KARACHI: Renowned editor, political analyst and anchor Najam Sethi has joined the Geo/Jang Group as group adviser political affairs.
Najam Sethi will host three weekly shows on Geo TV and write regular news analyses and commentary for Jang Group of Newspapers, including The News. Najam Sethi is the recipient of three international press freedom awards, including the Golden Pen in 2009 from the World Editors Forum representing 17,000 of the world’s leading newspapers. He was awarded the Hilal-e-Pakistan, Pakistan’s highest civil award, in 2010. Najam Sethi was educated at Government College Lahore and Clare College, Cambridge University, UK. He was declared Alumnus of the Year 2011 by Cambridge University and appointed Eric Lane Fellow of Clare College, a first for a Pakistani.
MSA: Who were the prominent members of the London Group?
AR: There was Najam Sethi, Ahmed Rashid, my brother, Rashid Rehman, Dilip Dass. These are the people who originally came to support the Balochistan movement. These are the names I am willing to disclose because they are well-known as having played a part in the Balochistan movement. I would not be discussing the names of the other members of the London Group for two reasons: One, they did not participate in Balochistan movement. Two, I will be compromising on their security if I disclose their names. In 1970, when the East Pakistan civil war started, we felt that whatever was happening in East Pakistan was wrong. We decided to bring out a monthly magazine, called Pakistan Zindabad (Long Live Pakistan). In that magazine, we used to write about nationality rights, minority rights, fundamental human rights, articles on how the army had taken on Pakistan’s polity, how it was dictating to civil government that was in place. We started to write about the East Pakistan issues and the economic exploitation. We used to distribute that magazine in London, Manchester and Birmingham. I suppose some friends felt they needed to bring this magazine to Pakistan. They smuggled some copies of it to Pakistan. Some Leftist groups here reproduced the magazine and distributed it among the local Left circles. I can take the name of Ali Baksh Talpur, who has now passed away, who was the one to bring this magazine to the attention of Sher Mohammad Marri (whom we called as “Babu” while the others remember him as General Sheroff) and Nawab Khair Baksh Marri. REFERENCE: Revisiting the Che Guevara-like days of Baloch resistance movement with Asad Rehman October 19, 2009 http://gmcmissing.wordpress.com/2009/10/19/revisiting-the-che-guevara-like-days-of-baloch-resistance-movement-with-asad-rehman/ Baluch leader Mir Ghaus Bakhsh Bizenjo’s Reflections: In Search of Solutions for ills of Pakistan 05 Jan 2010, NewAgeIslam.Com http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=2333
Najam Sethi on Balochistan - 1 (Apas Ki Baat 13 APR 2011)
MSA: What did it feel like for someone like you who had come from an elite background, proper education, cosmopolitan upbringing to live with the rustic tribesmen in Balochistan.
AR: I would not describe myself as someone from the elite. In the first place, you have to understand when I went to Balochistan; it was my commitment to work with the poorest, marginalized and disfranchised population of Pakistan wherever it was in Balochistan, Sindh, North West Frontier Province, Punjab or Northern areas. Since we were given an opportunity to work in Balochistan, the five of us who had the commitment came to Balochistan. Najam and Rashid were based in Karachi as our liaison which was responsible for collecting funds, ensuring medical treatment and public awareness. Ahmed Rashid and Dilip Dass came to join us in the mountains and worked with me. About a year later, Mohammad Ali Talpur joined us as a paramedic. He was a contact of Mohammad Bhaba, not a member of the original London Group. We started to learn the language, customs and traditions of the Marris. REFERENCE: Revisiting the Che Guevara-like days of Baloch resistance movement with Asad Rehman October 19, 2009 http://gmcmissing.wordpress.com/2009/10/19/revisiting-the-che-guevara-like-days-of-baloch-resistance-movement-with-asad-rehman/ Baluch leader Mir Ghaus Bakhsh Bizenjo’s Reflections: In Search of Solutions for ills of Pakistan 05 Jan 2010, NewAgeIslam.Com http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=2333
MSA: What about yourself? Did you ever go to Lahore to meet your family as you had come to Balochistan as early as March 1971?
AR: No. This is my regret that when my father passed away in February 1979, I was not able to bury him with my own hands. I was in Afghanistan. In December 1978, Zia disbanded the Hyderabad Tribunal case and released all the Baloch leaders. Najam Sethi had been arrested in 1976. He was also in the jail and released with the Baloch and Pashtun leaders.
Najam Sethi on Balochistan - 2 (Apas Ki Baat 13 APR 2011)
MSA: How was Najam Sethi captured?
AR: He made a “very stupid” move –I call it a “stupid move”. As the cover we had in Karachi, Rashid was running an automobile workshop while Najam was with some architects and development consultants. Najam persuaded them to bid for some development projects in Marri area under Bhutto’s government. In the meanwhile, some people from the original London Group had been arrested from Karachi. They disclosed the names of all of us. He had at that time gone to Quetta and was flying in a military helicopter to go and see the site of a project that they wanted to build.
