The Punjabi scapegoat
It is common practice in the (so called) leftist and progressive circles of Pakistan to blame Punjab for all failures of the country as a federation and also for the sufferings of ethnic and religious minorities.
What remains however ignored is the fact that dominant majority of Punjabis (i.e. Punjabis, Saraikis and other ethnicities living in the Punjab province) are as disempowered and miserable as are the people living in other provinces and areas of Pakistan.
While by virtue of a number of factors, not least their demographic majority in the federation of Pakistan, Punjabis have a greater share not only in the national parliament but also in other institutions of power including army, bureaucracy and judiciary, the majority of Punjabis however lack influence or participation in such institutions. A powerful elite manages to rule and represent the Punjab province, a state of affairs which is not much different from other provinces which are ruled by the Sindhi elite, the Pakhtun elite and the Baloch elite.
Yet, it remains a popular practice to blame Punjab and the Punjabis for the suffering, discrimination and high-handedness facing all Pakistanis, particularly those of minority ethnic backgrounds, e.g., Sindhis, Baloch and Pakhtuns.
Consequently, what remains widely ignored and invisible in the Pakistani and international media is the plight of ordinary Punjabis who are a convenient scapegoat and at times have to pay for their ethnic origin through loss of life, property or both. However, stories of their plight and persecution remain untold and neglected in the media and the parliament.
In support of Punjabi settlers in Balochistan
I am writing this post in support of my Punjabi brothers and sisters who are currently being slaughtered by a number of violent groups in Balochistan including but not limited to the misguided Baloch separatists; also some Punjabis are being killed by sectarian and jihadi terrorists of the Sipah-e-Sahaba and Taliban.
Malik Siraj Akbar writes in The The Baluch (www.thebaluch.com):
The activities of Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), a key player in Balochistan trouble, have increased since the induction of the new government. The BLA has rejected the offer for negotiations. Asked how it viewed the proposed APC, a BLA spokesman told Daily Times it was “a sheer waste of time”. The BLA claims responsibility of the killing of a Punjabi professor last week saying he was a spy for intelligence agencies. The BLA has killed dozens of government personnel in Balochistan citing the same reason. Most of those killed are Punjabis.
According to same author, writing in The Hindu (2 Sep 2009):
Killing of Baloch leaders (by Pakistan Army has) led to an intensified campaign of target killing by Baloch insurgents against Punjabi settlers in the province, mainly of school teachers and government servants. Baloch militants warned that no school across Balochistan should hoist the Pakistani flag or play the national anthem. The threat was taken seriously only after half of a dozen Punjabi principals and teachers were murdered in broad daylight.
Baloch activists burned Pakistani flags and hoisted the flag of an independent Balochistan on major educational institutions, including at the University of Balochistan. The underground Baloch groups have threatened to kill anyone who removes these Baloch flags or resumes singing the Pakistani anthem at schools. Now even elite grammar schools in Quetta have stopped playing Pakistan’s anthem.
All this has engendered an atmosphere of fear. The Balochistan Residential College in Khuzdar district, for instance, has been shut for more than two months since the killing of its principal. When the issue was raised at Balochistan Assembly, the Education Minister expressed “utter helplessness.”
“Now that the killings have already started, we can not simply describe it as a ‘threat’ only. It is a reality that our teachers are facing and being killed. The government should take notice of this dire situation before the teachers give up their jobs because of fear,” was his only response.
A considerable number of teachers in Balochistan are Punjabis, and most of them have applied with the Education Department for their transfer outside Balochistan for security reasons. The Education Ministry says the number of such applications is too high to be entertained.
Punjabi officials in other government departments are equally reluctant to stay on in the province fearing they could become targets. According to Daily Aaj Kal, 10 government officials from Punjab agreed to serve in Balochistan only after they were offered double salaries, a four-month leave per year and promotions to the next grade.
It was in August 2006 when Nawab Akbar Bugti was killed by General Musharraf in a military operation in Kohlu district. The tragic murder of Akbar Bugti gave birth to unstoppable target killings of Punjabi and other non-Baloch settlers in Balochistan as well as the destruction of national infrastructure. The Baloch insurgents, and certain other groups, are on a rampage sine then, not sparing any one from Punjab, be it a doctor, teacher, professor, barber, laborer or police official.
For example, on 25 October 2009, minister for education Shafiq Ahemd Khan was killed in an incident of target killing. three days later, secretary of education was killed. Previously, in April 2009, pro-vice chancellor of the University of Baluchistan was shot dead in front of the university. (Source)
Besides the killings of teachers mostly belonging to Punjab, barbers and other shop keepers of Punjabi origin are also being targeted. On a number of occasions, innocent laborers have been targeted, not to speak of the every day target killings of the Hazara (Shia) community, which the government links with sectarian violence by the Sipah-e-Sahaba / Taliban.
