By Muriam Salman
The state army has created several religious proxy groups to counter the freedom struggle in Balochistan. These fanatic groups have warned Baloch women to stop taking part in protests and supporting the freedom movement
The following interview was conducted with representatives from the Women of Baluchistan and Role of Women in Revolution online group created in July, 2012. The page is run by a collective of individuals with the stated aim of raising awareness about:
1. Baloch women who are struggling for freedom and the betterment of Baloch society;
2. The role of women in revolutions around the world.
We hoped to discern information about the role of Baloch women in the nationalist movement, their thoughts on the struggle, upcoming elections, and the class and gender composition of Baloch leadership. Since the formation of Pakistan, Baloch nationalists and the Pakistani establishment have clashed with each other at least four times over issues of provincial autonomy, resource control and the right to self-determination. The most recent upsurge of the nationalist movement, sparked by the rape of Dr. Shazia Khalid, began in 2005 and, as with previous uprisings, was met with state suppression and intelligence agencies’ action. . Hundreds of Baloch villagers, professionals, students and leaders have been subjected to arbitrary abductions and ‘kill and dump’ operations led by the state. As a result of this crackdown by the state and its security establishment, tensions in the region have heightened. Moreover, the nationalist parties boycotted the general election in 2008 under President General (retd.) Pervez Musharraf and thus, had no formal representation in the political power structure of the country for the past five years.
The representatives of the group were reluctant in identifying themselves by name due to understandable fears for personal safety and security. Thus, we do not lay claim to the veracity of the answers but leave it upon the judgment of our readership. In publishing this interview we hope to broaden the discourse with regards to the perspectives of the Baloch people and ensure that the often neglected voices of Baloch women are heard and documented. Continue reading