Opinion

Bleeding Balochistan: Call for Azaadi

Bullet riddled bodies, mass graves and raped women – no, this isn’t anything about the ISIS in Syria but something close to our backyard. That’s what the daily scene looks like in Balochistan. Since the day Pakistan came into being, Balochistan has bled every single day.

Military operation, enforced disappearance and extrajudicial killings have become a daily practice in Balochistan. Picture floating on social media show dead bodies of even women and children raped, tortured and killed by the Pakistani forces. Unlike India, where the media enjoys a fair bit of “freedom of speech” and reports about the so-called Army’s atrocities in Kashmir, the media in Pakistan is tight lipped about the mass killing fields which exist in Balochistan. Carlotta Gall, who worked for the New York Times, wrote in her Book, “The Wrong Enemy” about how she was threatened for reporting in war-torn Balochistan.

Underground activists say that since the beginning of 2016, the Pakistani forces have intensified military offensives across Balochistan, killing scores of innocent Baloch and abducting hundreds of others including women and children. Furthermore, two Indian journalists had their visas revoked in May 2014 for promoting issue of Baloch people in India.

The Foreign Hand – A Big Lie

So how true is Pakistan’s claim of foreign interference in instigating Balochistan’s call for freedom?

Well, only Pakistan claims an Indian interference in Balochistan which is a baseless allegation and has never been proved. Pakistan says that Indian intelligence agencies are behind the unrest in Balochistan and support the Baloch armed group like Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) and Baloch Liberation Front (BLF). The killing of Baloch is not related to the foreign involvement but to the Pak state security forces and intelligence agencies who abduct and kill Baloch on a daily basis. When Pakistan tried to defame India by providing evidence to Washington, the Obama administration declined without even acknowledging it. The reality is that Pakistan itself is the factory of extremism.

What do the majority in Balochistan feel regarding the separatist/freedom movement?

As per my interactions with pro-liberation activists, the people Balochistan strongly support the separatist movement. Whether its armed or political struggle, they are ready to fight the oppressor which is something that everyone would do in the defence of the motherland. If they would not support it, then there wouldn’t have had been war crimes in Balochistan.

If you compare the “K” issue and Balochistan, the international human rights institutions have been quite cold with their response to the latter.

Most of the international human rights organisations hardly respond to the atrocities and state sponsored genocide in Balochistan. There have been deadly military offensive against Baloch people in Dera Bugti which was completely ignored by international organisations and similarly the mass graves discovered in Kuzdar. Reports suggest that the mass graves contained nearly 100 dead bodies – as a result of extra judicial killings by the Pak state and its intelligence agencies.

The Baloch Republican Party is still struggling to take Baloch issue to every international forum. BRP has its member and leader in Europe where they try their best to highlight the Baloch issues at the international level.

Even the chief minister and the home minister of Balochistan who are the part of government have no following in Balochistan and only take orders from the Pakistani leadership to crush Baloch struggle. Despite the UN Working Group on enforced disappearance in 2012, Pakistan has failed to meet the obligation under the constitution and international law prohibiting enforced disappearance.

War crimes and more…

Thousands of Baloch people since the forceful occupation have fled their homes due to the war crimes committed by the Pak security forces. Political activists, academicians, intellectuals who opposed Pakistan have been forced to take political asylum post the violence unleashed by military forces in Balochistan in 2006 when Baloch leader Nawab Akbar Bugti was killed. The Baloch who fled to Afghanistan are more vulnerable because the intelligence agencies of Pakistan attacked political leaders of Baloch Republican Party on a number of occasions.

Reality Bites

The Pakistan forces have claimed to establish 2400 intelligence based operations in Balochistan to eliminate military hideouts. But activists state that this is far from reality. They say that the operation was not meant to kill the terrorists but to execute the Baloch political leaders, intellectuals and other voices which took a stand against the state sponsored killings in Balochistan.

Very often, social media campaigns have been initiated to enlighten people about these ills within Balochistan.

Some reports also mention that military run-institutions have been providing education to 25,000 children in Balochistan which the underground activists term as false information by Pakistani media. Balochistan is still underdeveloped with lack of schools and other important institutions for empowering the locals. The state feels that education will lead to awareness which will further ruin their evil designs to extract or rather plunder the natural resources of Balochistan.

Eye of the Dragon

Baloch activists and leaders feel that the Gwadar port agreement between Pakistan and China is nothing but yet another illegitimate way of looting the natural resources of the region. They feel that instead of being a partner in crime, China should raise its voice against the military excesses committed on Baloch people though that’s not the case.

Pakistan says it brings development to Balochistan with CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) but in reality, the people of Balochistan are dying due to the shortage of water in Gwadar!

Pakistan always plays the “K” card but in its own backyard, there’s a mix of genocide and war crimes claiming innocent lives, lives which strive for “azaadi”. Its policy of divisiveness fuelled by greed has left Balochistan and its people struggling. Several attempts have been made by the Baloch leaders to push their voice across the world against the human rights abuses but then the claws of the ISI and other non-state actors have tightened its grip over the region. Is it too late? The world leaders need to answer that soon, very soon.

 

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NEWSD and NEWSD does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

(Subha Roy is a former journalist and social media strategist who writes on glocal issues, internal security and defence. He tweets at @Roy_Journo)

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