Back in 2010, Kirpal Das and his son Sunny Kumar were kidnapped when they were travelling from Dera Murad Jamali in Nasirabad District of Balochistan to Jacobabad in Sindh. The kidnappers let Kirpal Das go and asked him to arrange ransom money within a week if he wanted to see his son alive. Das was forced to sell his belongings and borrow money from others to raise the ransom amount. His son was released. That was the time when some families from the minority communities, living in natural gas and mineral-rich Balochistan for centuries, were still well-off to meet the ransom demands.
As the situation worsened, those who could afford to migrated to other countries. The rest, with no money left, had no option but to face discrimination and death. In today’s Balochistan, the kidnappers have a new name—the ‘death squads’—and they’ve got a license from the Pakistani forces to target, abduct and kill. Gone are the days when ransoms were the sole objective, now it is all about finishing off the existence of Shia Hazaras, Ahmadis, Hindus, Christians, Zikris and other minorities from the land. The shops and houses aren’t just attacked and looted anymore, they’re simply set on fire with humans inside them.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) had noted earlier this year how the federal and provincial governments pass the buck and blame everything on the ‘enemies of the country’ who are attempting to ‘create unrest in Pakistan to achieve their nefarious designs.’ That is how the Pakistani politicians have tried to fool the Balochs as well as the world community.
The signing of a six-point agreement between the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government with the Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-Mengal) two years ago was one such exercise. As per the agreement, all overt and covert military operations will end; all missing persons will be produced; all proxy death squads created by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Military Intelligence (MI) will be disbanded; and Baloch nationalist parties will be allowed to participate freely in the political system.
Measures good enough to have restored the glorious past of Balochistan by now! But, we all know what happened. The bloodbath that has taken place in Balochistan over the last two years is well-documented. You don’t have to go too far, just type ‘Balochistan’ in the search box of www.indianarrative.com. The HRCP in its 2019 report had mentioned how sectarianism is a homegrown problem in Pakistan, with a sort of ‘constitutional support given to narrow Sunni majoritarianism to the exclusion of all other modes of interpreting Islam’.
It noted how the Hazara students have been forced to drop out of university for fear of attacks. Or why the Zikris around Gwadar are finding it difficult to survive as the local Sunni clerics are belting out hate speeches against them. That how the Christians have been relegated to janitorial jobs in the province. And, how the Hindus are living in constant fear that cases of blasphemy will be leveled against them or their daughters will be abducted, forcibly converted and married to men from the majority community. If that wasn’t enough, the Christian burial grounds and Hindu cremation grounds are disappearing fast too.
A puppet in the hands of the Pakistani army, PM Imran Khan—the creator of the fiction called ‘naya (new) Pakistan—believes that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor will be a ‘game-changer’ for Balochistan. The ‘kaptaan’, if at all really serious about stopping the ongoing genocide in Balochistan, needs to first put a halt on the dirty games being played in places like Turbat, Kech, Panjgur, etc. Till mutilated, bullet-riddled bodies of victims of enforced disappearance continue to pile up, Balochistan will always be in the news for all the wrong reasons.