A crude attempt was made in the Dawn newspaper two days ago to suggest as if the freedom struggle has failed in Balochistan through an article entitled Analysis: Managing the Baloch insurgency. The article was written by a non-Baloch writer Syed Shoaib Hasan. This analysis will attempt to expose Dawn newspaper’s close ties with the military and tell the true story of the Baloch aspirations for freedom
Pakistan military establishment has been morally defeated in Balochistan and has totally failed in the war to win the hearts and minds of the Baloch populace, who have long considered themselves slaves in Pakistan since their France-sized country was occupied March 27, 1948 at gunpoint. However, the state remains in denial, reminiscent of General A.A.K. Nizai bombastic statements on the eve of the fall of Dhaka. The Dawn write-up shows Islamabad is now using paid hacks in the traditional media to mislead the world public opinion.
The Dawn newspaper has a long history of siding with military dictators like Gen Ayub Khan and Gen Ziaul Haq. Dawn owners, the late Haroon brothers Yusuf and Mahmoud danced to the tunes of the Pakstani military masters and played a key role in the rise of the terrorist M.Q.M. Even today Dawn’s editor is Zafar Abbas, who is a brother of former Pakistan military spokesperson Major General Athar Abbas. Both Zafar Abbas and another brother Mazhar Abbas, also a journalist, have scant regard for Balochistan as the two had visited U.S. on a program sponsored by Muslim Lakhani, an alleged white collar criminal who amassed millions of dollars at the world’s fifth largest Reko Diq gold-and-copper mines. The two brothers received dollars in envelopes from Muslim Lakhani. Just last week, when Pakistan military chief General Raheel Sharif visited the U.S., the newspaper’s Washington reporter Anwar Iqbal was seen rubbing shoulders with the most hated man in Balochistan.
Given this background, there’s little surprise that Hasan’s article began with glorification of one Shafiq Mengal, the hated leader of a death squad sponsored by the Inter Services Intelligence named Baloch Haq Na Tawar. Pakistan has a long history of promoting such death squads. In the former East Pakistan in 1971 a similar death squad was named al Shams al Badr. Pakistan to this day shamelessly defends the mass killers of al Shams al Badr — Pakistan’s interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, the blue-eyed boy of the army generals, condemned Bangladesh for bringing those culprits to justice, instead of showing remorse over Pakistan’s crimes against humanity in 1971 when three million Bengalis were massacred in the former East Pakistan.. After glorifying Shafiq Mengal, the Pakistani writer then asks, “So where is Balochistan’s decade-long insurgency headed? This is perhaps best described in a recent video testimony by Shafiq Mengal, once a small player in the conflict but now one of its main protagonists.”
The writer projects Shafiq Mengal as a leader and asks another question, “How did the Baloch rebellion that began 10 years ago, when Marri tribesmen fled to the hills to launch what is now described as the longest-running insurgency to challenge the Pakistani state, end up like this?” The writer describes the fifth Baloch uprising against Pakistan’s military occupation as “a classic low-intensity guerrilla conflict” and repeats the official propaganda that it was “a conflict between certain sardars and the centre (Islamabad).”
Here the writer concedes that the killing of Balochistan’s best known statesman Nawab Akbar Bugti in 2006 changed that, transforming the conflict into a war that the local population saw as a final stop on the road to independence. Bugti was assassinated on the orders of Pakistan military coup leader Gen Pervez Musharraf.
Then the writer says the Balochistan movement appears to be on the verge of collapse. The person whose quote he uses to describe the Balochistan situation tells it all. The Pakistani writer cites Senator Hasil Bizenjo, who is today nicknamed Khawaja Khairuddin of Balochistan, as he sides with Pakistani intelligence services in the war against his own people [Khawaja Khairuddin was a politician from East Pakistan, who sided with the al Shams al Badr and Pakistan military during the 1971 war of liberation]. Bizenjo claims that there has been no real progress for the insurgents. The writer describes Bizenjo as “a senior Baloch politician and leader,” although Pakistani media had revealed that Bizenjo received huge sums of monies from the Inter-Services Intelligence for elections in 1990 and in subsequent elections. Bizenjo does not admit that his seeking of I.S.I. monies or the rampant corruption of his relatives, most notably Sardar Aslam Bizenjo, destroyed the “social fabric of Balochistan” but blames the Baloch sarmachars or freedom fighters.
