Saturday, July 16, 2005

Balochistan is not a signatory to the Constitution

HARDtalk; “The talk about development is a diversion” —Akbar Bugti, chief of Jamhoori Watan Party: Part two, concluded

* Balochistan is not a signatory to the Constitution
* [BLA] struggle is for Baloch rights
* [Gas] is Balochistan’s produce, not ‘national’ asset
* Pakistan is a product of the law of necessity

Daily Times: You say you were the target?

Mr. Akbar Khan Bugti: Yes. Look, there were seven points from where intense fire came that day. From four of these, they were firing at my house, my bethak, my kutchery. Over 600 shells were fired, plus hundreds of thousands of machinegun bullets... large caliber, small caliber, everything. Over 600 mortar, cannon and RR shells. They also shot at us from helicopters.

DT: All that, according to the government, happened after your people created a serious law and order problem. Sui was attacked and supply of gas was disrupted for several days.

NABK: That is standard procedure for them (army). As they say, ulta chor kotwal ko dantay. Dr Goebbels said bigger the lie, the better chance of its being believed.

DT: The clashes must have been followed by arrest of your people.

NABK: Arrests are a routine thing...

DT: Have they released some or all of them? As a goodwill gesture?

NABK: No. There’s no goodwill. Or any other will.

DT: One assumed that release of your men must have been the first thing the government did as a result of the visits by Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Mushahid Hussain Syed to Dera Bugti to reach an understanding with you.

NABK: Not me, with people of Balochistan. They thought they could do that through me. I told them I had no mandate. That was their main concern... their Parliamentary Committee report or their recommendations... that I also should go along with it. I told them: “Sorry. That doesn’t concern me.”

DT: President Pervez Musharraf says that you, Mr. Mengal and Mr. Marri are the three Sardars opposing him; that the rest of the Balochistan is with him.

NABK: Quite right actually. Absolutely, 100 percent right. He said 70 Sardars were “sarkari” Sardars. They were with him. Then he amended that, saying it was 76 sardars. He can claim 200 and we will not object. But those who want their rights; those who are fighting for their rights; naturally, the government will call them the enemy.

DT: But there is a perception that the Sardars are responsible for the backwardness and poverty of the Baloch people.

NABK: Are we? Quite right. We are struggling for their rights all we get from the government is bullets and the shells. The plight of the people is borne out by government actions.

DT: Why don’t you seek a solution for your problems within the parameters of the Constitution?

NABK: Which Constitution?

DT: The 1973 Constitution.

NABK: According to international law, the 1973 Constitution does not apply to Balochistan. Why? Because Balochistan then had five elected members in parliament and three of them did not sign it. Two did. The majority did not sign the Constitution. The Constitution does not apply to Balochistan because Balochistan is not a signatory to it. Whatever they have been doing all along is unconstitutional, illegal and unlawful.

DT: Do support the demand for a constituent assembly to frame a new Constitution?

NABK: No. We had a Constitution Amendment Bill pending in the Senate for four or five years. We told Chaudhry Shujaat and Mushahid Husain there would be no need for a new constitution if they support the amendment. But they want to make some superficial changes and demand its acceptance at gunpoint. The Mushahid sub-committee report has come, but the Constitution sub-committee report is still awaited. They said certain changes could be made to the Concurrent List. We said Concurrent List was obsolete. It was finished 20 years ago. They wanted to give us some rubbish we don’t need but would not concede what we asked for. You will notice that when the Constitution sub-committee report comes out.

DT: The principal criticism of the Parliamentary Committee Report by Baloch leaders has been that it took over 270 days instead of the stipulated 90 days.

NABK: That doesn’t matter much. If you can’t do it in two months, you can take 10 months as long as something beneficial, something cogent comes out.

DT: Dr Abdul Hayee has said the committee took longer than the stipulated time.

NABK: That is Dr Hayee. He’s stressing the time factor. I am stressing the substance of the matter. The report lacks substance.

DT: President Musharraf says the government is focusing Balochistan. It has allocated Rs 10 billion in projects like
Mekran Highway
, Gwadar Port and Mirani Dam.

NABK: His focus is on Balochistan. But to destroy Balochistan and its people. To destroy those raising a voice for their rights, for what they produce. The focus is on destroying all this. That is true.

DT: Don’t you see the Baloch benefiting from the development plans for Balochistan?

NABK: What development plans? The talk about development plans is meant to divert people’s attention. We want them to agree to what our needs are. If you concede that, then you can say here are 20, 10 or five billion rupees. If you continue to deny the fundamental rights, and offer a few rupees “ham tumhari hathely par bhikarion kee tarhaan rakhtay hain” then nobody is interested in it.

DT: What about the BLA and the BLF?

NABK: (Smiling) Go out [anywhere in Balochistan] and you will find them.

DT: Meaning?

NABK: Hold a placard inscribed with a message that you are looking for the Baloch Liberation Army; that you want to meet them; they will meet you. Yes, they will (sarcastically).

DT: I don’t understand.

NABK: If Jam Sahib [Chief Minister Jam Yusuf] can find them, why can’t you.

DT: Do you support them and their activities?

NABK: They are Baloch. They are my brothers. Every Baloch has sympathy for them. Their struggle is for Baloch rights. They are sacrificing their lives... What foolish Baloch will deny them and say: “Ham tumharay dushman hain.” Woh ya tau bohot bara gadha hoga ya ghaddar hoga.

DT: Even when they are destroying national assets and installations...

NABK: What installations?

DT: Sui installations, for example.

NABK: Sui installations are ours. Assuming, we destroy our own wealth, what business of yours is that? You are giving it a false name. We call it ‘national’ because it is ours. This is our produce. You have been stealing it. You are taking it [gas] by force. It is ours. Whatever name you give it — national installations, national asset, national museebat, national bala — doesn’t concern us. It is mine. It is ours.

DT: Are the proceeds from the sale of natural gas the real bone of contention between you and Islamabad?

