Army brutalities on Baloch continue unabated, says Noordin Mengal
A young international representative, who is grandson of two of Balochistan's most widely respected nationalist leaders, accused the Pakistan military and intelligence services of playing the Islam card to crush diversity and the national movement of Balochistan.
Noordin Mengal, who is grandson of former chief minister Sardar Ataullah Mengal and Balochistan freedom icon Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri, was speaking Thursday at the Oxford University Pakistan Society.
Mehran Baluch, Balochistan's unofficial representative at the U.N. Human Rights Council and Ali Dayan Hasan, Pakistan director of the Human Rights Watch, also spoke on the occasion.
Noordin Mengal cited the speech of the late Mir Ghous Bakhsh Bizenjo, who is considered to be one of the founding fathers of modern Baloch nationalism, in support of freedom of Balochistan in 1947 and said, "If Pakistan wants to treat us as a sovereign people, we are ready to extend the hand of friendship and cooperation. If Pakistan does not agree to do so, flying in the face of democratic principles, such an attitude will be totally unacceptable to us, and if we are forced to accept this fate then every Baloch son will sacrifice his life in defense of his national freedom.”
He said Pakistan military high cpmmand and intelligence services form the core of the Pakistani establishment and they are repeating the same crimes in Balochistan they committed in Bangladesh in 1971.
Following is the full text of Noordin Mengal speech:
The situation in Balochistan continues to worsen while many of you living abroad and in Pakistan remain unaware.
The oppressed people of Balochistan have been oppressed at the hands of the Pakistan army since Balochistan was forcibly incorporated into Pakistan on 27th March 1948.
States which are intolerant towards diversity are by necessity autocratic and bigoted because they not only reject political or religious diversity but also reject the natural ethnic diversity among people and demand that all submit to their political thought, their religious practices and their ethnic culture. Such states label diversity as dissent and set about to impose conformity and uniformity according to their set of beliefs and anyone who resists them is labeled as a traitor and hounded or even done away with.
Pakistan is the worst example of the states that crush diversity in name of religion and the supposedly superior political thought and culture that their elite and establishment represents. The absolute rejection of all forms of diversity didn’t come as an afterthought to the establishment it was their primary aim and motive behind the creation of this country.
Before I proceed I think the word ‘establishment’ needs to define and it was well defined by the UN commission on Benazir Bhutto’s assassination. In its report it had said, “The Establishment is generally used in Pakistan to refer to those who exercise de facto power; it includes the military high command and the intelligence agencies, together with the top leadership of certain political parties, high- level members of the bureaucracy and business persons that work in alliance with them. The military high command and intelligence agencies form the core of the Establishment and are its most permanent and influential components.”
Bengal riots against Urdu
As Kalat declared its independence on August 11th 1947 and its independent status accepted by all the machinations to deprive Baloch of their independence began immediately and all sorts of stratagems were employed which included weaning away feudatory states of Kharan, Makran etc and sowing dissension among Baloch Sardars. This was limited to Balochistan but as countrywide measure to impose uniformity Jinnah declared that Urdu would be the national language. When Bengalis protested they were fired upon and that date 21st February is the International Mother Language Day, Bengalis were told to adopt Urdu as Bengali was language of Hindus. One wonders what made Urdu Islamic.
The ‘establishment’ used Islam as the stick to beat the nationalities into submission; it made it abundantly clear that all will have to submit to their version of Islam and nationalism. Mir Ghous Bakhsh Bizenjo said in his Darul Umra speech of 14th December 1947, exposing the hollowness of the ‘establishment’s’ argument and is still a valid argument and a fine enunciation of Baloch demands and aspirations. It is worth mentioning that Kalat remained independent for 227 days.
He said, “We have a distinct civilization and a separate culture like that of Iran and Afghanistan. We are Muslims but it is not necessary that by virtue of being Muslims we should lose our freedom and merge with others. If the mere fact that we are Muslims requires us to join Pakistan, then Afghanistan and Iran, both Muslim countries, should also amalgamate with Pakistan.
“We were never a part of India before the British rule. Pakistan’s unpleasant and loathsome desire that our national homeland, Balochistan should merge with it is impossible to consider. We are ready to have friendship with that country on the basis of sovereign equality but by no means ready to merge with Pakistan. We can survive without Pakistan. But the question is, what would Pakistan be without us?
