The target killings and Baloch freedom fighters. By Ahmar Mustikhan
To kill a man by becoming a judge, jury and executioner is unforgivable and so is it to kill a man's dreams.
On September 15, 2011, a frantic call from an American Baloch friend about his relative who was killed in Kosh Kalat in Kech District. The man Mohammad Hussain was killed in Taliban-style, nothing was left of his face. The killers also took away the victim's cell phone and Rs. 5,000. His relatives who attended many events organized by the American Friends of Balochistan were in mourning. His nephew was crying. They were bereft and so was I.
On top of that the victim was declared a government spy.
I used to be very impressed by the BUC News until recently when I came to know that it was in fact part of an international terrorism syndicate in which Baloch writer Hafeez Hassanabadi -- Anders Breivik from Balochistan, who is now in Oslo -- is a key player.
But first of all it is time to say sorry to all those whom I had antagonized by my belief that the sarmachars or Baloch freedom fighters are infallible saints. Just like many American super-patriots who believe, U.S. is always right even though it committed crimes against humanity in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan (during Mujahideen days), I was under an impression that sarmachars never kill unjustly.
Patriotism is the last refuge of fools.
Charity begins at home so my first apology to journalist Malik Siraj Akbar, whose news web zine the Baloch Hal has created the greatest awareness about Balochistan conundrum and is an excellent source of news and information about Balochistan.
It was I believe February 2010 when the Baloch Hal published a news item that said the sarmachars were threatening to harm a co-education school in Panjgur and were asking the school to adopt sexual segregation. I posted a rash comment, which if I recall correctly, said something on the lines that Malik Siraj Akbar has joined the Military Intelligence.
Akbar, who has taken great personal risks to speak the truth, was so hurt that he shut down the Baloch Hal for a few weeks.
Like a hichmachar, who does not differentiate between friend and foe, I also called him a “young Punjabi journalist.” Forgive me journo and when I die please write a kind obituary.
My sincere and unconditional apologies to the honorable Baloch leaders and activists who got antagonized as I became a hichmachar with a pen. In fact this can be even more dangerous than the one with the gun. I hope Hafeez Hassanabadi would also realize this, sooner rather than later.
Differences should never mean we are enemies.
The thinking "either you are with me or you are my enemy" and "my way or the highway" is a suicidal way of thinking Baloch can ill afford.
Hassanabadi's advocacy of killing of all 70,000 members of the National Party and the Mengal family that leads the Baloch National Party has rightly put him in the same killer basket like Anders Breivers.
There was unprecedented national unity in the ranks of the Baloch leaders and masses at the time of the killing of former Balochistan governor and chief minister Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti in fall 2006. This unity prevailed even three years after his death. Massive protests marked the killings of Baloch political activists Ghulam Mohammed Baloch, Lala Munir Baloch and Sher Mohammed Baloch in April 2009. Not that there was love between the major stakeholders, but still there was some degree of unity in spite of mistrusts and suspicions.
However, the rifts began widening after two main developments: release of Hyrbyair Marri from Belmarsh Prison and the shifting of controversial writer Hafeez Hassanabadi from St. Petersberg to Oslo, Norway about two years ago.
Returning to the September 14 killing, an organization that I founded in the wake of the killing of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, American Friends of Balochistan, announced a week-long suspension of its lobbying work in protest against Hussain's slaying. I was under the impression this would help prevent such killings in the future. But within two weeks, a second activist Dr. Lal Bakhsh was killed.
I very well remember the last Tuesday of November, 2009. Immediately after the Balochistan International Conference in Washington DC I received a phone call and was interviewed by three FBI agents from Baltimore who wanted to know if I belonged to the Baloch Liberation Army.
I very openly told them I have no clue about B.L.A. and proudly told them my beliefs that Balochistan war is a war in self-defense as Balochistan was under occupation. They asked me if I sent monies for the fighters and I replied, “I wish I could.” In fact, I told them that I depend upon the Baloch Diaspora for my activism work and even asked them that the U.S. should support the Baloch movement. I remember one of the agents agreed that the U.S. did provide help to the Kurds in Turkey.
But the killing of Hussain scared me to death. I can not lie to the U.S. government. What I saw was a Taliban-style killing, but in my interview with the Feds that wintry Tuesday I had told them we have nothing in common with the Taliban thugs. Killing of Mohammed Hussain proved me wrong; there was no difference between the Baloch hichmachars and the Taliban terrorists.
I sent a condolence to Rashid Baloch that was copied to Hyrbyair Marri and Dr. Allah Nazar. The condolence read:
“We note with sadness that deceased Mohammed Hussain was your second first cousin to lose his life in the tragedy unfolding in Balochistan. Last year your first cousin Maula Bakhsh Dashti was also allegedly killed on the mere suspicion of being an I.S.I. informer though his services for his land and people spanned more than three decades. We had condemned Dashti's killing as "cowardly."
“It is unfortunate that Hussain was accused of playing a role in the enforced disappearance and subsequent slaying of Jameel Yaqoob, a cousin of BSO Azad leader Khalil Yaqoob. We hope those charges are unfounded. Even if the charges against Hussain were true, such issues of alleged treachery will have to be dealt with through due process in an open court once Baloch become masters of their own destiny.
“We appeal to the honorable Balochistan independence leaders to prevail upon the resistance fighters not to target civilians, whether Baloch or non-Baloch, as this will bring a bad name to Balochistan.
“We view each Baloch as the blood and bone of the Baloch nation. Harming any Baloch at this juncture would cause irreparable damage to the independence movement and benefit the state. We are of the considered opinion that such senseless killings of Baloch on mere suspicion of being state informers are totally uncalled for and counter-productive for the freedom movement.”
