It was in March 1948 that the last of the erstwhile Balochistan Agency acceded from British India into the newly formed State of Pakistan. However, the assimilation and acceptance of the Baloch people into Pakistani society and Pakistan as a whole has been characterized by both active and passive resistance. The denial by the Pakistani State in providing mere provincial status and rights to Balochistan till 1970 was also accompanied by a policy of systematic oppression of the Baloch people that has continued till the present – the most recent phase of which was set in motion when General Pervez Musharraf assumed power after conducting the 1999 coup d’état replacing the then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. In January 2000, under his orders as the Chief Executive of Pakistan, his army ravaged the New Kahan area to the south of Quetta – the capital of Balochistan, in a joint military operation involving the police and paramilitary, the latter of which included the Pakistan Rangers. In one day alone, 125 people were arrested, others disappeared forever (Television, 2010).
Pakistani forces not only arrested the locals of New Kahan but also vandalized their residences, of which the semi-permanent settlements were destroyed completely. The arrested included almost all of the adult men, while only women, elderly and children were left. These arrests however would soon turn out to be state-abductions, without any respite to the relatives, who approached the authorities for the whereabouts of their loved ones to no reciprocation – the regional authorities had no answers.
New Kahan (News) is an area to the south of Quetta populated by the Marri Baloch Tribe. The Marri Baloch had migrated to Afghanistan during the 70s military offensive and lived in Afghanistan as refugees until the Taliban took over, after which they were forced to return to Balochistan in the early 90s. New Kahan and surrounding area has always been, and remains, one of the primary regions of retaliatory offensives whenever there is an attack on Pakistani forces and government installations in Quetta. The latest raid in New Kahan was conducted on the night of 14 August 2020, ten residents were reportedly arrested and soon after they disappeared.
In December 2017 Ahed Tamimi, a Palestinian teenager heard the news that Israeli soldiers shot her 15-year-old cousin Mohammad with a rubber-coated steel bullet. So, raged with anger Tamimi and her mother came out in the street to confront the Israeli soldiers. In the course of the protest, she slapped and hit an armed soldier who in return did not shot her or even slap her back but maintain professional calmness throughout.
The video of slapping an Israeli soldier went viral and in most Muslim countries she was hailed as a hero. Obviously, this ‘heroism of her’ has incited other Palestinian children to act in similar ways or even worse. Tamimi and her mother were, however, later arrested and sentenced to eight-month imprisonment according to the law of the land. Continue reading “The Ahed Tamimis of Balochistan “
On 14 May 2018, a daughter of Balochistan and brother took a taxi home not knowing that it would be their last ride. She had just finished her final year exams and was going to visit her brother in Iranian occupied Balochistan when a Land Cruiser overtook their taxi and brake sharply leaving no time for the taxi to stop. Hence, the taxi collided with the back bumpers of the Land Cruiser killing all three persons on board – Zahra Baloch, her brother Attaullah Baloch and the taxi driver.
It is not clear yet what caused the Land Cruiser’s driver to brake sharply or whether it was a deliberate attempt to cause this accident with intent to kill Zahra and her brother. Iran and Pakistan are two dangerous states for Baloch people and they avail every opportunity to harm the most learned and educated youth of Balochistan. Since Zahra Baloch was politically active and had previously received threats from Pakistani security forces, it is highly likely that her death was not just an accident.
I was watching the inauguration ceremony of Gawadar corridor route passing through occupied Balochistan territory.
The puppet and toothless ministers from Balochistan and other parts were also present to confirm their attendance and obedience to Punjabi domination on Baloch land.
Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif repeated the same rhetoric and showed lollipops of the past to Baloch nation.
We still remember the tall claims of Zulfiqar Bhutto, Zia-ul-Haq, General Ayyub Khan, Benazir Bhutto, General Musharraf, Asif Ali Zadar and now again Nawaz Sharif of turning Balochistan into paradise but the reality in today different.When you visit Balochistan today after six decades you will witness the increased number of graveyards and mass graves instead of School, Collages, Universities, health care centres, technical centres.
Only three days ago the ‘Dawn Newspaper’ reported quoting the Home Secretary of Balochistan that “More than 9,000 ‘suspected militants and criminals’ were apprehended by police, levies, frontier corps and intelligence agencies in Balochistan as a part of the national action plan in the year 2015.But neither Dawn nor the Home Secretary has said anything about the whereabouts of those arrested 9000 ‘suspected militants’. Have they all been killed and dumped or are they being tortured in secret dungeon of Pakistan army?
The world is celebrating the International Women’s Day (IWD) to pay their homage to working women and to renew their pledge to continue striving for gender equality and women’s empowerment. The women in Balochistan are not only out in streets (in front of Press Clubs) demanding the release of their loved ones but they also continue to be targeted by Pakistani state and its military backed religious extremists.
Baloch women tolerate the greatest hardships in Balochistan. The pain of losing their children, brothers, fathers and husbands at the hand of Pakistani security forces is couple with the religious extremism against women. Illegal occupation of Balochistan by the fundamentalist states of Iran and Pakistan has created a perpetual sense of insecurity for Baloch society as a whole but women and children are primary casualties of this insecurity. Continue reading “International Women’s Day and state violence against Baloch women”
Balochistan, bordering Iran to the West and Afghanistan to the North, was an independent country before the British attacked and invaded it in 1839. The Baloch ruler, at the time, Mir Mehrab Khan along with hundreds of Baloch fighters died while defending Balochistan.
