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Gandhara

U.S. Hearing On Balochistan Raises Hackles, Awareness In Pakistan

Family members of missing Baluchs, mostly political activists, rally in protest on the eve of international Human Rights Day in Quetta, Balochistan, on December 10, 2011.
Family members of missing Baluchs, mostly political activists, rally in protest on the eve of international Human Rights Day in Quetta, Balochistan, on December 10, 2011.
The U.S. Congressional hearing last week on Balochistan, the largest of Pakistan's four provinces, though it was firmly rejected by Islamabad, is being seen in Pakistan as any eye-opener for the state and its security agencies.

Pakistan's newly appointed envoy to Washington and onetime champion of freedom of expression and human rights, Sherry Rehman, in an official reaction called the hearing an "ill-advised and ill-considered" move that will have serious repercussions for Pakistani-U.S. relations.

Calling Balochistan an integral part of Pakistan, Rehman did not mention the security situation in the province, which is now more regularly and more openly being discussed in the Pakistani print and electronic media.

Joining the Pakistani government in its anger over the U.S. hearing on Balochistan, Pakistani lawmakers also expressed their reservations, but took it a step further, calling the situation far from satisfactory and asking for immediate redressal of the demands of Baluch nationalists.

Three senators, Zahid Khan of the Awami National Party, Ibrahim Khan of Jamat-e Islami, and Iqbal Zafar Jhagra of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, who talked to RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal a day after the U.S. hearing, described the Balochistan situation as a grim reality, though they also accused the U.S. Congress of interference in Pakistan's internal affairs.

At the same time, the Pakistani media, apart from its typical anti-Americanism, criticized at the state and its security agencies for pushing the situation to an extent where the disgruntled Baluch, who once demanded greater autonomy inside the Pakistani federation, are now fighting for independence.

Bangladesh All Over Again?

Eminent columnist and television anchor Hamid Mir, writing in Pakistan's largest Urdu-language newspaper, "Jang," under the title "Wake Up, Wake Up And Raise Your Voice," argues that the Baluch have been deceived for a long time.

Recounting the five phases of Baluch struggle from greater autonomy up to the ongoing armed struggle for independence, Mir says that if Pakistan is really interested in keeping the Baluch as part of the federation, it should talk to them, ensure honorable release of the missing Baluch youth, arrest the killers of Baluch chieftain Akbar Khan Bugti, and put an end to the Pervez Musharraf-era state polices regarding that neglected and backward province.

While some lawmakers and political leaders from Balochistan and other parts of Pakistan are calling for a judicial inquiry into what the New York-based group Human Rights Watch called "forced disappearances," Pakistani political leaders, particularly those from the province, are calling the situation a wake-up call for the Pakistani state and comparing it with then-East Pakistan, which later emerged as the independent state of Bangladesh.

Sanaullah Baloch, a former senator writing in the "Express Tribune," believes that the use of force failed to suppress the Bangladeshis and that history will repeat itself if the state continues with the same policy regarding Balochistan.

In its editorial on February 11 discussing the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations hearing on Balochistan, the "Express Tribune" newspaper says it is encouraging that the international community has taken notice of the human rights violations in Balochistan. But it also describes the sudden attention from the U.S. Congress as cynical. 

Like Sherry Rehman, the Pakistani senators and politicians "condemned" the hearing on Balochistan, but unlike previously, they did not spare the state and its security agencies either, which in itself alludes to the grim situation in the country's southern province -- the largest in area and the richest in natural resources, but the most backward and poorest from a human-development-index point of view.

Most Pakistani politicians, intellectuals, writers, and journalists agreed on a single point -- that the government should reach out to the Baluch leadership and address their genuine demands and grievances. At the same time, they call for an end to assassinations by Baluch militants in the province.

-- Daud Khattak

Tags: Baluchistan

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by: akram from: pakistan
February 13, 2012 20:01
It shows why pakistanis mistrust americans,US has plan for balkanization of pakistan and this is their first step.Thats why they are so keen to send trainers in pakistan,pity on this poor nation who despite knowing US intention in region can,t do anything.
In Response

by: William from: Aragon
February 13, 2012 22:31
It shows why many people across the world don't trust the US government, Akram. This includes many people in the US. Let us hope that during the next US elections that there is a move away from the 2 major parties, which look very much like the 2 sides of the same coin.
In Response

by: Baluch Na Tavar from: Shall, Baluchistan
February 14, 2012 12:11

@William, but we Baluch welcome the support of US and other Western countries to intervene and help us achieve our independence once again.

