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Pakistan: Deciphering the Balochistan Issue

A resolution presented by the US congressman Dana Rohrabacher on Balochistan has stirred the political spectrum in Pakistan. The resolution states that “the Baloch people have a right to achieve self-determination and grave human right violations are occurring in this area”.

 

Condemnation has come from government and opposition parties in the national assembly.

 

Rehman Malik (the interior minister of Pakistan) tweets:

@SenRehmanMalik: Pakistan Nation is hurt on the proposed resolution of a (sic) Congressman on Balochistan The said congressman should mind his own business.

A member from Pakistan’s largest opposition party (PML-N), Khurrum Dastagir, says:

@kdastgirkhan: #PMLN SOVEREIGNTY >PMLN condemns Baluchistan resolution submitted in US Congress >Warns Congress against interfering in Pak internal affairs.

Activists of Sindh Progressive Committee hold a protest against the killing of a Baloch Nationalist. Image by Rajput Yasir. Copyright Demotix (11/02/2012)

Activists of Sindh Progressive Committee hold a protest against the killing of a Baloch Nationalist. Image by Rajput Yasir. Copyright Demotix (11/02/2012)

But these comments do not cover the whole political spectrum of the country. Baloch nationalists complain about their rights being sabotaged:

@FaizMBaluch: @SenRehmanMalik #Occupied Baloch Nation has right to regain their #Independence#PakistanArmy must leave #Balochistan immediately.

The condition of education in the province is deplorable. An ex-senator from Balochistan, Sanaullah Baloch, publicly speaks of the injustice being done to the Baloch people. The resource rich Balochistan has the least literacy rate in the country. Schools are scarce in the region and there condition is deplorable.

@Senator_Baloch: @akchishti Wt about this Pakistan —- School in Resource Rich Balochistan

The status of female education is also very poor: 90% of Balochi girls in rural Balochistan do not go to school. Outside the capital city of Quetta, educational institutions do not exist in Baloch dominated area. Foreign assistance in the field of education lacks due to the bad law and order situation in the province.

Hijab Tradition In Balochistan. Image by Shahazad Khan. Copyright Demotix (24/03/2011)

Hijab Tradition In Balochistan. Image by Shahazad Khan. Copyright Demotix (24/03/2011)

Another aspect of the Balochistan crisis is the extra-judicial abduction of Baloch nationalists. Baloch nationalist parties allege that intelligence agencies are behind these abductions. Different statistics are available on the number of people abducted. Muhammad Haneef writes:

There are more than 8,000 if you believe Baloch nationalists, hundreds according to human rights organisations, 1,100 according to our interior minister Rehman Malik and none according to our intelligence agencies.

In reality numbers do not matter. Every human being has an individual values. He has a right to live and prosper. The UN Declaration provides a set of fundamental rights to every men and women in the world.

Every Balochi who is abducted only worsens the current situation. The Baloch people demand justice. I.A Rehman, a human rights activist, rightfully says:

Instead of offering the embittered Baloch redress and satisfaction the authorities have chosen to quibble over the number of missing….

The government is convening an all party conference (APC) on the Baloch Conundrum. The Pakistani people have doubts on whether this APC will produce fruitful results:

@Bixenjo: The aftermath of last APC on  #Balochistan resulted in more custodial killings. God knows what impact this APC would bring to Baloch people.

@HarisMumtaz81: APC on #Balochistan is the biggest joke govt can crack on the balochi people. This issue needs honest action & dialogue not political stunts

@ajmaljami: @zaarasikandar exactly! #PM vowed to call an#APC on #Balochistan bt it was just a call. practically nothing has been done so far. thats sad

@AfrasyabKhan: #PTI should boycott the drama that is #APC on#Balochistan . Fool me once shame on u;fool me twice shame on me. #Pakistan @ImranKhanPTIPK

The dialogue will be fruitless if important Baloch leaders don’t take part. Unfortunately, some Baloch leaders have refused to be a part of this APC:

@sardarzadaimran: Exiled #Baloch leaders Sardar Akthar & Hairbyar Marri refuse to participate in All Parties Conference on #Balochistan#APC #Pakistan

People believe fear cannot keep a nation together for a long time.  Pakistan should learn from her history, especially from the episode of the creation of Bangladesh. Zara Sikandar and Naeem Shamim rightly tweet:

@zaarasikandar:@ajmaljami We did same to East Pakistan what we are doing to #Balochistan .. extremely ruthless ! 1971 VS 2012 ?

@naeemshamim: #Pakistan has not lost #Balochistan , it has lost the hearts of the poor #Baloch  people ! Weapons can win territories not Hearts

  • Zahid

    The image of lady wearing veil is not from balochistan but someone from a Afghan refugee camp. These veil are worn by Afghan. The secular Baloch prefer Dopatha, and the face is visible.

    • Kumail Ahmed

      Yes, the Niqab or Burqa is not a part of Balochistan’s culture, but 40% Pashtoons also live in northern Balochistan who have commonalities with the Afghan culture.

      The photo primarily depicts the sad state of women in Balochistan.

  • Pingback: Looking Back at 2012 in South Asia – Part II · Global Voices

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