By Faiz M Baluch
On 17 July a Bangladesh war crimes tribunal sentenced a leader of Jamaat-e-Islami for crimes against humanity during the 1971 war of independence. He along with others is accused of collaborating with Pakistan army and hence allegedly involved in murder, rape and other crimes against humanity. The Bangladeshi government estimated that at least 3 million people (including women and children) were killed and 250,000 women raped by the ‘Islamic’ Punjabi Army of Pakistan and their ‘pious’ collaborators from the Al-Badar and Al-Shams extremist organisations.
Despite all the crimes against humanity by Pakistan and its Bangladeshi collaborators, the people of Bangladesh continued their war of liberation. Although their freedom came with a heavy price but eventually the day arrived when more than 90,000 Pakistan soldiers surrendered at Dhaka and become Indian prisoners of war. What was called as East Pakistan became an independent country. Modern country of Bangladesh was added to the list of free nations on 16 December 1971. Bangladeshi’s independence has ended Pakistani barbarism in their country.
While the trial of Pakistan’s collaborators continues in Bangladesh, most of the Pakistani perpetrators of such crimes are still at large and repeat the same in Balochistan and Sindh. Thousands of Baloch men, women and children have been killed by Pakistan military and their proxy religious death squad in since 1948. This was the year when Pakistan forcefully occupied the sovereign country of Baloch people. The length and width of Pakistan military terror has now been expanded to Sindh because the Sindhis have also started to raise their voice for their independence. The consistent struggle of Baloch people since 1948 is an indication of the fact that Pakistan simply cannot crush their freedom movement. History has witnessed that Bangladeshi people defeated Pakistani military and their religious proxies, in the same way the Baloch and Sindhis will eventually liberate their nations from Pakistan’s occupation.
Pakistan military have created several criminal clandestine organisations across Balochistan. Their task is merely to carry out extra-judicial target killing of pro-liberation Baloch activists. These proxy religious groups along with Pakistan army are involved in abduction, torture and killing of Baloch. They are also responsible for abductions for ransom and attacking of the NATO supply lines. The fundamentalist groups that Pakistan has set against the Baloch national struggle are too many. They include of Ansar-al-Islam; Tahafuz-e-Hadoodullah, Mussallah Defa Tanzeem, Nefaaz-e-Aman, Haq Na Tawar and many other shadowy criminal gangs. The leaders of these groups are Shafeeq Mengal, his brother Atta-ul-Rehman Mengal, Kohi Mengal and others. They are on Pakistan military’s pay role and they hire convicted criminals, drug mafia and other anti-social thugs in order use them against Baloch peoples’ struggle for their liberation.
One of their informers has recently been arrested by Baloch Liberation Front, a Baloch resistance organisation, from Kharan area of Balochistan. He was allegedly about to complete a secret mission for Major Siraj aka Saeed Mengal. According BLF spokesperson, the informer Tariq Rodeni made important disclosures during interrogation. He stated that ‘Shafiq Mengal’ alias ‘Abu Mawiya’ is member of Jamat ul Dawa and he was trained by ISI in Kashmir. He is now directly involved in killings of Baloch freedom activists.
Another member of Pakistan army death squad has been arrested by the Baloch Liberation Army near Kalat Balochistan. In a video confession he confessed to killing several people on the orders of Shafeeq Mengal and his brother. He also revealed that Shafiq Mengal, Atta-ul-Rehman Mengal, Kohi Khan Mengal, Sardar Sanuallah Zehri [a senior minister in current provincial government of Balochistan] and several others are directly involved in abducting and killing of Baloch political activists. He also said that the Pakistan army have asked Shafiq Mengal and Kohi Mengal to attack NATO trucks – and they did attack several NATO supply trucks in different area in Balochistan. The informer, Irfan Gurgnadi, has further revealed that the above named people have at least three private torture cells and another one that they run together with Pakistan army. He witnessed the killing of many Baloch activists in their custody and confessed the target killing of many Baloch journalists, political leaders, police officers and other members of community. Gurgnadi has admitted that the Pakistan army and Shafiq Mengal death squad team have killed a Baloch singer named Ali Jan for refusing to act as their hit man to kill Dr Allah Nazar Baloch.
