A Baloch’s Walk for Survival

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With the new government in place in Baluchistan it was expected that there would be some salvation to the Baloch cause. Abdul Maalik a CM from a non feudal background is definitely a break through but it is a challenging road ahead for him I must say. Baluchistan which is the richest province in Pakistan is all bruised and like everything else unfortunately is low on the priority list like every thing else by choice or otherwise. Our new Prime Minister whose speeches before election was mourning Baluchistan is kind of absent there and by making Mr. Maalik ; he might have delivered a political punch but as he ease himself out of the same by putting the onus on Dr. Maalik? Does it solve the issue. No!

Well in a country where there is strife across the country. He would say that it might be less on the priority list but then it should be on the contrary as I am sure in terms of severity it’s the highest. Speaking to my Balochs friends it gives me the impression unfortunately that slowly they are becoming disenchanted by the day with Pakistan. With so many superpowers interested in the province their efforts just become easy if nothing less due to this lack of apathy to the most deserving province of our country.

Speaking to a friend who recently came from Baluchistan about the earthquake relief efforts. He told me that firstly the security forces did not have access to the strife-torn areas and secondly the people effected has refused support in most of the cases from the forces. Well I guess that either it’s a matter of mistrust or simply a show of allegiance of what happens from the mountains of Baluchistan.

Some say that it’s equivalent to be a traitor supporting the insurgency in Baluchistan but than if you look at it; this is the common man who has picked up arms for his rights after getting disappointed by his feudal and equally from the nation. And why would not they? In my view its not insurgency . It’s a dying man’s last struggle to live.

I would give one example only. Whilst we debate violation of constitution so openly now a days. But by providing only 10,000 schools of the 22,000 settlements is not just apathy to this province but as well a violation of article 25 A , 31 and 37 (sub clauses a,b and c) where it states that the State shall provide free and compulsory education to all . Are we not in violation as we have deprived the richest province of its fundamental right of education? So is the situation in health care etc. If this was a province in Middle East or anywhere else in the world. This would have been the star for that country. But sometimes I feel that we may be running this province as a colony . The only difference is that pre 1947 it was ruled to a certain extent by the British Raj but post 1947 its being ruled fully by Pakistan.

Now tell me if you do not get education, health care, jobs and infact you get only poverty misery and infact bullets why would you not be in commotion? Whilst many in our country inclusive of politicians, media pundits and social media gurus debate, abuse or admonish each other from defending the prayer style of their leaders, the double standard policies or infact even their watches. Ironically, we as a nation forget the misery our Baluch brothers live in by the day.

The reason I had to write this piece was my conscious telling me everyday since I heard that on October 27th a group of women, children and even old have commenced a 700 kilometer walk from Quetta to Karachi for their rights , for knowing whereabouts of their beloved and for a peaceful secure future which is a right of every Pakistani. I could not hold back my emotions and had to voice their effort. Whilst people may keep shut up on the guerilla war in Baluchistan. Why we turn our faces away from this ugly truth of Pakistan? I am sorry to them for picking up so late. Maybe the selfish side of me took over and ignored them like every one else. But still am happy that I am trying to do my part.

A dozen or more people have started a walk under the leadership of one Abdul Qadeer Baloch (also known as Maama) along with the affected of his province. A peaceful overture. In my view these people are giving peace a chance and showing that instead of war are pursuing the path of peace to see how Pakistanis reciprocate. Our media who stood outside the polling stations of Defence in the May 11th elections are seen absent. They should have been walking along with these people to cover how and why they are trying to achieve this feat. Is our conscious asleep as a nation about the problems of Baluchistan? Why do we forget that there is a rural Pakistan as well? When our media channels can run talk shows after talk shows on Karachi and KPK ? Why they keep quiet on Baluchistan?

Why Hakeemullah Mehsud who beheaded and executed are soldiers is a martyr and a patriot? But Dr. Allah Nazar ; an educated man who picked up arms to stand shoulder with his people a traitor of the state. Many can say that media is not allowed access etc. Well whist in my view by know why the media has not ascertained ways to cover this extra sensitive issue of our nation.

Whilst these few Baluchs walk along with their women; who rarely step out of Pardah? Have been forced on the roads and that too through treacherous terrains to ask for their rights in the first place? I hear so many of my politicians who claim linkage to the Baluch lineage proudly including the former President Asif Zardari are seen shut up on the issue of Baluchistan. In my view this walk is of great significance and gives a message to me as a Pakistani that our poor and needy Baluch brothers are telling us that they are willing to go to any length for their rights. Yes, they may just be a peaceful walk but if we as Pakistanis do not stand up with them shoulder to shoulder. We let them down as Pakistanis.

So what happens next. When these few reaches Karachi . Will their loved ones returned to them in case if they are still alive. Would their basic rights be ever given to them which has resulted in the first place all this strife or are we just going to keep Baluchistan as a colony for Pakistan. An interesting discussion a few days ago made it clear that instead of looking at everyone with an eye of suspicion. We should take a step back and reach out to get their confidence back on track.

But the question is would this deprivation ever finish as the whole nation moans the same feeling. Let it be Karachi, let it be KPK , let it be Southern Punjab and now even Sindhis have started to show their discontent. I am sure that the development of the nation does not mean only growth of a few thousands but the whole nation has to grow.

We all blame General Musharaf for the strife in Baluchistan. But we forget what was achieved before he took power and what has happened since he has left the power. Agreed, he made mistakes in the Bugti’s murders. But then who didn’t . We all are responsible and many have blood on their hands.

We would need to take Baluchistan as a top priority in my view. This is in the interest of a stable Pakistan both financially and fiscally. Whilst we talk about negotiations in the north. Why not with our brethren in Baluchistan? We should treat them equally. We should stand with their grief. We should stop playing politics with their souls and minds. None and I say none have stepped up to the rights of the Baluchs including the Chief Justice who in my view sold Baluchistan wows for his political gains and have achieved what. Zero!

I am sure that this Baluch Walk is a beginning of a new era . We must support this at all costs as responsible Pakistanis out of the confines of Karachi , Lahore, Islamabad or Defence. Abdul Qadeer Baluch is yet another poor Baluch looking towards the nation for his rights and that to of his people. Lets support him and his peaceful approach for his rights not as a Baluch but as a Pakistani. Pakistan Zindabad!

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