MSA: How did he get into a “military helicopter” as you people were already fighting against the military?
AR: Now that is the whole question. We don’t know. Maybe the government gave them the consultancy and asked the army to take him there. I don’t know. The benefit of doubt has to be given over there. In any case, the message was sent to the pilot of the helicopter that Najam was flying in. Hence, the pilot turned back to Quetta where they arrested Najam and took him to the Hyderabad jail. After that, he had no role whatsoever in the Balochistan movement of the 1970s.
MSA: Let’s get back to the London Group? What happened to the individual players of the Group who came to Balochistan?
AR: It was only end of 1974 that the government came to know who was involved in the Balochistan movement. My brother Rashid Rehman, went underground when Najam Sethi was arrested. Rashid had already married when he joined the Balochistan movement. His eldest son was only about four months old. He sent his wife back to my father’s house in Lahore. Throughout that period until 1978 he was underground in Karachi. He established the liaison cell along with some friends. They used to take out a magazine called Jabal (Mountain) and we used to feed them information from the mountains. Jabal was a very informative monthly magazine published and widely circulated in Balochistan and the leftist circles of Karachi, Lahore and other places. If you get hold of some old copies of Jabal, you must read it. I am sure you will find it very informative. In 1978, when amnesty was granted to the Baloch leaders, I asked Rashid to come to Afghanistan from where I would send him to London for a family reunion. REFERENCE: Revisiting the Che Guevara-like days of Baloch resistance movement with Asad Rehman October 19, 2009 http://gmcmissing.wordpress.com/2009/10/19/revisiting-the-che-guevara-like-days-of-baloch-resistance-movement-with-asad-rehman / Baluch leader Mir Ghaus Bakhsh Bizenjo’s Reflections: In Search of Solutions for ills of Pakistan 05 Jan 2010, NewAgeIslam.Com http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=2333
Najam Sethi on Balochistan - 3 (Apas Ki Baat 13 APR 2011)
MSA: Balochistan’s politics is filled with so much suspicion. People often bill their rivals as agents of the intelligence agencies. There is one question which must be hitting the minds of my readers. If Dilip could be captured and killed and Najam Sethi arrested, why were you never caught? What was your role?
AR: I was arrested. In 1975, I had fallen seriously ill. I went to Karachi for treatment. My brother, Rashid, took me to a doctor who operated on me. Of course, we had alias names. This was exactly the same time when our names had been revealed. Rashid left Karachi and went underground.
A week after my operation, I was driving a friend’s car who had been looking after me throughout my recovery. He was also sitting in the car. As we approached his office, he asked me to stop near his office.
He wanted to pick up something from the office. While I waited in the car, I had my bandages and all. Suddenly, two people attired in plainclothes came close to me and pointed a pistol at me. I could not detect them because they were in plain clothes. They asked me to go with them. I asked the reasons for my arrest. They said they would tell me at the CID (Crimes Investigation Department) office. They drove my friend and me in separate cars to the CID office. On our arrival, I saw this friend of mine with the local DSP (deputy superintended of police). I silently showed my friend my fist, meaning that he should not reveal anything about my origin and activities. We had already made up a story about me with the police saying that I was a friend of his from school days who had come to Karachi to find a job. Because of not getting a job, he added, I was temporarily serving as his driver.
The DSP sat in front of me and asked who I was. I gave him my alias name and narrated an unreal story. He said I looked educated and decent just like the other detained friend of mine. He said he was surprised why we indulged in such “negative activities”.
The office from where this friend of mine was arrested was the same consultancy firm where Najam Sethi used to work as a cover. My friend already knew what we were actually doing.
