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Massacre in Quetta: The Sacred Connection
By: Qamber Baloch
Quetta, capital city of Balochistan, was once againpainted in red on 15th June, 2013 with the innocent blood of students of Sardar Bahadur Khan Women University and patients and staff of Bolan Medical College Hospital. The two powerful blasts and indiscriminate firing took the lives of 26 people, mostly female students, leaving many others wounded.
These disgusting acts of terrors were proudly claimed by the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi( LEJ). The attacks are being seen as most horrifying incidents ever occurred in the history of Balochistan. The victimization of women, who enjoy a great respect in the Baloch society, has made it clear that the security forces along their proxies consider no moral, rules and customs in Balochistan. For the Baloch people the link between LEJ and the sacred secret agencies of Pakistani military establishment is quite clear; however, to fulfill their given task, the Pakistani mainstream media very cleverly diverted the discussion.
In this new era of “democratic Pakistan” with a government of enlightened Punjabi nationalists, a single word was not mentioned by the so-called free media of Pakistan about the fact that LEJ and similar religious military organizations being funded, trained and indoctrinated by the military establishment as the first line of defence against their holy war against Western and Indian influences in this region.
Obviously various acts of terrorism being carried out by the proxy organizations of the Pakistani military establishment including these very incidents has multiple adverse impacts on Balochistan and the newly elected government of Nawaz Sharif who is supposed to represent the Punjabi nationalists intend to integrate the disintegrated fabrics of the fundamentalist state. The Pakistani army has tremendous stakes in Balochistan. Besides having godlike powers including giving life and death-over millions of the Baloch, the army directly or through its proxy organizations is engaged in a multi-billion drug business from the Baloch coast. It is an open secret that army is running the drug business with Taliban in a 60-40 ratio in which 60% goes to Taliban and army’s’ recruited drug dealers in Balochistan while 40% is to spent on ISI’s internal and external terrorist activities. It has the only meaningful say over the mineral riches of Balochistan estimated to be of trillions of dollars’ worth. It is siphoning off nearly 65% of the official budget of Balochistan province as security expenses and as the expenses for military supervised educational institutions. The military under the notion of country’s safety and security prevails over the civilian government in Balochistan and is involved in massive monitory corruption. This was only to be found a little in a recent revelation of the Auditor General of Pakistan that the FC a paramilitary forces in Balochistan is involved in irregularities worth over Rs: 570 million, let aside the unaudited share it gets from various mega projects running in Balochistan and the drug trafficking.
The intellectually suppressed common people of Pakistan might as usual regard these attacks as a western plot or perhaps the will of God, but in reality it is one of the tactics that helps the self-proclaimed guardians of the religious state to extend and expand their presence in Balochistan. This was loudly echoed by the mainstream media news anchors and idealistic youth of Pakistan on online networks to carry out more military operations in Balochistan against the perpetrators without realizing who actually perpetrated it. The blunt statement in the national assembly by the present Interior minister of Pakistan, Chaudhry Nisar Khan might help solve the conundrum who pointedly wondered ‘’how the bombers could mount uninterrupted suicide attacks in a heavily militarised city’’. By organizing these attacks the military has signaled a clear message to Mr. Nawaz Sharif, the sitting Prime Minister of Pakistan who wants to take control of the internal and foreign security policies, that no matter who sits in the government, the vital interests of the army in Balochistan cannot be compromised and the transfer of power to a civilian government should not be taken seriously by any political government in Pakistan. Establishing religious terrorist organization is linked with the superfluous strategy of Pakistan army for safeguarding the ideological and geographical frontiers of the religious state since the independence of East Pakistan as Bangladesh in 1971. However, extending favours to a particular religious sect contributed in marginalizing others and a multitude of sectarian divide flourished which today, the state is apparently unable to control. Establishment of LEJ and other religious militant outfits in Balochistan are in line with the adopted strategy of the army to weaken the Baloch national aspirations with the help of these religious organizations. The Baloch nationalistic aspirations and political mobilization has persistently been dealt with force. Today the Baloch nationalists are not allowed to move and work freely in Balochistan, their public processions are interrupted and their cadre are targeted and killed. On contrary, the LEJ, and other Taliban and Al-Qaida affiliated organizations successfully carry out public processions in the capital city of Pakistan including Balochistan. In their public gathering threaten to instigate Jihad in Balochistan following the resolution tabled in the US congress calling for the right of self-determination for the Baloch.
It is not a surprise for the Baloch and other knowledgeable people in Pakistan that LEJ operation in command of Balochistan Usman Saifullah Kurd and his second in command Dawood Badini in 2008 could manage to escape the jail located in high security area of Quetta Military Cantonment where entry requires a pass, and its national leader Malik Ishaq was acquitted by the supreme court of Pakistan in 2011 due to lack of evidences.
With the help of these terrorist organizations, the military establishment to a large extent has been successful in militarizing the Baloch society by destroying the social fabric and the secular nature of Baloch. The nationalist circles have openly expressed their concern that the more the new government under Nawaz Sharif strives to take over the security and foreign policies and tries to limit the human right violations in Balochistan, the army will react by enacting more acts of violence and terrorism in Balochistan and other parts of the country. The attacks of SBK and BMC have ruined the lives of many families and have traumatized the wounded and their fellows. It takes a great deal and trail of hardships for families, their women in particular and men in general to make it to the universities. It might discourage many other students from studies who find the university unsafe. In such time of grief, we offer our humble respect to the departed souls and their families and wish the best of health and spirit to the wounded students. Should they ever think of quitting studies, they should look back to their fellows martyred in the quest of education and enlightening Balochistan. It is now upon their shoulders to prevail over the evil and live up the dreams of their fellow students. This should be ingrained in our minds that we are all engulfed in a battle between the good and the evil with no end to the story. The most these students can do is not to give up and live as an example for the others to follow.
Humbly speaking the people of Balochistan have seen much of trouble and since they can feel the pain they should sympathize with the victims of evil. In the same city the families of the Baloch missing persons who have been extra judicially abducted by the security forces and have not been given any fair trial needs the sympathy and support of the citizens of Quetta. Should they care, this care will result in love and respect and harmony among the citizens of Quetta.
With the posturing of the military establishment in Balochistan through these acts of terror in the face of pressure from the new civilian government, it is the responsibility of all the political and social groups in Balochistan to condemn these attacks irrespective of victims’ ethnicity and religion as that is what keeps us parallel to the ideals and principles of humanity and to stand by each other against the fanatics and their supporters. It is their duty to mobilize the public opinion against these and the coming acts of terror by the military establishment. It is also their duty to highlight this aspect of the bloody conflict in Balochistan to international community.
Whether Nawaz Sharif and his team will be able to push the army back to its barracks, dismantle the religious outfits, and bring an end to the human rights abuses in Balochistan as they promised to in their electoral agenda remains to be seen. However, it is clear to every knowledgeable person in Balochistan that arm y will not surrender easily and in the power struggle between the so-called civilian dispensation and the army, the people of Balochistan should be prepared to face the brunt of terrorist activities by the proxy organizations of the army in the coming months.
(The writer is the president of Baloch Students and Youth Association (UK) and can be reached at email@example.com)