Turning Balochistan Into A Cemetery

This is not the first time that a military operation has been carried out by the Frontier Corps (FC), a paramilitary force, in southern Balochistan’s Mashky, Awaran District. The FC launched another operation just two months ago. Unlike the current offensive, this earlier, mid-October operation was denounced from the floor of the provincial assembly by the Balochistan Minister for Agriculture, Asad Baloch. He said that the operation had been carried out without the Government of Balochistan’s consent. Their silence this time around is telling, and has caused many to speculate that they did issue their consent when the FC launched the operation on December 25th.

Whether the operation is consensual, however, might not matter. Consensual operations are not really required in Balochistan. The governor, the chief minister, the now ousted speaker, and a gaggle of ministers, are on record claiming that the Frontier Corps (FC) runs a parallel government, which I have written about, here. The FC does whatever it wants, whenever it wants. Political necessity forces it to label its actions as consensual–and at times, like this one, it appears that they are given consent, at least of establishment politicians in the province’s assembly. The FC’s actions, however, indicate that they would carry out the operations irrespective of the stance of establishment politicians. The present provincial government, riven by greed and power struggles (all members of the provincial assembly sit in the cabinet), has never had any real say in the affairs of Balochistan. When the speaker was ousted, the voting members of the provincial assembly had to show their votes to the bureaucrats to prove they weren’t deviating from instructions.

“If you cannot catch the fish, you have to drain the sea” 

Mao once said, “The guerilla must move amongst the people, as a fish swims in the sea.” He knew what he was talking about, and counter-insurgencies conducting operations against the state follow this basic principle. The guerillas of Balochistan, or the sarmachars, as the Baloch call them, are no different. Dr. Allah Nazar, whose village was attacked last week, bases his tactics on the same principle.

That is, perhaps, why the Pakistani state uses the same tactic as the Guatemalan government used, when they were fighting leftist guerilla groups supported by indigenous Mayans and poor peasants from the 1960s onwards. In 1982, Guatemalan President Efrain Rios Montt said, “The guerrilla is the fish. The people are the sea. If you cannot catch the fish, you have to drain the sea.” Montt was indicted for genocide and crimes against humanity in January 2012.

The present Mashky operation, like other operations carried out by the state in Balochistan, serve the same purpose: to eliminate not only the guerillas, but the base that they thrive on. Continue reading >>

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9 Responses to Turning Balochistan Into A Cemetery

  1. […] The Pakistani state’s policies in Balochistan seem to be in line with the policies of another Guatemalan president, Carlos Arana Osorio who governed from 1970 to 1974 and declared a state of siege in his first year. An estimated 20,000 Guatemalans died during his rule, and it couldn’t have been otherwise for a vicious tyrant who proudly said, “If it is necessary to turn the country into a cemetery in order to pacify it, I will not hesitate to do so.” (Courtesy: Tanqeed) […]

  2. Hamza Baloch on Jan 2013 at 2:50 AM

    My Blog on Mashky Operation, with the detail which force Security forces to do operation:


    About Media silent, Pakistan leading news agencies not only report this operation, but also mention the protests against this operation even those protest have less than 50 people.

    • Narumi on Jan 2013 at 4:19 AM

      Pakistan falls into the cateogory what the iltsapacit politcal language calls them as failed state , police state , and indded some how rogued state . currently it has descented into total chaos { this word i prefer than only chaos}.Gradually the group which calls every shot has succeded to control every aspect of the people living within its terriotoy. Media , government (its all pillars ; legislature , executive , judiciary) , manufactured public opinion which revoles around a manufactured idelogy , propganda all work together to strengthen ultra totalitarian regime.all means of suppresion and exploitation are used to maintain the status quo. violence is its favorite mean.Balochistan is in grip of insurgency for quite few years. killing , torture , disapperance of poilitical activists , intellectual and journalists , artist and poet , teachers and also children and women are routine there , even in daylight. students are murdered cold blood.Asaap , a daily paper , was closed down because Forntier Corps (F.C) put a seige around it and its worker were tortured and threatened.Where has been Media for 7 years ? As one of baloch poet put it in this way By killings our bodies , You cant kill our thoughts ; can you stoped the flowers giving out its fragrance ; if you want to kill me , then kill my soul , and hang my hopes ; if i m dead u will die too. { Atta shad}

      • Auth on Jan 2013 at 8:13 PM

        What baffles many pelpoe is that the military repeats the same mistakes over and over again. It seems as if the Pakistani military has no memory. It blunders on unaware of its many failures. We are not talking about the battlefield alone, but also its interference within Pakistan.One reason for the lack of institutional memory, and why it is so poorly accountable is the lack of comprehensive inquiries by independent commissions. With the exception of the Hamood ur-Rehman Commission report on the 1971 war there are no other commissions set up to look into the failures of the Pakistani military. And even The Rehman report was never made public until it was leaked.Without a comprehensive and unbiased examination of past failures, and a willingness to study them so that the mistakes are not repeated, it is difficult to remember where the military went wrong. Either in times of war or at home.Every democracy relies on independent inquiries to get to the truth. As nations mature they rely on institutional memory to correct their mistakes. Pakistan has no such memory. It lives from one day to the next, and it keeps repeating the same mistakes. And the military is the worse for it. As Ms. Sirmed states, it does the military more harm than good when it interferes in civilian and parliamentary matters, and it is left unchecked. They pay the price for forgetting.

    • Christian on Jan 2013 at 4:52 PM

      Urooj very sorry of state feel very depressed randieg all this. When will we learn from our past mistakes? The deprived and oppressed people of Pakistan and especially from Sindh and Baluchistan need special immediate attention and our love. There is lot of mistrust and hate due to ruling elite totally ignoring the needs of these people. I don’t know what I can do for them. Please suggest. I think I need to study their pathetic condition more closely and then raise at all available forums. I am 100% with you, Urooj. We can’t afford more Bangladesh. (tears in my eyes)

  3. […] Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur is a writer and has been associated with the Baloch rights movement since the early 1970s. He tweets at @mmatalpur and can be contacted at mmatalpur@gmail.com. […]

  4. Guillaume on Jan 2013 at 8:39 AM

    The US is going to have a difficult time pedruasing Islamabad to let it ‘secure’ their nuclear arsenal if it is fomenting unrest in Pakistan’s Baloch territories. The Baloch region has considerable mineral riches making it the prize area in all Pakistan. That’s why the Pakistan army is suppressing nationalist Balochs. @ LD. America needs to rationalize its interests in South Asia. It seems to wind up both pro- and anti-everyone and everything. It can’t have everything and in all ways. There are too many rivalries and competing interests and they span tribal, national, regional even global dimensions. An action on one plane can have a ripple effect on others. You wind up racing around trying to put out fires you have unintentionally set.

  5. A J KHAN on Jul 2014 at 4:18 AM

    Mr mohammad Ali Talpur is known hate monger who supported terrorist organizations like BLA, BRA, BLF, and scores of such foreign paid militants. People are neither impressed by their ideology nor by the renegade spoiled children of their Nawabs / sardars.
    people have repeatedly rejected these self serving traitors & killers.

  6. A J KHAN on Jul 2014 at 4:19 AM

    If you believe in freedom of expression, than show guts and publish my above mentioned comments

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