The DSP introduced himself as Ashiq Hussain and said he had arrested us for our anti-state activities. I declined my links with “anti-state activities’. They questioned me for about half an hour. My friend and I stuck to the same story which we had made up. They kept us at the police station the whole night. In the morning, my friend called another friend of his to bail us out. The newcomer, on his arrival at the police station, said he identified the mutual friend but not me. My friend turned around and said he vouched for me because I was his driver. So, that is how we were released and immediately within an hour, I left Karachi with my bandage. I came to a Marri comrade’s house in Sindh where I stayed for two weeks until I could get rid of my bandages. Then I went to the mountains. Thus, this is incorrect to say that I was not arrested. It was just that they could not identify me and I guess I was lucky. REFERENCE: Revisiting the Che Guevara-like days of Baloch resistance movement with Asad Rehman October 19, 2009 http://gmcmissing.wordpress.com/2009/10/19/revisiting-the-che-guevara-like-days-of-baloch-resistance-movement-with-asad-rehman/ Baluch leader Mir Ghaus Bakhsh Bizenjo’s Reflections: In Search of Solutions for ills of Pakistan 05 Jan 2010, NewAgeIslam.Com http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=2333
What the Perpetual Liar and Permanent Spin Doctor Najam didn't mention
Two points must be noted. The terms of reference covered the west also, on which the Supplementary Report is totally silent. It was, presumably, dealt with in the Main Report. Secondly, the entire political and military background preceding the surrender in the east and ceasefire in the west is excluded. A lot had happened, diplomatically and militarily since the Pakistan Army's brutal crackdown in Dhaka on March 25, 1971, to go no further. Involved principally were Gen. A.A.K. Niazi, Commander, Eastern Command, as well as the Zonal Martial Law Administrator. Major-General Rao Farman Ali was military adviser to the Governor. Niazi took over the job on April 4, 1971 from Lt. Gen. Tikka Khan who was responsible for the crackdown on March 25. He had repla ced Lt. Gen. Yaqub Khan, who, being this honourable man that he is, had resigned on March 7. Bhutto made Tikka Khan Army Chief shortly after he became President. Farman Ali was reputed to be the brains behind the killing of Bengali intellectuals. He was exonerated by the Commission. So was Tikka Khan. At the apex stood Gen. M. Yahya Khan, the Martial Law Administrator who had staged a coup against Ayub Khan in 1969. Niazi was the last of the POWs to be repatriated to Pakistan on April 30, 1974. The Inqu iry was reopened on May 25. Tikka Khan, "the butcher", was not only exonerated of all charges but was praised: "always willing to redress grievances." Figures of the killings provided by the Army HQs (that is, Tikka Khan) were readily accepted. "Indian infiltrators and members of M ukti Bahini sponsored by the Awami League continue (even after March 25, 1971) to indulge in killings, rape and arson". Read this: "We consider, therefore, that unless the Bangladesh authorities can produce some convincing evidence, it is not possible to record a finding that any intellectuals or professionals were indeed arrested and killed by the Pakistan Army during December 1971." In an article free of any trace of the national chauvinism that besets most in our region, Ahmed Salim exposed this falsehood in the Karachi monthly Newsline (September 2000). The Sunday Times (London) of December 19, 1971 had reported the killing in Dhaka of more than 50 of surviving intellectuals, scientists and businessmen. On January 19, 1992, 101 well-known Bangladeshi personalities including retired Supreme Court Judges, university teachers, veterans of the independence war, artists and journalists formed a committee known as the Ekatarer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee, to track down the killers and collaborators of the 1971 war of independence. REFERENCE: Lies and war histories A post-script on the Hamoodur Rahman Report. A.G. NOORANI Volume 17 - Issue 21, Oct. 14 - 27, 2000 India's National Magazine from the publishers of THE HINDU http://www.hinduonnet.com/fline/fl1721/17210580.htm NOTE: A. G. Noorani, a secular Indian Muslim, is a lawyer and political analyst. He is is an Advocate in the Supreme Court of India and a leading Constitutional expert. His columns appear in The Hindustan Times, Frontline, Economic and Political Weekly and Dainik Bhaskar. He is the author of a number of books including: 'The Kashmir Question', 'Badruddin Tyabji Ministers' Misconduct', 'Brezhnev's Plan for Asian Security', 'The Presidential System', 'The Trial of Bhagat Singh' and 'Constitutional Questions in India'. His most recent book, as of 2003, is 'The RSS and the BJP: A Division of Labour' (LeftWord 2000). http://cosmos.ucc.ie/cs1064/jabowen/IPSC/php/authors.php?auid=5513
The civilians of West Pakistan in general had the same thinking. Bhutto had claimed that the bastions of power of Pakistan were Punjab and Sindh. The civil service held the general idea that, “a taste of the ‘danda’ the big stick would cow down the Bengali babu”. (37) The civilian bureaucrats serving the regime, like Information Secretary Roedad Khan were advising the generals about ‘putting some fear of God in Bengalis and how to purify Bengali race and culture by Arabising the Bengali script. (38) The ruling elite was totally lost and the events were moving too fast for any of them to fully comprehend, let alone respond in any meaningful way. The rulers were now really suffering from delusions, unable to see beyond their boots. When Bengali soldiers, police officials, diplomats and airline pilots were defecting en masse, the members of the regime were re-assuring the Pakistani envoys (Secretary of National Security Council Major General Ghulam Omar, Information Secretary Roedad Khan and Foreign Secretary Sultan Muhammad met with Pakistani envoys in Tehran and Geneva) that everything was under control and that