NAKB: Payment of royalty is a constitutional requirement. Besides this, there are two other heads — development surcharge and excise duty. The proceeds from these come to five to six billion rupees. The largest amount is generated by development surcharge, followed by royalty and excise duty. These all go to the province or the provincial government. There is no question of these going to anybody else – me, for instance. We have never demanded any part of these three revenue heads. Our claim is that we, the Baloch, own the gas.

DT: Some Baloch leaders have said the government is trying to pitch the Baloch against the Pushtoon.

NABK: I don’t know. Ask them. Put this question to Mengal, Dr Abdul Hayee and Mahmood Khan Achakzai. They are the major parties [in PONM].

DT: Is there a Baloch versus Pushtoon conflict in Balochistan?

NABK: These are small things. Nothing in particular. But government is trying to.... unki koshish hay. Look, we believe the Baloch are living on their land, the Pakhtoon are living on theirs. There’s hardly any dispute until you come to Quetta and its surroundings. Beyond that go to the east or the west, everybody has been on the same land for hundred of centuries... there’s no dispute. The dispute is about Quetta and around it. That is the bone of contention.

DT: And it is going to be resolved?

NABK: I can’t say. Who is going to resolve it?

DT: The Pushtoon and the Baloch themselves.

NABK: Resolve what?

DT: The differences...

NABK: There are others who are there to make sure that there is no resolution. The government and government agencies, which are very powerful; they want to make sure that it is not resolved. The dispute remains and its intensity increases... That is their strategy.

DT: What about your opposition to government plans to set up cantonments in Balochistan? There have been reports that the government has reviewed its decision of delaying the construction of cantonments in Sui, Kohlu and Gwadar.

NABK: They have started preliminary work in Sui. There are reports that they are erecting pillars and putting barbed wire to isolate 200 to 300 acres.

DT: Does this violate the understanding resulting from your talks with Chaudhry Shujaat and Mushahid Hussain? Didn’t they assure you the construction of cantonments was being delayed?

NABK: Which month or year are you referring to?

DT: Last year.

NABK: Chaudhry Shujaat and Mushahid Hussain didn’t say it. It was Tariq Aziz [the National Security Council secretary]. He had said: “we are for the moment deferring the construction of the cantonment”. That was last year. Since then they have started the preliminary work.

DT: How have you reacted to that work?

NABK: People don’t accept it. They don’t like it. This is [being done] by force of arms. Not by people’s consent. Not by dam, dalasa. Like Dr Shazia Khalid. She was raped. She did not consent to it.

DT: in her case, you wanted an army captain to be arrested and punished?

NABK: He should have been. I heard what she told BBC the other day. When she talked to a meeting in Houston, she wept. She was crying, saying she didn’t get justice. She was thrown out of the country while the rapist is in the country enjoying his life. She has confirmed what I have been saying. That he is the rapist. She couldn’t say this here. She was too frightened. Here, there was nobody out there for her. Any woman would be afraid of military goons. And she was sent packing. General Musharraf said the man was 100 percent innocent. We said he was 2,000 per cent guilty. But he was in uniform, a “paity bhai”... Now Mukhtar Mai, she was also raped; gang-raped by a number of men. They were arrested and sentenced. Because they are ordinary people. She’s from the Punjab and they, too, are from the Punjab. But here this woman is from Karachi, Sindh, a Memon. And the rapist is from the holy land of Punjab, the holy of holies of armed forces, a “paity bhai”. That is the reason. Was anybody punished for the rapes in Dhaka? Sheikh Mujib told me that over 100,000 women were raped. Did you catch anybody and put him in jail?

DT: in his recent interview to Daily Times, President Musharraf accused you of gross human rights violations, particularly against Bundhlanis, a sub-tribe of Kalpars. He said you have forced them to live in tents in inhuman conditions subsisting on a few hundred rupees a month the government doles out. He holds you responsible for their plight.

NABK: Has he said that?

DT: Yes. He said it on record in an interview with the DT Editor.

NABK: Generals are known for lying. Every general, particularly the Pakistani generals. They tell the baray say bara jhoot. They don’t even blink their eyes while leveling false allegations against people. This is their preserve. There is nothing new about it. You can go there and see. They are living in houses. May be rented ones, may be purchased ones. Some in better houses; some in bungalows. And they are getting their allowances.

DT: But the allowances are paltry.

NABK: In the days of Gen Babar — another general — they got about 60 to 70 million rupees from the Baitul Maal. It’s on record. We have got the photocopies. We produced these documents in the assembly where they hushed up the matter. Certain Baitul Maal officials had provided us the photocopies of cheques and other documents. They are also provided funds from the ISI budget. They are living comfortably. They are to be used when needed. Twice before, they have tried to use them. They are their weapon. These people are under death sentence from superior courts. They are proclaimed offenders. The government is providing shelter and paying allowances to those sought by the higher courts. Where is the rule of law? Where’s the General’s own rule of law? For one thing, he lies claiming they are in distress. They are not in distress.

DT: in your view, what is the future of this country?

NABK: The country has no future. Pakistan came into being under the law of necessity. Then in the ‘70s it broke up under the law of necessity. Today, it is struggling along under the law of necessity. It finally will come to an end under the law of necessity.

This is the second and concluding part of Nawab Bugti’s interview that he gave to Sarfaraz Ahmed, resident editor of Daily Times in Karachi

Baloch Society Of North America formally Launched , trouble for Pakistan


As we said in that Balochis in North America are forming a new organization called "Baloch Society of North America», a Non-profit Organization, now it is officially launched. At tits website , it states the organization is «working to unite and Organize all Baloch in North America, to expose the Occupation and Oppressive policies of Pakistani and Iranian Governments against Baloch people and our Baloch land (Balochistan), and to bring their Human Rights Violations in Balochistan into the world’s Notice. «. The website has picture of all Baloch leaders and interviews of BSO leader Dr. Imdad.