Baluchistan was a sovereign state before our Khan, head of state, was compelled to sign the instrument of accession, literally at gun point, we never wanted to be part of Pakistan in the first place. Our struggle for freedom as been going on for the past seven decades and we will continue to denounce the Pakistani regime.

We welcome US, UK, Israel & India with open arms and any other nation, which believes in our struggle and we will not quite till we achieve our freedom.

by: Jack from: US
February 14, 2012 00:03
Pakistan with US government support committed one of the worst crimes of 20-century: genocide against Bangladesh in 1973 when Bangladeshi people fought for their independence from Pakistani oppression. US supported Pakistan and provided Pakistani army with arms and training. India and Russia supported independence of Bangladesh. Russia provided India with arms and training. Pakistan went to war with India over Bangladesh independence in 1973. At the end, India delivered crashing defeat to Pakistan (despite direct military support by US for Pakistan) and Bangladesh was free, despite hundreds or thousands of Bangladeshi people murdered by Pakistanis with US government support
In Response

by: Saleem from: Sibbi
February 14, 2012 23:48
Thanks for a quick history lesson, Jack. [though your dates are incorrect; Bangladesh won freedom in 1971 and not 1973.]
But this time it is different. These so-called Baluch nationalists are a disgrace to the word ‘Sarmachar’—THEY are the ones actively involved in ethnic cleansing.
I am glad Brahmdagh Bugti has reached the right place, Geneva (close to Hague, where the International Criminal Court is).
Hope Brahamdagh Bugti and Harbiyar Marri would be brought to justice for orchestrating ethnic cleansing in Baluchistan. These men, along with the old man Khair Bakhsh Marri, are responsible for inciting hatred against Punjabis and Muhajirs settled in Baluchistan. Brahmdagh Bugti is responsible for the cold-blooded murder of around 30 teachers—all of them Punjabi or Muhajir-- in various colleges and universities of Baluchistan. What was the crime of those teachers? Their ethnicity did not fit well in the pipe dream of those people who wish to see Baluch hegemony in areas south of Quetta. Here is an example of ethnic cleansing orchestrated by the so called Baluch Sarmachars in general and by Brahumdagh Bugti in particular: On March 7, 2008, Principal Divisional Public College Khuzdar Ashiq Hussain was gunned down; on April 22, 2008, Professor Dr. Safdar Kiyani acting pro-vice chancellor of Balochistan University was killed outside his residence; on March 30, 2009, Principal Degree College Surab Muhammad Alam Zehri was shot dead; on June 14, 2009, in Kalat, masked motorcyclists shot dead a school teacher Mr Anwar Baig; on June 17, 2009, BRC Khuzdar Vice Principal Khalid Mehmood Butt was killed; on June 22, 2009, Commerce College principal Amanat Ali Baig was shot dead; on July 23, 2009 Haji Mohammad Mohsin, the principal of a government high school in Quetta was murdered; on July 24, 2009 Prof Mohammad Sarwar of the Government Degree College, Quetta, was killed by armed men riding a motorcycle; on November 5, 2009, Chairman of Library Science Balochistan University, Professor Khursheed Ansari was killed; on April 27, 2010 Professor Nazima Talib was murdered outside Balochistan University; and the list goes on.
Please see a relevant Human Rights report here:
http://www.hrw.org/news/2010/12/13/pakistan-balochistan-militants-killing-teachers
These teachers were probably the very people who taught these young men the meaning of the word ‘independence.’ And they turned around and killed their own teachers. Loathsome!
Saleem
In Response

by: Baluch Na Tavar from: Shall, Baluchistan
February 15, 2012 11:30
“Thanks for a quick history lesson, Jack. [though your dates are incorrect; Bangladesh won freedom in 1971 and not 1973.]
But this time it is different.”

