Khuzdar bleeds again

By Malik Siraj Akbar

Two young Baloch students were killed in Khuzdar district on Friday when unidentified persons opened indiscriminate fire on them. The Baloch Students Organization (BSO-Azad) has owned both the murdered young boys, Bibarg Baloch and Sattar Baloch, as its members and alleged that they were target killed due to their political affiliations.

An underground organization identifying itself as the Baloch Armed Defense Organization (BADO), which had previously claimed responsibility for attacking the Baloch students in the same district, confirmed its involvement in the assault.

This is the third unpleasant incident taking place in Khuzdar after short intervals in which Baloch students are targeted and killed. All these cases seem to be masterminded by anti-Baloch elements who wish to frighten the Baloch political activists to entice them to give up their political affiliations. In the first such attack in Khuzdar in March this year, two students were killed when the Frontier Crops (FC) opened fire on a peaceful protest rally of democratic forces.

Another two Baloch students were killed and nine were injured again in March when unidentified persons hurled three hand grenades in a cultural program at Khuzdar Engineering University. It was very unfortunate that the mainstream Pakistani media totally snubbed the attack on students in Khuzdar University. On the contrary, when a similar terrorist attack had occurred at Islamic International University in Islamabad, the issue echoed for several weeks on different private news channels because of the pressure the right-wing elements hurled on the national media. On the other hand, the Baloch students’ plight was never highlighted in the national media.

On forceful insistence of the people of Khuzdar and the Baloch nationalist circles, a parliamentary committee was formed under the leadership of federal minister Humayyun Aziz Kurd to investigate the firing incident in Khuzdar which killed two innocent Baloch students. The committee also comprised of federal minister Ejaz Jakarani and the member of the National Assembly from the same constituency Usman Advocate. The committee was briefed by the local police, principal of the Balochistan Residential College (BRC), a student of which, Saddam Hussain, was killed and also the family of the victim. At the end of its investigations, the chairman of the committee was reported in the media holding the FC responsible for the killing of the Baloch students. However, no action has been taken against the FC personnel responsible for the killing of the Baloch students in the firing incident.

Secondly, the perpetrators of the attack on the cultural show have also not been brought to justice. The latest sad development is highly regrettable. This will further worsen the situation in Balochistan. The underground organization that has accepted responsibility for the attack has given very invalid reasons for its attacks saying that every Baloch who asks for his rights is a terrorist. Such assertions are surely going to unite the Baloch people and increase support for the national movement across the board. After all, it is unfair to kill innocent students for the reason that you disagree with their political demands. The BSO Azad has never been involved in killing political opponents. Therefore, it is unreasonable to target BSO activists.

The same organization has also threatened the journalists in Khuzdar not to cover the activities of Balochistan National Party as well as all the armed groups. A journalist who covers the events organized by these groups, they warned, would have to face dire consequences.

The killing of BSO activists has also sparked province-wide protest rallies and shutter down strikes. The Frontier Corps (FC) manhandled a few journalists in Khuzdar on Saturday when they tried to cover the funeral of the slain students. A TV journalist was deprived of his camera for around half an hour. All these developments will not help to improve but add to the aggravation of the situation in Balochistan.

This piece originally appeared in The Baloch Hal, Balochistan’s first online English newspaper

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