The Pakistani writer then suggests that the insurgency has suffered setbacks primarily due to two reasons. “One has been the security agencies’ old trick of using the ever-green religion card to turn large parts of the Baloch youth against the nationalists. The other has been a self-inflicted wound delivered by increasing infighting and a scramble for leadership between various factions.”
The writer quotes a BBC correspondent Riaz Suhail as saying, “The problems started after Brahamdagh [Bugti] left the region in the wake of Balaach Marri’s death.” It is worthwile to mention here that Balach Marri was allegedly killed by the Pakistani military on November 21, 2007 while Brahumdagh Bugti arrived in Geneva, Switzerland, three years later in November 2010. Here the writer makes a bombastic revelations by citing Riaz Suhail, who is a Karachi correspondent for BBC Urdu, as saying, “While there was absolutely no proof for this, some of the B.L.A. cadre believed that Brahumdagh had somehow helped engineer Balaach’s killing.” There can be nothing further than the truth. Marris and Bugtis are two of the most important tribes of Balochistan and Balach Marri and Brahumdagh Bugti had played a key role in settling all the past disputes that do occur in tribal societies and formed a coalition to fight unitedly against their chief nemesis, Pakistan military.
Here the writer says fissures thus emerged between the B.L.A. and the Baloch Republican Army (B.R.A.) led by Brahumdagh Bugti but goes on to explain as the leadership moved abroad, the central role enjoyed by both organisations was soon taken over by the Baloch Liberation Front (B.L.F.) led by former political activist and medical practitioner Dr Allah Nazar Baloch.
The Pakistani writer admits that the uprising moved from purely tribal pockets to the cities and towns Quetta, Mastung and Khuzdar in central, and to Awaran, Turbat, Panjgur and Gwadar, in southern Balochistan, but refuses to acknowledge the fact that the Baloch liberation movement had now become much more broad-based than at any time during the previous four uprisings in 1948, 1958, 1962 and 1973.
Today it is the common Baloch from the middle classes who are equally shouldering the responsibility of struggle against Pakistani occupation alongside the traditional tribal forces. Each and every family in Balochistan is against Pakistan military presence on their soil. Almost all Baloch towns have a long list of the names of fallen heroes and those forcibly abducted by the Pakistan military. According to the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons, the fate of as many as 18.000 Baloch patriots, who became victims of enforced disappearances, is still unknown.
The Pakistani writer quotes a Pakistani security official as saying “there are three or four attacks in a week, none of them leaving a serious impact.” He attributes this “success” due to the reign of terror unleashed by the Pakistani death squads but says Dr Allah Nazar’s stronghold remained the brightest spot in the insurgency, before it too began to be reined in. The Pakistani writer makes another bombastic claim that after Awaran earthquake the military pushed out the Baloch Liberation Front from its stronghold and says “Dr Allah Nazar and his men are now believed to have taken shelter in Afghanistan.” while continuing to carry on the struggle.
Dr Allah Nazar Baloch is considered to be the Ho Chi Minh of Balochistan and his B.L.F. is challenging the Pakistani soldiers on a daily basis in Awaran, Mekran and in fact in the length and breadth of Balochistan. Dr Allah Nazar Baloch, who has declared he will never leave his Baloch homeland, is a darling in the eyes of tens of thousands of Baloch youths in the age bracket, 18 to 35. A number of political organizations such as Baloch National Movement and Baloch Students Organization (Azad) work closely with the B.L.F.
