The price of Baloch blood

The ‘clink, clink’ reverberates

Who are these benevolent youth

The gold coins of their blood

Clink clink, clink clink –Faiz Ahmed Faiz

Salima Hashmi, Faiz sahib’s daughter, dug out this gem of a poem and dedicated it to the Baloch martyrs at the Faiz Aman Mela in Lahore last Sunday. The very next day, Monday, three bodies of Baloch missing persons, including former BSO-Azad Chairman Sangat Sana Baloch were found. The day after, Tuesday, Baloch-dominated areas in Balochistan observed a shutter down strike.

‘Chhan chhan, chhan chhan,’ Faiz’s words reverberated across the province.

The body of Sangat Sana was found only two weeks after the Domki murders, murders that had sent the entire Balochistan Assembly, generally the most complicit of the Baloch, up in a furore. Three Baloch ministers stood up to narrate a gruesome incident in which two Baloch youth were bound up and shot by FC troops on the Quetta-Turbat road.

The trouble was that the consequences of the murder of Brahamdagh Bugti’s sister were not fully contemplated by the most likely murderers, although they should have. The lesson of Balochistan always was: blood spilt is thicker than blood flowing. This was indeed why Nawab Akbar Bugti’s killing in an army operation bestowed the legacy of a martyr on him and spurred insurgency.

Balochistan has been under siege since 1947, with the current insurgency that started in 2005 being the fifth: the last four were brutally suppressed through similar military action. It is only this one which is spiralling out of control.

The almost abandon with which intelligence agencies operate in the Baloch province is matchless. Barely anyone is left in doubt as to who picked up whom for allegedly ‘anti-nationalistic’ sentiment and the message is delivered forcefully with every punctured, dumped body of a Baloch missing person.

While the same matters went unnoticed in the last four operations, what changed on the ground was that the Baloch intellectuals and leadership, fearing for their lives, began to take up outposts in exile and developed lobbies to relay the situation in Balochistan to international organisations. In Balochistan, the BLA, the BLF and the BRA continued to fight from the mountains while Baloch political parties and the various factions of the BSO continue to develop the space on the ground to unite the Baloch community and speak to the few in the Pakistani media that still want to hear a Baloch speak about Balochistan.

Coverage has been selective. When the BLA killed 15 FC troops in the army-operated Chamalang coal mines area in response the Domki killings, media splashed the event. But when a counter-military operation was launched in Chamalang, there was complete silence by the media on it.

The reason: journalists based in Balochistan were instructed not to – at the risk of their lives. 20 journalists had been killed in the last decade. However, Baloch resistance websites, forced to operate from outside Pakistan, and still banned in Pakistani cyberspace, began to carry gruesome accounts of unchecked brutalities. However, Pakistani airwaves and cyberspace remained clear of any such ‘anti-state’ accounts.

Baloch blood was being spilled with no one brave enough to speak of it. Amidst this re-launched operation, exiled Baloch leaders were able to play the card they had wished to play much earlier: the US Congress took up a debate on Balochistan and tabled a bill to acknowledge the Baloch ‘right to self-determination’. The same ‘right to self determination’ was, of course, something Pakistan itself had been campaigning foreign powers for in the similarly gruesome 64-year old Indian-occupation of Kashmir. The US is telling Pakistan: what about the suppression in Balochistan?

Balochistan is the thaw no one in Pakistan wishes to admit as much as discuss – or solve. The late politics over it by Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan has come to naught, so clear is Baloch nationalist sentiment. Imran Khan’s pseudo-rally in Quetta, announced for 23 March, seemed to be an attempt to engineer and announce a new Pakistan resolution from the Baloch capital amidst a flailing nationalist project. Nawaz Sharif’s All-Parties Conference on Balochistan fell apart because Baloch parties refused to join in, making the attempt look silly.

No Baloch takes the more than 270 ‘killed-and-dumped’ bodies as a joke. No Baloch believes the army high command when it says, “No military operations are being carried out in Balochistan and no security forces have been involved in human rights abuses.”

