by Faiz M Baluch
Balochistan, bordering Iran to the West and Afghanistan to the North, was an independent country before the British attacked and invaded it in 1839. The Baloch ruler, at the time, Mir Mehrab Khan along with hundreds of Baloch fighters died while defending Balochistan.
Later the British draw two artificial lines (borders), the Goldsmith Line (1871) and the Durand Line (1895), dividing Balochistan into three pieces. Northern Balochistan and Western Balochistan were given to Persia and Afghanistan respectively, and Eastern Balochistan (Pakistan occupied Balochistan) remained independent and maintained treaty relations with the British.
One of the treaties the British government signed with Balochistan in 1854 and later amended in 1876 reads as follows: Article 3: “Whilst on his part, Meer Khodadad Khan, Khan of Kalat, binds himself, his heirs, successors and sardars to observe faithfully the provisions of Article 3 of the treaty of 1854, the British Government on its part engages to respect the independence of Kalat, and to aid the Khan, in case of need, in the maintenance of a just authority and the protection of his territories from external attack, by such means as the British Government may at the moment deem expedient.”
The British remained in Eastern part of Balochistan until 1947 and at the time of their departure they recognised Balochistan as an independent state. Three days prior to Pakistan’s separation from India, a tripartite agreement was signed between the British, the ruler of Balochistan and the upcoming Pakistan administration accepting the sovereignty of the Baloch people. On 11 August, 1947, Eastern Balochistan declared full independence. Continue reading
by Faiz M Baluch
Qadeer Baloch and Banuk Farzana Majeed along with other protesters
Pakistan has been violating Baloch human rights including their right to life and freedom since it occupied Balochistan in March 1948. For over 60 years of occupation, the people of Balochistan have continued their resistance against the occupiers. Baloch freedom movement has had its ups and down but it has never stopped.
In 1970s when Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto started offensives against the Baloch people there was almost a total media blackout. The death and destructions, expulsion of people from their homes, pillage of villages and mass disappearances went unnoticed. One of the main pillars of Pakistan is its media. The media in Pakistan, by and large, is an instrument of army and security agencies. Their role in the state imposed war on Balochistan has always been consistent. They have always followed the line of the security forces.
The new chapter of struggle, the preparation of which, started around late 1980s is undoubtedly the continuation of the war of liberation initiated by Prince Abdul Karim Baloch and those who fought against British imperial forces in the previous decades. The legacy of the liberation struggle was later pursued by Nauroz Khan, Ghulam Mohammad Baloch, Dr Khalid, Akbar Bugti, Mir Balach Marri and thousands of Baloch forerunners and living legends. The new Baloch national liberation dawned when the young Baloch assessed the results of our past struggles carefully and the way forward. In their assessment they realised that for an effective and successful liberation movement there had to be a strategic change of direction. Hyrbyair Marri’s role in this respect has been very significant. The movement got its national dimension for the first time. This new phase is indestructible and will eventually lead to Balochistan’s independence.
Dr Sarwar Baloch holds the picture of his abducted nephew Zafarullah Bangulzai
The International Day of the Disappeared on August 30 is an annual commemoration designated to draw attention to the fate of individuals imprisoned at places and under poor conditions unknown to their relatives and/or legal representatives. On this day, the International community remembers the missing and disappeared people throughout the world. The day has been officially declared as the Day of the enforced-disappeared. On this day, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) calls on all governments to provide answers to families on the fate and whereabouts of missing persons. International Human Rights Organisations have declared enforced disappearance as a grave human rights violation and a crime against humanity.