Some rare voices of protest
According to two fellow posters (from friends korner):
On the backing of Chief Minister Balochistan Aslam Raisani and baloch nationalist leaders including Bramdagh Bugti and Akhtar Mengal, Baloch terrorists kill yet another Punjabi professor in Quetta. This is the third such incident in the last 7 days. First, the Punjabi provincial education minister was shot dead 7 days ago, then the Punjabi secretary of education was shot dead 3 days ago and now another Punjabi professor has been killed in the open with the baloch leaders and baloch provincial government enjoying the massacre.
The Pakistani intelligence agencies have long become dynfunctional and the patronizing and support offered to these terrorist organizations like BLA by balochistan government has created enormous amounts of misery in the lives of punjabis in Balochistan.
1. The terrorist organization that has killed 1000 Punjabis during the last one year and which openly claims responsibility is called Baloch Liberation Army, not random terrorists and they are specifically targeting Punjabis.
2. You have NO idea how much hatred balochs express against punjabis in Balochistan regardless of whether the poor punjabis have been born/living in Balochistan. Punjabis are discriminated against in every department in Balochistan and now the provincial govt seems to be patronizing the target killers and you want us to keep quiet?
3. To keep quiet against zulm (oppression) is the biggest zulm. It is necessary to educate pakistanis and hopefully our incompetent agencies to do something about it.
Aims of this post
Here is a brief archive of latest news and articles on the target killing of Punjabis in Balochistan. I hope that this post and the archive will help:
1. journalists and TV anchors to pay attention to this topic;
2. parliamentarians to demand a detailed (periodical) fact sheet by the Balochistan government on this issue;
3. Baloch separatists to rethink their approach to Baloch rights;
4. provincial administration to conduct a regular monitoring of the situation and the measures taken to curb this trend and to arrest and punish the killers;
5. provincial administration to arrange for the compensation and rehabilitation as well as security of the affected families and businesses.
6. leading political parties to demonstrate their support for ethnic harmony in Balochistan and to safeguard the interests of all ethnic groups including but not limited to Punjabi settlers.
7. federal and provincial governments to address genuine grievances of the people of Balochistan on an emergency basis.
Here is the news archive detailing only a few most recent cases of violence against Punjabi settlers in Balochistan:
Two Punjabis target killed in Panjgur
The Baloch Hal News
Mar 22, 2010
PANJGUR: As the current wave of target killings in Balochistan continued, two more Punjabi settlers were shot dead in Panjgur, a district located on 600 kilometers away from provincial capital Quetta on Pak-Iran border town in the restive Balochistan province.
Police in Panjgur district said unidentified armed men had opened indiscriminate fire with Kalashnikov on two laborers working in Shaokhan area at Panjgur grid station on Tuesday. Both of them, who were reported to be citizens of Lodhran district of Punjab province, died on the spot. The killers managed to escape from the venue when the local police reached the spot. They were identified as Manawar Hussain and Sarfaraz, residents of Lodharan district of the Punjab.
The dead bodies of the victims were sent to their native district after the completion of basic police and medical investigation formalities. The killings in Panjgur raised the total number of people target killed in different parts of Balochistan in a single week to 22.
No group has claimed responsibility for the murder of Punjabi laborers in Panjgur even though armed Baloch nationalist groups have issued threats to Punjabis across Balochistan to leave the province.
Educationist shot dead by the BLA in Quetta
By Saleem Shahid
Tuesday, 23 Mar, 2010 (Dawn)
QUETTA: Renowned educationist Professor Fazal Bari was gunned down here on Monday and the Baloch Liberation Army claimed responsibility for the attack.
Professor Bari, Principal of the Tamir-i-Nau Public Model school and a former chairman of the Balochistan Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education, was going to the school when the gunmen on a motorcycle opened fire at his car near Bhosa Mandi, killing him on the spot and injuring his driver Abdul Sattar.
The Tamir-i-Nu-Public college and its affiliated schools announced a three-day closure to mourn the death of the widely respected educationist.
The killing triggered protests by students who first reached the civil hospital after hearing the news of the murder and later marched on various roads, chanting slogans against the government for its failure to stop the target killings in the province.
They later went to the Governor’s House and Chief Minister’s House where they held a demonstration and demanded immediate arrest of the killers.
Police fired tear-gas shells and baton charged the protesting students and detained three of them.
The Namaz-i-Janaza of Prof Bari was offered in the Tamir-i-Nu-Public College ground and his body was flown to Lahore.
Professor Bari’s son Abid said that his family had no enmity with anyone.
Police raided various areas in the city and took into custody 25 suspects.
“We have picked up over two dozen suspects who are under interrogation,” police sources said, adding that it was an incident of target killing.