majority of Bengalis were with Pakistan. (39) This was being told when they could not get a single Bengali to work at Dacca radio station and in an ironic twist, Pakistani representative (Abu Saeed Chowdhry) attending a human right conference at Geneva had defected. They really thought that the world was blind. This general thought process was not limited to only senior level but was prevalent among junior officers and rank and file. Yahya’s intelligence Chief, Major General Akbar Khan stated that, ‘we will not hand over power to these bastards’. This is the historical context of the events up to independence in 1947, which is very important in understanding of the events, which plagued the country later.Second Class Citizens of the New Nation’Your music is so sweet. I wish to God, you Bengalis were half as sweet yourself’. Pakistani President Field Marshal Ayub Khan to his Bengali friend.After independence, several factors contributed to the gradual widening of gulf between the two wings. The fundamental factor was the difficulty of West Pakistani elite to accept Bengalis as equal partners. REFERENCE: WHY BANGLADESH WAS CREATED Dec 18, 2008 Thu 12:16 am Demons of December Road from East Pakistan to Bangladesh Hamid Hussain http://www.chowk.com/ilogs/70192/47736
An extensive search of the WikiLeaks database by the Guardian by date, name and keyword failed to locate any of the incendiary allegations. It suggests this is the first case of WikiLeaks being exploited for propaganda purposes. The controversial claims, published in four Pakistani national papers, were credited to the Online Agency, an Islamabad-based news service that has frequently run pro-army stories in the past. No journalist is bylined. Shaheen Sehbai, group editor at the News, described the story as "agencies' copy" and said he would investigate its origins. The incident fits in with the wider Pakistani reaction to WikiLeaks since the first cables emerged. But Pakistan's media has given a wide berth to stories casting the military in a negative light, focusing instead on the foibles of the country's notoriously weak politicians. Meanwhile conspiracy theorists, including some journalists, insist Washington secretly leaked the cables in an effort to discredit the Muslim world; the Saudi ambassador described them as propaganda. But the real cables do contain allegations of Indian support for Baloch separatists, largely sourced to British intelligence assessments. Pakistan's press is generally cautious in reporting about its own army. But some internet commentators said the latest WikiLeaks story was a bridge too far. REFERENCE: Pakistani media publish fake WikiLeaks cables attacking India Comments alleged to be from WikiLeaks US embassy cables say Indian generals are genocidal and New Delhi backs militants Declan Walsh in Islamabad guardian.co.uk, Thursday 9 December 2010 16.29 GMT http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/dec/09/pakistani-newspaper-fake-leaks-india
WASHINGTON: A cable from US Embassy in Islamabad leaked by whistle-blower website WikiLeaks disclosed that there were enough evidences of Indian involvement in Waziristan and other tribal areas of Pakistan as well as Balochistan. WikiLeaks revealed that a cable sent from a US mission in India termed former Indian Army chief General Deepak Kapoor as an incompetent combat leader and rather a geek. Enough evidence of Indian involvement in Balochistan, Waziristan Thursday, December 09, 2010 http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=2549&Cat=13
Lets for argument sake we agree with "Jang/The News Leaks" regarding Foreign Meddling [read India] in Balochistan and Waziristan then would the Jang Group try to explain the opinion they Publish in the very The News International [Read the Rag]"QUOTE"
Foreign hand in Balochistan? Dr Farrukh Saleem [The writer is an Islamabad-based Freelance columnist] Article appeared in The News International on 08-01-2006. India on the east, China in the north and Iran and Afghanistan on the west. Which foreign hand has an interest in destabilising Balochistan? Is Iran arming Baloch insurgents? Here are a few facts: Sistan va Baluchestan, with an area of 187,502 kilometres, is the third largest province in Iran. Sistan va Baluchestan has a population of nearly two million and occupies 11.4 per cent of Iranian territory. Will Iran prop up Baloch nationalism in Pakistan at the risk of encouraging nationalist fervour in Iranian Balochistan? As a matter of record, the Iranian Air Force actually helped us quell the 'rebellion' during the 70s (by loaning us their helicopters). Furthermore, Iran now has an economic interest in the stability of Pakistan's Balochistan or her dream of selling hundreds of millions of dollars worth of natural gas will evaporate in thin air.
’ایف سی ملوث نہیں ہے۔‘
آخری وقت اشاعت: منگل 26 اپريل 2011 , 13:09 GMT 18:09 PST
’پیکج میں ہمیں صرف لاشیں ہی ملی ہیں‘
آخری وقت اشاعت: منگل 26 اپريل 2011 , 01:42 GMT 06:42 PST
Is Afghanistan arming Baloch insurgents? Here are a few facts: Lt General David Barno is the top commander of American forces in Afghanistan. The US has the Bagram Air Base (Parvan, Charikar), Kandahar Air Base, Khost Airbase (Paktia) and Mazar-e-Sharif Airbase. There is a large contingent of US National Guard soldiers embedded with Afghan units, and Lt General David Barno is training a 70,000 strong Afghan government force. Can the state of Afghanistan arm Baloch separatists without the explicit authorisation of Lt General David Barno? Then there is Hamid Karzai, so deeply engulfed in troubles of his own neither interested nor capable of arming Baloch insurgents. Is America arming Baloch insurgents? Right now, a stable Pakistan is in America's best strategic interest. Bush needs Musharraf to be focused on Bush's 'war on terror' rather than a powerful distraction elsewhere. And, if Uncle Sam wanted Baloch insurgents to win there is little we can do anyway. Is al-Qaeda arming Baloch insurgents? Baloch nationalists are secular al-Qaeda is not; the two have very different agendas and goals.
