Balochistan at a standstill

Published: November 27, 2012
The writer was a member of the Senate from 2003-08 and of the National Assembly from 1997-99. He tweets @Senator_Baloch

The writer was a member of the Senate from 2003-08 and of the National Assembly from 1997-99. He tweets @Senator_Baloch

The ‘supreme authority’ in Pakistan appears less enthralled to implement the repeated orders of the Supreme Court regarding the atrocious situation in Balochistan. After 71 hearings and countless interim orders by the Court, the situation in ill-fated Balochistan is at a standstill. Human rights violations are at an all-time high, extrajudicial killings by proxy death squads are on the rise, criminal elements are on the go to abduct civilians for ransom and corruption has surpassed all known records.

Since the high profile hearing on September 27, 2012, where Mr Akhtar Mengal presented his six-point roadmap for peace and stability, 109 innocent civilians and political activists have been killed along with four journalists.

Although the conflict in Balochistan has shattered the lives of ordinary citizens, it is an undeniable fact that ‘organised chaos’ has overwhelmingly empowered paramilitary forces and intelligence agencies. In fact, there is an undeclared emergency in the province, where the Baloch political process has been systematically stagnated and criminals and extremists are allowed to flourish and take control of society.

Despite the Supreme Court’s efforts and intentions, it seems unlikely that Balochistan’s bloodletting will stop in the near future. Since the Constitution is regarded as a mere piece of paper and overlooked by the ‘supreme authority’, i.e., the military establishment, the Court’s order will not discourage perpetrators of human rights violations to get away with their destructions.

Nevertheless, in Balochistan, the majority of the populace is discontented with the state system and its institutions. In such an environment, where distrust between the Baloch and Islamabad is high — the Balochistan National Party’s (BNP) leader, Akhtar Mengal, took a very courageous political decision to briefly end his prolonged self-exile so as to facilitate delivery of speedy justice to the victims of a decade-long conflict.

The BNP chief was overloaded with facts and truths about the endless miseries of the Baloch people by the militarised state and about the gross human rights violations of his people by the non-Baloch security apparatus.

Despite Balochistan’s small population, countless Baloch political leaders have been produced before civil and military courts as ‘traitors’ and offenders, thereby incarcerated because of their political opinion. Nevertheless, this was the first time in the history of Balochistan-Pakistan relations that a political leader from Balochistan, accompanied by 40 senior Baloch-Pashtun leaders, appeared in the Court as a complainant against the state rather than as a culprit.

Along with Akhtar Mengal’s verbal statements, the BNP submitted a comprehensive nine-page declaration and a 70-page dossier in the Supreme Court on September 27. Both statement and dossier encompass historic facts about the troubled relation between Balochistan and Pakistan, including details of systematic political, economic and human rights violations in their homeland. Akhtar Mengal talked passionately and factually before the Supreme Court about Balochistan’s state of affairs, including the epidemic of enforced disappearances of political activists.

The honourable chief justice and judges graciously received Mr Mengal and repeatedly indicated that Baloch leaders have shown respect for the rule of law and reminded the federation (government) to respond likewise. However, despite the Court’s meaningful advice to the federation (civil-military establishment), it has struck back with repeated rhetoric. The federal government injudiciously denied all charges of proxy death squads, military operations, missing persons and displaced Baloch.

Although the BNP’s six-point confidence building measures are not a recipe for permanent peace, if implemented, they could lead to a conflict-resolution process. Peace prospects between the Baloch and Islamabad are swiftly fading. The Supreme Court’s slow motion process is unlikely to dent the establishment’s anti-Baloch policy. The purposeful killing of moderate Baloch political activists will continue unabated until the establishment achieves its objective of a Baloch-less Balochistan.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 27th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (8)

  • Mirza
    Nov 27, 2012 - 2:53AM

    I am ashamed to say that ethnic cleansing of Baloch and Shia is going on unabated for decades and there is no chance of it slowing down. This Op Ed reminded me of Gen Zia when he said “constitution is a few pieces of paper that I can trample with my boots anytime I want”.
    The six points are a just solution to start the peace process but the establishment has no respect for any nationalist leader no matter who they are. BTW, what happened to the much maligned UN report about Balochistan?


  • The Real Bloch
    Nov 27, 2012 - 4:11AM

    Most of these things you are telling, BLA and BNP is directly responsible. The fugitive Bramdagh Bugti has escaped somewhere in Europe, so stop making propaganda and speak the truth!!Recommend

  • Hammad
    Nov 27, 2012 - 8:06AM

    I always feel enlightened after reading your articles. Living outside Pakistan, I can only educate myself. You reiterate the most important point that most Pakistanis fail to appreciate: the political leadership is powerless, it’s the military that makes ALL the strategic decisions. If it was up to the politicians, there wouldn’t be a Balochistan issue.


  • Rubby
    Nov 27, 2012 - 11:31AM

    Very true, Balochistan is at standstill and there is no sign of hope. Balochistan is a political conflict – brute force, killings, criminalisation, death-squads are not the solution they will further exaborate the crisis. I appreciate Sana’s efforts – a men who lives far in exile but has telescopic eyes on Balochistan.


  • Saleem Notezai
    Nov 27, 2012 - 12:09PM

    The fugitives will never be allowed to dictate their agenda to us. These criminals have no place in our land. They have destroyed Balochistan for the sake of money and comfort in Foreign Countries. The author is asked to declare his source of income in his country of stay.
    These enemies of people of Balochistan have been dumped by the people of Balochistan


  • Naveed Buzdar
    Nov 27, 2012 - 6:02PM

    This is a dilemma, we Baloch are dealing with. Akhter Mengal appearance in the court was a symbol trust of Judiciary. What happened after then. Nothing…. There is no full stop in killing of journalist and Baloch young generation.Someone has to comeup with a solid solution to this problem. Time is running short and Govt should respect people like Mengal who always believe on federation. For confidence building all extra judicial murder of Baloch Youth should be stopped, dialogue process with true Baloch leaders should be initiated. This is the only way if Govt is interested to settle Baloch issue.


  • Ahmed Raza Mengal Baloch
    Dec 2, 2012 - 8:29AM

    I am a Baloch student here in the USA. I was very optimist about my province, but now the situations of my city and province made me pessimist. Despite of rhetoric claims by government, Supreme Court, and politicians the situations became nastiest. Since my arrival in the USA I have lost more than 80 innocent folks of my city Khuzdar. I cannot express my feelings in the words. My leader and my chief Sardar Akhter Mengal’s appearance before Supreme Court was hope for some folks, but after that Trojan forces conveyed a horrible message to the peoples of Khuzdar by killing more than 36 innocents.


  • alibaloch
    Dec 6, 2012 - 2:48PM

    Sana Baloch i really appreciate your efforts for this suppressed Nation.Federation is not bothered to take some steps even Sardar Akther Mengal appeared in Supreme Court,,,situation has worsen in our province and people are fed up from these leaders sitting in islamabad,,,Baloch Nation is being butchered by by the state..


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