I was expecting a call from either Dr. Allah Nazar or Hyrbyair Marri as we had worked very closely with them over the last two years but did not hear from them.
After that we sent an email to Samandar Askani, aka Pervez Baloch, who too is a member of the international terrorism syndicate though he is angry with Hassanabadi over his extremism. I asked,
“Members of the A.F.B. will like to talk with Dr. Allah Nazar Baloch over the killing of Mohammed Hussain, a cousin of A.F.B. member Rashid Baloch.
“Whatever our differences with N.P. we can never allow killing of political activists.”
However, Askani replied that Dr. Allah Nazar was inaccessible.
To drive home the point that we meant business, I again sent an email that all work has been suspended in Washington DC for a week as a mark of respect for Mohammed Hussain.
I had plans to meet Senator Joe Lieberman, chair of the U.S. Senate Homeland Security Committee, at a book launching ceremony in Washington DC on September 20, 2011 to inform him about the ongoing situation in Balochistan but called it off.
I appealed to Dr. Allah Nazar and Hyrbyair Marri one more time, “The A.F.B. requested the resistance outfits not to become a second Pakistan military who are already making Baloch women widows and children orphans.
"We are of the considered opinion the resistance outfits are not sacred cows, who can act above the law like the Pakistan military. Just because they are holding guns does not give them the right to hold the entire Balochistan society hostage.
“The resistance outfits must be answerable to each and every Baloch and the international community for their actions and deeds. By their actions today, they must show they will be upholding the rule of law tomorrow.”
After passage of two weeks, I once again wrote to seek an apology from Dr. Allah Nazar through one of his emissaries:
“I am writing this to you in my capacity as founder of the American Friends of Balochistan.
“We take the issue of political and civil liberties very seriously and are of the considered opinion that nothing is more sacred for us than human lives.
“We shall never tolerate the killing of political activists by labeling them as government informers over personal disputes.
“We demand an unconditional apology from Dr. Allah Nazar Baloch over the killing of Mohammed Hussain, who is a first cousin of American friends of Balochistan presiding council member Rashid Baloch. We also request the B.L.F. to immediately sack Khalil Yaqoob, who is responsible for Mohammad Hussain's slaying.
“We shall always give priority to Baloch national interests over our own personal interests and I hope you understand what I mean.”
To my chagrin, instead of listening to our voice of reason Faiz Baluch unfriended me on Facebook while the B.L.F. thugs killed a second worker of the National Party, Dr. Lal Bakhsh, in as many weeks.
The worst thing about it all is that the totally immoral killers accuse the victims of being government spies and informers. This is totally untrue and unfair.
I was told by my old friend and former speaker of the Balochistan provincial assembly, Akram Dashti that the National Party had always tried to join the protest against enforced disappearances and extra judicial killings. "But we were told to stay away as they said we try to cash on the situation for election purposes," Dashti told me on the phone.
Dashti is reputed to be a honest politician from Balochistan, while Hyrbyair Marri knows very well about the level of corruption in Balochistan. Many of his former cabinet colleagues allege that he even sold a peon's position when he was education minister.
We had tried to create a more effective voice for victims of enforced disappearances, International Voice for Baloch Missing Persons, but the same narrow-mindedness of Mr. Marri and his paid adviser Hassanabadi killed the efforts. Kachkol Ali Advocate graciously agreed to become a member and so did former senator Sanaullah Baloch. Mehran Baluch, Mr. Marri's younger and more affable brother, and Noordin Mengal, his nephew was all willing to put in their efforts. Baloch Human Rights Council was also represented.
However, Mr. Marri's my way or highway spelled the demise of the organization within the first few weeks.
I had requested Mr. Marri numerous times to talk with at least two other politicians former chief minister Sardar Akhtar Mengal and the Khan of Kalat Mir Suleiman Daud to form a united front, but to no avail. The only time Mr. Marri worked with the Khan for about five to six months was immediately after the end of his terror trial at Old Bailey.
Let alone other politicians, Mr. Marri has not been talking to Mehran Baluch. Mr. Marri's slogan is "neither brother, nor friend just the cause." This is more or less like a Nazi slogan that has dangerous repercussions for politics and society.
The craziest thing happened in fall of 2010. An announcement was made by Samandar Askani, aka Pervez Baloch and Wahab Baloch of the Baloch Rights Council, that Baloch organizations have nominated Mr. Marri as their "international representative." When asked, Mr. Marri defended the ill-fated move. Nothing could be more ridiculous.
Mr. Marri's dealings with his tribal adversaries leave much to be desired. He s not willing to shake hands with those who do not agree with his Stalinist views. I must admit Dr. Jumma Marri had in spite of past injustices wanted to work with Nawab Marri's sons, but got a firm rebuff. For example, he wanted to attend the Balochistan International Conference in Washington DC, but the sponsors said no. I know for a fact they do not treat Sher Alam Marri, son of another legendary guerilla leader, Sher Mohammad Marri aka General Sheroff, as an equal human being. This type of tribal arrogance is not helpful to the creation of a modern, secular democratic Balochistan where all people are equal.
I wish I had taken a firmer stand on the killing of innocent Punjabi settlers and the most cowardly killing of Professor Nazima Talib. Just as I have done in the case of Baloch political activists.
I had asked Hyrbyair Marri about Professor Talib, but he had put a counter question what was the fault of the Baloch woman who had died during the military raid on her home. Punjabi settlers who live in the midst of Baloch population are the bahote of the Baloch. Every Baloch must go an extra mile to help protect and save their lives. We are humans first and the national independence movement should be based on the love for the Baloch, not on hatred for Punjabis, mohajirs or Pashtuns.
In short, when the sarmachars kill innocent political workers they must remember a place in London called Belmarsh Prison. There they strip search everyone. They won't listen to you if you say you have the right to become judge, jury and executioner.
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