Turning Balochistan Into A Cemetery

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The FC wants to destroy the social, economic and political base of the Baloch resistence. The FC wants to terrorize the people and drain the sea in which the sarmachar swims. This is an old army tactic, and it is not the first time that it is being applied. In September 1975, the army carried out a massive operation in Balochistan’s Marri areas. The operation was targeted, not only against guerilla fighters, but also against their families. The goal was to neutralize the Baloch resistance. The operation deprived people of their lives, livestock, wheat and even beasts of burden.

In his book on Baloch nationalism, political analyst, Selig S. Harrison observes that, in an attempt to destroy the Baloch economy, at least 500 camels, and 50,000 sheep and goats were taken and sold to traders in Punjab. The stored wheat was torched and water skins were slashed because these could all be used by the guerrillas. This was carried out during the 1973-1977 military operations in Balochistan, following the illegal dismissal of Ataullah Mengal’s government in February 1973.

Guerrillas live in the mountains, not in townships and villages. That means that the actual targets and victims of the current operation are the people of Mashky. The continued blockade of the area has resulted in shortages of food, medicine, and other essential items. Yet, even the physical hardships may not be the most debilitating aspect of these operations. The atmosphere of terror in the affected population is far worse. Outsiders seem to overlook and disregard this aspect. The constant threat of unbridled force affects lives adversely, especially the lives of the very young and the very old. Children, who do not comprehend the reasons for this ruthlessness, bear the brunt of the attacks.

These operations, however, cannot be succesful in destroying the political or economic support of the sarmachars. The simple lives that the Baloch lead in these areas are soon re-established, albeit with a fiercer determination to oppose the state, which is directly responsible for their misery. As hard as the FC, the army, and their collaborators may try, this sea can never, ever be drained, and the fish will continue to live in it. As long as the fish survive, the Baloch can hope that the shackles binding them will break one day.

Pakistani media’s apathy

News about Mashky has hardly filtered out into the Pakistani media. Though the physical blockade put up by the army plays a role, the mainstream media’s absolute apathy is also to blame. The media seems oblivious to all that transpires in Balochistan, and this neglect and unofficial blackout increases the resentment of the Baloch against the state. Baloch websites, and those sympathetic to them, are under a blanket ban.

Thankfully, news in an age of social media has made it possible for people to get access to information. This information has also allowed people to develop a deeper understanding of the state’s role in Balochistan’s violence. Take the ruthless killing of Hazaras by the state’s ”strategic assets”, namely Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and other anti-Shia Islamists. The horrendous attack against Shia pilgrims in Mastung on December 30th has left at least 19 dead and 25 wounded. This year has seen more than 800 Hazaras killed in such attacks. Many in Balochistan say that the state’s continued tolerance of anti-Shia groups play a key role in the violence against Hazaras.

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.”

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.

 

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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:

    http://hamarabalochistan.wordpress.com/2013/01/02/mashkay-operation-some-more-details/

    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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