Is China arming Baloch insurgents? Here are a few facts: The total cost of the Gwadar Port Project is estimated at $1.6 billion. In the first phase, China has put in $198 million and Pakistan $50 million. Additionally, China is investing $200 million toward the building of a coastal highway. Gwadar is China's strategic foothold in the Arabian Sea. An instable Balochistan is not in China's interest.
Finally, is India arming Baloch insurgents? The only way that India can arm Baloch insurgents is either through Iran or through Afghanistan. Clearly, India cannot support Baloch insurgents through Iran without the explicit permission of the supreme leader Sayyid Ali Khamenei. Again, Indian cannot arm Baloch insurgents through Afghanistan without the explicit permission of Lt General David Barno. Additionally, an instable Balochistan jeopardises India's pipeline dreams and is not in India's long-term economic interests. There is little doubt that arms are flowing into Pakistan's Balochistan both through Iran and Afghanistan. That, however, in no way means that the states of Iran or Afghanistan are directly involved. Surely, the entire region has long been flooded with Kalashnikovs, heavy machine guns, rocket propelled grenades, landmines and mortars. Every kind of killing machine is available to anyone who is willing to pay the price, and then Pakistan's border with Afghanistan is a rugged 2,430 kilometres long, the one with Iran is 909 kilometres (even America has failed to block the supply of arms to Iraqi 'insurgents').
"We don't face any external threat," said General Musharraf (Agence France-Presse; December 12, 2003). To be certain, the real threat in Balochistan is from DDP; deprivation, discrimination and poverty. According to a recent estimate, "89 per cent of rural Balochistan is in high deprivation areas." Gas from Sui (Balochistan), for instance, is valued at Rs 47 per million BTU, Qadirpur (Sindh) at Rs145 per million BTU and from Ratana (Punjab) at Rs217 per million BTU. Looking at poverty, the incidence of poverty in Balochistan is 50 per cent of the population, twice that of Punjab (the literacy rate of females in Balochistan is at 16 per cent, the lowest in Pakistan and worse than what it is in Ethiopia). The very structure of the state of Pakistan is such that authority is extremely centralised, and the needs of large segments of Pakistani population outside the power structure are not responded to until they go violent. When Balochistan goes violent, gunship helicopters with automatic cannons are sent in. There is no military solution to deprivation, discrimination and poverty.
Courtesy: Leaking Away (Updated) THURSDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2010
Thursday, December 09, 2010, Muharram 02, 1432 A.H
What, Balochistan again? PLAIN WORDS M B Naqvi This article had appeared on 28-12-2005 in The News International - For the fifth time since 1947, Islamabad is using military force against Baloch nationalists. Indeed, the soldiers have to unavoidably target ordinary Baloch as well. The ongoing 'operation' marks the second occasion during General Pervez Musharraf's rule that military force is being applied against Balochistan. Why does the Pakistani state resort to use of force in Balochistan? The Baloch are certainly alienated. There is said to be a Balochistan Liberation Army and a Balochistan Liberation Front. They engage in ambushes, bomb blasts, rocket attacks and sabotage. Even Karachi is not outside their ambit. Why are the people of Balochistan so antagonised with the Centre? Let's pause and think. Perhaps the federal authorities have resorted to force so many times in Balochistan because its people tend to protest in less peaceful ways. And what do the Baloch people want, some of whom are now insurgents? Is there something strange about Balochistan? Or is there some peculiar trait in the central authorities? In any case, what has Islamabad achieved through the use of force?
What is certain is that the reactions of the common Baloch people to the Centre's politics have been adverse. But that is not strange. Of all the three minority provinces, Balochistan is about the most discontented. Currently, news of ambushes, rocket attacks on military targets, and sabotage of railway tracks and gas pipelines is frequent. True, many Baloch leaders doubt whether the BLA exists. But the evidence of actions does amount to a low-level insurgency. It is therefore urgent to repeat: what does Islamabad gain through frequent use of force? Military actions involve killing of unproven 'miscreants' that may include any number of innocents. That has a political cost. The story of the army's deployment in Balochistan has been decades in the making.
