hanging of companions of Nawab Nauroz Khan and other injustices, probably Russia and China?
President of Balochistan PPP Lashkari Khan Raisani said that he is disappointed by the murder of Baloch leaders, and believes it was done by those who had played havoc in Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan. He added, “Their intentions are clear. They are after us. We shall have to join hands to foil their conspiracies,” When asked their identity, he said, “You and we all know who they are and what their sinister designs are,” The Baloch won't buy such preposterous theories and will not forgive either the perpetrators or their apologists.

If the political leaders and the custodians of this country are so ignorant of what goes on right under their nose or are powerless to stop these so-called conspiracies by ‘you know who' than neither do they deserve to remain where they are and nor does this place deserve the lofty title of a ‘sovereign country'.

Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur