Sons of the late Godfather of Baloch militancy Nawab Khair Bux Marri, they seem to be the smartest among the Baloch elite: two brothers in the freedom camp, two in the Pakistan camp and one neutral. Four of them multimillionaires, fond of high life, but most of them are fighting with one another like fighter cocks–their late father used to love the blood sport.
The late Nawab Marri presided over a fiefdom spread over 3,268 square miles, almost the size of Puerto Rico and bigger than 34 other nations, including Brunei. Like Brunei, the Marri country in France-sized Balochistan is believed to be rich in fossil fuel but overwhelming majority of the tribesmen, numbering more than half million, live in abject poverty. Most suffer from malnutrition and anemia.
There are five surviving sons of Nawab Marri: Balochistan irrigation and energy minister Nawabzada Jangez Marri, former Balochistan home minister Nawabzada Gazzain Marri, apolitical Poland-based Nawabzada Hamza Marri, former Balochistan education minister Hyrbyair Marri, and Baluchistan House president Nawab Mehran Marri.
A sixth son, Balach Marri, who was elected member of the provincial assembly but did not take any ministerial position, was considered to be the simplest and bravest among all six. He was killed November 20, 2007 in the mountains of Balochistan.
In the latest row, a spokesperson for Balochistan minister Nawabzada Jangez Marri in a statement released by the NNI news agency condemned the statement of his London-based younger brother and said, “Nawab jangez Marri was never a part of the so-called freedom movement and he is presnt among his people and tribe to serve Balochistan and does not need any certificate from Hybyair Marri.” Jangez Marri also disowned a fake statement released under his name by the Sangar publication, affiliated with the Balochistan Liberation Front and Baloch National Movement.
Two days back, according to a web site run by Hyrbyair Marri’s lieutenant Faiz M. Baluch, the former Balochistan education minister had said, “I made it clear in a statement on June 17, 2010, and afterwards in an interview that Gazzain and Jangez Marri preferred their self-interests instead of joining the national movement, and have been working with Pakistani intelligence agencies.” He also accused Gazzain Marri of going back to Balochistan under evil designs and conspiracies of the enemy state [Pakistan] and of trying to divide and mislead the Baloch nation. Hyrbyair Marri said in history is replete with sad examples of selfish and self-profiteering people during national struggles.
Nawabzada Gazzain Marri, who returned to Pakistan in September last year, now plans to join the Pakistan People’s Party of his bosom buddy and former president Asif Ali Zardari. Upon arrival in Pakistan, he disavowed the militant politics of his younger brothers Hybyair Marri and Mehran Marri, while well informed sources say his late father did entrust the Rolex-loving former home minister some key duties in the militant movement. Nawab Marri was said to be grooming Hyrbyair Marri as his political successor, but he had a fall out with his late father over alleged misappropriation of muddee, including arms and money, by his younger brother Mehran Marri. In his final days, Nawab Marri was seen in a video accusing Hyrbyair Marri of being a “war lord.”
Hyrbyair Marri and Mehran Marri, who allegedly head separate militant groups, Balochistan Liberation Army and United Baluch Army respectively, have not talked to one another for more than eight years. Hybyair Marri said the misappropriation by Mehran Marri allegedly took place when he was arrested in London and calls his younger brother “a thief.” The fratricidal tussle between the two brothers have left at least four dozen best Marri freedom fighters or Sarmachars dead. This is a high number as according to Baloch sources though Pakistan army has killed upwards of 35,000 Baloch people since a low-level insurgency began in Balochistan in 2005, just around 300 of them were actual Sarmachars. The rest were common nomadic people, whose deaths were never reported in Islamabad’s secret, dirty war.
Earlier the Sangar online publication, which is affilated with the BLF and BNM, issued a fake statement in the name of a spokesperson for the Marri House. That statement said Jangez Marri castigated his younger brother Hybyair Marri, who was education minister in Balochistan cabinet 20 years ago, over his statement and accused him of colluding with former interior minister Rehman Malik and fanning factionalism among Baloch nationalists.
It was the third time in two moths that Sangar was releasing fake news: in November when the BLF militants killed 15 wanna-be immigrants, the Sangar described the victims as laborers working on the controversial China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), and Tuesday when the Baloch Republican Army
The Sangar fake report cited a spokesperson for the Marri House as saying Hyrbyair Marri was in vain trying to project himself as the sole champion of the Baloch nationalist movement by opening a new front against someone or the other every other day. The Sangar fake report further said true face of some claimants to the philosophical and ideological bandwagon of the nationalist movement is revealed to members of the Marri tribe and the Baloch people, in particular the youth.