Yet, on this day the fate of thousands of innocent Baloch men, women and children remains unknown. Thousands of Baloch families in occupied Balochistan are looking for justice for their beloveds and peace of mind for themselves in particular and for the Baloch society in general. The issue of enforced-disappearances in Balochistan is not a new phenomenon; it started from the day of Balochistan’s illegal occupation by Iran and Pakistan. Since then occupying states, Iran and Pakistan, have been committing gross human rights violations against Baloch people. Thousands of Baloch have been forcefully disappeared and hundreds of thousands have been killed in cold-blood and massacred by aerial bombardments by these ruthless and uncivilised states. Thousands have been extra judicially executed. Continue reading
Baloch female protesters carrying a ‘stop Baloch Genocide’ placard during a protest in Karachi
Pakistan in its dirty war in Balochistan has changed its tactics several times in past few years. In their most recent tactic they have started to kill Baloch political activists in several orchestrated stage encounters. Their criminal tactic follows a clear pattern. They abduct Baloch activists and torture them for days, months or even years. July 2010 onwards Pakistan adopted the policy of abducted, kill and dump but recently they started to discard the bodies of previously abducted Baloch activists, who were abducted from different areas of Pakistan, during military offensive and then announce in their media that they were killed during arm clash with Pakistani security forces. This tactic could partly be due to the pressure that has grown on Pakistani military and intelligence agencies to produce the enforced-disappeared Baloch persons.
The Baloch political leader, Hyrbyair Marri says, “Abducting our people and killing them in such sham operations and labelling them as terrorists only demonstrate the height of our enemy’s inhumanity and desperation. They think with this monstrous tactic they close the cases of our loved and get away with their murder. These cases cannot and will not be closed as long as the perpetrators of these crimes against humanity are not brought to justice – the perpetrator for us is the state of Pakistan.”
Balochistan media restricted zone
Pakistan has forcibly invaded and occupied Balochistan and has been exploiting Balochistan’s natural resources since 1948. The Baloch nation never accepted the illegal occupation of their homeland. They started resisting Pakistan’s occupation from the very first day. Pakistan carried out four major military offensives, the fifth military aggression is still on-going, to crush the Baloch liberation struggle. For a short period they succeeded in dispersing the Baloch struggle. Baloch came back to confront their occupiers with greater determination and once again restarted their freedom movement in early 90s, which still continues. This time the Baloch are more disciplined and organised as they have learned from their mistakes of past. In the past Baloch struggles failed to achieve their objectives because they were limited to certain areas of Balochistan. Hence, the initiators of the current struggle succeeded to make it a nation-wide struggle.
People from all walks of life have started to pour in and become part of the Baloch liberation movement. During the first stage of this movement the emphasis was on national awareness. Pioneers of the movement and their supporters distributed literature in Baloch masses to give them awareness about their right to be free from foreign occupation. Soon the message of Baloch liberation movement reached to every nook and corner of Balochistan and Baloch men, women and elderly belonging to all spheres of life started conversing about their freedom. Many well-educated and energetic Baloch youths mixed theory and practice. With their ideas and actions they awakened the entire Baloch nation.
Bodies of Martyrs of Bolan
The Pakistan military and its state sponsored media reported on 10 August that the military has killed 6 ‘armed militants’ in an exchange of firing in Machh area of district Bolan in Balochistan. As the saying goes “A Lie has no legs to stand upon”– soon the misleading statements of Pakistan army and media were exposed as the families of previously abducted Baloch identified the bodies of their loved ones.
It became obvious that no arm clash took place in fact the Pakistan military has dumped the bodies of previously abducted Baloch who were in their custody and claimed to have killed them in a fake encounter. Relatives of these men said that they had received phone calls from unknown numbers informing them that their relatives have been killed and dumped. The victims of 10 August have been identified as 28 year old Bijjar Ahmad son of Ali Bux Marri, 35 year old Paliya son of Nodhan Marri, 20 year old Izzat Khan son of Wahsho Marri, 35 year old Dad Ali son of Raheem Khan Marri and Wahid Bux son of Nabi Bux Marri.
Bijjar Ahmad Marri was abducted on 24 June along with Khoda Dad Marri at an FC check point from Rabi area. Brutally tortured and mutilated body of Khoda Dad Marri was found in Dera Allah Yar on 1st July 2013 whereas Bijjar’s whereabouts remained unknown until 10 August. The other men including Paliya, Izzat Khan, Dad Ali, Wahid Bux and another two of their relatives were abducted from main bridge of Mach town on 8 August. The Pakistani security forces also took away their private Datsun pickup. Two of their relatives are still in the custody of Pakistani forces. Continue reading