27 March I celebrate or I cry with the Baloch? – by Salma Jafar
Today the Baloch nation is observing black day to mark its annexation to Pakistan. For me it is not a black day it is a day I want to celebrate. I want to celebrate because it gave me the occasion to grow up with these lovely people known as the Baloch. I want to celebrate my Baloch friends, my Baloch students, my Baloch relatives and many of them are my Baloch family. Had it not been for 27th March I wouldn’t have been a part of the Baloch culture, the Baloch music, the Baloch valour, the Baloch courage and the Baloch tolerance that when combined with the culture and valour of my own nation Pashtuns becomes the most beautiful combination ever. We have lived together, suffered togther hoped together, despaired together, dreamed together, and at times have been nasty to each other too – in this Baloch-Pashtun land. Well I would never want to live without them. So I don’t support Baloch independence for this very selfish reason of mine.
But yet the bitter-bitter truth is that for Baloch this is not a day of celebration it is a black day; by definition a day when something really bad and unpleasant has happened. They are observing it as a black day for being a part of Pakistan. They are angry and estranged and want freedom but why? Am not going to delve into the theory of forced annexation here but would share how Baloch have been treated, (I will today not say Balochistan as that covers Pashtun areas also and despite that Pashtuns have suffered equally but today is not our day) they have been treated as slaves (I hate to use this word but this is what Baloch think and feel) who should only obey the orders of their masters; in this case of course Punjab who has been running the shots. Unfortunately they didn’t understand the Baloch psychology they are not born to take orders or take dictations it is not in them. And that too not for any welfare but to usurp rights and carry out injustice. Balochistan is a dismal picture of social injustice all over. But if you visit the Baloch areas which I have; your definition of poverty and misery will change. People are subjugated to primitive lives with no development whatsoever.
But the Baloch did not ask you to give them anything; all they demanded is their right to their own resources. As if denying them that right and pushing them into abject poverty, illiteracy and disease was not enough the atrocious state bombarded them if they asked for controlling their own resources and controlling their own destinies, this is all they asked for; and bombarded them again and again and again. Trying new tactic to subjugate them further for last several years started the kill and dump policy, where young activists are picked up and after some time their dead mutilated bodies are found. There has been no end to this horrific game whereby hundreds of Baloch have been killed and dumped, many of them target killed and thousands are still missing; the internally displaced persons as a result of this conflict are mere refugees as the state has not granted them a refugee status to access humanitarian response; only cause they are Baloch. Raising voice for the Baloch is considered treachery by those in power; yes camouflaged as democrats.
What adds insult to injury is that amidst this very dreadful background Balochistan discourse remains as an economic and political discourse for most. There is a violent and ferocious insurgency going on in Balochistan; the Baloch are being shut up by killing them and they are killing in return too – their demand is now independence.
The wounds and scars of the Baloch are deep and the pain and agony are hard to touch – their silent screams I can hear; and a tear I shed with a prayer for their pain to end.