Similar hired groups of Pakistan military operate in Sindh as well. According to Sindhi freedom activists these umbrella organisation of Military also operate against pro-freedom Sindhi parties. For this purpose the “Laar Abadgar Welfare Association (LAWA)” is supported by ISI and the Jamat-ul-Dawa of Hafiz Saeed. This association had allegedly killed Majid Memon, a member of Badin district committee of JSMM. The Sindhi activists claim that the Jamat-ul-Dawa is actively working against Sindhudesh Freedom Movement. On several occasions this proxy religious organisation of ISI has openly called Baloch and Sindhudesh freedom activists as the agents of India and USA. Over 20 Sindhi freedom activists have been killed by Pakistan military and their hit squads.
These organisations operate with full military impunity and carry out heinous crimes against innocent people of Balochistan. The military has also given them official passes to get through easily at check points and carry out their drug business. The leaders of these criminal organisations have no respect for Islam or humanity. They take their orders directly from high raking military officials and for their criminal dirty work they are paid by Pakistan army.
Dr Allah Nazar Baloch in an interview with Karlos Zurutuza said, “They [Pakistan Army] have formed these groups in the name of Islam but their real aim is to crush the Baloch freedom movement. Pakistan is the cradle of the Taliban and the breeding ground of the Taliban. Pakistan is nourishing and funnelling the Taliban and Al-Qaeda terrorists into Afghanistan, India, Saudi Arabia, Yemen… Pakistan is an irresponsible state that is putting the civilised world in danger. A free Baloch state would therefore be in the interest of the whole civilised world.”
A recent video posted on Youtube shows the leader of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Malik Ishaq being trained by Punjab elite force. This nexus between Pakistan’s security forces and banned terrorist outfit clearly show Pakistan’s support for the spread of terror against Shia community across Pakistan and against Baloch and Sindhi activists. Malik Ishaq’s group has links with Al-qaeeda and the firing practice video proves that Pakistani forces are directly involved in supporting the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi in spreading terror against Shias in Gilgit Baltistan, Sindh and Balochistan.
An interview with a foreign TV channel Baloch leader Hyrbyair Marri said, “They [religious organisation] want to weaken the pro-independence people through these kinds of acts of terror where one sect of Muslim attacks another sect of Muslim. It is created by the Pakistani government just to weaken Baloch nationalism. We have to understand these people, Lashkari Jhangvi, are mostly from Punjab their leadership is in Punjab. The world has to come out and speak against these organisations.”
Hyrbyair Marri speaks with experience and his concerns are genuine. He made a timely call on the international community to act before it is too late. The international community including the United Nations and the International Criminal Court has ignored the Pakistan military and their collaborators’ crimes against humanity for too long. They left Bangladeshi people unprotected and their butchers unaccountable. That is why Pakistan is once again taking full advantage of the incompetence of ICC and UN and committing even more brutal crimes in Balochistan knowing too well that it will not be held accountable for the Baloch genocide. Since the illegal occupation of Balochistan in 1948 the Baloch land has remained a blind spot for claimant of international justice and for the international media.
It is time for the ICC, the UN and rest of the world to look beyond their door steps and stop their selective policy of justice. Ignoring Baloch any longer will be tantamount to collaborating with the states of Pakistan and Iran in Baloch genocide. Pakistan and its Baloch collaborators must be held accountable for the death and destruction in Balochistan.
As Max du plessis, an assistant professor, of University of KwaZulu in Durban rightly says, “It is in the interests of justice and the reputation of the ICC that it stretches its work beyond Africa. By doing so the court will deny powerful African elites the stick that they so easily and distractingly wave at the ICC. It will also – where the evidence shows a need for the court’s intervention – be a means by which to pay homage to the principle of equal justice under law.”
Faiz M Baluch is a student of journalism at Metropolitan University in London and a human rights activist affiliated with International Voice for Baloch Missing Persons. He tweets at, twitter.com/FaizMBaluch and can be contacted at FMBaluch@gmail.com