And this is the worst part: all political actors and intellectuals in Pakistan, including this writer, are speaking about the Baloch but not to the Baloch. Journalists from Balochistan are able to relay how the army views the mere act of putting up a Pakistani flag as a victory. To the Baloch, the rising flag means being conquered. And it is being conquered that the Baloch resist when they are whisked away and they return as tortured, bullet-ridden bodies.

The price of Baloch blood is not that Pakistan might split again – it is that we will fool ourselves again, as we do now, when the Foreign Office issues condemnations of the US Congress debate on Balochistan, on why we split. To condemn the military operation, to condemn the killing-and-dumping and to return the missing Baloch, that is what should have been the government’s response. In its absence, it will be sure to learn the price of Baloch blood the hard way.

The writer is a member of staff, a researcher at LUMS and a member of the Workers’ Party Pakistan. He blogs at voiceamidstsilence.blogspot.com and can be reached at [email protected]



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37 Comments

  1. Ali said:

    I was in Lahore the week Bughti was killed, and believe me not even a sparrow cried! Baloch is not alienated…. its other way round…..

  2. Baber Khan said:

    Baloch Youth dies because Baloch leaders send them to their deaths… They have no education, no prospects for a better life.. these poor boys only have their so called ‘tribal leaders’ (read ‘degenerate bastards’) to listen to, and no other future… Baloch tribal leaders are the main problem in Balochistan, nothing else matches the damage they have done. so Shut up you ill informed fool

    • Nouroz Khan said:

      hahah what do you know about Baloch Youth ? Baloch youth are more then educated of ur choudrayies Baloch batter know his future,, to day Baloch youth are free to make any decision, there is no sardar or nawab baloch Sacrifice for Freedom Only for FREEDOM and listen more now , time is enough, no one can stop of freedom of balochistan ,,, stop broken ur pokistan if you can ,,,,,,,,,,, but NOOOOOOOO nobody can stop breaking of pakistan

  3. Baber Khan said:

    from another article today “when Shahzain Bugti, the grand son of late Nawab Akbar Bugti, was arrested by Frontier Constabulary in Quetta, he first of all contacted the US Embassy in Islamabad. They said it was a clear proof that the Americans were in league with separatist elements in Balochistan and providing them arms and finances for the attainment of their nefarious designs.”

  4. Beeberg Bugti said:

    No one talks about now BLF BLA BRA BLUF Lashkar-e-Balochistan and BSO-A etc have been committing the worst atrocities on their own fellow Baloch for years.

    They abduct and rape Baloch women who refuse to 'cooperate', steal livestock from Baloch shepherds and demand 'ghunda tax' from businesses and shops. Women like Fazila Baloch, Shah Bibi, Naz Gul etc were raped and killed by these Sarmachar in Awaran, Turbat, Bolan areas these past few months. These reports have only been reported in local newspapers since the 'mainstream' is more obsessed with Brahamdagh and Hyrbyair.

    They are openly racist towards Punjabis and Urdu-speakers, and have been involved in the killing of nearly 2000 "settlers" across the province in last 10 years alone, and have forced thousands of families to leave the province. they kill teachers, professors, barbers, lawyers, labourers, and policemen and feel proud of it.

    Do you really expect us Baloch to sit back and let them hijack us for their fake demands of freedom?

    Sincerely,
    Beeberg Bugti, Kharan.

  5. Hashim Khan said:

    and baloch ppl killed VC of a university and teachers and so manny innocent ppl wt da hell was dat? cnt u ppl see dat???? eye oppner my foot!!! the life of that single VC was far above all these BLA dogs!!! get a life see what they have done killed so many innocent non baloch ppl…

    • @basham_baloch said:

      baloch kill all those who come in our land and work for paksitan and help them for kiddnaping the baloch political workers.

      • M Ali Khan said:

        BLA/BRA/BLF have been killing their own fellow Baloch who dare not join their cause, and have targeted and killed labourers, teachers, doctors etc that had been living in Balochistan for almost 30-40 years.