Meerik Baloch, a spokesman for Baloch Liberation Army, calling from an unspecified place, told newsmen that the BLA had organised the murder.
Tragic tale of a family in Balochistan
By Shakeel Ahmed
Thursday, 04 Feb, 2010 (daily Dawn)
MULTAN, Feb 3: Fate has placed a family which came to Multan after partition and then settled in Balochistan in a trying ordeal as five of its members have lost their lives in the last four years in what has come to know as the restive province.
Having spent five decades in Balochistan, the family says it cannot live anymore here as target killings have snuffed light out of their lives. Their credentials are not allowing them to start any kind of business.
Nadeem Sajid, whose younger brother (a doctor) was gunned down in Khuzdar while performing his duty at his private clinic on Jan 28 last, said his brother was the only cardiologist at the Khuzdar Divisional Headquarters Hospital. He said the killing of Punjabi settlers in Balochistan got momentum after the killing of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti in 2006 in a military operation.
“We have been settled in Balochistan for more than five decades and established our businesses and joined public departments to serve the province. We have learnt local languages like Balochi and Brahvi,” he said.
He said they were born and bred in Balochistan and had the domicile of the province. “We have even adopted the culture of Balochistan and communicate with each other in local languages.
“I left Khuzdar some three years ago and was in a culture shock as the culture of this region is totally different,” said Nadeem who returned to Multan.
He said more than 60 families of his relatives were settled in Qalaat, Quetta, Mastung, Othal, Hab Chowki, Gwadar and Khuzdar. He said a majority of his relatives had left Balochistan and settled in various parts of Punjab and Sindh or had been shifted to the Pakhtoon areas of Balochistan while the remaining were awaiting an opportunity to come back.
He said leaving Balochistan was not an easy task as they had established businesses there or were engaged in various kinds of jobs in public departments. At the same time, he said, life was nothing short of a nightmare.
“We are not secure in our houses. Our house has been attacked thrice with bombs but luckily we remained safe.”
He said his uncle, Sheikh Manzoor, 55, had a sweet shop (Punjab Sweet House) in Qalaat, but he had changed the name of his shop due to hatred among the local population against the Punjabi settlers. However, this act of his to protect his property and life could not prove successful as he lost his life along with three others when a bomb blast ripped through his shop on Aug 31, 2004.
He said the other victim belonging to his family was 37-year-old Haji Wasi Ahmad, a photojournalist, who was gunned down on April 21, 2009. Riaz Hussain, 45, a traffic warden, was assassinated in Qalaat on Oct 17, 2009 while he was performing his duty.
He said his remaining family along with his parents and sisters left Khuzdar some four months ago and had shifted to Multan, however his brother Dr Fahim Sajid refused to leave Khuzdar as he and his wife were serving the ailing at the Divisional Headquarters Hospital. After the attack on the private hospital of his sister, he had started considering leaving Balochistan.
He said that on Jan 28, Dr Fahim was at his private clinic when a man appeared in the guise of a patient and killed him.
“Shifting of the body from Khuzdar to Multan is another difficult task as the Baloch nationalists have announced that they will kill all Punjabi settlers.” He said they brought the body to Multan after the Balochistan government provided security.
The father of the deceased, Sheikh Mukhtar Ahmad Sajid (73) said more than 100 Punjabi settlers had been killed during the last couple of years but not even a single assassin had been arrested. He said the FIR of the murder of his son had been lodged against unidentified assassin.
He said the government was fully aware of the difficulties the Punjabi settlers were facing in Balochistan but was not ready to make conditions livable for them. He said their children could not get jobs in any other province as they had the domicile of Balochistan.
The ageing man urged the government to make arrangements for safe shifting of Punjabi settlers from Balochistan.
Two Punjabi settlers killed in Balochistan
January 29, 2010
QUETTA: Two Punjabi settlers were gunned down in Balochistan in separate incidents in Khuzdar and Labela districts on Thursday. According to Khuzdar police, 38-year-old Dr Fahim Sajid – originally from Multan district – was gunned down by a man disguised as a patient at Sajid’s private clinic. The unidentified assailant opened fire at the doctor while he was checking him. Sajid died at the spot. Punjabi settler Abdul Haq was killed in Hub area of Lasbela district. Officials said unidentified men opened fire at the shopkeeper who died on the spot. No group has claimed responsibility for the killings yet. In another incident, at least two people – Shakir Ali and Shahbaz Ahmed – were injured after unidentified masked men – on a motorbike – hurled a hand grenade at a shop owned by a non-local in Noshki district. The injured were immediately shifted to Quetta for treatment.
