Tragedy in Balochistan

Tragedy in Balochistan

Muhammad Ali Ehsan

Monday, June 17, 2013 – Why not become a holy warrior? See what you do by becoming one- you murder the innocent university going girls. Is this in the name of Jehad? Or is this for the liberation of Balochistan? If this is done by the wholly warriors waging jehad than let the over I million students churned out from over 8000 madaris in Pakistan raise their hands and pray to God ‘let us know the true meaning of jehad?’ If it is done by any front fighting for the liberation of Balochistan than they must ask themselves for whom are they liberating Balochistan for? Their boys and girls who will live in caves and who will dwell in mountains. Or for their next generation who would have the choice to live their dreams.

As I write this banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi has accepted the responsibility of the two blasts in Quetta on Saturday which left over 15 university going girls dead and more than 20 of them injured. The first blast took place in the bus parked in the parking lot of Sardar Bahadur Khan University. While the second took place in Bolan Medical Complex where emergency was declared and where these girls were taken for treatment.

As far as my memory serves this is the first attack of its kind in which female gender has specifically been targeted and innocent university going girls killed. This couldn’t have been done by insurgents- it seems to be the work of a deep set hate mind that has targeted a particular sect/community. For the perpetrators of this crime it is not important whom and how they target but how many they target.

This attack on our girls has lifted the curtain from our national shame. Our heads must bow in shame and we must ask ourselves some very serious questions. ‘Where is the enemy?’ The state knows the answer. ‘Who is the enemy?’ the state knows that too. ‘What is the enemy trying to do?’- There is no doubt left on what is their agenda? ‘Why are they the enemy?’- This is a question that has roots in the past- in how precious time was wasted by successive governments in Pakistan (both military and civil) who have allowed the insurgency in Balochistan to continue. Today it is not only the Baloch’s fighting a war of liberation but organizations and elements indulging in ethnic and sectarian exterminations, murders and slaughters – all crimes against humanity.

The attack on university girls was an immediate follow up to the attack on Jinnah residency in Ziarat. Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) has already claimed the responsibility for conducting this attack a day prior in which a building that was not only a national heritage but a symbol of our federation and nationalism was destroyed.

These attacks have done a huge harm to the Balochistan cause. All those sympathizers who believed in the injustice being meted out to the Baloch people will surely be tempted to reconsider their position. Can beasts with no moral or even war ethics be allowed to continue to dictate terms to the state? After the gruesome murder of the innocent university going girls even the most timid doves in the security establishment would want the operation against the militants in Balochistan to continue. Continue till all the beasts under the skin of humanity are brought to justice.

All militant groups have emerged and evolved from the anti-soviet struggle in Afghanistan. United States spent over $ 7 billion to help Pakistan create a mujahedeen force in the early 80’s. Will it consider spending some money now to help Pakistan fight these mujahedeen’s turned militants and radicals? Not only Baloch nationalism but Islamic ideology guides different groups to indulge in the heinous crimes. On one side are the likes of – Nawab Akbar Bugti Khan who claimed “I have been Baloch for several centuries, I have been a muslim for 1400 years. I have been Pakistani for just 50.”- A mindset that is locked to interpret only the benefits of sub nationalism and provincialism and sees no advantages in evolving democracy and federation.

On the other hand are the followers of Laskar-e-Taiyaba that consider the Hazara’s shias as non Muslims who must be persecuted in the name of their ‘definition of Islam’. The obstacle in way of full blown assault against the radicals has been Kashmir. There has always been a connection between Afghanistan and Kashmir.

It was Mullah Umar who provided Harkat-ul-Mujahideen with training camps in Afghanistan. As a state when we were wishing to create well-trained militants who could fight in Kashmir were we ever thinking of how one day our own children will be the targets of their gun sights? We although reversed our long-standing policy of backing the Kashmir insurgency and banned groups like Jash-e-Muhammad and Laskar-e-Taiyyaba, yet did nothing substantial to limit and restrain their activities. Balochistan and Pakistan suffers today because as a State we took little measures in the years gone by to eliminate the enemy from within.

Measures such as controlling the construction of mosques and prohibiting the use of loud speakers were only promises. Determination to control madaris that played important role in fostering militancy were only political talk by the liberals too afraid to challenge the islamists. A countrywide uncontrolled parallel education system was allowed to foster and mushroom that had no credible standing for the students and beneficiaries of madrassa education to find jobs in the mainstream economy of the country. Why wouldn’t they become holy warriors when the state slept for over three decades?

The state and the governments that ran its functions only declared promising policies but no government had the courage and the political will to implement them. Our mistakes lie in the past. Now there are parallel centers of power, non state organizations and outside powers that have interests in the continuity and sustenance of internal conflicts in our society. The stakes are high. It is still not too late to act. All enemies of the state must be persecuted. For we have already wasted lot of time harboring and nesting elements that now threaten our very existence.

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