The Pakistan Army's show of force ensured the accession of Balochistan soon after independence, though happily no blood was shed. Then, President Ayub Khan used the army to put down what were perhaps isolated dissident protests. In 1973 the PPP government launched a major four-year-long operation. The fourth time was last year, under Musharraf, when the army killed many locals in the Kohlu and Dera Bugti areas. And now Musharraf is again quelling the 'miscreants'. An attempt on the president's life in Kohlu last month shows how grim the situation is. Eight rockets were fired and one landed just two hundred yards from the president. Within days a rocket fired by insurgents hit a helicopter carrying two top officers of the Frontier Constabulary; both were wounded. The fighting as I write is extensive and also bloody. One wonders how many innocent Pakistanis who may not be BLA members are being killed. Obviously the quest for establishing the writ of the authority is the motive behind such use of force. But the fact of the matter is that every use of force has been progressively less effective. Nobody seems to believe that the threat of force is far more effective than its use. Somehow that notion has not penetrated the rarefied atmosphere surrounding Pakistan's rulers. One wonders why General Ayub shifted the capital from Karachi to Rawalpindi which lies squarely in the territory of the martial races. This creates a militaristic psychosis among those living in the area. Dissent seems to them an insult and their impulse is to lash out. Anyway, Islamabad could never perceive the political dimensions of the Balochistan problem.
What are the reasons for the antagonism in Balochistan? The Baloch are angry, but Islamabad sees only the foreign hand. Earlier, Afghans and Soviets were blamed for spreading 'disaffection'. Later it was the Shah of Iran as well as the US itself that appeared to have interests in Balochistan. Indeed, the Shah is on record as having said as much. In the 1980s, Balochistan acted as one of the sanctuaries for attacks on Afghanistan, which was Islamabad's design. That fomented Islamic extremism, the progenitor of the Taliban, and then the Taliban themselves who tend to double as sectarian terrorists. The Taliban were projected as the army's success story. The so-called 'agencies' have continued to call the shots in Balochistan and have mightily manipulated political developments in the province. Many Baloch nationalists believe and say that their provincial government comprises a bunch of toadies. Real power, they say, resides in the 'agencies'. Anyway, the province is seething with discontent. Its Pashtun belt is quiet so far but divided between supporters and opponents of the Taliban. Pashtuns have been generally well adjusted in Pakistan, though they are dissatisfied with their share in power and pelf. Coincidentally, the distinction between two types of Pashtun nationalists needs to be noted: the secular Pashtun nationalism of the NAP, ANP and PMAP is under attack from the Taliban who exemplify a Pashtun nationalism rooted in Islamic consciousness and goals. But Balochistan's discontent has many other sources.
Sindh is also seething with anger. President Musharraf's campaign to popularise Kalabagh Dam is seen as a challenge and an insult; anyone visiting Kotri can see what the mighty Indus has been reduced to. The cause is said to be heavier withdrawals upstream of Sukkur Barrage. Lower Sindh has been woefully short of water while shortages are being felt in upper Sindh as well. New canals leading off from KBD would mean even less water for Sindh. There is no arithmetic which proves that if more water is used upstream, it will increase water flows downstream of Sukkur. It is a zero-sum game. Water is a finite commodity.
The president promises Sindh that the Punjab will not reduce its water supplies. 'Iron-clad' constitutional guarantees are being offered. It is unclear if this includes a guarantee against new canals taking away water for use in southeast Punjab. At any rate, there is a huge deficit of trust in the three provinces where the Punjab is concerned. At least four unconstitutional military governments have shown that constitutions mean nothing in Pakistan; they have been prostituted so many times. Who will trust a constitutional guarantee for Sindh, Balochistan and the NWFP after what has been seen as the army's twitch to take over. Then, Musharraf's words to the effect that "no Islamabad government can survive against the Punjab's wishes" is sure to erode national unity and the trust sustaining it. The outlook for Pakistan politics is bleak. No state can survive through force alone. The Centre does possess plenty of military might -- in fact, more than is normally needed in a democracy. The force that Islamabad possesses is predicated on the perceived Indian threat. The fact now is that war between India and Pakistan is now inconceivable after the 2002 crisis; neither can start a war again. The current size of forces is now distorting politics and conditioning minds in Islamabad. Pakistan does not need an armed forces of this size.
The problem of Balochistan, all said and done, is mainly political. All that Baloch nationalists want is the power to make decisions in Balochistan and a share at the Centre. Their self-rule aims to prevent exploitation of resources that does not benefit them. This is their right and they should get it. They also do not want outsiders to outnumber them. This too is justified. They do not want their government to be run by outside bureaucrats and 'agencies'. These 'agencies' have to be reigned in anyhow and brought firmly under parliament's control. If they are secret and are only meant for gathering information, then they had better stay secret and not interfere in politics. Period. Dialogue with the nationalists is needed. Governments in Quetta must have as much autonomy as would reassure them that their resources, particularly gas and oil, are not being used only to the benefit of others. They want a development that is determined by the Baloch people. The shortage of Baloch engineers and technologists needs to be removed by training more Baloch students through a crash programme in higher institutions. Let the Baloch people do it themselves.
Jang Group, The News International, GEO TV and their "Alleged Editors and Senior [& Investigative too] Correspondents often quote "Foreign Think Tanks, Study Groups and NGOs like in the news [Daily Jang] below has quoted International Crisis Group, lets read what the same International Crisis Group say about "Foreign Hand in Balochsitan, Minorities, Pliant Judiciary and last but not the least Islamic Seminaries.
