Dream big Baloch, statehood is your destiny. But don’t act like cowards to spill innocent blood in contravention of the Laws of War.
From a writer’s eyes I can see Pakistan generals, Military Intelligence and ISI officials lined up with sheepish faces on Victory Day at Ayub national stadium in Quetta — just like in Paltan Maidan in Dhaka on December 16, 1971. Joyous Baloch and Pashtun people, including all settlers who sided with the Baloch freedom struggle, would be jubilantly waving the Balochistan national flag to celebrate their freedom and heroines of the national struggle Prof Naela Quadri, Banuk Karima Baloch, Banuk Farzana Majeed, Mahnaz Baloch and Bibi Mahdam Baloch, among others, will be standing on the podium making victory sign with tears of happiness in their eyes.
All this is possible, but there is a caveat: the Sarmachars or freedom fighters don’t shoot themselves in the foot.
I have believed staunchly in the freedom of Balochistan since I was 13—now I am 58. Yes it is true. I stood up in class in my Karachi school way back in 1973 when I was 13 after a fight with a Pakistani classmate. “Floods hit Punjab because you are unjust to Balochistan,” I said. That was the time when the National Awami Party government of former chief minister Sardar Ataullah Mengal, supported by my family, was dismissed by premier Zulfikar Ali Bhutto under instructions of the Punjabi generals. After that massive floods ravaged Punjab, the stronghold of Pakistan army—the main organization responsible for committing war crimes in Balochistan.
Still I firmly believe unarmed civilians must never be touched by the Sarmachars, no matter what. Mark my words, the BLF may get the dirty label of terrorists if they continue with such actions. This will also mean all freedom loving parties and activists now busy in the West will be in deep trouble. We saw the deception of the rogue state of Pakistan, despite being a third rate, failing state succeed in two important cities, Geneva and London just last week. Wednesday, the UK authorities ordered the removal of Free Balochistan ads from 100 double-decker buses in London, launched by Javed Mengal of the World Baloch Organization, and Thursday Mehran Marri of the Baluchistan House was deported from Zurich airport.
I am writing this post after watching a video released by the Balochistan Liberation Front Sunday about the Punjabi captives that the militant outfit killed execution style. I told myself: “I am human, son of Adam, resident of Mother Earth” as I saw 12 out of the 15 Punjabi wannabe emigrants in the BLF video announcing their names, their father’s names and their cities. I felt terrible for we are humans first and the color of our blood is red.
“My name is Abdul Ghafoor, my father’s name is Noor Ahmed. I am resident of district Sialkot.
“My name is Ali Raza, my father’s name is Parvez, I am a resident of Sialkot.
“My name is Qadir Ali, my father’s name is Mohammed Aslam, I am resident of District Sialkot.
“My name is Syed Shahid Raza, my father’s name is Fida Hussain, I am resident of Gujrat.
“My name is Mohammed Waqas, my father’s name is Mohammed Ilyas, I am resident of Daska.
“My name is Majid, my father’s name is Qasim Mahmood, I am resident of Sialkot.
“My name is Mohammed Hasneen, my father’s name is Mohammed Nazeer, I am resident of Hasan Abdal Peshawar.
“My name is Hassan Raza, my father’s name is Abid Hussain, I am resident of Gujranwala.
“My name is Ghuffran, my father’s name is Zahid, I am resident of Sialkot.
“My name is Ghulam Rabbani, my father’s name is Khursheed Alam, I am resident of Gujranwala.
“My name is Mujeeb Ullah, my father’s name is Mohammad Ashraf, I am resident of District Gujrat.
‘My name is Zulfiqar Ali, my father’s name is Talib Hussain, I am a resident of District Mandi Bahauddin.
“My name is Mohammed Hasneen, my father’s name is Mohammed Nazeer, I am resident of Hasan Abdal Peshawar.” Hasneen who spoke last was the one who read the main script calling upon “Punjabis, Sindhis and Pakhtoons that Balochistan is in a state of war and they should completely avoid coming here for work even if Pakistan army asks them to.”
Moments later all of them and three others who were not shown on the video were killed by the BLF. At the end of the sad video, the statement of the Balochistan Liberation Front reads “Chinese funded multi-billion CPEC project will turn Baloch into a minority on their own land due to heavy influx of Chinese and Punjabis. Baloch will resist against the project that is against their will and welfare.”
There can be no two views about this statement among 30 million Baloch all over the world who believe the Chinese have no right to take over Gwadar port from the native Baloch with the help of Pakistan army. The popular saying goes when injustice becomes the law, resistance becomes a duty. But the resistance must be heroic like in the case of David and Goliath, not cowardly like what we saw last Tuesday in Kech.
I am not asking the BLF to turn their cheeks like Jesus followers. All I am asking is that their targets must remain Pakistan army, security services and intelligence agencies not some random travelers leaving Pakistan. “It will be dangerous for the liberation struggle, if we metamorphose from being persecuted to persecutors,” Gulzar Imam, commander of the Baloch Republican Army (BRA) tweeted from somewhere in the mountains of Balochistan. Pakistan accuses Swiss-based Brahumdagh Bugti of leading the BRA as Bugti continues to tweet about his innocence. However, I did not see any tweet to condemn the killing of unarmed civilians by Brahumdagh Bugti or his brother-in-law Mehran Marri. I must write here Mehran Marri was the first person to express his anguish privately to me in Geneva in June 2010 over Sarmachars targeting Punjabi barbers, butchers and cloth washers over flimsy charges. I still vividly remember Marri’s remarks, “Even if the Baloch kill 50,000 Punjabi civilians, we wont get our freedom.”
Everything begins on the top. Pakistan army, Military Intelligence, ISI and Frontier Corps in Balochistan by throwing the country’s constitution into the toilet bowls of the Quetta Cantonment have led to complete brutalization of Baloch society. Sold out politicians like ports and shipping minister Hasil Bizenjo and former chief minister Dr Malik Baloch of the National Party, who are happy with cleaning the toilet bowls of the soldiers, keep mum on the Pakistan army atrocities, don’t demand court martial of army officers responsible for war crimes in Balochistan but continue to target the Sarmachars as the main wrong doers. Dr Malik Baloch did make a pertinent point in his speech in Panjgur, though. He said in the past armed struggles the militants never targeted their own Baloch or unarmed civilians.
On the other side of the divide former Balochistan minister Kachkol Ali Advocate, who now lives in exile in Oslo, Norway, uses legal jargon to defend the actions of the BLF and insists that they are in line with the Laws of War. Ali Advocate’s son was forcibly disappeared on the UN Day of the Disappeared August 30 in 2014 and was released after 14 months of captivity in ISI torture cells; two homes in Turbat have been illegally occupied by the paramilitary Frontier Corps. Ali Advocate, once a good friend of Dr Malik Baloch, is now with the Baloch National Movement (BNM).
Balanced politicians like former chief minister Sardar Akhtar Mengal, a staunch opponent of army and ISI actions in Balochistan, minced no words in criticizing the BLF action. He tweeted, “Strongly condemn the killing of labourers in Kech. There is no gain from killing innocent people. Baloch people have no right to call themselves innocent & suppressed if they target the helpless.” Mengal, who himself faced torture and was poisoned in Gen Musharraf’s gestapo, has long demanded that if a Baloch is guilty of any crime he must be prosecuted under due process of laws. But the jihadi boys of Rawalpindi chose to embark upon a deadly kill and dump policy, reminiscent of the genocide of Jews in Medina at the time of the rise of Islam. For them Baloch blood is cheaper than water as they are apostates and agents of India.