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Bereft of reason

Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

by Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

The support for the Baloch is an anathema for all the parties and politicians because it antagonises the army and not a single political entity is ready to risk its neck. There has been no mentionable show or even sham support for their rights

“Brute force bereft of reason falls by its own weight. Power with counsel temper’d even the gods make greater. But might which in its soul is bent on all impiety, they hate” — Quintus Horatius Flaccus.

Recently the Punjab Assembly supported Nawaz Sharif’s stance on Balochistan after his meeting with Sardar Ataullah Mengal. He had pledged that he will fight the case of Balochistan at all forums and would resolve the issue in consultation with all defiant Baloch leaders and that Sardar Mengal’s concerns were legitimate and atrocities were being committed in Balochistan.

Though the Balochistan Assembly has hailed the resolution, Punjab Assembly’s show of support has not eased the minds of the Baloch who wonder why it has been blind to the atrocities committed against the Baloch all these years. They ask what if Nawaz Sharif changes his stance on Balochistan as all politicians are wont to do when fortune smiles on them. They see it as support for Nawaz Sharif and not the Baloch.

It should be clearly understood that there is no convenient middle ground in governance. A state cannot be half-repressive and half-equitable. The state is either just or oppressive; it cannot have the best of both the worlds. The same holds true for persons, political parties and institutions because principles cannot be guided by exigencies. Principles have to be permanently abided by and adhered to; they cannot be discarded because someone dislikes them or displayed and flaunted just because someone has expressed liking for them or brownie points are expected.

Interestingly, a news report said that the Punjab Assembly failed to repent or even reflect on East Pakistan atrocities and efforts of Rana Tajjamul proved futile. He, on a point of order, reminded the chair: “December 16 was an important day in the history of Pakistan and the House must adopt a resolution.” However, the Speaker promptly snubbed him and said, “We must try to forget black days in the history.” Moreover, the House virtually became a ‘fish market’ because the members wasted time in hurling allegations and crossing all limits of decency as members from both the sides let out streams of invectives. Those who selectively forget and sweep under the rug atrocities committed in Bangladesh cannot be expected to stand up for the rights of the Baloch today.

The intransigent arrogance has not changed. Soon after Bangladesh’s independence, an MNA from Punjab without remorse for the atrocities triumphantly told my late father Mir Ali Ahmed Talpur that now they constituted 60 percent of Pakistan. My father replied” “The way you are going about, you may soon become 100 percent,” but I suppose it went over his head.

Sardar Ataullah Mengal in his meeting with the media on December 19 after talks with Nawaz Sharif said, “This is not the Pakistan Army. Rather it is the Punjabi army that is indulging in such inhuman acts against the Baloch people.” He had rightly said, “The Baloch youth do not want such a Pakistan in which they receive mutilated bodies of their compatriots. It is for them to decide because they are being systematically eliminated and forced to seek refuge in the mountains.” He also said, “If atrocities continue, the Baloch will never accept a united Pakistan.” He also had made it clear that the situation in Balochistan had reached the ‘point of no return’ and that “nothing is in my control now”.

What else could he say when in this year alone nearly 300 tortured and mutilated bodies of the missing Baloch have turned up and many more like Faisal Mengal have been murdered in broad daylight?

Ironically, in his December 13th interview, Frontier Corps (FC) Inspector General (IG) Major-General Obaidullah turning a blind eye to their atrocities and alleged that there is involvement of foreign hand in the Balochistan insurgency. He said, “There are strong indications that these political activists have been kidnapped and killed by their own patrons because of rifts in the ranks of militant organisations.” And in same breath added, “A majority of the kidnapped and killed persons had been found involved in terrorist and criminal activities.” I wonder how they come to know that the dead person was involved in terrorist activities.

While admitting that the issue of Balochistan is purely political and it cannot be resolved by force, he disclosed that 2,872 people, including 1,106 security personnel, had been killed and injured in attacks during the past year. He reluctantly admitted that “quelling an insurgency is almost impossible”.

Though all politicians claim to be the upholders of justice, ironically not a single party or politician has had anything to say anything in support of the Baloch. The support for the Baloch is an anathema for all the parties and politicians because it antagonises the army and not a single political entity is ready to risk its neck. There has been no mentionable show or even sham support for their rights.

The opposition here, if it can be given that honorific title, has contributed to and actively connived in the subjection of people to the will of the establishment. And along with the rulers, ‘its soul is bent on all impiety’ has more than anything encouraged the ‘establishment’ to lord it over the people with impunity. It is more concerned about securing a share in the pie instead of standing up for the rights of people.

The trust deficits cannot be overcome by false promises, empty platitudes and phony development programmes but expecting anything else here from the state and the ‘establishment’ would be foolishness of the first order. The state and the ‘establishment’ fallaciously believe in their infallibility, invincibility, sagacity and are ‘bereft of reason’; and as such are immune to reform.

It would be unjust to fault the Baloch for their brave resistance and doubts about the intentions of the state because throughout the 64-year-history of the ‘land of the pure’ they have been repressed deprived, discriminated and are now subjected to slow track genocide.

Sardar Ataullah Mengal rightly pointed out that the Baloch youth do not want such a Pakistan in which they receive mutilated bodies of their compatriots because of the atrocities and relentless repression, the Baloch in general, and the youth in particular, are no longer bothered or concerned about giving a historical, political or economic justification for its secession from Pakistan. They consider this slow track genocide as justification enough for going their separate way.

Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur has an association with the Baloch rights movement going back to the early 1970s. He can be contacted at