Thursday, December 09, 2010, Muharram 02, 1432 A.H
As per a report by International Crisis Group "REFORMING THE JUDICIARY IN PAKISTAN" dated 16 October 2008:
VALIDATING MILITARY INTERVENTIONS
Like Zia’s Eighth Amendment, Musharraf’s Seventeenth Amendment, passed by a rubber-stamp parliament in December 2003, enshrined all executive orders and changes made under military rule.21 The Seventeenth Amendment gave the president, the titular head of state, the power to dismiss elected governments and parliament and also transferred from the prime minister, the head of government, key appointment powers to the president including appointments of governors, the three service chiefs and the chief justice of the Supreme Court. Musharraf’s constitutional distortions weakened civilian institutions. By sidelining secular democratic forces, the military government also enabled right-wing religious parties to fill the vacuum. In dismissing legal challenges to Seventeenth Amendment, the Supreme Court shirked its responsibility to protect constitutional rule. REFERENCE: Reforming the Judiciary in Pakistan Asia Report N°160 16 October 2008 http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?id=5728&l=1
Some courageous judges, such as Supreme Court Justices Dorab Patel and Fakhruddin G. Ibrahim,15 have refused to sanctify authoritarian interventions, and preferred to resign rather than undermine constitutionalism and the rule of law. By legitimising military rule and intervention, most have, however, abdicated their duty to uphold the law. Following Musharraf’s coup, the Supreme Court was purged of judges who might have opposed the military’s unconstitutional assumption of power. Judges were required to take an oath to Musharraf’s Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO), 1999, superseding the oath they had sworn at their induction to the 1973 constitution.16 On 26 January 2000, thirteen judges, including Chief Justice Saiduzzaman Siddiqui and four other Supreme Court justices, were removed for refusing to do so. The reconstituted Supreme Court was composed of judges who willingly accepted the military’s directions. They included Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, who was elevated to the Court in January 2000 and appointed chief justice by Musharraf in 2005. The judges took their oath of office under the PCO 1999, which omits the reference to their duty to “protect, uphold and defend” the 1973 constitution. On 21 May 2000, this bench upheld the legality of Musharraf’s coup under the doctrine of state necessity. The Supreme Court also authorised the army chief to amend the constitution, albeit within the bounds of its federal, democratic and parliamentary character. The Court also concluded that those judges who had been sacked following the PCO oath had lost any right to challenge their removal due to the passage of time. By placing personal survival over the rule of law and constitutionalism, these judges allowed another dicta tor to implement sweeping changes that expanded the military’s political powers and hold over the state. REFERENCE: Reforming the Judiciary in Pakistan Asia Report N°160 16 October 2008 http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?id=5728&l=1
Pakistan’s higher judiciary has repeatedly validated military interventions and sanctioned constitutional amendments that have fundamentally altered the legal and political system. Attempting to explain its failure to protect the constitution through the “doctrine of state necessity”, the judiciary has relied on the dubious argument that the army’s intervention could be justified because of the pressing need for political stability. This doctrine was first developed in three cases in 1955 in the Federal Court, as the Supreme Court was then known, to justify the extra-constitutional dismissal of the legislature by a titular head of state.11 Drawing on the precedent of those decisions, the Supreme Court validated General Mohammed Ayub Khan’s 1958 declaration of martial law, General Mohammad Ziaul Haq’s 1977 coup and General Pervez Musharraf’s 1999 coup. While these Supreme Court judgments gave military regimes the trappings of legality, repeated military interventions have hampered the growth of civilian institutions and moderate political parties and forces. The centralisation of power in a Punjabi-dominated army has also strained centre-province relations in a multi-ethnic, multi-regional state, even as the military’s use of religion to justify political control has undermined the security of Pakistani citizens, particularly women and religious and sectarian minorities. REFERENCE: Reforming the Judiciary in Pakistan Asia Report N°160 16 October 2008 http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?id=5728&l=1
LET ME GIVE YOU A MINOR GLIMPSE OF A VERY GRAVE SITUATION
The Pakistani government must investigate the torture and killings of more than 40 Baloch leaders and political activists over the past four months, Amnesty International said today. Activists, politicians and student leaders are among those who have been targeted in enforced disappearances, abductions, arbitrary arrests and cases of torture and other ill-treatment. The violence takes place against a backdrop of increasing political unrest and Pakistan army operations in Balochistan, south western Pakistan. “The Pakistani government must act immediately to provide justice for the growing list of atrocities in Balochistan,” said Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Director. “Baloch political leaders and activists are clearly being targeted and the government must do much more to end this alarming trend.” Among the latest victims of the ongoing violence are Faqir Mohammad Baloch and Zahoor Baloch, whose bodies were discovered in the district of Mastung on 21 October 2010. Faqir Mohammad Baloch, a poet and member of the Voice of Missing Baloch Missing Persons, was abducted on 23 September. Zahoor Baloch, a member of the Baloch Student Organization-Azad was abducted on 23 August. According to media reports, both received a single bullet wound to the head at point blank range and showed signs of being tortured. REFERENCE: PAKISTAN URGED TO INVESTIGATE MURDER AND TORTURE OF BALOCH ACTIVISTS 25 October 2010 http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/pakistan-urged-investigate-murder-and-torture-baloch-activists-2010-10-26
