March 14, 2012

Editorial: Terror in Mand

Posted: Thu, 08 Mar 2012 14:53:16 +0000

The Baloch Hal

In yet another act of senseless use of violence against innocent civilians, armed men killed five Punjabi laborers in the border town of Mand Bulo in Kech district. While no group has still claimed responsibility for the mass murder, this tragic incident traces its roots to a similar attack by the Baloch Liberation Front (BLF) on February 15 in which seven construction workers were killed in the same district of Kech (formerly known as Turbat).

There are conflicting reports what the Punjabi citizens were doing in Kech. One account of the incident says they had freshly returned from Iran after performing pilgrimage while another accounts suggests that they were planning to illegally cross the Iranian border so that they could eventually go to Europe from there. Every year, thousands of people, mainly unemployed youth from the Punjab province, attempt to cross the Pakistan-Iran border. Some of them succeed while most of them are detained by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).
Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Mohammad Aslam Raisani has rightly condemned the incident and asked responsible authorities to take action against criminals responsible for this ugly episode. Considering the previous undetected attacks on unarmed Punjabi and Urdu-speaking people in Balochistan, one sees little hope that the Balochistan government will do anything to bring the murderers to justice.

As the self-proclaimed Baloch nationalists continue to brutally target kill innocent settlers, they seem to have embarked upon the final chapter of their movement.With these killings, we see a sad but destined end of the Baloch nationalists coming as was witnessed in Sri Lanka in case of the Tamil Tigers. There is no political philosophy or movement more valuable than human life. Every movement that is based on hatred against humanity and sponsors violence should be condemned and discouraged. The Baloch movement is not an exception to the rule. Lack of protest to these killings from moderate nationalist groups such as the Balochistan National Party, National Party and the Jamori Watan Party sadly reminds us that the true and ideological nationalists have given in to a bunch of apolitical, violent criminals who violate Baloch cultural, historical and political traditions by employing violence to the members of the working class. The Baloch movement has either been hijacked by this group of hardliners or it has simply become an umbrella for all criminal sections of the society to pursue their personal goals under the pretext of nationalism.

We have repeatedly warned the Baloch nationalists that they are not immune to international laws. They are not only undermining their own cause but are also increasingly embarrassing the supporters of Balochistan, such as human rights activists, journalists and lawyers, who have stood for many years with the Baloch for whatever their democratic demands have been. These friends of Balochistan have even gone to the extent of totally and unconditionally supporting the Baloch right to self-determination. Is this (embarrassment) all the nationalists have got to offer to their friends in return of their support?

The Baloch nationalist movement lacks internal accountability. No one knows who feeds these nonsensical doctrines in the minds of the youths to encourage target killing of people who do not share the same ethnicity with them. A further alarming trend among the Balochs is the quick acceptance of conspiracy theories. They are even worse than Pakistani mullahs when it comes to embracing and trusting conspiracy theories. Some defend these killings of settlers as a ‘justified reaction’ while the others call every victim as an “ISI agent”. Worst still, if one criticizes such brutal killings, one also gets labelled as an ISI agent too.This is a deplorable level of political immaturity. This is not how political movements run. Politics and rigidity do not, and of course cannot, go side by side. Those who can’t play politics resort to guns and those who don’t know how to use a gun end of killing innocent people.

Al-Qaeda offers another example of failure of using violence as a tool to get support for the ‘oppressed people”. It made religion a tool to justify its terrorist activities. It chose verse after verse from the Quran to provide a pretext for whatever it was doing. Did the free world give in to Al-Qaeda excuses? Of courses not. Nationalism is surely not as appealing as religion to mass population. If religion failed, rather was collectively defeated, when it was used to defend terrorist attacks we see no reason for nationalism to have solid footing to justify acts of terror.
We would once again like to call upon the nationalist leadership to abandon these disgraceful operations. They must respect human rights because they have remained a victim of extraordinary human rights violations by Islamabad. Those who are pushing the Baloch movement to the brink of being declared a terrorist movement are surely not the friends of Balochistan.

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