Dr. Wahid Baloch, the principle promoter of BSO-NA wrote to Baloch unity , that general body meeting will be held on December 16th-18th, 2005 "after talking to many friends in US, Canada and overseas, based on their suggestions, we have decided to extend that date of our First General Body meeting Of BSO-NA from Aug 13-14 to December 16th-18th, 2005, so that we can finish the membership campaign and have enough time to prepare ourselves better for the meeting "

This meeting will be attended by guests from all over world by delaying " Also this will give enough time to our overseas guests to apply for the US visa and make travel arrangements. The invitation letters are ready and will be sent out soon to the participants. «Said Dr. Wahid Baloch

Further the website stated that «July 15th is the "Shuada-e-Balochistan Day". Please don't forget the sacrifices made by our Heroes for our great Nation. Let’s follow their footsteps and be resolute and determined in our fight against our enemies to save our Baloch Nation. Long live Balochistan and Long live Baloch Struggle for Freedom. "

In it's open letter to President of US, it accused Pakistan of occupying their lands and committed Human rights Violation. »From 1977-2005, Pakistan continues its crime against Baloch people. Thousand Baloch political activists and students have been arrested since then and are being tortured in secret jails. Many are missing, including Dr. Allah Nazar Baloch, Goher Baloch and Akther Nadeem Baloch. Pakistani military, paramilitary and security forces are given tasks to arrest, kidnap or kill any Baloch who talks or think about freedom. More than 600 military check post have been established all over Balochistan to control the activities and movements of Baloch people. " .

Iranian government «has distorted political, economical and cultural development of Balochistan and insulted the human dignity of Baloch people. Religion is manifestly being used as a mean to assimilate Baloch nationality into Persian national identity. These basic realities have reinforced the Baloch’s general feeling of frustration and determination of having their own independent State. «, stated in that letter.

This organization is first of its kind which is aimed to educate leaders in North America about "Pakistani and Iranian oppression». Dr Wahid himself as member in Baloch unity Organisation said that Pakistan's commercial/strategic ties with China , particularly strategic Gwadar project and US aversion to Chinese presence in that Strategic location , will enhance Baloch ties with US ,adding voice to their struggle. One possible move by Pakistan to suppress Baloch activism may be , to ask Chinese to quit from the project and invite US and UK to build the Gwadar , as US and UK mentioned their interest to participate in that project . It should be noted that recently many Baloch leaders have met US ambassador privately and officially and the discussions are not revealed in public. Pakistani authorities and intelligence has produced a report to Musharraf on the nature of communication between Baloch Leaders and US representatives.

The current Balochi Nationalists , younger generation in particular ,are educated around the world and in particular western capitals ,are smart enough to lobby , and were successful earlier to being their struggle to the world stage .

With Washington’s Oil interests in Central Asia, Balochistan will be the next focus point in the world theater, as many of the oil pipelines have to cross Balochistan to cater energy hungry India and south East Asia. Baloch have stated openly that any pipeline to India via Balochistan will be at the "good will" of Baloch only, so India - US - Baloch nationalist’s nexus will play a major role in future.

Professor wounded in Quetta shooting

Professor wounded in Quetta shooting

QUETTA: Two unidentified motorcyclists opened fire at Professor Dr Nadir Khan, a professor of medicine at Bolan Medical Complex, and injured him when he was on his way to a hospital on Friday morning.

He was rushed to Karachi after initial treatment at Quetta Civil Hospital. Police said that the professor had no personal enmity with anyone and sectarian violence could not be ruled out.

Police said Dr Nadir belonged to a Shia sect and had a clinic in a private hospital. staff report

Balochistan’s inclusion in pipeline talks urged

By Our Correspondent

QUETTA, July 15: Leader of the Opposition in Balochistan Assembly Kachkol Ali Baloch has called upon India to ensure that the province was represented in the tripartite dialogue between Pakistan, Iran and India on a gas pipeline project. Representation at such a forum would allow Balochistan to stake its claim to gas royalty, according to Mr Kachkol.

“If Pakistan can ask India to include Kashmiri leaders in the negotiations on the Kashmir issue, then why cannot the Baloch have representation in the tripartite meeting on the gas pipeline?” the opposition leader asked during a press conference in the assembly secretariat on Thursday.

Mr Kachkol insisted that the Baloch people must be allowed to participate in any agreement on passing the gas pipeline through Balochistan from Iran to India.

Mr Kachkol warned the tripartite states that the Baloch people would not permit them to make the pipeline project viable if the Baloch leadership was not taken into confidence. “The tripartite states should invite the present provincial government to represent Balochistan,” he said.

He said that the Afghans had taken a courageous stand on the gas/oil pipeline issue with international companies and maintained that the Baloch people should also express unity like the Afghans to protect their motherland.

Pointing out that Pakistan was a “multi-national state comprising four nationalities that have different cultures, languages and history,” Mr Kachkol said that in a true federation, all federating units had control over their resources.

The opposition leader said that the federal government had always committed excesses against the Baloch people and alleged that it had looted the resources of the province through use of military force. According to him, the Baloch people had been deprived of political and constitutional rights.

Closure of coalmines deplored

By Our Correspondent

QUETTA, July 15: Pakistan Mines Security Services Chairman Azam Khan Yousufzai has claimed that the closure of Chamalang coalmine in Loralai causes Rs2.5 billion revenue loss to the government annually and demanded deployment of Frontier Corps to reopen the mine. He told a press conference on Friday that withdrawal of security forces from Chamalang, Marwar, Mirgat and Aabegum coalmines had encouraged occupiers of the mines on the one hand and caused ethnic tension in Balochistan on the other.

He said that owners of the mines would continue to face financial hardships if the government did not establish its writ by providing security to help them continue the work.

He claimed that those who were behind rocket firing and bomb blasts in the province had demanded huge amounts from the mine owners and on their refusal had occupied the coal mines.

