Balochistan and the army’s ‘concerns’

The Commander of the army’s Southern Command, Lieutenant General Javed Zia, has said the army “considers the killing of missing people an abhorrent act” but tried to take away the blame from the army high command by adding, “Certain ‘elements’ who do not believe in the courts are involved in killing and throwing the dead bodies of missing persons…however, there is no such policy by army chief General Kayani.” Lieutenant General Javed Zia expressed his concern that the way things were going, it might result in Balochistan breaking away from the country. On the one hand it is a good thing that the army has finally realised what the consequences of the kill and dump policy could be but on the other it is quite audacious of the army to sweep everything under the carpet and blame ‘certain elements’, unnamed. The people of Balochistan have long been saying that the Frontier Corps (FC) is running a parallel government in the province. The intelligence agencies and the FC are accused of the abductions of thousands of Baloch people and hundreds of deaths of Baloch nationalists. This is not without reason.

On Friday, unidentified gunmen killed Jumma Khan Raisani, senior leader of the Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M), along with three other people in Khuzdar. In the past, the military used to target dissident separatists but for some time now it has been targeting moderate nationalists. Despite several military operations in Balochistan over the past decades, the state of Pakistan has not been able to achieve what it wanted: to make the Baloch subservient to the establishment’s highhandedness. The Baloch are a proud people with an iron will. They do not succumb lightly to oppression. After a forceful accession, the Pakistani establishment has tried to oppress the Baloch for over six decades now. The demands of the Baloch are legitimate. Provincial autonomy was finally given to all provinces this year under the 18th Amendment but the way successive governments, both military and civilian, have tried to undermine the Baloch struggle for rights has alienated the people of Balochistan. Military might cannot and will not ‘tame’ the Baloch if that is what the military establishment has in mind. The only solution is political. For this to happen, the government needs to first stop the ongoing military operation and then talk to the Baloch leadership, especially those leaders who are living in exile.

General Zia may have tried to ‘dispel’ the notion that the army wanted to capture the resources of Balochistan by saying the army would not get anything from these profit-making projects but the truth is that these projects are not benefitting the Baloch either. Settler colonialism is the actual beneficiary of these projects and the army has high stakes in such ventures. Inspector General (IG) FC Major General Obaidullah Khan was also present when General Zia expressed his ‘concern’. Instead of pretending to be a silent Buddha, Major General Obaidullah Khan should have been ashamed of what the FC is doing under his command in Balochistan. How many more deaths would it take for the army and the FC to own up to their mistakes? Showing ‘concern’ is not enough. What is needed is an end of the oppressive military regime in the province. The Baloch genocide must stop. The army cost us half our country back in 1971. It must retreat now before history is tragically repeated.

(my editorial in Daily Times)


Anonymous said…
Nicely written article, however, being a close follower of events in Balocistan over the years, I realize this is the probably the first time an army general has actually picked up the courage to step forward and publicly address the monstrous killings of the Baloch youth, which is commendable. In my opinion this might just be the pleasant shift in the thinking of the army that the people of Balochistan were longing for and this step of the general should be appreciated. While others havent even bothereed to comment on this issue in the past let alone own it, here is a guy who realizes the immense damage caused to the country. Hopefully he can back his words up with substantial ground work as well.
zarmina marri said…
u wrote my heart in words, gr8 work done !
behram baloch said…
i appriciate your article but remember one thing history repeats her self and most of the times we are not amongst the audience in the second spell.

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