Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Benazir Bhutto: Before her death - 4

Former Federal Interior Minister of PPP [1993-1996] General (Retd) Naseerullah Babar

This is not the language you use when you are running or trying to run a Federation which is being run like a Unitary form of the government instead of a Federation.

On 1 September 2006 former Federal Interior Minister of PPP [1993-1996] General (Retd) Naseerullah Babar's stinging statements appears in MMA-JAMAT-E-ISLAMI backed newspaper Jasarat [actually the original statement was issued to an obscure newspaper Pakistan Post in New York USA].

In his staement he said

"During his tenure his government sent the Military back to the barracks on the demand of MQM but MQM increased their Terrorist activities.

I just want to ask how come he know that it was the MQM which increased the so-called Terror Activites. How many fair trials took place during General Babar's
tenure regarding MQM? Just go through the Hisotry of UNHCR Reports [1995-1996] of that period and you would come to know as to what really had happened and believe me it wasnot a rosy picture for PPP as it is now for MQM. You donot condemn an act in Baluchistan which you [particularly you Mr Babar and Ms Benazir Bhutto] had committed in your own government.

Mr. Babar further distorted the history by saying that Taliban Movement was founded in 1973.

It is absolutely wrong because in a book [Jo May Nay Dekha (As I saw)] of Former PPP Member and EX Director Intelligence Bureau Mr Rao Rasheed, the author has mentioned that Gulbadin Himatyar, Ahmed Shah Masood, Burhanuddin Rabbani, Sibghatullah Mujjadaddi and Abdul Rasool Siaf were hired by Babar as a bulwark in 70's Bhutto government against Pro-USSR Afghan Government. These Rascal Mullahs played havoc with innocent Afghan Lives after the Soviet defeat and Gulbadin alone butchered 20, 000 innocent Afghan Muslims during the Afghan Civil War from 1989-1996-97.

Mr Babar's news statement was also about Baluchistan, go through the article and see for yourself as to what dirty part the PPP played then and General (Retd) Babar has the audacity to lecture all of us about Democracy. Instead of resigning they are discussing the strategy. Country is burning but General [Retd] Babar hasnot stopped barking.

As per Sheikh Asad Rahman's paper Balochistan under One Unit – II : A sorry tale of woe and strife

General Tikka Khan [Butcher of Bengal and Baluchistan]

In 1959, after the Central government decided to do away with the provinces of West Pakistan and enforce the One Unit regime. The opposition to this move of the Centre was strong in all the smaller provinces of Sindh, NWFP and especially Balochistan; where Nauroz Khan, chief of the Sarawan tribes took to the hills with a lot of his nephews and relatives. A few clashes took place, until Brigadier Tikka Khan (later General), who came to be known as the Butcher of Balochistan and Bengal, negotiated the return of Nauroz with the Quran as the guarantor of no ill treatment and settlement of the grievances of the Baloch. Nawab Nauroz and six of his nephews were arrested on arrival and tried in the Hyderabad Jail. Nauroz died in jail a frail old man of 90 years while his nephews were hanged. The nephews asked for the Quran to be hung around their necks during their hanging, because it was their guarantor. Thus ended the second resistance war of the Baloch.

One of the leaders was Sher Mohammed Marri who, along with Nawab Khair Baksh Marri, Sardar Attaullah Mengal, Ghaus Baksh Bizenjo, Abdul Wahid Kurd, Gul Khan Naseer. He took to the Marri hills in 1962, and remained in the mountains until 1969. The resistance was a protest against the One Unit and for the reinstatement of the provinces. During this time two major clashes between the paramilitary forces and the Marris took place. The paramilitary forces had to withdraw after suffering substantial losses and casualties. In 1969, Air Marshal Nur Khan, then Governor of West Pakistan, negotiated a peace treaty with the Baloch in which the One Unit was to be done away with and the provinces again reinstated. After the forced abdication of Ayub Khan and the announcement of general elections by General Yahya Khan, the Baloch flocked to the National Awami Party (NAP) whose manifesto and political programme was quite progressive, based on nationality rights.