Mr Yousufzai said that either the government should play its due role by protecting the miners or allow the Kakar tribesmen to arrange a security system at the mines.

He said that they had reached an agreement with the Bijrani, Lohari and another branch of the Mari tribe of Kohlu, according to which the mine owners would pay them Rs20 million every month to ensure safe passage of coal trucks from the Mari area.

He said that according to an estimate, daily supply of coal from Chamalang mines to industries in Punjab used to be 8,000 tons.

He regretted that the matter had been brought to the notice of the governor, chief minister and corps commander but no step had been taken to solve the problem.

KARACHI: SHC allows Akhtar Mengal’s petition

KARACHI, July 15: The Sindh High Court on Friday, allowing a petition filed by Balochistan National Party leader, Mohammad Akhtar Mengal, against ban on his travel abroad, ordered the interior ministry to delete his name from the ECL. The petitioner, an ex-chief minister of Balochistan, said he was denied a visit abroad as his name was placed on the ECL by FIA.

The BNP leader, who is also critical to government’s polices, said there was no ground to restrain him from travelling abroad and deprive him of a journey relating to business and health.

His counsel Raja Qureshi and Syed Ghulam Shah sought deletion of his name from the ECL.

Federal law officer Tariq Ali told the court that the interior ministry had placed the name of the petitioner in the ECL on the recommendations of the NAB and produced a copy of the letter.

The court expressed annoyance that there were no any reference or case mentioned in the letter on which the petitioner be restrained from travelling abroad besides no comments have been filed by the respondents.

SHC’s division bench, comprising Chief Justice Sabihuddin Ahmed and Justice Zia Pervaiz, observed that no citizen could be restrained from moving freely without any specific reason and allowed the petition. It also ordered the respondents to remove the name of the petitioner from the ECL and issue him a passport.


Iran likely to supply power, gas to Gwadar

By Ihtasham ul Haque

ISLAMABAD, July 15: Pakistan has approached Iran to supply electricity and gas to the Gwadar seaport city, it is learnt. Official sources told Dawn here on Friday that the government had decided to urgently overcome electricity and gas shortage in Gwadar, was discussing the issue with the government of Iran.

Iran has tentatively agreed to meet the energy requirements of Balochistan province. However, the sources said, the Iranian government was being asked to help meet necessary electricity and gas requirements of District Gwadar, which included Gwadar, Pasni, Ormara and Jiwani.

The Gwadar port authorities, the sources said, had asked the federal government to manage gas and electricity requirements especially for the proposed hotels, restaurants, gas stations, and other development projects in the area.

The sources said while the construction of coastal highway had boosted the life of the people of Gwadar, infrastructure facilities to the investors were vital for the development of the new port city in Balochistan.

Since the development of next phase of Gwadar port has been offered to the private sector/ international investors on Build Operate and Ownership (BOO) and Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis, the sources said, energy requirements of the area needed to be appropriately met.

The government was also requested by the port authorities to help improve the standard of living of the people of the area by providing basic necessities.

The health facility lacks equipment to deal with serious cases of illness to the Gwadar population which is around 80,000, majority of whom are fishermen.

The literacy rate in the area is extremely low being less than 20 per cent for male and less than 7 per cent for female. One of the long term programmes for Balochistan development is the development of Gwadar port with the technical and financial assistance of Chinese government.

Under the programme, the sources said, many industries have been envisaged to be established in the province in general and around Gwadar in particular for which skilled manpower would be needed for the operation of the port and the allied industries.

In this behalf, the sources said, that the ministry of education had decided to establish Gwadar Institute of Technology in line with the government policy to effectively develop Gwadar port under the 9th five-year plan.

The government would provide Rs200 million to set up the new institute that aimed at strengthening entrepreneurship by establishing strong linkages between the institute and the industries of Gwadar port.

Gwadar Institute of Technology would be established under the supervision of Director General, Gwadar Development Authority who would be responsible for day to day activities.

Centre grants Rs 170m for NCHD project in Balochistan

By our correspondent

QUETTA: The federal government has provided an additional grant of Rs 170 million for implementing projects of the National Commission for Human Development (NCHD) in Balochistan during last two years.

An amount of Rs 275 million has been earmarked for the current financial year and Rs 400 million would be spent on the NCHD projects during the next fiscal, said NCHD Chairman Dr Naseem Ashraf.

During a briefing to Balochistan Governor Owais Ahmed Ghani and Chief Minister Jam Muhammad Yousuf here on Friday, Dr Ashraf said the funds would be utilised for the development of education, health and adult literacy sectors.

The NCHD was established on the special directives of President Pervez Musharraf in 2002 and had been working in nine districts of Balochistan. Dr Ashraf said the remaining districts of the province would be covered in the NCHD programme by 2007.

"It is a big achievement of the programme to include the community in the implementation of the projects. Over 6,000 volunteers have so far been prepared, who are helping the commission," he said.

The governor and the chief minister appreciated the NCHD projects and assured Dr Ashraf of the provincial government’s full cooperation.

They stressed the need for building close liaison between the commission and the provincial government so as to move ahead with the programme.

Provincial Minister for Education Maulana Abdul Wahid Siddiqui, Local Bodies Minister Maulana Hussain Ahmed Sharodi, Chief Secretary KB Rind and other officials also attended the meeting.

Hunting, carrying weapons banned in Pishin

QUETTA: The district coordination officer (DCO) Pishin has imposed a ban under Section 144 CrPC on carrying all sorts of weapons for a period of one month. A notification issued here on Friday said the ban shall remain enforced with immediate effect for one month throughout the district but it would not apply on personnel of law-enforcement agencies. According to another notification, the DCO Pishin has imposed a ban under Section 144 CrPC on hunting all sorts of birds for a period of one month in the entire district.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Cantonment being made in Sui, says Akbar Bugti

By Sarfaraz Ahmed

KARACHI: Nawab Akbar Bugti said on Saturday that despite Gen Pervez Musharraf’s close aide Tariq Aziz telling him that the government had delayed the plan to set up cantonments in Balochistan, work had begun on the construction of a cantonment in Sui.

