Balochistan: The Unheard Cries of An Unknown People
07 Dec, 2008
A Baloch Child who feel
victim to the grenade attacks by
All of us have heard of Pakistan. Most people, especially those in the West, perceive Pakistan as a rogue nation that sponsors and abets terrorism and rightly so. However the knowledge of most people about Pakistan in general is extremely superficial. How many people know that Pakistan comprises of four provinces, namely Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan and North West Frontier Province (also called Puktunkwha)?.
- Pakistan was basically carved out of the Indian subcontinent on the premises that Muslims and Hindus are separate nations and they cannot co-exist in one country. This formula was called the Two-Nation Theory which was the brain child of Chief Architect was Mohammed Ali Jinnah, also known as Qaid E Azam in Pakistan. Jinnah, who had spent most of his lie abroad, was not really a good Muslim. It is because, he was addicted to liquor and smoking (which incidentally killed him later) and his love for ham (pork) and eggs for breakfast. The main bone of contention for Muslims, who wanted a separate nation, was that they could not bear the sacrilege of being ruled by kafirs whom their imagined ancestors had subdued through treachery.
However the euphoria surrounding the creation of Pakistan was short lived. The country could not really cater to the needs of its all Muslims. The Bengali, Baloch, Sindhi, Pashtoon, Seirakhi, etc. populations were given the same treatment which is given to third grade citizens of a state. In fact, these ethnicities were only a few shades better than the minorities in terms of treatment by the majority Sunni Punjabi dominated authorities. The Bengalis, assisted by India, seceded through a bloody war in 1971.
Out of the other ethnicities, the Baloch people have suffered the most under an administration dominated by Punjabis. The region of Balochistan is mostly waste land covered by deserts and uncultivable land. However this area is also rich in mineral reserves such as natural gas and petroleum. In fact, 90% of Pakistan’s energy requirements are met by the natural reserves of the province of Balochistan. But the irony is that this province does not even get 5% of the electricity produced from the land in this region. So much for Islamic brotherhood!
The per capita income of Balochistan is next to zilch when compared to the national average of the rest of Pakistan. Balochistan has hardly any schools or colleges except in the capital city of Quetta. The Baloch people have to travel great distances even to get basic necessities such as water and food supplies. There are hardly any roads or major railway links in Balochistan. Most Baloch people have to work as migrant labourers in the more developed cities of Karachi and Islamabad. The Pakistani Army treats the Baloch people the same way in which an invading Muslim army treats dhimmies. They rape women and young girls, kill non-combatants; in general terms, they spread misery amongst the Baloch population. It is not as if the Civil or Military Administration is unaware of these facts. On the other hand, the Administration fully supports these cruel techniques used by the Pakistani Army to subdue the Baloch. This is actually a return gift from the Pakistani Administration for the audacity of asking the for basic human rights by the Baloch.
There are no technical institutions where people from Balochistan can pursue education, which would enable them to achieve a respectable status. All the work in the various military or civilians are assigned to non-local labour. This is not done because the Baloch people are lazy or unable to do work. Rather this is being done to add to the depravity of the already suffering people of Balochistan.
The Baloch people who are not so religious, but are however fiercely independent in spirit were ultimately fed up with the Punjabi-led administration decided to rebel against it. Even though there is a long history of rebellion of the Baloch people against the evil Pakistani Administration, I will confine myself to a recent event that has become epoch in the history of Balochistan. I will tell you the short story of Nawab Akbar Bughti. He was a man who once believed in the nation of Pakistan and even occupied several important positions in the Pakistani administration unlike most of his Baloch brothers who were not so lucky. When he came back to his native place, he was really appalled to see the barbarity with which the Pakistani army treated the Baloch people. He could no longer tolerate the injustice and decided to fight the oppression. He fought, not in the name of Islam, but to secure basic Human rights for his people. The Pakistani Administration decided that this impudent Baloch, who had the guts to ask for equal rights, should also be given a return gift. He was bombed in his house, which was actually a cave, in the middle of night. This was a warning for the rest of the Baloch people to shut up or suffer similar consequences.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Now the Pakistani administration has found a new way of subduing the Baloch. They have started colonising the Baloch land in bits and pieces to establish colonies of Punjabi ex-army men in order to destabilize the ethnic balance of the area. To add to the woes of the Baloch, Afghan refugees have also been provided habitations in the Baloch land. This was hardly done out of compassion for the refugees. The real reason was to turn the native population of Balochistan into minorities. This way, they are being gradually subdued with ease.
While the Western Media chooses to cherry pick the events in Pakistan, we seldom get to hear the moans and cries of these unfortunate people, caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. As I write this article, there might be a Baloch woman being molested by the Islamic Army of Pakistan, a child being beaten up for being who he is. Nobody will ever be able to assess the exact extent of the atrocities the Pakistani Administration has committed upon the Baloch people. I really don’t understand why the media of the free world chooses to ignore a Human tragedy which occurs everyday in a country as well known as Pakistan. I also wonder why the Western leaders don’t ask the Pakistani administration as to why these people are suffering so much even after the billions of dollars in Aid.
Some of us might argue that this has nothing to do with Islam as it is an ethnic problem. I beg to differ as I believe that this discriminatory polity is a by product of the Islamic thought. The problem starts at the grass-roots level; Islam propagates feudal arrangements as the concept of free land holdings and equity in distribution of resources. Although the concept of feudalism and discrimination starts with non-Muslim minorities, it ultimately boils down to the ethnically non-dominant Muslim minorities in the absence of a sufficient number of non-Muslims who can be subdued. Soon after the Muslims of the subcontinent achieved their aim of a separate state, the innate tendencies of suppressing others, inculcated by Islam in its followers, cannot be subdued. Hence, the poor Baloch people had to pay for being fewer in number and backward in terms of education.
Those who are still in doubt can draw examples from countries like Iraq where the non-Arab Kurdish people were almost ethnically cleansed by the Sunni Arab-led government of Saddam Hussein. Sunnis in Iran face a similar fate. The condition of non-ethnic Iranians in Iran is no better under the Shia dominated Administration. The list of those suffering includes non-ethnic Iranian Shias who are rounded up by the Iranian armed forces without any provocation. Darfur is an excellent example of my analogy. There are several parallels that can stated here to prove this analogy.
Ultimately it all boils down to the same issue, Islam. Islam is an intolerant, militant philosophy. Just like other militant philosophies Islam has to spread in order to survive. The spread of Islam is then again a vicious cycle as the Islam will not stop here. Islam has to kill in order to survive. Islam will make people kill till the time humanity becomes history.
Although not a theist or a believer in any school of religious thought, sometimes I really feel that if there is a devil then Islam is certainly his invention. There could not be a better way to do away with humanity, could there?
Ibrahim Lone is Kashmir-born ex-Muslim.