The Nation, Pakistan
QUETTA – Two persons including a cardiologist were shot dead in two different incidents while two others were wounded in incidents of firing and hand grenade attack in different towns of Balochistan on Thursday.
According to reports reaching here, unidentified assailants gunned down a cardiologist in Khuzdar town, some 350 kilometers away from the provincial capital.
The sources said that cardiologist Doctor Fahim Sajjid was shot dead by unidentified armed men near Civil Colony of Khuzdar town when he was on his way to the clinic. They opened fire with sophisticated weapons and escaped from the scene. The deceased belonged to Punjab and previously his house was also attacked with a hand grenade.
On being informed, officials of the police and administration reached the site and started probe into the murder.
‘Apparently it is an incident of target killing’, said a police officer,adding, that investigations are underway to ascertain the motive behind the killing.
In yet another similar incident, armed men riding a motorbike opened indiscriminate firing on a person identified as Abdul Haq in Hub town while he was sitting in his shop. Resultantly, he sustained serious injuries and was rushed to Civil Hospital where doctors pronounced him dead. The gunmen escaped from the scene after committing the crime.
The sources said that deceased Abdul Haq was a resident of Punjab and was running a general store.
Meanwhile, armed assailants attacked a welding shop owned by a settler with hand grenade in Nushki town.
As per reports reaching here, assailants hurled a hand grenade into a welding shop located on Ainuddin Road of Nushki town which exploded and wounded two workers identified as Shahbaz and Shakir. They were rushed to Civil Hospital Nushki for first medical aid and later, referred to Quetta for further treatment.
Police has registered cases of the incidents and started investigations.
Four Punjabi settlers killed in Balochistan
January 17, 2010
By Malik Siraj Akbar
QUETTA: Four non-Baloch individuals were killed in different parts of Balochistan on Saturday in an apparent backlash of Friday’s killings of two Baloch nationalists. Three of the murders have been confirmed as target killings.
According to details, two Punjabi settlers were killed in Ghosiabad police precincts, in the Satellite Town area of the provincial capital. The victims were standing on a road when unidentified armed motorcyclists opened fire at them. As a result, Malik Ifthakar died on the spot, while Malik Tahir died while being treated at the Quetta Civil Hospital.
Meanwhile, a Punjabi settler was gunned down in Khuzdar district. Mohammad Iqbal – originally of Sailkot – was gunned down by unidentified armed assailants at Umar Farooq Chowk. Iqbal also died during treatment.
Khuzdar police said they had registered a case against unidentified assailants and launched an investigation.
Meerak Baloch, a spokesman for the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) called the offices of various newspapers and accepted responsibility for killing the three Punjabi settlers. Also, a man was killed in Mastung district on Saturday in a similar target-killing incident. According to local police, Mohammad Ismail was returning home after closing shop when unidentified armed men ambushed him.
No one has claimed responsibility for Ismail’s murder so far. Local police say they are investigating.
Professor gunned down in Quetta
Friday, November 06, 2009
By Muhammad Ejaz Khan
QUETTA: A senior professor of the University of Balochistan was shot dead on the Kassi Road here on Thursday night. The defunct Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) claimed responsibility for the killing.
Police said Prof Khurshid Ansari was on his way to a mosque to offer his Isha prayer when some unidentified men riding a motorcycle sprayed him with bullets, killing him instantly. Hospital sources said the victim sustained multiple bullet injuries and died while being shifted to hospital. The assailants fled.
After autopsy in the morgue of the Civil Hospital, the body of the deceased was handed over to the heirs. In the meantime, a large number of professors and students of the university reached the hospital. The Academic Staff Association of the university announced three-day mourning and boycott of the classes to protest the killing of the professor.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the defunct BLA telephoned media offices and claimed responsibility for the killing. Balochistan Governor Nawab Zulfiqar Ali Magsi and Chief Minister Nawab Muhammad Aslam Raisani in their separate condolence messages strongly condemned the killing. The chief minister directed the police to arrest the killers.
Secy Board of Education Balochistan shot in Quetta
Saturday, 31 Oct, 2009
Security has been stepped up in Quetta following the attack on the secretary as banned militant group BLUF claims responsibility for the incident.— Photo from File
QUETTA: Secretary Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education Hamid Mehmood sustained serious bullet injuries when armed militants opened fire at him here on Saturday.
According to Quetta police, the secretary was on the way to his office with his driver between 9:30am to 10am when armed men riding on two bikes opened fire at his car. As a result, the Secretary Board received bullets in his head and other parts of the body. The driver of the car remained secure.
The injured official was rushed to BMC hospital and later, he was shifted to Combined Military Hospital Quetta where his condition is stated to be very serious.
According to doctors, he will have to undergo an operation.