He also reiterated his opposition to the government’s reported plans to set up three cantonments in Sui, Kohlu and Gwadar.

“They have started initial work by barbed wiring land they have selected to set up the cantonment on,” Nawab Bugti told Daily Times in an interview at his Dera Bugti residence.

Disputing the government’s contention that February’s army action was in response to an attack by Bugti tribesmen on security personnel and Sui gas installations, Nawab Bugti said he was the actual target and that the army had used heavy weapons including attack helicopters against them.

According to him, there was firing from seven points and that he was being fired upon from four of these points. “The army’s objective was to kill me, but I am alive,” he added.

He claimed that the army action against his tribesmen had so far claimed 34 lives with a tribeswoman dying of her wounds two days ago.

Supporting the Baloch Liberation Army and Baloch Liberation Front and the activities carried out be them, he said any Baloch who would not be supporting them would either be an ass or a traitor.

About his prolonged talks with Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Mushahid Hussain, he said they (the talks) had yielded no result. He also said the four-party Baloch nationalist alliance had rejected the parliamentary committee’s report “because there is no substance in it”.

He ruled out the possibility of resolving the Balochistan issue through the constitution, saying the 1973 Constitution had no legitimacy because three of the five members from Balochistan in parliament did not sign it.

He again accused the government of robbing Balochistan’s resources, which solely belonged to the Baloch.

He also denied charges levelled by Gen Musharraf in an interview to Daily Times that the Nawab was responsible for the plight of the Kalpars. Nawab Bugti said the government was using Kalpar tribesmen against him.

Comparing the Mukhtar Mai case and that of Dr Shazia Khalid, Nawab Bugti alleged that rape victim Dr Khalid did not get justice because she came from Sindh and the alleged rapist happened to be the “holiest of the holies”, a Punjabi and an army officer.

Full text of interview will be published in Daily Times HARDtalk column shortly.

The Dynamics of Baloch Resistance in Pakistan


By: Dr. Naseer Dashti

The time comes in the life of any nation when there remain only two choices - submit or fight. For a majority of conscious Baloch that time has now come to Baloch people. A growing fear of cultural, economic and political domination has prompted an extensive discussion among Baloch nationalists in Pakistan for formulating a viable and feasible strategy for countering the ever-dominating maneuvers of the state. The discussion regarding participation in the legal and constitutional bodies of the state is a hot topic of discussion especially among youth and students. Baloch political elite are also conscious of far-reaching repercussions of recent political and strategic changes in the world polity in general and the region in particular. The nationalist leadership and groups in Balochistan are increasingly under pressure from different quarters to forge a united front of patriotic forces on a common minimum program of national salvation. The recent proposal by one of prominent Baloch nationalist leader Nawab Akber Bugti regarding the formation of a single Baloch political party is heatedly being debated throughout Balochistan and abroad. Whether a single party or a united front, it is a widely shared view among Baloch that there is a need to develop a common, united platform of all sections of the nationalist movement. This article is a brief discussion on the dynamics of the present phase of Baloch national struggle in Pakistan.

The Baloch National Question in Pakistan

The National Question concerns the oppression of one or a number of other people/s by a dominant colonial power. Consequently, the right to self-determination or to national independence exclusively can be claimed by the oppressed. Balochistan was conquered by force and is today ruled by force. At moments when the occupier feels itself threatened, it does not hesitate to use the gun. When the gun is not in use other devices are brought into play in an attempt to crush the Baloch people’s genuine political and economical aspirations and to mutilate the cultural and traditional values of Baloch people. These include legal and administrative terror, fear, social and economic pressures. Deliberate confusions are being generated by the propaganda of state machinery and the education system highlighting the grandeur of a non existing Islamic Umma and the “holy” Pakistani culture. Whether in reserve or in actual employment, brutal force is ever present and this has been so since the incorporation of Balochistan in to Pakistan in 1948.

Massive military crack downs of atrocious proportion waged against Baloch people in 1948, 1958, 1973 and the present military operation in Marri, Bugti, Jhalawan and Southern Balochistan is the latest in this series.
Attempts to the eradication of Baloch culture by denying education in mother tongue and superimposition of north Indian language and culture on Baloch people and non-acknowledgement of a Baloch existence as a separate national entity within Pakistan. The Pakistani national state has been adopting an approach of induced assimilation to the dominant nationality. National integration that is the creation to a novel Islamic nation from several ethnic nationalities as part of their nation-building efforts.
Gaining hold of the Baloch land by encouraging settlers from majority nationality to move to northern Balochistan, for example, in Quetta and Sibi in the past and the recent allotment and occupation of the thousands of acres of lands in the coastal belt and the planned settlement of 2.5 million people in Gwadar.
Subjugation tactics by the use of armed violence, state terror against Baloch, such as with the use of torture, selective killing of Baloch elite by fomenting intertribal and intra-tribal conflicts by various state agencies.
A ‘state of siege’ has been imposed on Balochistan through police, paramilitary and coast guard repressions.
Electing or selecting government functionaries have imposed an indirect or internal colonial rule by manipulating and under hand tactics of government agencies.
Keeping Balochistan intentionally backward while ruthlessly exploiting its natural resources for the benefit of majority nationality.
Encouraging fundamentalist religious elements allied with state establishment and funded and patronized by it to take over, in the long run the very fabric of a secular Baloch society.
In all the institutions of Pakistan, the Baloch are practically and statutorily excluded from the political, economical and cultural processes of the state. Political power, except for some marginally delegated powers to provinces, is explicitly the monopoly of the central government dominated by Punjabis. The Baloch people are being ruled as a conquered and colonized people. All of this is being rationalized on the basis of ideology of Pakistan, the core of this ideology is the conquest and domination of the minority nationalities of Pakistan, Baloch among those is the most exploited and oppressed.

