Tag Archives: 1977

Sher Muhammad Marri

By Babar Mirza

Mujahid Barelvi remembers a forgotten hero of the Baloch struggle. Translated from the Urdu by Babar Mirza.

It is a great tragedy for this country in general and Balochistan in particular that Sher Muhammad Marri – who fought an armed struggle in the mountains during the 1950s and ‘60s and was imprisoned in different jails during the ‘70s – is hardly ever remembered in Baloch politics. Even most of the Baloch wouldn’t know where he is buried, for Sher Muhammad Marri was not a sardar or nawab whose politics and legacy had to be kept alive by his sons.

The day my lamenting eyes run out of tears

The eyes of the night of sorrow shall lose all light

My first meeting with Sher Muhammad Marri was entirely by accident. In Karachi, when Mir Bazan (the eldest son of Mir Ghaus Bakhsh Bazinjo) heard that I was going to Lahore to participate in an inter-collegiate debate, he asked me to carry a message for BSO’s central leader Raziq Bugti who was then studying at the Animal Husbandry College. This was my first meeting with Raziq but he greeted me with such warmth as if we had known each other for years. He asked me to sit behind him on his bike and said, “You have reached here at a good time. I am going to Kot Lakhpat Jail to meet Sher Muhammad Mari,” adding, with a smile, “the same Sher Muhammad Marri nicknamed General Sherof by your Leader of the People to paint him as a Russian agent and keep him in jail for life.”

No wonder Bhutto Sahib called him General Sherof

Sitting in the reception area at Kot Lakhpat Jail, I was about to doze off when suddenly I heard a noise. Sher Muhammad Marri made an appearance that was much more impressive and imposing than I had heard. A stocky build with medium height, his long, golden-white-and-black hair was well-kept, his red-and-white face carrying a set of fiery eyes. No wonder Bhutto Sahib called him General Sherof. I for one did not have the courage to look him in the eye. Sher Muhammad Marri had a hurried chat with Raziq Bugti and left. Shortly after that, Sher Muhammad Marri was transferred to Hyderabad Jail. I used to exchange greetings with him in the visitors’ room on my trips to the jail to cover the Hyderabad Conspiracy case. But his authoritative outlook took away my courage to strike a conversation with him.

In 1978, after the Hyderabad Conspiracy case had been closed and the Baloch and Pakhtun leaders released, I went to Quetta as a journalist and had my first detailed interview with Sher Muhammad Marri. This interview proved how wrong my first impression of him was. In the Marri house, after Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri retired for the night, I felt that Sher Muhammad Marri had relaxed as well. He remembered our first meeting in the Kot Lakhpat Jail. He had also read my interview with Mir Ghaus Bakhsh Bazinjo published that very week in the weekly Me’yaar. In contrast to his imposing personality, he had a very slow and soft voice. I had learnt from my Baloch friends that Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri and Sher Muhammad Marri were not only angry with Wali Khan but also with the moderate Baloch leader Mir Ghaus Bakhsh Bazinjo. This estrangement became so bad in Hyderabad Jail that, upon their release, they left for Quetta in separate processions of their supporters. Balochistan would have looked very different today if the four pillars of Baloch nationalism during the ‘70s – Marri, Bugti, Mengal and Bazinjo – had put their differences aside. Faiz sahib penned a beautiful couplet about the myriad splits and divisions in secular and progressive movements during the ‘70s:

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PAKISTAN: Army is silent on the disappearance of Captain 33 years ago

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSIONUrgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-250-2011

21 December 2011 – The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that an army officer of the rank of Captain was sent on a secret mission to Kashmir in 1979 and since then his whereabouts are unknown. The missing officer, who was identified as Mr. Ishtiaq Ali Khan Qaimkhani, told his wife before leaving that if he does not return from the mission within two years then she should contact General Headquarter (GHQ) of the army and the office will provide all his detail. Since 1981 his wife has been trying to get the information from the military and government but has yet to learn as to whether he is dead or alive. She has written many letters to the President, Prime Minister, Chief of Army Staff and Chief Justice of Pakistan but no one has replied to her or conducted an inquiry into the disappearance of the Captain.