Meanwhile, a man showing himself as representative of banned militant group Baloch Liberation United Front (BLUF) phoned local TV channel offices and claimed responsibility for opening firing and injuring the Secretary Examination Board.—APP
Balochistan education minister gunned down
By Saleem Shahid
Monday, 26 Oct, 2009 (Dawn)
QUETTA: Balochistan’s Education Minister Shafiq Ahmed Khan was shot dead in front of his house here on Sunday. One of his close relatives was injured in the attack. Mr Khan, 55, belonged to the PPP.
Balochistan Liberation United Front (BLUF), which had kidnapped UNHCR official John Solecki in February this year, claimed responsibility for the murder of Mr Shafiq Khan.
Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani announced three-day mourning in the province. Educational institutions, which were scheduled to reopen on Monday, have been closed for another three days.
According to police, Mr Shafiq Ahmed Khan was attacked when he returned, along with his relative Hidayatullah Jaffar, after attending a function in a local hotel.
As he came out of his car in Talgodam area, some armed men opened fire from close range, seriously injuring him and his relative. They were being taken to the civil hospital, but Mr Shafiq Khan died before reaching there.
‘Mr Shafiq Khan suffered bullet wounds in the head and chest,’ doctors at the civil hospital said.
Witnesses said the assassins who were on motorbike escaped after the attack.
‘I saw a man who fired on the education minister,’ Hidayatullah Jaffar told police at the hospital.
Sources said there was no security guard with the minister. It is learnt that despite repeated demands Mr Shafiq Khan did not get any guard or security escort.
He is the second minister of the provincial coalition government gunned down in a couple of months.
Excise and Taxation Minister Sardarzada Rustam Khan Jamali was assassinated in Karachi in July this year. The house of Provincial Information Minister Younas Mullahzai recently came under a grenade attack in Quetta.
Soon after Sunday’s incident, hundreds of workers of PPP and other political parties gathered outside the house of Mr Shafiq Khan. Provincial ministers and leaders of political parties also visited his house to offer condolences.
Family sources said his Namaz-i-Janaza would be held in Toghi road Eidgah and he would be buried in the Kasi graveyard.
Balochistan lawyers have announced boycott of the court on Monday and traders would observe a strike in protest against the assassination.
Baloch Liberation United Front spokesman Shahiq Baloch claimed responsibility for the assassination.
Mr Shahiq was born in Quetta. After completing his education at the Balochistan University, he started his career as a social worker. He was thrice elected as member of the Quetta Municipal Corporation.
He first joined Tehrik-i-Istiqlal, but left it after some time. In 1990, he contested for a provincial assembly seat as an independent candidate, but lost.
He later joined the PPP and was elected an MPA in 2002. He was re-elected on PPP ticket in 2008 and joined the cabinet of Nawab Raisani as education minister.
His assassination has been condemned across the province by Governor Nawab Zulfiqar Magsi, Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani, Speaker Aslam Bhootani, PPP’s provincial president Senator Haji Lashkri Raisani and parliamentary leader Mir Sadiq Umrani, provincial ministers Sardar Sanaullah Zehri, Mir Zafarullah Zehri, Babu Amin Umrani, Mir Asim Kurd and Dr Ruquiya Hashmi and other political leaders.
The Pukhtoonkhawa Milli Awami Party has termed the killing a terrorist act and demanded arrest of Mr Shafiq Khan’s killers.
In a statement issued here on Sunday, the PKMAP said it would not allow target killings and other terrorist acts in the province. It criticised the performance of law-enforcement agencies and said that terrorists had been given a free hand to kill innocent people.
Four fall prey to target killing in Quetta
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
By Muhammad Ejaz Khan
QUETTA: In the fresh wave of target killing incidents in Quetta, four people including a cardiologist were gunned down in two separate places on Monday.
Police said Cardiologist Dr Abid Iqbal Zaidi was shot dead by unidentified armed men on Fatima Jinnah Road when he reached his private clinic. The assailants had taken positions near the clinic when the doctor reached there at around 6pm. They opened fire with sophisticated weapons.
The attackers fled the scene, leaving behind the doctor in a pool of blood. The cause of the cold-blooded murder is yet to be confirmed, but the police believe that it is an incident of target killing.
On being informed, senior officials of the police and administration reached the scene and started a probe into the murder. The body of the deceased doctor was shifted to the morgue of the civil hospital for autopsy.
A large number of people including relatives, doctors and well wishers of the deceased gathered at the emergency of the hospital, where moving scenes were witnessed. In another incident, a man and his two sons were gunned down by unidentified armed men on Sirki Road. Police said the owner of a welding shop Sher Ahmed was on his way home along with his two sons – Shabir Ahmed and Jalil Ahmed – when they were attacked.