Why is it different this time Saleem ? You are too ashmed to admit that the situation back in '71 is exactly the same as it is now. Why do you think did the Bagladeshis fought for their independence soon after the elections of 1970? They won the majority of seats in the Elections, which Yaya Khan allowed, Why was Mujib-ur-Rehman not preferred to form the central government?

There are so many facts out there Saleem, which are just ignoring for the sake of it. That is the problem with you pro-pakistanis, you do not admit your faults, your blunders. Let me tell you one thing, one who doesn’t learn from their mistakes then they keep repeating them.

Ohh Ethnic Cleansing by Brahamdagh Bugti and Harbiyar Marri ? You were quick to notice the killings of Teachers what about the innocent Baluch children, women and unarmed activists, whom are being killed for the past 64 years ? Why doesnt your heart bleed for them, if you really think that they are Pakistanis? Gunship helicopters as well as fighter jets having been shelling Dera Bugti, Kahan, Kech, Awaran etc etc. Here is a latest link of the killings:

http://www.balochwarna.com/modules/news/article.php?storyid=3453

Another recent murder, Brahamdagh Bugti's sister and niece murdered in Karachi, You Pakistanis seem to ignore the genocide of Baluch people.

Truth is Saleem, you people ignore the facts and continue to pretend that everything is normal as long as people in Punjab do not suffer for the rest it does not matter.
But now Saleem the world is watching and the world knows about Pakistans intentions and its Terrorist activities. Now Pakistan is going down, no matter how hard you try to defend it. So be a man and accept the reality.

LONG LIVE BALUCHISTAN & SARMACHARS
In Response

by: Andrew from: Auckland
February 15, 2012 06:29
What direct military support was that Jack?
The US sold some weapons to Pakistan, but there was no direct military support for Pakistan in the way you imply.

You are most certainly a FSB/SVR stooge.
In Response

by: Netizen from: Networld
February 20, 2012 15:43
Kashmiri separatists should take a lesson from experience of Balochs. They have a better future in India with with a larger Muslim population than Pakistan.

by: Jack from: US
February 14, 2012 00:04
now Pakistan tries to repeat the same crime it did in Bangladesh to Baluchistani people who want to be free from Pakistani fanatics

by: watanpaal from: kabul
February 14, 2012 05:19
Pakistan should be what it was before 1947, the region will be much more at peace and away from islamic terrorism, sponsored by this fake state created by the british colonialist. Balouchistn will be indpendent soon, and the Pukhtunkhwa and Kashmir.
In Response

by: Mah from: karachi
February 14, 2012 19:29
This is exactly what THEY-our enemies want but we won't let them. No one can break us apart. The Baloch is not our enemy. The Pakhtoon is not our enemy either. We are all united by one God and one Faith. This is Pakistan, for God's sake. The same country that was made after such hardships and struggle. You're all part of Pakistan. Sorry, but you can't change that.

by: Saleem from: Sibbi
February 14, 2012 06:14
If successive Pakistani governments have failed to deal with the 'Balochistan problem' then it has more to do with the incompetence of the rulers than the gravity of the problem.
The first step in resolving the Balochistan issue would be to divide Balochistan into four provinces: Zhob (Pashtun area north of Quetta), Qalat (historically a separate region), Makran (100 mile wide belt along the coast), and Balochistan (the area in the middle). Through this division the Baloch problem would be
reduced to its actual size: the unrest is not in Pashtun areas, it is limited to the area between Khuzdar and Quetta.
The proposed division is logical: why should the Pashtun areas called Balochistn, or the Makran belt called Balochistan?
After dividing Balochistan into these new provinces attention should be paid to calm the people in real Balochistan (the proposed new province).
Everybody must understand that the biggest Baloch city is not even in Balochistan. Karachi has the largest Baloch population. An independent Balochistan with the largest Baloch city outside its boundaries doesn't make much sense.
Saleem
In Response

by: Baluch Na Tavar from: Shall, Baluchistan
February 14, 2012 11:35
@Saleem, what are you talking about ?? Dividing Baluchistan in to four provinces. How ignorant can one become you have really demonstrated that. That is the problem with you Punjabis Saleem, you are bigots, you pretend you know everything without respecting the views and opinions of others.