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The Generals, Pakistan’s General Problem – How Pakistan’s Generals turned the country into an international disaster

BY Mohammad Hanif

What is the last thing you say to your best general when ordering him into a do-or-die mission? A prayer maybe, if you are religiously inclined. A short lecture, underlining the importance of the mission, if you want to keep it businesslike. Or maybe you’ll wish him good luck accompanied by a clicking of the heels and a final salute.

On the night of 5 July 1977 as Operation Fair Play, meant to topple Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s elected government, was about to commence, then Army Chief General Zia ul Haq took aside his right-hand man and Corps Commander of 10th Corps Lieutenant General Faiz Ali Chishti and whispered to him: “Murshid, marwa na daina.” (Guru, don’t get us killed.)

General Zia was indulging in two of his favourite pastimes: spreading his paranoia amongst those around him and sucking up to a junior officer he needed to do his dirty work. General Zia had a talent for that; he could make his juniors feel as if they were indispensable to the running of this world. And he could make his seniors feel like proper gods, as Bhutto found out to his cost.

General Faiz Ali Chishti’s troops didn’t face any resistance that night; not a single shot was fired, and like all military coups in Pakistan, this was also dubbed a ‘bloodless coup’. There was a lot of bloodshed, though, in the following years—in military-managed dungeons, as pro-democracy students were butchered at Thori gate (Thorri Phaatak) in rural Sindh, hundreds of shoppers were blown up in Karachi’s Bohri Bazar, in Rawalpindi people didn’t even have to leave their houses to get killed as the Army’s ammunition depot blew up raining missiles on a whole city, and finally at Basti Laal Kamal near Bahawalpur, where a plane exploded killing General Zia and most of the Pakistan Army’s high command. General Faiz Ali Chishti had nothing to do with this, of course. General Zia had managed to force his murshid into retirement soon after coming to power. Chishti had started to take that term of endearment—murshid—a bit too seriously and dictators can’t stand anyone who thinks of himself as a kingmaker.

Continue reading The Generals, Pakistan’s General Problem – How Pakistan’s Generals turned the country into an international disaster

The half-truth – by Dr Manzur Ejaz

Excerpt:

One can put the entire blame on the US for terrorism inside Pakistan if the Jamat Islami (JI) and other religious parties confess that the Nizam-e-Mustafa movement of 1977 was also funded by the US to get rid of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto because of his atomic programme …

…. If we assign weight to the factors that have brought us to the present disastrous state of affairs, we may conclude that about 70 percent of jihadi terrorism is/was induced by religious parties and the military. Of course, the US used Pakistan to defeat the Soviet Union but our religious parties and military were undertaking jihadism to further their own agendas. We want to blame the US for everything without taking responsibility for our own doings. And, unless we realise our own mistakes, nothing is going to change.

To read complete article: Wichaar

Civilian and military atrocities on Baloch people

A Page from the Past – By Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

Who was an active member of the Balochistan Resistance in the 70s. He recently returned to Pakistan after a 10-year long exile in Afghanistan.

In keeping with the Pakistani tradition of camouflaging history a vital chunk of the country’s past has been shrouded in mystery for over 20 years. This was the period of 1973-1977, when the Baloch rose in revolt against a state that had relentlessly oppressed them for decades and military operations against the Baloch people were at their peak. …

Read more : Baloch Voice

If Quebecers can get success in Canada then why can’t Sindhis get success for their rights

Khalid Hashmani
Khalid Hashmani

By Khalid Hashmani, USA

The first steps that Quebecers took to preserve their language and culture. Before the famous Signs language law was proposed by Parti Québécois and enacted by the Quebec National Assembly in 1977, Quebecers urged/pressured business and non-governmental organizations to increase the use of French in their signs and organizational literature.

After achieving a measurable success with their own organizations, Quebecers eventually succeeded in electing a government that gave legal protection to their language. In spite of great pressures of over whelming domination of English-speaking North Americans (Quebecers are only 6.3 millions in a population of about 350 millions) , they have succeeded in preserving their language and culture.