Later the British draw two artificial lines (borders), the Goldsmith Line (1871) and the Durand Line (1895), dividing Balochistan into three pieces. Northern Balochistan and Western Balochistan were given to Persia and Afghanistan respectively, and Eastern Balochistan (Pakistan occupied Balochistan) remained independent and maintained treaty relations with the British.
One of the treaties the British government signed with Balochistan in 1854 and later amended in 1876 reads as follows: Article 3: “Whilst on his part, Meer Khodadad Khan, Khan of Kalat, binds himself, his heirs, successors and sardars to observe faithfully the provisions of Article 3 of the treaty of 1854, the British Government on its part engages to respect the independence of Kalat, and to aid the Khan, in case of need, in the maintenance of a just authority and the protection of his territories from external attack, by such means as the British Government may at the moment deem expedient.”
The British remained in Eastern part of Balochistan until 1947 and at the time of their departure they recognised Balochistan as an independent state. Three days prior to Pakistan’s separation from India, a tripartite agreement was signed between the British, the ruler of Balochistan and the upcoming Pakistan administration accepting the sovereignty of the Baloch people. On 11 August, 1947, Eastern Balochistan declared full independence. Continue reading “Is Britain complicit in human rights violations in Balochistan?”
China is the world’s third predatory country that is engaged in heinous crime of exploiting Baloch national resources after Pakistan and Iran. It is also the country that has virtually encircled Balochistan’s strategic geography into its so called String of Pearls Strategy – under the sphere of its influence Gwadar Deep sea port has already been turned into a major Chinese outpost to consolidate and expand its vital interests in the region.
Moreover, China is one of the major weapon supplier to Pakistan and Iran for suppressing the secular Baloch freedom movement in occupied Balochistan at a time when world peace is in the grip of Islamic extremist forces.
Baloch people as a suppressed nation at the hand of Pakistan and Iran have no option but to defend their national resources and struggle to restore the lost sovereignty.
The International Day of the Disappeared on August 30 is an annual commemoration designated to draw attention to the fate of individuals imprisoned at places and under poor conditions unknown to their relatives and/or legal representatives. On this day, the International community remembers the missing and disappeared people throughout the world. The day has been officially declared as the Day of the enforced-disappeared. On this day, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) calls on all governments to provide answers to families on the fate and whereabouts of missing persons. International Human Rights Organisations have declared enforced disappearance as a grave human rights violation and a crime against humanity.
Yet, on this day the fate of thousands of innocent Baloch men, women and children remains unknown. Thousands of Baloch families in occupied Balochistan are looking for justice for their beloveds and peace of mind for themselves in particular and for the Baloch society in general. The issue of enforced-disappearances in Balochistan is not a new phenomenon; it started from the day of Balochistan’s illegal occupation by Iran and Pakistan. Since then occupying states, Iran and Pakistan, have been committing gross human rights violations against Baloch people. Thousands of Baloch have been forcefully disappeared and hundreds of thousands have been killed in cold-blood and massacred by aerial bombardments by these ruthless and uncivilised states. Thousands have been extra judicially executed. Continue reading “Remembering the missing Baloch on the International Day of enforced Disappeared”
Pakistan in its dirty war in Balochistan has changed its tactics several times in past few years. In their most recent tactic they have started to kill Baloch political activists in several orchestrated stage encounters. Their criminal tactic follows a clear pattern. They abduct Baloch activists and torture them for days, months or even years. July 2010 onwards Pakistan adopted the policy of abducted, kill and dump but recently they started to discard the bodies of previously abducted Baloch activists, who were abducted from different areas of Pakistan, during military offensive and then announce in their media that they were killed during arm clash with Pakistani security forces. This tactic could partly be due to the pressure that has grown on Pakistani military and intelligence agencies to produce the enforced-disappeared Baloch persons.
The Baloch political leader, Hyrbyair Marri says, “Abducting our people and killing them in such sham operations and labelling them as terrorists only demonstrate the height of our enemy’s inhumanity and desperation. They think with this monstrous tactic they close the cases of our loved and get away with their murder. These cases cannot and will not be closed as long as the perpetrators of these crimes against humanity are not brought to justice – the perpetrator for us is the state of Pakistan.”
The Pakistan military and its state sponsored media reported on 10 August that the military has killed 6 ‘armed militants’ in an exchange of firing in Machh area of district Bolan in Balochistan. As the saying goes “A Lie has no legs to stand upon”– soon the misleading statements of Pakistan army and media were exposed as the families of previously abducted Baloch identified the bodies of their loved ones.
It became obvious that no arm clash took place in fact the Pakistan military has dumped the bodies of previously abducted Baloch who were in their custody and claimed to have killed them in a fake encounter. Relatives of these men said that they had received phone calls from unknown numbers informing them that their relatives have been killed and dumped. The victims of 10 August have been identified as 28 year old Bijjar Ahmad son of Ali Bux Marri, 35 year old Paliya son of Nodhan Marri, 20 year old Izzat Khan son of Wahsho Marri, 35 year old Dad Ali son of Raheem Khan Marri and Wahid Bux son of Nabi Bux Marri.