The Sangar report said that after his arrest in London and during his meeting with Interior Minister Rehman Malik, in order to have the terrorism case against him closed, he made a sinister pact to attack all his close friends and associates, a pattern that is still ongoing. “In truth, his pact with Rehman Malik was to continue to raise slogans for Baloch freedom in full force, while never letting any other Baloch parties gain any foothold, and to create doubt and suspicions about their activities in the eyes of the common Baloch people.”
According to media reports, Hyrbyair Marri and his right hand man Faiz M. Baluch were exonerated after a letter from former home minister Rehman Malik, a lowly police official who rose to the top in the Pakistan security services. Pakistan cricketer-turned-politician, marriage-loving sexagenarian Imran Khan who is considered to be favorite of Pakistan’s spy service Inter Services intelligence, also testified in Hybyair Marri’s favor and told the court he would have done the same thing had he been in Mr Marri’s shoes .
The Sangar report claimed that they have hard evidence that Hyrbyair Marri gave material support to terrorists responsible for the massacre of Hazaras in Balochistan and specifically in Quetta, and in the coming days they would place this proof before the Baloch people.
Oddly enough, Hyrbyair Marri did issue a statement two months ago in which he defended the “moderate Islam” of crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is called Mohammed bin Kushner in Arab streets. He also calls the Balochistan Liberation Front a proxy of Iran as the BLF has routinely targeted the Jaishul Adal, a Baloch wahabi group that is believed to be used by the Pakistani Deep State. It may be Hyrbyair Marri’s soft stance against the whabi militants that his eldest brother is accusing him of supporting wahabi killers of the persecuted Hazaras.
The Sangar report, fraudulently attributed to the Marri House, said that they consider being included in Hyrbyair Marri’s clique a disrespect to the spirit of the late Nawab Marri and pointed out to the things that the late Nawab Marri said during his last days about Hyrbyair Marri. “Subsequently he began heaping indignities on the white-bearded elders of the Marri tribe after the Nawab passed away, causing Marri folks to leave his ideological caravan in disgust.”
The Sangar report said that they chose to remain silent all this while hoping that he (Hyrbyair) would cease to use the blood of Marri folks as a bargain chip, claiming “the Marri tribe is united under the leadership of Nawab Changez Marri, and the few people who remain under Hyrbyair’s delusional sway will join us in the near future.”
Fake news by Sangar was not surprising. Balochistan was traditionally a honor based society where even killers would publicly admit their crime, but corruption over the past four decades and unbridled militancy in the last 15 years have destroyed that honesty. These days the militant leaders are not willing to own their own organizations and telling lies which was against the Baloch dod o rabeedagh or way of life, has become quite common.
The late Nawab Marri was highly unhappy with Jangez Marri politics and had disowned his eldest son, calling him the ISI’s son. Jangez Marri also used to call his father a failed politician for his politics of resistance. In an interview with this writer in 1993, Jangez Marri said that the Marri resistance during the 1973-77 insurgency was a huge blunder. However, Jangez Marri was using the green color Willie’s jeep gifted to the Marris for transporting ration to the guerrillas by this writer’s uncle in 1973. The uncle was later picked up and tortured even though he personally knew then premier Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and his wife begum Nusrat Bhutto– as newly wed couple, they had taken the uncle’s car for their secret honeymoon.
In May last year, Jangez Marri had during a visit sponsored by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to the European parliament in Brussels accused his youngest brother Mehran Marri of being a foreign agent. In November, The Swiss arrested and deported Mehran Marri from Zurich on a charge that he heads the militant United Baluch Army (UBA) and also clamped a lifetime ban on him, though he is a Briton. The Swiss also denied asylum to his brother-in-law Nawab Brahumdagh Bugti and the charge of being the head of the Baloch Republican Army (BRA).
Intriguingly, though Gazzain Marri returned to Pakistan to join mainstream politics he will be jockeying for power from the platform of Zardari’s, while Jangez Marri is in the Pakistan Muslim League of ousted premier Nawaz Sharif.
In contrast to the feuding brothers, their father Nawab Marri was described as the most influential theoretician of the Baloch nationalist movement by noted US scholar, the late Selig S. Harrison. Harrison in his book In Afghanistan’s Shadow: Baloch Nationalism and Soviet Temptations wrote that former Indian foreign secretary K. Shankar Bajpai, who is now chairman of Delhi Policy Group, and knew Marri well during their Aitcheson College days in Lahore was barely able to recognized Nawab Marri during a diplomatic reception in 1977 “astonished to find the lighthearted youth he remembered had become an intense, introverted political crusader.”