Police said some unidentified armed men sprayed bullets with automatic weapons on them. Jalil Ahmed died instantly, while Sher Ahmed and Shabir Ahmed succumbed to their injuries in the Bolan Medical Complex Hospital. Police and law enforcement agencies reached the spot and started a probe into the incident.
Balochistan: One killed in targeted killing in Quetta
QUETTA: Unidentified attackers on Tuesday killed a Punjabi-speaking settler and burnt the official car of a Balochistan minister in two separate acts of violent in Quetta.
The Punjabi settler, identified as Mohammad Ajmal, was shot in Qili Bangulzai locality of Quetta, Ajmal was an employee of a caterer in the provincial capital.
The reason for the killing was not clear, but the incident appeared to be a part of the recent series of targeted killings of Punjabis in Balochistan.
No first information report (FIR) had been registered at the time this report was filed.
Here are a few reports and news items which suggest that Baloch separatists (extremists, freedom fighters etc) have on numerous occasions claimed responsibility for the killing of Punjabi settlers in Balochistan.
BRAMDAGH JUSTIFIES TARGET KILLINGS IN BALOCHISTAN
Posted on Tuesday, August 25, 2009 @ 19:50:24 EDT by balochmedia
By Malik Siraj Akbar
QUETTA: Claiming that targeted killings were a justified response to the army’s actions in Balochistan, Baloch guerrilla commander Bramdagh Bugti wondered why the government did not comment on the army’s actions but condemned the death of Punjabis.
Talking to Daily Times, the Baloch Republican Party (BRP) chief said he agreed with a recent article he had read that encouraged the Baloch to conduct more target killings. He said the same article had also advocated extending the practice into Punjab.
To questions on the killing of 20 Baloch policemen in Naseerabad district and the target killing of Punjabi teachers, the BRP chief said he supported the actions of the separatists. He said they had been forced to resort to such acts by the actions meted out to them by Pakistani forces. He said the policemen had been “disloyal to their motherland”.
To a question, Bugti said he was not hiding in Afghanistan and rejected the government’s allegations of Indian involvement in Balochistan.
Interviews : If I compromise on Baloch movement, my followers will kill, replace and forget me: Bramdagh Bugti
By Malik Siraj Akbar
MSA (Malik Siraj Akbar): Your supporters are believed to have kidnapped and subsequently killed around 20 Baloch policemen in Naseerabad district. The local Balochs have expressed their resentment to these killings. Likewise, why is the Baloch separatists target killing the Punjabi teachers in Balochistan?
BB (Bramdagh Bugti): I do not call the BLA [Baloch Liberation Army] and BRA [Baloch Republican Party] as my supporters. They are my brothers. I fully endorse all their operations. If they resort to extreme actions then they surely have suffered the same level of brutality by the Pakistani forces.
We had formerly warned all the Balochs not to serve in the Pakistani security forces against the Baloch fighters. Likewise, the policemen in Naseerabad, despite being Balochs, were being disloyal to their mother land when they tried to operate against the very people who are struggling for their independence. However, every effort was made to spare the laborers and innocent people who were kidnapped.
As far as the target killing of teachers is concerned, I do not understand why the Pakistani authorities and the media shout only when one Punjabi teacher or barber is killed. Why not a single word is uttered when Baloch towns after towns are bombarded by the Pakistani authorities? I have said it many times: target killings are a justified reaction of the Baloch against the policies of the Punjabi army.
MSA: Doesn’t that mean you endorse these target killings?
BB: I said before that target killings are the reaction to an action. If one Punjabi teacher is killed, one hundred more Balochs are also killed in response by the security forces. The government functionaries destroy all the livelihood of the poor Baloch tribesmen by bombarding their homes, goats and sheep with helicopters and jet airplanes. What are the other ways left for us? Why should we no react?
I was reading an article, which I admire, by a Baloch writer who said we were not carrying out enough target killings. There is a need for more such killings. These killings, according to that writer, should be intensified and expanded to the Punjab. If Panjab does not review its attitude towards the Baloch then I believe the Balochs would be justified to even enter the towns of Punjab to eliminate the Punjabis who are killing the Balochs. So, don’t force us to that extent.
Here is a specimen of hate speech against Punjab and Punjabis by the Baloch separatists:
Translated By: Archen Baloch 2009/06/18
The pamphlets that have been dropped at Noshki Press Club containing BLA’s massage to public and its foes, it say that Baloch liberation Army is engaged in achieving the liberation of Balochistan.
National emancipation can only be achieved when the fundamental objective is defined clearly in an appropriate strategy and occasion. This is what which has distinguishly been pursued by BLA from day one to liberate Baloch land from foreign occupation.
Today on the on hand, the external and internal situations, the national awareness of Balochistan, along the changed favorable international conditions and the Baloch resistance movement have made it possible for us to achieve our freedom, but on the other, the uncivilized agent of imperialism Punjabi state has become an anger monster killing our people rampantly.