        If Baloch rights are to be given, xenophobia and racism towards 'settlers' is pathetic!

  6. FMB said:

    Fahad Marri (Baloch)
    I am also against the author of this article. Those who are fighting are not Baloch heroes, they are one who want money only for them and control without supervision of state. They don't give a single paisa to its poor people, they do not promote education, on the other hand expecting us to follow them. I did my master from university of Balochistan and I knew who were in favour of education and prosperity. It time of election that's why this all is happening between few Baloch leader parties. After senate election everything will be normal.

  7. wonderer said:

    This is not a time for pointing fingers. It is high time something was done to stop whatever is happening in Baluchistan.

  8. Bob said:

    This is trash.. not Journalism, just pathetic, ill informed propaganda. I have eaten with Baloch tribal leaders and listened to them.. they are only about control of people, resources and money. Their fathers had taught them to ensure that their tribsmen and those on their lands (or, illegally occupied lands in many cases) are always dependent on the sardar (education, roads and schools, hospitals, are a way to empower people and make them self sufficient… the average baloch tribal understands and exploits this more than any).. so Mr Hashim Rashid, your silly, un researched attempt at propaganda, however heartfelt, is a big bag of the same bullshit that Baloch leaders have sprouted for years to mislead their own people. Shut up my friend, and rethink

  9. Paki said:

    Best Column and well written piece which every one should read including brainless denial writers. Mr. Hashim Rashid I pay you rich tributes but Bro be cautious that you may not go missing because politically conscious person is more dangerous than……….
    Best best best and best. May you live long bro. Amen

  10. Muhammad Tayyab said:

    As a Pakistani we are against the killing of all innocent people of Balochistan but there is difference b/w being innocent and be portraying. General public of Balochistan is really innocent and they want education, basic health facilities and prosperity but the war lords of their area are driving them by force to join them. There are so many innocents who don't follow these war lords and are killed mostly by them but blame is put on security agencies. But there is also incompetency and corruption of present govt. who doesn't represent the will of their own people and are only looting. Each member of provincial assembly is given billions of rupees to spend for the benefit of public but all money is gone into their personal bank accounts. When this chief minister comes in Islamabad he chants "all is well there" but after going back says "nobody listens me" But if these war lords are given power, they will make people of all over the province their slave and and if anyone would speak rightly, will be their personal jails. We love Balochistan and its people but who are who are fighting against Pakistan are not well wisher of them. We all know that central govt. is the most corrupt but we are all suffering in each province. Its not fair to put blame on Punjabi's or on any other. Its the leadership who should be criticized for wrong and bloody activities. The man who launched 1st military action in the province was Gen. Ayoub. He was from NWFP the second Mr. Bhutto who was from Sindh and 3rd Gen. Musharraf who was also from Sindh (Karachi) they all were not from Punjab but why still it is being blamed? Wrong persons should be blamed for their activities instead of whole province.

  11. NAM said:

    An article like others who have no knowledge of ground realities. I wish someone out of u travel inside Balochistan and ask poor people. They have been terrified and robbed by these so called liberators. Can someone calculate the money allotted to Balochisttan in last fifteen years and where it was spent? All went to these sardars. Every insurgency has fattened these sardars. These miscreants are killing their own fellas to malign state and get more sympathesies. Every baloch MNA/MPA pocketed Rs 30 crores each for development, They will get more in the name of insurgency. I pitty illinformed intellectuals like this writer.

  12. dashti said:

    Pakistan may enslave the Baloch for hundred more years but Baloch will continue resisting the occupation even after a hundred years. Baloch have parted their ways with Pakistan. Physical presence doesn't mean subjugation.

  13. SKhan said:

    Hashim, do you think freedom will solve any Baloch problems? You have complete illiteracy in the province due to tribal system.

