For the Baloch friends
A lot of Baloch youths are displeased with the unilateral ceasefire of the Baloch armed groups. They are, as usual, suspicious. What has confronted us now, they ask: Betrayal. Sell-out. Compromise. Surrender.
It is not only them. Even I met a few more educated friends of mine at Quetta Sarena the other day. “What is happening?” asked both the friends together. “I know what is happening,” I replied: “[What I know is] that I don’t know [what is happening]. Do you know [what is happening?]” They were as blank as I was.
Why did Gazin Marri meet Zardari? Did he meet him in his personal capacity or as the representative of the Baloch nation? No one knows.
Why are the Baloch nationalist parities completely hushed even after the brutal operation in New Kahan which culminated in the murder of a Baloch woman? Why have we not seen a single statement of condemnation against New Kahan operation in the newspapers by Balochistan National Party, National Party or rest of the political parties?
I remember Nawab Raisani, the Balochistan Chief Minister, responding to a question of mine in the presence of Rehman Malik, Prime Minister’s Advisor for internal affairs, that the government would not stop operation in the province until the other side, comprising of the insurgents, stopped fighting. Now that a unilateral ceasefire as been brokered, what justification does the government have for the unprovoked operation in New Kahan?
These questions are bothering the comrades from the Baloch Students Organization (BSO) the most.
The other day, when I woke up, I saw several missed calls displayed on my phone. I recognized the number. It was of a friend from BSO-Azad. That fellow normally does not call me so enthusiastically. I met him the other day in front of Quetta Press Club where the Baloch women were carrying out a protest rally against the New Kahan operation.
Holding a copy of the fresh edition of The Herald [which included an exclusive interview of Jandullah leader Malik Reki with [our own Baloch journalist colleague] Shahzada Zulfiqar], the young man looked a bit perturbed.
“Yes, actually, we [the boys from the BSO] wanted to meet you,” he said.
“Meet me? Why?” I inquired.
“In fact, we wanted you to meet the Nawab [Kahir Baksh Marri] to ask him what is happening around. I am sure he would be willing to talk to you. After all you had interviewed him before,” he added.
At the beginning I didn’t fully understand what the young man wanted to say. But he explained that a lot of expressive BSO youths were cheerless with the developments taking place in Balochistan. Why are so many things, such as the ceasefire, Gazin’s meeting with Zardari and the Baloch leaders’ silence towards New Kahan operation, coinciding at the same time?
At night, I had an in-depth discussion with Bibarg Baloch, the official spokesman for the BLA. Bibarg said he fully understood the anguish among the Baloch youths but was upset to know that there were the ones among the Baloch who questioned their [BLA’s] commitment to the Baloch cause.
In his opinion, the BLA has declared the ceasefire only to send a message to the government that that Baloch are competent enough to start or end a war whenever it wished to. Secondly, they have agreed to work with rest of the armed groups in Balochistan which should come as an encouraging sign for those who in the past grumbled that the Baloch never united on a single platform.
I asked him as to why the ceasefire had been announced in the month of Ramzan. “Does this not indicate the presence of religiously motivate people in your ranks?” I asked. He laughed and replied the declaration of the ceasefire had only coincided with the month of Ramzan.
“ Hey to waja bus ithefaq hey gap hey” [ This is, sir, but a matter of co-incidence]
Yet halting the BLA operations in the moth of Ramzan does not surely reflect the mindset of those who are fighting for the Baloch rights. However, Bibarg said no one could deny the importance of Ramzan and the holy month was viewed with respect by everyone around. Those who disregarded the sanctity of this month are the ones in the government that are not sparing the Baloch even in the month of Ramzan.
Like many young Baloch men, he too sounded uncomfortable about the covert talks taking place between Gazin Marri and the government. Just like me, Bibarg too believed that media in Pakistan was not objectively presenting the details of the Dubai meeting between Gazin and Zardari. Bibarg said Gazin’s meeting could not be linked with the Baloch liberation movement. That was the meeting of an individual which should be taken as a collective action taken by the Baloch armed groups.
“What is the ultimate thing that Gazin [Marri] will would do?” he questioned. “To become the governor? Has Nawab Magsi not become the governor of Balochistan? Has that helped us achieve the Baloch rights?” he inquired.