Because of constant defeat, it has started offering finacial bribes and constituting fake committees, while behind the scene it abducts our unarmed political workers and kills them. It burns them alive; it drops bombs on our women, children and elders attending wedding functions.
In this sacred war of freedom how many villages have been destroyed, how many innocent Baloch women like Zarina Marri has been turn into sex slaves into torture cells and killed by the coward enemy? Thousands of political workers are facing inhuman treatment, languishing in the notorious Punjabi Cooli Camp.
Baloch Sarmachars have successfully uprooted enemy bases in Balochistan. Shameful defeat has been inflicted upon the illegal product of imperialism, the Punjabi forces in Balochistan, now it is breathing its last.
Because of brave sarmachars sacrifices and hardship, Baloch national struggle have achieved tremendous success. Within Baloch society the concept of armed struggle has strengthened.
We can not deny the fact there exist traitors in every society and nation. Instead of facing the Baloch national forces, the coward Punjabi forces are desperately trying to create obstacles in the path of national emancipation by courting traitors within Baloch society. But Baloch liberation Army is fully aware of the activities of these traitor and collaborators.
These collaborators, are not only consist of local Baloch, Pushtons, Barechs and the settlers, the are also using their unabashed women in this lucrative business of spying against Baloch national struggle. These traitors should bear in their mind that they will receive the fruit of their doings in the shape of shameful example; even your future generation will not forget this lesson.
All shopkeepers, restaurant owners, medical store keepers are requested to distance themselves from FC, and don’t allow the enemy personnel and the spy agent to visit you. They are our “anytime” target. Otherwise you also will be targeted. You should refrain from visiting the governmental institutions and the building unnecessarily. We warn the parents of our innocent children, they should pull out their children from FC schools, and admit them in private schools. There they could too become good doctors, engineers.
All truck owners, including the drivers are warned they should avoid trucking goods and semi precious gems to Punjab; otherwise they would be responsible for the loss they receive from sarmachars operations.
We also appeal our nation, according to your capability, besides preaching the national emancipation slogan; you should proactively participate in the struggle of freedom from Punjabi occupation in all fronts of our lives, and strengthen the sarmachars war for freedom.
We are constantly seeking an outright independent Baloch sovereign national state.
Now it is incumbent upon us, as a nation, to come up shoulder to shoulder with Sarmachars to preserve our culture, our identity, our history, our national pride, and gain the independent of Balochistan.
News source: Daily Tawar
Translated By: Archen Baloch
There are clear signs that the continued violence against Punjabi settlers is having an adverse effect on the mission and objectives of a genuine movement for Baloch rights.
Target killings bring BLA support into new focus
By Malik Siraj Akbar
Daily Times, 3 June 2008
QUETTA: Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Muhammad Aslam Raisani’s continued stance that the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) is not behind the recent “target killings” in the province despite the BLA’s claims to the contrary appears to disprove the government’s claims of minimal support for the underground organisation.
Last week, the BLA killed 10 people in three separate incidents of “target killing” in Quetta. The most disturbing of these was the murder of six youths playing cricket in front of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) office. The BLA killed the men, who all hailed from the Hazara community, on charges of being spies for the Military Intelligence and the Inter-Services Intelligence.
The first two incidents of the past week claimed the lives of four Punjabi settlers. In response, the victims’ families marched in front of the Chief Minister’s House to protest. They blocked all rail and road traffic in the city to vent their anger. In the third attack, the relatives of the youths ransacked the reception of the Civil Hospital and blocked the road to register their protest.
However, in the backdrop of these incidents, the fact that the BLA is recognised as “a hope against hopelessness” by Baloch leaders — who either support parliamentary politics or armed resistance — remains indisputable.e.
Initially, Raisani assured the families of the victims that the culprits who had kidnapped their loved ones would be brought to justice. However, he categorically ruled out the involvement of the BLA in such attacks. Despite the proud reiteration by the BLA of its involvement in the killing of the six Hazara men, the CM maintained that the BLA could not target “innocent people”. The Baloch CM sincerely believes that the BLA came about as an outcome of the injustices done to the people of Balochistan in the past. Reading between the lines, the CM appears to be saying that the BLA is “fighting for a just cause”. Therefore, it can’t attack “innocent civilians”.
The government also appears to waver between refusing to acknowledge the existence of the BLA or holding “external forces” responsible for destabilising Balochistan. On its part, the BLA appears to be offended by Raisani’s remarks. One of its spokesmen, Bibarg Baloch, told Daily Times that the CM was discrediting the “Baloch freedom fighters” of their “heroic actions”. The underground organisation has recommended that the CM should rather speak out against the federal government, as well as the army, which he claims is still carrying out a military operation in certain parts of Balochistan.