    No doubt these leaders of ours have done wrong to Baloch, Sindhi, Punjabi & Pakhtuns etc but if there is one thing thats forever keeping us brothers, its our religion. Each & every muslim state is poorly run & Baluchistan is governed by the likes of Bugti et all.

    If you want to bring a revolution, bring education. Clear out the tribal & feudal system & help your brothers stand up to one of the most corrupt gov. in the world (Zardari & Sharifs too).

  14. yagibaloch said:

    I see these comments on this eye opening piece of writing, how the ISI use baloch names to post false comments and tries to manipulate fact and and defame the baloch national struggle. Baloch can’t think of rapping a women even our enemy’s mother and sister is deserve our full respect. And we are fighting for these nobel values. You can’t change the history by lying. Its the pakistan army who is killing and dumping baloch political workers, abducting baloch women and childer.

  15. robesppaire said:

    The more costly the blood spilled is, the more powerful reverberation would be.Let’s wait and see,the more dead and bullet riddled bodies you throw,the more severely it shakes the very foundation of pakistan. Time is gone when some tribal leaders were spearheading the war. Now its the young and educated leadership from poor Baloch is leading the movement. Some parrot like idiots are repeating the worn-out phrase that sardars are doing this, sardars are doing that. Now I warn them that they are fool and completely blind.

  16. Judgal said:

    Posting comments by Baloch famous tribes name as Bugti and Marri and the unrealistic stories of raping of women by Sarmachars do not change the ground realty because every single baloch youth is will aware of these tactics of agency's propaganda but now its not workable any more,look at Makran division there is no Tribe chief or war lords so whom you are going to blame there? why Pakistan's gov not allowing media and other human rights organizations to expose the real face of Pakistan,,,You are using old tactics but Baloch youths are equipped with new tools and they are willing to fight generation by generations as its going on since 1948,, People like Hashim Bin Rashid unveil the truth but its same to me hurting you gys There is no vlauve to you human rights even to me you are only Muslims by names there is nothing teaching of Islam in you,,this is what we Baloch were requested to be part of Muslims country Pakistan but enough is enough,,,none of these golden words are workable anymore to Baloch…….

  17. innocent said:

    if u think all sardar r to blame and unducated baloch r to be blame, wat do u think of our leaders and our army who kills and hand over our innocents to jewish state of america dear babar,its nw abt 64 years bt we stilldnt hv a true leader to think first of his own nation, wt r ur taught for dr Afia this is only one example for ur leader of pakistan whichis a islamic state to be said

  18. BSO said:

    The first article from a non-Baloch intellectual which is really the best, reflecting the true situation in Balochistan. Thanks alot Respected Hashim bin Rashid…
    But unfortunately except few comments, all look like the same army minded people..
    Very away from the real situation in Balochistan.

  19. wahab said:

    thanks and very nice dear…but am sorry..its tooooo late now. dont expect that we will coll down with these “words”

  20. Ibn-e-Umeed said:

    ۔۔۔ بلوچستان چلا

    جاگ مری سرکار، بلوچستان چلا
    بھائی ہوئے بیزار، بلوچستان چلا

    دہشت کے طوفان سے امن کی آس عبث
    زہر کی فصلیں بو کے امرت پیاس عبث
    ہوں سچ سے آنکھیں چار، بلوچستان چلا
    جاگ مری سرکار، بلوچستان چلا
    بھائی ہوئے بیزار ، بلوچستان چلا
    جاگ مری سرکار ۔۔۔۔۔۔۔

    اَناوءں کے سرطان میں ڈھاکہ ہار چکے
    سینکڑوں تمغے اور قصیدے وار چکے
    یاں کرسی پہ یلغار، بلوچستان چلا
    جاگ مری سرکار، بلوچستان چلا
    بھائی ہوئے بیزار ، بلوچستان چلا
    جاگ مری سرکار ۔۔۔۔۔۔۔