Balochistan has been ruled in a manner of indirect colonial rule. Conquest and domination by an alien people, a system of discrimination and exploitation based on ethnicity, technique of indirect rule; are the traditional trappings of the classical colonial framework. From the very beginning Non-entities were duly crowned as “chiefs", of the different Baloch tribes by the state establishment in order to corner the genuine Baloch leadership. Parties were created in Balochistan to fragmentize Baloch society among middle, lower and upper classes. In the name of elections, agents of state security agencies were “elected or projected” as the representatives of Baloch masses. These "representative and leaders of Baloch masses" were and are being encouraged to enrich themselves by all means provided they are prepared to do the bidding of the state establishment. The so-called incorporation in the provincial power structure of some "Baloch" leaders is a thorough corruption of colonial traditions and merely an extension of majority domination by proxy. The system of proxy or indirect rule has been favored by many colonial powers throughout history. In the Pakistani context its purpose is creating a class of relatively privileged Balochs who would thus acquire a direct material interest in the preservation of the institutions of national domination at the expense of their own people. The fact that some of these collaborator tribal chiefs and leaders of so-called Baloch middle class could trace descent from those heads of tribes and other notables who sided with the Pakistani establishment from the very beginning is quite interesting. The state is also fostering and propagating non existing intertribal and intra-tribal rivalries among those Baloch tribes whose chiefs are leading the Baloch national struggle. This is to combat, not only the nationalist tribal chiefs with the help of their own people, but more importantly to crush, an inclusive, Baloch Nationalism.

The national question of Baloch is an old sociological reality historically constituted. Baloch never accepted the partition of their homeland Balochistan, in the aftermath of the unjust decisions of the boundary commissions reached between British Empire, Persia and Afghanistan during 19th century and annexation of Kalat State by Pakistan in 1948. The Baloch demand for self-rule constitutes a democratic pursuit that is incompatible with the despotism and religious-based nationalism of Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan. The Baloch resistance movements in Iran and Pakistan had all the same background - the will of national liberation. In the contemporary world many politically unstable African and Asian countries include disparate ethnic nationalities, frequently embattled because of national boundaries that were artificially drawn by European colonialists. In spite of the diversity of struggle in the 20th century, the Baloch struggle was for a purely nationalist agenda aiming to replace foreign rule by a native rule.

The Baloch Options

Baloch masses firmly believe that Baloch identity is more at peril than ever before. Baloch have suffered more than just national humiliation. Baloch people are deprived of their due in the country's wealth; their skills have been suppressed and poverty and starvation has been their life experience. The so-called democratic institutions such as district governments, provincial assemblies and federal bodies are a gross insult to Baloch national inspiration and mockery of federalism in Pakistan. These have proved in practice to be blind alleys serving mainly as a delaying tactic to ensure the prolongation of the period of Punjabi domination over Baloch and other nationalities. There is disillusionment among the majority of Baloch with the prospect of achieving national salvation by traditional peaceful processes. All lawful modes of expressing opposition to the domination and cultural and economical exploitation had been closed by the state, and Baloch are placed in a position in which they had either to accept a permanent state of inferiority, or to defy the state. Many politically active groups are in firm belief that under the highly sophisticated police state of Pakistan it is questionable whether a movement can succeed in a program of mass political organization beyond a certain point without starting a new type of action. And the only option left for them is to answer the state violence with armed resistance of the oppressed masses. But are the conditions favorable for an all out struggle including armed resistance by Baloch masses?

In the typical colonial-type situation armed resistance becomes feasible only if:

There is readiness to respond to the strategy of armed struggle with all the enormous sacrifices which this involves;
There is in existence a political leadership capable of gaining the organized allegiance of the people for armed struggle and which has both the experience and the ability to carry out the painstaking process of planning, preparation and overall conduct of the operations.
There exist favorable objective conditions in the international and regional polity.
From the time alien rule was imposed on Baloch people there has been - historically speaking - unbroken resistance to the domination. It has taken different forms at different times but it has never been abandoned. There were regular armed clashes, and battles. The superior material resources of the enemy, the divided and often fragmented nature of the resistance, the unchallenged ascendancy of imperialism as a world system, the historically understandable absence of political cohesion and leadership in the Baloch camp; these and other factors combined to end the past phases of Baloch resistance against foreign domination in defeat and confusion.

Regarding the support of the world community to their cause they believe that on international level a polarization of forces has occurred. There are forces of fundamentalism, and terrorism creating chaos and instability. There are forces which would like the world to be a safe place for all humanity acknowledging the birth right of different nations, nationalities and ethnic groups to be governed by the representatives of their own selection, in their own cultural and traditional ways. On the face of it major western powers such as Britain, Germany, France and the United States and Japan who have an enormous stake in the ongoing war against terrorism constitute a formidable support for the rogue state. Already they have done much to develop the economy and armament program of the state. But there is the wide spread belief among the political observers on international affairs that the support of western alliance to states like Pakistan with a fundamentalist establishment and nuclear potentials is a temporary one and a major strike by western powers is on card against such rogue states.

In one sense conditions are connected and interdependent. They are not created by subjective and ideological activity only. These conditions are brought about not only by developing political, economic and social conditions but also by the long hard grind of resistance movement. They depend on such factors as the response of the enemy, the strength and weaknesses of the enemy and the experience gained by the people themselves not in academic seminars but in actual political struggle. The new and apparently the final phase of struggle of Baloch people is taking place in the context of a new world political milieu, in which the fundamentalist and religious and rogue states are increasingly under pressure from world community to reform their social, economic and political systems. Baloch are part of the zone in which international pressure is highest on the countries where Baloch are being subjugated as a nationality.