We Baluch will get our independence and let me assure you that its not far away. Pashtoons are our brothers and we have lived in harmony for years and once we are independent we will settle the matter of division between the Baluch & Pashtoon regions and we do not need any external help on that matter.

This is only one solution for the Baluch uprising and that is Independence, nothing less nothing more. And we will prevail.

and in the mean time Punjabis should start to contemplate about the future of Punjab because the rest of the provinces have had enough of being under the Punjab rule.

LONG LIVE BALUCHISTAN & OUR FREEDOM FIGHTERS (SARMACHARS)
In Response

by: Saleem from: Sibbi
February 14, 2012 16:25
Thanks for writing, Baluch Na Tavar
Unfortunately, you are wrong about my ethnicity.
And how does my ethnicity come in the middle of a decent debate? Hope you are not running out of logical arguments.

Let's talk about facts.
The province of Baluchistan (in Pakistan), as it is shaped today was never an independent state in history.
And the ethnic make-up of Baluchistan has changed a lot in the last 60 years. Should we ignore the recent demographic changes and fantasize about some historical independent state? And that too for a state that by its very name (Baluchistan--land of Baluch) appears to have decided to place other ethnicities at the level of second-class citizenry? And that too under the leadership of people who kill their own teachers at universities and colleges?
Saleem
In Response

by: akram from: quetta
February 18, 2012 13:48
Come on ,come out of medieval period you are not slave tied with ropes ,only thing is you have 2 ways,either play in hand of forign powers because they are ethenic or religious kin,if you have oil they will take it and kick you like african countries,but for that you have to undergo bloodbath with your 3 % population but you might succed as farmers of your sardars like bugti ,other is to politically fight for your right against punjab it is much easier to take your right from weaker punjab then stronger US and that to without blood bath otherwise now punjab is shit scared,but I think good days of Balochistan is over, soon you might get independence but like kalpers of sui.
In Response

by: Mah from: Karachi
February 14, 2012 19:41
Really? You wanna divide Balochistan? That's the outrageous idea I've heard so far. 'Dividing' Pakistan will make it even more vulnerable than it is now. I might sound poetic when I say this but it really is the honest truth: Pakistan will die if it's broken apart. USA is here to stay. They're NEVER leaving Afghanistan. Nuh-huh. We, including ALL Pakistanis, have to take a stand and unite. You are not the enemy. No. They are. They are the ones who are fueling the fire. We can't let them do this to us a second time- the first resulted in 1947. We can't have an another 1947 or a second 1971. Pakistan will die. The Pakhtoon's will want separation, the Sindhi's and Punjabi's will follow suit. This is NOT what why Pakistan got created. Pakistan has been misguided, abused horribly and turned upside down by all sorts of people ever since its creation. Don't let it get murdered. We'll all die IF and WHEN Pakistan falls.
In Response

by: Baluch Na Tavar from: Shall, Baluchistan
February 15, 2012 11:06
I know your enthnicity Saleem, dont tell me that i am wrong about it. Well the debate is decent for sure about enthnicity plays a huge role in this debate. As i said you are not a Baluch nor a Pashtoon and yet you are here arguing about the future of Baluchistan and coming up with absurd ideas as dividing Baluchistan. Your mentality exactly matches the Federal government of Pakistan's perspective towards Baluchistan. You people are such bigots, you always seem to know everything and you have the solution for everything, but you dont. If you did then Bangladesh would not be there today it would have still be called East Pakistan.

”Let's talk about facts.
The province of Baluchistan (in Pakistan), as it is shaped today was never an independent state in history.”

I think you have been reading lots of history books which are written by pro-pakistani bigots or your infamous PAK STUDY books. Now I do not have the time to waste here telling you about the Baluchistan history because you people will respect the facts which do not please you, so i will leave it to that.

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Gandhara is a blog dedicated to Afghanistan and Pakistan written by RFE/RL journalists from Radio Mashaal (Pakistan), Radio Azadi (Afghanistan), our Central Newsroom, and other services. Here, our people on the ground will provide context, analysis, and some opinions on news from the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. Send comments or questions to gandhara [at] rferl.org.