Monday, April 13, 2009

Baluchistan – most deprived unit at the cross roads! by Nadia Khan

It was 1971 and Pakistani President General Yahya Khan was addressing the nation that, "all is okay and Pakistan is made safe from the hands of foreign elements in Dhaka." 17 days later, his whereabouts were unknown and US President Richard Nixon took two days to find him in order to get his signature on 1971 Indo-Pak war ceasefire agreement, which has resulted the fall of Dhaka and division of Pakistan.


It was 2006 and again another President of Pakistan, General Musharraf went on air saying about the people of the most deprived province of Pakistan, "This is not 1974, it is 2006 and Baloch will not be able to know from where it came & hit them." He was referring to army action against them. 17 days later on August 26th 2006, news broke out that the most influential political leader of Baluchistan, who met with Quaid e Azam once in 1948, Akbar Bugti was killed in a bombing operation that caused the cave, where he was hiding during Army Operation, collapsed on him. Many stories run around his cause of death however the reaction from Baloch population was well anticipated backlash. Media in Pakistan and abroad have condemned Bugti's killing and termed it as the biggest blunder and a political nightmare by any army dictator after East Pakistan crisis in 1971, which eventually led to the formation of Bangladesh.


Earlier this month, on 4th April, the news of killing of three Baloch nationalist leaders – Ghulam Muhammad Baloch, President BNM (Baloch National Movement), Lala Muneer Baloch, and Sheer Muhammad Baloch, when broke out took the province by storm and what ever was hidden in last 38 years, came out in the form of worse protests. Even the mildest politicians of Baluchistan like Hasil Bazenjo went on air saying the hardest ever words about the federation. This is an alarming situation!


It is unfortunate to know that, during the abduction of John Solecki, UNHCR head in Baluchistan, from Quetta and then his safe released, one of these three Baloch politicians, Ghulam Muhammad Baloch had played a vital role in his return. Their killing, as the Govt normally says involve foreign (Indian) hands, will be a tragic moment for patriotic forces in Quetta. The demands of abductors from Solecki case have also revealed number of hidden facts – missing of 1100 Baloch youngsters and 166 Baloch women, probably by security agencies. Thought it is denied by Interior Ministry advisor however it is learnt that number of missing personnel's have been released to ensure the safe return of American national John Solecki. All these events are pointing towards the extra activities of Pakistan security agencies, deployed in Baluchistan under the banner countering Indian and now Afghan influence, have resulted only damage to Pakistan.


Be it National Finance Commission (NFC) award irregularities or denial of Sui fields royalty payments, blocked since last 6 years, or mismanagement of funds given to Baluchistan or avoiding Baloch youngsters in giving employment in Gawadar or new projects, all such have brought the largest province of Pakistan at brink and turmoil. Imagine, residents of Sui are denied the Sui gas which is extracted from their own fields, would result what – anger against federation or love for the rest of the country?


To bring back Baluchistan to main stream of federation, Musharraf' surrender wouldn't be high price. If ex-President could be tried through a fair judicial inquiry for killing of Sardar Akbar Bugti and killers of three Bloch nationalist leaders could be brought to justice then likely, Bloch nationalists could be returned to norm. Pakistan Army establishment has to make a final decision to save the federation of Pakistan – disposition of their ex-chief for fair judicial trial and halting all the hidden activities under the banner of security surfing. Or the dilemma of former East-Pakistan, now Bangladesh, is not very far away!


Undivided Pakistan in 1947 was a great gift of God to South Asian Muslims through the hands of Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Its annexation in 1971 has weakened the federation and dissolved the Pakistani nationalism to a certain extent. There are numbers of anti Pakistan organisations in action, in various parts of Pakistan, indeed, with external funding and logistics support. Any further "security adventurism" in any province of Pakistan by its own security agencies would trigger the mood of people and might result in more damages for the country!


General Keyani has rightly said, "No war could be won without the support of native residents," probably would be guiding limelight for rest of the security apparatus in all provinces!

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