Balochs Celebrated the Independence Day, With Bombs, Violence
August 21: This year Pakistan’s’ Independence Day
on August 14 was celebrated and de-celebrated simultaneously by
a divided Balochistan in and outside the country.
Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi and Peshawar the day began with official
artillery salutes, colorful flags and fireworks, patriotic songs
and large expensive official and unofficial feasts and congregations.
Flag ceremony and artillery fire was organized in Quetta too,
but those who attended these gatherings had some disturbing news
about the activities of the resistance groups who marked the day
few hours back differently with militant and subversive activities
that rocked almost all the important cities and towns including
The people of Quetta had already
received seven grim and demoralizing reports on that day, largely
censored out by the Pakistani media:
1. Five heavy explosions in posh
localities in Quetta including Satellite Town, Jinnah Town, Ayub
Stadium, Askari Park and Sariab Road rocked the city.
2. Railway Station Mucch came
under attack and the railway track was blown up, hindering the
traffic for five hours until alternative route was arranged.
3. Airport building and Frontier
Constabulary posts in Turbat were attacked with rocket fires.
This fresh attack reportedly created panic in the administration
as it was fifth consecutive subversive activity in one week.
4. About a dozen rockets were
fired on government installations around Kohlu.
5. Gas pipe line in Sibi was blown
up disrupting gas supply to Khujak area.
6. FC check posts in Mundh were
attacked with heavy weapons. Few days back the house of Federal
Minister Ms Zubaida Jalal came under rocket fire.
7. On August 17 high tension power
transformer was blown up near Khuzdar.
Although the Mundh attack was
reported by the national press conservatively, word spread through
the internet that t the losses and causalities were far more than
The Press also reported that a
large cache of arms was seized on the way to Gwadar a few days
to press reports, activists of BSO Alliance and BNM observed August
14 as a black day and organized protest with black bands on arms
in many towns including Hub and Lasbela, the home towns of Chief
Minister Jam Yousuf.
The echoes of the Baloch agitation reverberated on the international
scene as well. Sindh TV in its August 15 and 16 bulletins reported
that scholars and activists of Baloch Society of North America
and Baloch Human Rights jointly with Sindhi activists organized
demonstration to mark the Independence Day in front of Pakistani
High Commission in Washington DC.
The speakers mostly PhD scholars
alleged that the Establishment was violating the human rights
of their nationalities back home. They condemned the Establishment
policies against Balochs and Sindhis. They denounced that smaller
nationalities have no incentive to celebrate but many reasons
to protest on the day.
While most of the above activities
were blacked out by the national press and electronic media it
is worth considering that the recent wave of terror and violence
occurred only a few days after Chief Minister Jam Yousuf’s
declaration that the government had purged the militant and resistance
groups and that their network had been wiped-out. It is another
story that his own home in Kalat was attacked within a few days
after the statement.
These subversive activities may
also be the natural reaction or results of recent provocative
statements by Jam Yousuf and his accomplices, wherein he sarcastically
commented that those who struggled in the past were so desperate
they could not afford even one meal a day.
It appears that the traditional
center of militant activities is shifting from difficult mountainous
and tribal areas of Kohlu, Barkhan, Marri and Bugti areas to comparatively
peaceful plane lands of Sibbi, Much, Mundh, Kalat, Khuzdar and
These areas are mostly outside
the tribal areas controlled by the Sardars so the traditional
culprits cannot be blamed. Instead most of these areas are under
the control of parliamentarians in the present government.
Given the present scenario in
Balochistan, it will be in the fitness of things that Establishment
in Islamabad reconsiders its strategy towards Balochistan, find
out real factors compelling people to resort to join such violence
risking their own as well as others lives.
Traditional charges and accusations
against the nationalists that they are working for foreign elements
for money will not suffice as the last 58 years prove these charges
are not holding.
government must form a committee of credible persons including
members of the Establishment, nationalist parties and observers
from NWFP and Sindh with adequate powers to take decisions, that
must start with the accountability of the present government in
the province. The committee must listen to the grievances of the
people with an emphatic ear, sort out the issues and make short
and long term plans for Balochistan.
The worsening situation in Balochistan
makes the proposed gas pipeline project with Iran and India highly
impractical to implement. The nationalists have already expressed
their reservations about this project. It is high time to come
forward with tangible results so that our Independence day for
2006 is not marred with such wave of terror.
writer is Trainer and Researcher in Ethno-political Conflict Management
& Development Studies. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org