During the debacle of the civil war in East Pakistan, the Baloch remained quiet, while they consolidated their party and prepared to take the reins of the provincial government. They had won a comfortable majority in the provincial assembly and had defeated many a religious Pashtun-based candidate to secure the right of forming the government in coalition with Mualana Mufti Mahmood’s JUI. In 1972, after the civil war in East Pakistan ended and Bangladesh became independent, with Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto as Pakistan’s President, the National Awami Party formed the provincial governments in both Balochistan and NWFP. This was a time of great shock and turmoil for the whole of Pakistan, especially when the majority population of a country secedes from a minority. But at the same time this debacle gave impetus to the separatist elements in NAP. Mir Ghaus Baksh Bizenjo was governor, Attaullah Mengal Chief Minister, and Nawab Khair Baksh, who was the NAP Balochistan President, represented NAP in the National Assembly.

In February 1973, Bhutto dismissed the Balochistan government on manipulated charges of mismanagement and a deteriorating law and order situation. The NWFP government resigned in protest. Bhutto, who had provincial governments both in Punjab and Sindh, moved quickly to put in place PPP governments in both provinces. At the same time he ordered paramilitary forces supported by regular Army units into Balochistan. Bhutto wished to further humiliate the army, after its humiliating defeat at the hands of the Indian Army, thereby weakening it so much that it would never dare to step into the political arena again, at the same time consolidating the PPP governments all over Pakistan. It is a well known fact that the PPP was a political party only in name and Bhutto was a civilian dictator; thus it was a consolidation of his personal power that he was striving for.

The paramilitary forces surrounded all the tribal areas where they felt resistance would be coming from: the Mengal-Bizenjo areas, Kalat and Khuzdar, and the Marri and Bugti areas. Balochistan had been for the past three years (1970-73) in the grip of a drought that had forced the population to migrate to Sindh for grazing their herds and finding employment. The population that remained in the tribal areas was totally dependent on import of food and necessities of life from close by cities like Sibi, Khuzdar, Kalat, etc. The paramilitary forces tried to stop this flow of food into the tribal areas and arrested a number of Baloch along with their camels and all the goods they were carrying. This resulted in some clashes and eventually culminated in a full-scale civil war from May 1973 to July 1977. The Army deployed nearly four divisions of troops to try and quell the resistance.

The Army reportedly suffered 7,000 casualties while the Baloch suffered over 15,000 casualties, the majority being civilians or non-combatants. The guerrilla forces only suffered about 160 casualties. Bombing and slaughter of their herds systematically destroyed the livelihood of the tribals. This war forced nearly 5,000 families to take refuge in Afghanistan from 1974 to 1992.

The Shah of Iran played a very active role in this four-year civil war. The expenditure of the whole war was borne by the Iranian government. Iran also supplied helicopter gunships and transport helicopters for the military operations in Balochistan. All of the NAP leadership had been arrested in August 1973 and a tribunal was set up to try them on sedition and treason charges. This tribunal was finally disbanded in December 1977 and all the internees released by the Martial Law dictator Ziaul Haq. Many of the Baloch leaders were now of frail health and Attaullah and Khair Baksh went into self-exile to Britain and Afghanistan respectively, returning only in 1992. Some like Gul Khan Naseer, Abdul Wahid Kurd, Mir Ghaus Baksh and others have died since. The rest of the history of Balochistan is easily told. To date it has been an uneventful and comparatively quiet and peaceful history except for some infighting among the Sardars of various tribes. Since 1988, with the advent of so-called democracy in Pakistan, provincial governments have been set up composed of the Baloch themselves, some incompetent, some corrupt, and all lazy. No real development work has been undertaken or initiated. The people are further down the survival ladder but still courageously struggling for a better life. Many of the tribal areas today have only a portion of their populations, as people have migrated to Sindh, Hub, Turbat, Quetta and Punjab with hopes of finding employment and surviving. Education has increased somewhat but is still below par; and the literacy rate has gone over 15 percent. Still there are no health care facilities available in the majority of the tribal areas and the plight of the women is pathetic. No infrastructure for communications, public health, education, potable drinking water, irrigation, forests, agriculture, industry or any other economic activity has been developed to date. Till recently there was still no coastal road, only now having been constructed for strategic military and international trade interests. The roads, highways as they are described, can be counted on the fingers of one hand.

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