Violence continues unabated in Pakistan’s strategically important and resource-rich province of Balochistan, where the military government is fighting Baloch militants demanding political and economic autonomy. President Pervez Musharraf’s government insists the insurgency is an attempt to seize power by a handful of tribal chiefs bent on resisting economic development. Baloch nationalists maintain it is fuelled by the military’s attempts to subdue dissent by force and the alienation caused by the absence of real democracy. Whether or not free and fair national and provincial elections are held later this year or in early 2008 will determine whether the conflict worsens. Instead of redressing Baloch political and economic grievances, the military is determined to impose state control through force. The killing of the Baloch leader Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti by the army in August 2006 was followed by the incarceration of another, Sardar Akhtar Jan Mengal, who has been held on terrorism-related charges without due process since December. Law enforcement agencies have detained thousands of Baloch nationalists or those believed to be sympathetic to the cause; many have simply disappeared. With the nationalist parties under siege, many young activists are losing faith in the political process and now see armed resistance as the only viable way to secure their rights. REFERENCE: Pakistan: The Forgotten Conflict in Balochistan 22 Oct 2007 http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/regions/asia/south-asia/pakistan/B069-pakistan-the-forgotten-conflict-in-balochistan.aspx
Relying also on divide-and-rule policies, the military still supports Pashtun Islamist parties such as Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s Deobandi Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) in a bid to counter secular Baloch and moderate Pashtun forces. The JUI-F is the dominant member of the six-party Islamist alliance, the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), Musharraf’s coalition partner in the provincial government since October 2002. It is also a key patron of the Afghan Taliban. Using Balochistan as a base of operation and sanctuary and recruiting from JUI-F’s extensive madrasa network, the Taliban and its Pakistani allies are undermining the state-building effort in Afghanistan. At the same time, U.S. and other Western support for Musharraf is alienating the Baloch, who otherwise could be natural partners in countering extremism in Pakistan. Although the military has retained control through force, it is fast losing the campaign to win hearts and minds. The insurgency now crosses regional, ethnic, tribal and class lines. Musharraf appears oblivious to the need to change course if the insurgency is to be contained and political stability restored. Islamabad has yet to implement any of the recommendations on Balochistan’s political and economic autonomy made by a Senate (upper house) committee in November 2005. The federal government has also disregarded the Balochistan provincial assembly’s unanimous resolutions against unpopular federal development plans. The government’s inadequate response to the cyclone and floods that devastated the area in June and July 2007 has further worsened alienation. Although the crisis in Balochistan is assuming threatening dimensions, it is not irremediable provided the national and provincial elections are free and fair. The restoration of participatory representative institutions would reduce tensions between the centre and the province, empower moderate forces and marginalise extremists. In the absence of a transition to meaningful democracy, however, the military’s strong-arm tactics are bound to further fuel the insurgency, at great cost to the Baloch people and Pakistan’s enfeebled federal framework. REFERENCE: Pakistan: The Forgotten Conflict in Balochistan 22 Oct 2007 http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/regions/asia/south-asia/pakistan/B069-pakistan-the-forgotten-conflict-in-balochistan.aspx
President Pervez Musharraf and the military are responsible for the worsening of the conflict in Balochistan. Tensions between the government and its Baloch opposition have grown because of Islamabad’s heavy-handed armed response to Baloch militancy and its refusal to negotiate demands for political and economic autonomy. The killing of Baloch leader Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti in August 2006 sparked riots and will likely lead to more confrontation. The conflict could escalate if the government insists on seeking a military solution to what is a political problem and the international community, especially the U.S., fails to recognise the price that is involved for security in neighbouring Afghanistan. Tensions with the central government are not new to Balochistan, given the uneven distribution of power, which favors the federation at the cost of the federal units. The Baloch have long demanded a restructured relationship that would transfer powers from what is seen as an exploitative central government to the provinces. But Musharraf’s authoritarian rule has deprived them of participatory, representative avenues to articulate demands and to voice grievances. Politically and economically marginalised, many Baloch see the insurgency as a defensive response to the perceived colonisation of their province by the Punjabi-dominated military. REFERENCE: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS Pakistan: The Worsening Conflict in Balochistan 14 Sep 2006 http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/regions/asia/south-asia/pakistan/119-pakistan-the-worsening-conflict-in-balochistan.aspx