Majority of the Baloch intellectuals and writers and conscious leadership believe this a deceitful excuse that the Baloch landmass is not capable of sustaining a protracted resistance. It is also not convincing for them that actual phase for the struggle for national rights is put off because they have not achieved an adequate level of preparation and organization. They also dispute the argument that the international situation is not favorable for a Baloch uprising. Many elements in nationalist circles believe that in the present world scenario what the Baloch as a nation must now do is to develop a program to be put into effect in the event of certain expectable and inevitable geo-political upheavals in the region. They believe in carrying out the struggle on the basis of an authentic Baloch identity and on the basis of right of self-determination.

The enemy is not invincible

The decades of indoctrination of state armed forces and the masses and deeply felt theoretical rationalization which centre on survival of the state on brute force will make enemy, the Baloch face, a ferocious and formidable foe. There is the reinforced feeling of confidence among Pakistani ruling elite that their fortress is impregnable and unassailable considering the state’s immense military power and nuclear capability. For the moment apparently, the Baloch face what is by and large a united and confident enemy and all significant sections of the dominant nationality are in broad agreement on the question of defeating Baloch struggle for national emancipation. Although it looks that the state is in stable command and can afford an enormous military budget. But if there is one lesson that the history of national liberation struggles has taught, it is that the material strength and resources of the enemy is by no means a decisive factor. Armed resistance by a suppressed people almost by definition presents a situation in which there is a vast imbalance of material and military resources between the opposing sides. It is designed to cope with the situation in which the enemy is infinitely superior in relation to every conventional factor of warfare. Protracted guerilla warfare is par excellence the weapon of the materially weak against the materially strong. Given its popular character and given a population which increasingly sides with and shields the armed insurgents whilst at the same time opposing and exposing the enemy, the survival and growth of an armed resistance is assured by the skilful exercise of tactics. Superior forces can thus be harassed, weakened and, in the end, destroyed. The absence of an orthodox front, of fighting lines; the need to protect the widely scattered installations on which the state economy is dependent; these are among the factors which serve in the long run to compensate in favor of the armed resistance for the disparity in the starting strength of the adversaries.

The mobilization of a large force in the course of a protracted struggle will place a further burden on the workings of the economy of the state. The most favorable factor concerning the confrontation of Baloch and state is that the enemy resources are all situated within the reach of Baloch resistance forces and theatre of war can easily be extended to the heartland of Punjab and there will remain no secure asset safe from sabotage, and armed action.

Physical environment which conforms to a special pattern is indispensable regarding arm resistance- thick jungle, inaccessible mountain areas, swamps, and a friendly border and so on. But guerrilla warfare can be, and has been, waged in every conceived type of terrain, in deserts, in farm fields, in built-up areas, in plains, in the bush and in countries without friendly borders or islands surrounded by the sea. This whole question is one of adjusting survival tactics to the sort of terrain in which operations have to be carried out. There might not appear to be a single impregnable mountain or impenetrable jungle but Baloch land abounds in terrain which in general is certainly no less favorable for guerrilla operations than some of the terrains in which other armed resistance movements operated successfully in Asia and Africa. Balochistan tremendous size will make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for the occupational forces to keep the whole of it under armed surveillance in strength and in depth. It is necessary to stress these factors not only because they give balance to the efforts of Baloch nationalist forces but because - properly assessed - they help destroy the myth of the enemy's invincibility.

Political Control over Armed Resistance

To ignore the real situation and to play about with imaginary forces, concepts and ideals is to invite failure. The revolutionary-sounding phrase does not always reflect revolutionary policy, and revolutionary-sounding policy is not always the spring-board for revolutionary advance. Indeed what appears to be "militant" and "revolutionary" can often be counter-revolutionary. Untimely, ill planned or premature manifestations of violence impede and do not advance the prospect for the achievement of ultimate aim and are clearly counter-productive. It is obvious therefore that policy and organizational structures must grow out of the real situation if they are not to become meaningless clichés. The new phase of Baloch national struggle is occurring in a new situation. It is taking place in a different era and in a different context from those which characterized the early struggles. It is happening in a new kind of world - a world which is no longer bipolar.

The armed struggle is the political struggle by means which include the use of military force even though once force as a tactic is introduced it has the most far-reaching consequences on every aspect of a society or a movement. The riot, the street fight, the outburst of unorganized violence, individual terrorism; these are symptoms of the militant spirit but are not being appreciated in today’s international political milieu. The winning of freedom for a nation by armed struggle demands more than passion. It demands an understanding and an implementation of theory and techniques in the actual conditions facing the nation. It demands a sober assessment of the obstacles and an appreciation that such a struggle is bitter and protracted. It demands, too, the dominance in the general thinking among resistance cadres of achievement over drama.

Many experts on liberation struggle reject the approach which sees only the short-cut of isolated confrontations and the creation of armed resistance centers as the catalyst for revolutionary transformation of the oppressed masses. Also, it is not easy to determine the point at which sufficient concrete political and organizational preparations have been carried out to give the armed resistance pockets the maximum chances of survival and growth within any given area. There is no instrument for measuring this. But the importance of the subjective factors must not be overdone and before embarking upon a path which is in one sense tragic, although historically inevitable and necessary, certain of the basic minimum conditions already mentioned must be present and certain minimum preparations must have been made. It is important to emphasize this because national liberation movement must reject all manifestations of militarism which separates armed people's struggle from its political context.

Perhaps in today’s realities the dangers of the obsolete doctrines of 1950s and 1960s regarding the creation of armed resistance areas (foci) as the generator of mass resistance should be analyzed properly. One of the vital problems connected with this bears on the important question of the relationship between the political and military. There should be no ambiguity concerning this. The primacy of the political leadership should be unchallenged and supreme and all militant units should be subordinate to political leadership. This approach is borne out by the experience of the overwhelming majority of national liberation movements which have engaged in such struggle. With the historical background and traditions of Baloch resistance in Pakistan and Iran, within the memory of many people and the special developments of the immediate past, the involvement of the masses is unlikely to be the result of a sudden natural and automatic consequence of military clashes. It has to be won in all-round political mobilization accompanied with armed activities. This includes extensive counter propaganda and agitation throughout Baloch land and internationally to cope with the sophisticated torrent of misleading propaganda and disinformation of the enemy which will become more intense as the struggle sharpens. The masses have to be activated in a multitude of ways not only to ensure a growing stream of recruits for the fighting units but to harass the enemy politically so that his forces are dispersed and therefore weakened. This calls for the exercise of all-round political leadership.

