• Sunday 17th January 2021

Taking Cognizance Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

Surely Balochistan is not going to become independent due to Congressional committee meetings. The only positive outcome of this meeting for the Baloch is that it has highlighted their plight and this may encourage other western countries to pay more attention to the human rights abuses in Balochistan

Sadiq Umrani, President PPP Balochistan, while condemning the cowardly murder of Brahamdagh Bugti’s sister and niece in Karachi by the intelligence agencies on the Balochistan Assembly floor made a shocking disclosure that he and two other ministers, Yunus Mullazai and Zafar Zehri, in November 2011 saw Frontier Corps (FC) personnel holding two blindfolded and handcuffed men at the roadside on a highway near Mangochar. He said that the FC men gunned them down and their bodies were found from the area the next day. Equally shocking is Umrani’s four month silence on the incident.

This shocking disclosure like all other known atrocities against the Baloch has fallen on deaf ears and gone unnoticed. Atrocities against the Baloch have come to be accepted as a normal state of affairs by all and even the inhumanly gruesome murder of Brahamdagh’s sister and niece has evoked minimal response from civil society or the media.

Murdering women to settle scores is the lowest ebb that establishments can reach and it has been reached here. Banok Zamur Bugti was not Brahamdagh Bugti’s sister alone – she is a sister of all honourable and conscientious Baloch. It is an outrage and a wound which all the Baloch will forever remember.

A national daily reported that these murders were a message for Brahamdagh Bugti to desist from resisting Pakistan. Apparently the establishment overlooked the fact that the message they gave by killing his grandfather Sardar Akbar Bugti went unheeded, so why would he heed these chilling murders and give up resistance now.

The state and its representatives forget that it was they who initiated the hostilities against the peaceful Baloch and the Baloch are exercising their right to defend themselves and to secure their rights. Ironically, Baloch resistance to atrocities and injustices is considered a crime while state atrocities are deemed legal.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik in the National Assembly said the government had taken cognizance of the killings of Bakhtiar Khan Domki’s family. He was in turn castigated by the assembly members for his remarks relating these killings to those of the FC personnel killed in the recent attacks. Incidentally, the Domki family killings followed and also prompted attacks on FC personnel in Balochistan by militant groups. After the killings of the FC personnel in Margat area, the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) spokesperson stated these were in retaliation for the killings of the Baloch ladies.

The Baloch understand how utterly worthless and meaningless Rehman Malik’s cognizance taking is but interestingly someone else too has taken cognizance of the situation in Balochistan. Yes, the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs took cognizance and convened a Congressional hearing for an exclusive discussion on Balochistan.

Amid the deteriorating mutual relationship between Pakistan and the US, this is an important development. This powerful House of Representatives Committee oversees the US’s foreign assistance programmes and experts believe it can jeopardise US assistance to Pakistan over human rights violations in Balochistan and this worries Pakistan no end. It follows the US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland’s expression of concern over human rights abuses in Balochistan on January 15. The world is slowly waking to the atrocities in Balochistan.

Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, who recently co-authored an article with Congressman Louie Gohmert expressing support for an independent Balochistan, chaired the hearing. In his piece he had written: “Perhaps we should even consider support for a Balochistan carved out of Pakistan to diminish radical power there (in Pakistan).”

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