    اپنے ہی گھر میں مہمان، گوارا کب تک ہو
    فکر کا یہ فقدان، گوارا کب تک ہو
    ظلم کے ہیں انبار، بلوچستان چلا
    جاگ مری سرکار، بلوچستان چلا
    بھائی ہوئے بیزار ، بلوچستان چلا
    جاگ مری سرکار ۔۔۔۔۔۔۔

    نئے نئے کئی دشمن، تاک لگائے ہیں
    آج کے نیرو، چَین الاپ سنائے ہیں
    جھوٹ کی ہے بھرمار، بلوچستان چلا
    جاگ مری سرکار، بلوچستان چلا
    بھائی ہوئے بیزار ، بلوچستان چلا
    جاگ مری سرکار ۔۔۔۔۔۔۔

    رشتوں سے انصاف بِنا گھر کیا ہوگا
    اپنے سر کے تاج بِنا گھر کیا ہوگا
    بھائیوں میں تکرار، بلوچستان چلا
    جاگ مری سرکار، بلوچستان چلا
    بھائی ہوئے بیزار ، بلوچستان چلا
    جاگ مری سرکار ۔۔۔۔۔۔۔

    میرے وطن کی شان، بلوچستان سے ہے
    پگڑی کا یہ مان، بلوچستان سے ہے
    نفرت پہ ہو وار، بلوچستان چلا
    جاگ مری سرکار، بلوچستان چلا
    بھائی ہوئے بیزار ، بلوچستان چلا
    جاگ مری سرکار ۔۔۔۔۔۔۔

    جاگ مری سرکار، بلوچستان چلا
    بھائی ہوئے بیزار، بلوچستان چلا

    ஜ۩۞۩ஜ اِبنِ اُمید ஜ۩۞۩ஜ http://www.facebook.com/ibn.e.umeed

  21. Khalid said:

    Both sides have a point but the most important thing is that if a majority of people in any region anywhere wish to become independent why should they be held by force?
    A referendum should be held under a neutral authority to determine the desire of the people. Clearly a question has arisen which needs to be settled for progress to occur on all sides. What is so sacrosanct about a nation state that the blood of the youth is being shed? Islam on whose basis Pakistan came into being tells us that killing one innocent person is like killing all of humanity. Is there anything more important than respecting eternal principles? We should all do our best to live in peace and harmony and leave the final outcomes to the Creator. Have we lost our faith so horribly that we condone atrocites on His creation and nurture the illusion that we can get away. Each one of us is answerable and there is but a short while here. How tragic it is that people with a little authority become so blind that they throw away their eternal life for petty gains here. Of course when they have no respect for themselves how can we expect them to respect others. May the Almighty Allah have mercy on us!

  22. Rizwan Lone said:

    Doesn't anyone question why these Balochi Sardars amass HUGE fortunes, and then claim the Balochi people are being cheated? Marri/Bugti and friends drove RANGE ROVERS, to them a landcruiser is a poor man's car.

    In reality, they are upset because THEY lost their vassals in 1947. They're concerned about their own well-being. If they were "secular" and "democratic," then why do they never allow Balochis from other families to take up a meaningful political position? They are in control of dynastic political parties – they're the PPP of Balochistan.

    Any benefit to the average Balochi is just incidental – they are first and foremost concerned about their own wealth and power. Being rich isn't enough for these wanna-be aristocrats – they want to be the next Saudi sheikhs, with a fortune and barren country to match.

  23. Tahir Khan said:

    So far 360 bullet-riddled dead bodies of Baloch youth have been recovered. Majority of the victims were highly qualified and position holders from different varsities of Baloch and at the same time Army is claiming of opening educational institutions. It is very strange.
    It was Nawab Bugti who protested the rape of a Sindhi woman in Sui and raised voice against Army captain Hamad, Because Baloch society have a big respect for women, children and aged people. Blaming Baloch freedom fights for committing rape by writers with fake names depicted the mentality of some shameful people.

  24. Sajad Sandilo said:

    Pakistan Army has forgot the lessons she learnt by Bengalis. More terrible lessons can be taught by Balochs with increasing spaces of times. Watch and see.

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