ANALYSIS: Anti-Baloch clique? — II —Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

Courtesy to "The News"

The rulers should understand that lip service does not soothe the wounds caused by decades of injuries and injustices. Difficult decisions are needed to solve the problems and win the hearts of the justifiably alienated Baloch

The Kalat state’s forced merger with Pakistan ended 300 years of independent and semi-independent Baloch state. The sovereignty and will of the people of Balochistan was temporarily subverted. It was an epoch making event in the history of the Baloch people. Colonialism, be it of Iran, Afghanistan, Britain or Pakistan, has played the most important role in moulding the national consciousness that had been present in formative shape all through their history but had remained latent. This consciousness acquired at a bitter price is now becoming the determining factor in their struggle to be the masters of their destiny.

Not willing to allow the Baloch a chance to recuperate and reorganise the second equally unjust and illegal assault on Kalat was carried out on October 6, 1958, once again on false pretences and premises. Nawab Nauroz Khan Zarakzai, a septuagenarian, took up arms and led the Baloch resistance. As in 1948, a wave of repression and reign of terror was let loose all over Balochistan. Political leaders and activists were incarcerated in the notorious ‘Kulli camps’ in the Quetta cantonment. The suppression of rights by force created abiding antagonism and animosity.

On May 19, 1959, Nawab Nauroz Khan along with his fighters surrendered near Anari Mountain after the authorities promised acceptance of their demands on the Quran. Instead they were shifted to the Quetta cantonment and tried by a special military court and sentenced on July 7, 1960. The death sentences were carried out simultaneously on the July 15, 1960, at Sukkur and Hyderabad Central Jails.

For the Baloch, Nawab Nauroz Khan and the seven martyrs symbolise the determination to not to bow to unjust and brutal assaults on their freedom and to resist regardless of the price that has to be paid for this honourable path. Emulating them is the dream of every politically conscious Baloch.

The 60s decade saw sporadic Baloch resistance led by Mir Sher Mohammad Marri, Ali Mohammad Mengal and others. The dissolution of One-Unit and 1970 elections gave a glimmer of hope that the Baloch would get a chance of restricted self-rule. But the subsequent illegal and unjust dismissal of Ataullah Mengal’s government in February 1973 and the incarceration of Baloch leaders by ZA Bhutto-led PPP government shattered those hopes.

This injustice naturally led to a resistance by the Baloch and large-scale military operations against them were launched on May 21, 1973, with Mawand in Marri area being occupied. The 1973-77 conflict resulted in enormous sufferings of the Baloch population in the province; forcing thousands of Marris and other Baloch to seek shelter in Afghanistan. It was during this period that the steel of the Baloch mettle was really tempered and for the first time they felt confident that they could take on the might of the state and survive to fight another day. This struggle blazed a path for the future generations and without it probably the flame of the Baloch struggle may have been extinguished forever.

During the musical chairs democracy period the main players were too busy undermining each other and the Baloch were left alone. Then Musharraf unleashed a war of terror against the Baloch, which resulted in the death of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, Nawabzada Balach Khan Marri and hundreds of other innocent people. The plague of missing persons visited once again with a vengeance. Recently mass unmarked graves of victims of Indian atrocities were discovered in Kashmir. One wonders if ever such graves, for they certainly exist, will be found here. His era was the era of pseudo mega-projects, brutal mega-operations and super mega sufferings for the Baloch people. The present irreconcilable antagonisms are the result of the protracted and indiscriminate use of force against the Baloch.

The PPP government has been long on promises and short on positive action. The much-trumpeted Balochistan package was rightly termed as a ‘band-aid on a bullet wound’ by Alia Amirali Sahiba, a student activist of QAU. The three-day joint session of parliament was expected to discuss the formulated proposals with expectations of opening a new chapter in the post-independence history of Balochistan. But the keenness or lack of it shown by the parliamentarians in this supposedly important and historic package belies the claims that this government or the state is or will ever be sincere in solving the problems faced by the Baloch people.

A report released by Pildat said that out of total 438 MPs — 338 in the National Assembly and 100 in Senate — only 38 (nine percent) members spoke during this joint session. This pathetic indifference itself speaks volume about the interest that the government and parliament take in solving the problems. Unsurprisingly the 20 months of PPP rule have been as barren for the Baloch as were the nine years of Musharraf.

The president cannot have the right to claim of serving the Baloch if the Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah does not even know who ordered the Rangers’ action against the Baloch of Lyari. And yet they tire not of posing as the champions of Baloch problems. So much so that the president claims that he is under threat from the anti-Baloch clique, which would be committing an unpardonable blunder if it punished him for an act he is not even remotely guilty of.

The rulers should understand that lip service does not soothe the wounds caused by decades of injuries and injustices. Difficult decisions are needed to solve the problems and win the hearts of the justifiably alienated Baloch. Obviously, no political party or individual has the will to take these decisions because they can only do so at the greatest risk to their own existence and none here would be willing to go to that extreme for the children of lesser gods.

The establishment’s anti-Baloch policy is too entrenched, too consolidated and too committed to allow far-reaching measures to be endorsed and implemented; measures that may bring some relief for the people. Because those who have been calling the shots here — call them the anti-Baloch clique or the establishment — will not consent to even the most basic justified demands of the return of missing people, stopping construction of cantonments, military airports and naval ports, withdrawal of the army, a halt to military operations, rights over resources and the reining in of the FC because their financial, commercial and imaginary strategic interests will be surely hurt by any such roll back in Balochistan.

You do not have to be a rocket scientist to understand that the establishment, guided by its self-preservation instinct, had to be anti-Baloch, anti-Sindhi anti-Pashtun and anti-Bengali since partition because without erasing the historical national consciousness and identities they could not hope to impose their ideology of Pakistaniat. However, they overlooked the fact that millenniums old consciousness and identities cannot be easily obliterated and replaced; little wonder that they have miserably failed to either forge or impose a new identity. Certainly the Baloch resistance has played a pivotal role in thwarting their designs.


Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur has an association with the Baloch rights movement going back to the early 1970s. He can be contacted at