The Pakistani writer mentions the death of Balochistan freedom icon Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri on June 10, 2014, and points out to the differences between his two sons Hyrbyair Marri, who heads the B.L.A., and Mehran Baluch, who heads its splinter group United Baloch Army. The Pakistani writer has no clue that such differences are part and parcel of all Baloch families and the matter will soon be resolved between the Marri brothers as the U.B.A. is most likely to reunite with the B.L.A. under the able command of Hyrbyair Marri; Mehran Baluch, who is a Briton and has lived most of his life overseas, has little exposure to Balochistan’s internal politics, will continue his late father’s mission in the international arena, Geneva and Brussels. Mehran Baluch loves working in Western capitals and understands that if the conflict between him and his elder brother remains unresolved it will negatively impact his European works. He also understands that the B.L.A. is much loved by the Baloch masses and if he fails to patch up soon he will most likely be seen as a villain in Baloch eyes for hurting the revolutionary B.L.A. (Please see video of B.L.A.’s Majeed Brigade exercise).
The B.L.A. might have committed mistakes in the past, but today professes that upholding the Laws of the War is its top priority. Hyrbyair Marri has met many lawmakers, including lawmakers from the U.S. and Scandinavian countries, and this has led the B.L.A. to adopt correct practices in the tears and blood struggle to achieve Balochistan’s freedom. In addition to the B.L.F. and the B.L.A., the Baloch Republican Army of Brahumdagh Bugti and Lashkar-i- Balochistan of Mir Javed Mengal are purely focused on attacking military targets in dare devil attacks against the Pakistani state. The B.L.F., B.L.A., B.R.A. and the Lashkar-i-Balochistan are the prized assets of the Baloch people. These organizations have the capacity, determination and resources to continue their struggle indefinitely.
At the international level, the Baloch struggle has reached a level of backing that was unheard of in the past. In the U.S., the Baloch question has reached the highest level of government and there is great deal of interest in Balochistan at the level of the U.S. Congress and Pentagon. The American Friends of Balochistan and the Free Balochistan Campaign in Washington DC are exposing the lies of the Pakistani administration and its embassy on a daily basis. In Canada, the International Voice for Baloch Missing Persons is burning the midnight candle to expose Pakistani brutalities, while the Baloch Human Rights Council is tailing behind closely with similar efforts. The Baloch voice has also reached the parliaments of countries such as Norway and Sweden, thanks to the untiring works of Baloch patriotic leader Hyrbyair Marri and his team, who work in conjunction with his His Royal Highness, Khan-i-Baloch Agha Suleman Daud Khan. In the past, who could have imagined member of the Khan royalty in Balochistan would be standing in wet, cold rain in solidarity with his people. The Khan of Kalat is actively engaged in the struggle, while rejecting Pakistani enticements and offers of huge rewards for his return.
Much to the chagrin of Pakistan, Mehran Baluch has succeeded in enlisting the support of many key international speakers to events in Geneva and Brussels, for example Tarek Fatah and Peter Tatchell. International journalist like Carlotta Gall, Declan Walsh, Karlos Zurutuza, Willem Marx and others follow the tragic events in Balochistan. The activists of the Baloch Republican Party, led by Nawab Brahumdagh Bugti and Mansoor Baloch, and the Baloch National Movement, led by Hammal Haider and Kachkol Ali Advocate, stage almost weekly protests in the streets of Europe from Germany, to Switzerland, to Norway, to Sweden. The social media, specially twitter and Facebook, is helping the Balochistan struggle. Slowly but surely the world is listening to the cries of the Baloch people in spite of Pakistani press blackouts and misleading stories such as the one written by Syed Shoaib Hasan in Dawn newspaper.
It’s a shame Dawn newspaper completely ignores Pakistan war crimes, crimes against humanity, military aggression and genocidal policies; the newspaper founded by tuberculosis-ridden founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, has no inkling about the level of hatred against Pakistan in the heart of each and every Baloch.