The national liberation struggle is neither static nor does it take place in a vacuum. To believe that the course of struggle is determined solely by the fighting units involves the fallacious assumption that the masses are rock like and incorruptible and they will join the struggle automatically. The adversary is aware that the side wins the allegiance of the people, wins the struggle. In fact history proves that without the most intensive all-round political activity this is the more likely that the result may not be positive. It is therefore all the more vital that the leadership of the national liberation movement is nation-wide and has its roots both inside and outside the actual areas of combat. The confidence in final victory rests not on the wish or the dream but on the understanding of the prevailing conditions and the historical processes. This understanding must be deepened and must spread to every level of our society.

The Quest for a Baloch National Front

Politics of any kind is successful but only when backed by firm resoluteness, clear ideology and robust leadership. In the course of active defence who will lead the Baloch masses through this struggle? It is the most decisive issue. Policy could be realistic when it is based on the actual conditions of the people concerned and their enemy, and the world in general. It is, therefore, not the matter of one’s choice but that necessity that leadership should have correct assessment of any situation through close investigations. The leaders who are unable to adjust to the new mood of Baloch masses fell by the wayside. It is imperative that Baloch leadership and intelligentsia must recognise this hard fact that anyone who proposes to serve his people must not expect people to roll stones out of his way, but must accept his lot calmly if they even roll a few more upon it.

The solidarity of Baloch masses and leadership is necessary in the given circumstances. Political leadership must reason and act. In order to do so intelligently, they need to deal with and reason about this challenging situation. The intelligentsia and leadership will have to shed their scepticism; they will have to abandon grumbling and wavering on important national issues. They should be clear and loud and unambiguous on the question of our national identity and our right to rule. They have to reach the people and speak a language that the Baloch masses can appreciate and international community can understand.

How should the common enemy be confronted? What is the solution, and who should mount the charge? The historical responsibility rests on every patriot to call for a Baloch National Front - involving the total mobilization of all nationalist forces. Such a coalition would attract huge popular support. The cohesion and unity of action between the various national and social groupings comprising the National Front will reach new heights. All this will constitute not only moral justifications for a move towards a comprehensive and all out resistance movement, but, what is more important, conditions will be created making a departure in correct direction.

The program of this front must be reflective of the genuine needs and aspirations of Baloch masses. There should be no wavering between provincial autonomy and 1940 resolution etc. any more. The National Front should be of the conviction that both political and economic powers are inalienable rights of the people of Balochistan. Its mission therefore should be to contribute to the task of total political and economic emancipation of Baloch masses.
Keeping into account the skepticism of some leaders and groups regarding the “individuality syndrome” among Baloch leadership, the present initiative should not be an attempt to unify various factions into a single political party. However, the partners in the front should be prepared to address the question of unification and to promote ongoing debate and discussion on it and should keep the issue under review. Maintaining their separateness as political organizations, the various factions should develop collaboration politically and socially in order to bring the people of Balochistan closer together politically, to promote common understanding and ultimate unity.
The National Front should be committed to the development of democracy and freedom and the maintenance and protection of the right of the people of Balochistan to self-determination.
In the present circumstance the United Front of nationalists should not strive to win over the support of the established collaborators and opportunist leadership, rather it should concern the unity of the genuine nationalists themselves.
The National Front must not be a marriage of convenience but should be a political alliance based on a common, genuine regard for the achievement of the final aim of Baloch masses.
The National Front should have as its central issue the struggle against the opportunist ideology, which justifies capitulation.
It is also imperative to co-ordinate the activity of nationalist forces on the both side of Goldsmith Line.
The Baloch National Front should firmly believe in the organised power of the people as the motive force critical to the radical transformation of society and in our particular circumstances in the reconstruction of a new Baloch polity. It is only an organised people who can liberate themselves from political suppression and economic exploitation. It should be the embryo of a coalition of nationalists whose task should be to create conducive atmosphere under which all people are encouraged to participate in the struggle for their salvation.
The ideological creed of the Baloch National Front should be the creed of Baloch Nationalism. The Nationalism for which the national front should stands is the concept of freedom and prosperity for the Baloch people in their own land. It should be a struggle of the Baloch people, inspired by their own suffering and their own experience.

Baloch National Front should be the most consistent advocate of an inclusive Baloch nationhood rooted in the Baloch history and cultural traditions with an outlook of modernity and keeping in to account the realities and imperatives of 21st century world polity. Therefore, not only the substance but the form of structural creations must be in a way which the people can see - give expression to the main emphasis of the present stage of our struggle. This national front will definitely withstood the onslaught of state action and propaganda which sadly enough very often is carried out by or through some “Baloch leaders”, through ignorance and fear but worse through selfishness, assist the oppressors directly or indirectly and thus tend to sabotage, though ineffectively, the efforts of Baloch masses to realize freedom in their lifetime.

The history of the liberation of people from the domination of another nation has always been through a terrific struggle involving much sacrifice and suffering on the part of the oppressed and that, therefore, the oppressed can have no cause to believe that they can attain freedom otherwise. All over the world and through all ages, liberation has come that way. Experiences of past Pakistani actions and taking into account of mindset of majority nationality in Pakistan it is convincing to believe that an armed resistance movement would offer the state of Pakistan limitless opportunities for the indiscriminate slaughter of Baloch people. But many in Baloch circles are in the opinion that as Baloch land is already drenched with the blood of innocent Baloch that it is the duty of every Baloch, to make preparations as a long-term undertaking, to use force in order to defend them against force. The ideal of liberation of one’s people and land is cherish-able and worth fighting for and if needs be it is an ideal for which one should be prepared to die.