By Meerain Baloch:
On 27th of October 2013 a group of people began a 750 km long march from Quetta to Karachi carrying placard and banners inscribed with slogans such as “Stop killing Baloch civilians” and “Human rights organization must help for the recovery of Baloch missing persons”. An old man aged 70 led the long march as he himself had lost a son of him to the Pakistani ‘kill and dump’ policy. His son, Jalil Regi, who was a member of a nationalist party, the Baloch Republican Party, was abducted and after a couple of months his mutilated body was dumped in Turbat, Balochistan. A university student, left her studies to join the march and call for the safe recovery of her abducted brother Zakir Majeed Baloch, formerly a Secretary General of the pro-independent student organization, BSO-Azad. He was abducted four years ago and there is no news of whether he is alive or dead. Ali Haider, a 10 year old boy also joined the Long March (pushing a hand trolley showing a number of pictures of missing persons) hoping that his missing father Ramzan Ali would be released. Sammi Baloch, 17, daughter of Dr Din Muhmmad Baloch, and families member of other missing persons – mostly women because men were afraid of being abducted or target killed by the army and its various death squad civilian armies – all walked towards Karachi from Quetta – two capital cities of different provinces.
Mama Qadir Baloch and other relatives of missing Baloch persons had already held a Guinness Book world-record hunger strike of more than 1350 days, but they got no attention from the Pakistani establishment which contains no Baloch of any class or background. Theb they started the long march of 750 km on foo,t hoping that the establishment would take pity on their state of desperation. But again this bore no result, either for the recovery of the missing persons or to pressure on the international community to force the occupying forces of Pakistan to abide by international laws where such rules are not being applied to the Baloch.
Balochistan (Image – BBC)
The Pakistani forces of occupation are famous for their human rights abuses such as during the Bangladesh war of independence when they are reported to have raped between 200,000 and 400,000 women who gave birth to a countless number of war-babies. This figure is confirmed by Dr Geoffrey Davis, who was tasked with carrying out later-term abortions and who was tracked down by a Bengali scholar, Bina D’costa. Conversations between D’costa and Dr Davis were later published by a Bangladeshi publisher and are worth reading. They reveal that women were tied to trees, gang raped, their breasts hacked off, before finally they were dumped in mass graves. Hundreds of women were kept in the Dhaka cantonment and used as sex slaves – as has happened in Balochistan with Baloch women such as Miss Zarina Marri, a school teacher, and more than 200 other women. A few years back a journalist, Muneer Mengal, who was abducted by Pakistan’s notorious Intelligence Agencies and kept for several months in their torture cells, witnessed the shameful act of the Pakistani establishment in using the abducted Zarina Marri as a sex slave. On top of this, their stooges carry out acid attacks on Baloch women who dare to go out for schooling or for day-to-day businesses. Such incidents have taken place in Kalat, Dalbandin, Nushki and in other parts of Balochistan. While in Bangladesh the Indian army intervened and the barbaric mass killing of Bengali people came to an end, there is no such foreign help for the suffering Baloch men and women.
Pakistan is repeating its anti-human policies in Bangladesh in Balochistan. It is using the shadow army of Pakistani-funded jihadi groups, Jamiat-i-islami and other religious parties. In Bangladesh these are notorious with the names of Al-shams and A-badar, while in Balochistan they are famous as Musalah dafai tanzeem, Tehrik-e-nifaz-e-aman, Haq na-tawar and a score of others. Some of these groups are controlled by war criminal jihadists like Shafiq Mengal and Saraj Raisani. Direct and indirect army abductions have left 1700 mutilated bodies and more than 18000 Baloch activists missing, and the number is rising day by day.
When Mama Qadeer and his companions saw no response from the army in relation to the release of their missing loved ones, they began a new long march. This time it was from Karachi to Islamabad, the capital city of Pakistan. Even then nobody is giving any attention to the blistered feet of these aged men, young girls and school age young boys and girls. They keep walking silently, 20 to 25 km a day, with great determination to reach Islamabad and this time camp in front of the United Nations office and beg for justice. The march from Quetta to Karachi took 27 days while this march is expected to take about two months because the distance is twice as long. Mama Qadir and his party members are being harassed in many ways. Recently, the thugs of the Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) gave them a shameful time in Larkana because they had refused the hospitality of Bilawal Zardari Bhutto, who is the son of the former President of Pakistan, during whose rule the ‘kill and dump’ of Baloch youth multiplied.
Now the question is: why doesn’t the international community take any action about the suffering of the Baloch people and why doesn’t it put pressure on Pakistan to stop human rights abuses in Balochistan? Are Baloch people not humans and are their persecutors super-humans? The world keeps watching while Balochistan burns and Balochs get kidnapped, tortured, and killed and dumped on daily basis. When will human conscience awaken and laws against human rights abuses be enforced? These are questions everyone is asking in Balochistan.
Meerain Baloch is a senior member of the Baloch National Movement