He said, “I do not propose to create hurdles for the newly created Pakistan in the matters of defense and external communication. But we want an honorable relationship, not a humiliating one. If Pakistan wants to treat us as a sovereign people, we are ready to extend the hand of friendship and cooperation. If Pakistan does not agree to do so, flying in the face of democratic principles, such an attitude will be totally unacceptable to us, and if we are forced to accept this fate then every Baloch son will sacrifice his life in defense of his national freedom.”
Pakistan threatens world peace
Ladies and Gentlemen, Pakistan is not only a threat to lives and rights of Baloch and Sindhi people living within its boundaries it is a clear and present danger to peace, stability and security in the region, nay, to world peace. I think a quote from Clive Staples Lewis will define its role quite clearly, he says, "Of all tyrannies a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
The tragedy for the oppressed nationalities and the menace for the region is the Pakistani ‘establishment’ which is not only a ‘robber baron’ but is also an ‘omnipotent moral busybody’. It is this lethal combination that endangers not only them but also the world peace. There is rarely if ever a terrorist incident which isn’t linked to Pakistan. Their ‘strategic assets’ have now become a menace for peace and stability everywhere; they now have plans to enter Balochistan as charity to foment and foster hate and sectarianism of the worst kind and use Baloch soil as a launching pad against Afghanistan. The Baloch have suffered immeasurably from this twin-headed monster as did the Bengalis. Fortunately the Bengalis got the opportunity to go their way but Baloch continue to bear the brunt of repression and atrocities. They have been the target of five military operations and in the recent wave of systematic violence more than 350 abducted persons were killed and dumped; thousands more are missing and their fate may be no different.
Today, the Baloch youth are no longer concerned or bothered about giving a historical, political, cultural or economic justification for its independence from Pakistan. The Baloch consider this genocide as enough justification for its liberation from the artificial state of Pakistan.
Though Pakistan considers itself to be the torch-bearer and guardian of Islam, during the holy festival of Eid it practices it by dumping bullet-ridden corpses in Balochistan, with notes in the victims' pockets calling them an Eid gift for the Baloch people.
The Pakistan army’s increasing presence all over Balochistan and its atrocities including repeated military operations is a sign of its weakness and fear of the Baloch becoming the masters of their homeland and their own destiny.
Suu Kyi said fear corrupts
In the words of Aung San Suu Kyi, It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.
The Baloch have reached a point of no return. The Baloch fully understand that they have no future in Pakistan.
There is no other solution. We have come to this conclusion after 65 years of false promises, deception, atrocities and bloodshed. The fact is that in reality the Baloch have never even been a part of the artificial state of Pakistan as the very foundation of our relation with Pakistan was based on injustice. How can anyone even imagine the Baloch getting their rights or any sort of justice in Pakistan when this is the case?
The hostilities were initiated by the Pakistani state with forcible annexation of Kalat and Baloch have always in self-defense. Ironically it is the Baloch who are made out to be the aggressors though they are simply trying to regain their right to be part of comity of nations which they were denied under duress. The Baloch fully understand that they face overwhelming odds but they also believe that the forces of history and dialectics are in their favour and Pakistan is slowly unraveling by its own doings and that the world has come to realize that the threat to world peace and rights of Baloch and Sindhi people do not arise from rogue elements within the ‘establishment’ but that the entire ‘establishment’ and the state is the rogue.
The Baloch have been struggling to defend themselves as they fully realize that if they tarry any longer they will be swamped by the colonists. I think James Russel Lowell’s poem puts it across correctly.
Once to every man and nation
Comes the moment to decide,
In the strife of truth and falsehood,
For the good or evil side;
Some great cause, God’s new Messiah,
Off’ring each the bloom or blight,
And the choice goes by forever
Twixt that darkness and that light.
Though the cause of evil prosper,
Yet ’tis truth alone is strong;
Though her portion be the scaffold,
And upon the throne be wrong:
Yet that scaffold sways the future,
And behind the dim unknown,
Standeth God within the shadow
Keeping watch above his own.
JAMES RUSSEL LOWELL (1819-1891)
Balochistan would have long been swamped by the colonists from the Pakistani state who eye its resources and care not a whit for the people if the Baloch had not resisted the aggressor. I salute all those brave Baloch who have been resisting the domination by the occupying Pakistan army with their indomitable spirit. They have not sacrificed in vain and I see a prosperous, secular and democratic Balochistan emerging from their sacrifices and unceasing efforts. As tribute to all those who have sacrificed, are sacrificing and will sacrifice in future I dedicate the poem ‘Invictus’.
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
William Ernest Henley (1849-1903)
Thank you Ladies and Gentlemen.