Similarly, while there was “selective condemnation” of the killing of Punjabi settlers and the young cricketers by the Awami National Party (ANP), the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PKMP) and the Hazara Democratic Party (HDP), the Baloch nationalist parties preferred to remain ‘neutral’ in uttering their reaction to the assault. Even if they were not pleased with the murders, they could not at the same time afford to offend the BLA, which most followers of these parties believe are “fighting the Baloch war on a more practical front”.
According to sources, the BLA underwent a paradigm shift after the killing of Nawab Muhammad Akbar Khan Bugti on August 26, 2006. At that time, most BLA operations were confined to the rural areas of Balochistan. Meanwhile, the organisation reportedly put extra efforts into urbanising its operations. It is this reason that the BLA-factor, which one appeared to be mainly a rural phenomenon concerning the Marri and Bugti Tribal Areas, has now shifted to public places of Quetta. According to insiders, the Baloch armed movement did not become urbanised until they had spent a lot of time brainwashing the Baloch people, especially the women and children. Today, it is largely believed that a BLA activist would be wholeheartedly welcomed into any Baloch household if he needed protection. In today’s Balochistan, there is an increasing belief that political parties have become irrelevant and only the armed groups can provide justice to the families of the displaced or kidnapped Baloch masses. Prominent Baloch leader Brahamdag Bugti, the grandson of late Akbar Bugti, categorically said last week that the newly formed Balochistan Republican Party (BRP) would extend “100 percent support” to the Baloch armed groups.
Many, including Brahamdag Bugti, believe that the new phase of target killings is but an expected and justified reaction to the operations being taken against their Baloch compatriots. The recent attacks have not only dimmed the prospects of a successful reconciliation, advocated by the PPP, but they have also highlighted the alarmingly widening gulf between the province and the Centre. If the PPP-led reconciliatory process is delayed, it may lead to more lawlessness in the province. Meanwhile, the Baloch leaders are demanding that the government take drastic measures to end the prevailing mistrust by completely ending the military operation and releasing the Baloch political workers. Instead of doing so, Brahamdag Bugti has alleged that more than 200 people have been ‘kidnapped’ in the two months since the induction of the new democratic government.
In the wake of fresh attacks, the provincial government, as well as some federal paramilitary forces, have decided to increase the deployment of forces in the provincial capital.
This, experts believe, may be a temporarily effective solution to combat the worsening law and order issues. However, such measures are unlikely to definitively settle the Balochistan issue.
Here are a few more editorial criticizing the BLA violence against Punjabi settlers:
Editorials on Target killings in Balochistan
* Civil society in Balochistan has remained silent over killings due to fear of nationalist backlash
* Pashtuns parting ways with dominant Baloch allies following violence
By Malik Siraj Akbar
QUETTA: The sympathies that the Baloch nationalist movement had acquired during the rule of former president Pervez Musharraf now seem to be diminishing, following the targeted killings of Punjabi teachers, professors and principals in the province.
The recent killings of three principals and a schoolteacher in less than two months came as a shock for the entire nation, especially due to their ethnic nature.
While the Taliban in the NWFP have resorted to torching girlsâ€™ schools in order to deprive a generation of Pashtun girls from education, a nationalist militant group in Balochistan is currently bent on targeting and killing Punjabi educationists to push the province back into medieval times.
Fear: Unlike the situation in the NWFP, the civil society in Balochistan has remained a silent spectator, simply out of fear. When Musharrafâ€™s government launched a military operation against Baloch leaders and killed Nawab Akbar Bugti, a chorus of condemnation rang out in support of the Baloch people from all corners of society. The Baloch leadership was assured complete support by politicians, intellectuals and scholars of other provinces.
However, it seems the biggest victims of Bugti killingâ€™s aftermath have been Punjabi settlers in Balochistan.
Militant groups in Balochistan had earlier asked Punjabis to leave the province, a warning not taken seriously until a number of Punjabis were killed.
As things stand today, property rates in Punjabi-dominated localities of Quetta have fallen remarkably as Punjabis hastily sell their homes to try and escape the insurgency-hit province.
In the second phase, which commenced with the killing of three Baloch leaders in Turbat in April this year, a hitherto unknown militant segment of the Baloch nationalist movement has warned schoolteachers and principals to refrain from playing the national anthem and hoisting the national flag on official buildings. In case of non-compliance, the violators have been threatened with death.
In the backdrop of these challenges, the principals of Balochistan Residential College at Khuzdar, Government Commerce College Quetta and Government Pilot Secondary School Mastung, all Punjabis, have been killed, while the provincial government watches silently.
Distancing: As the killings of teachers intensify, the Pashtuns, who constitute the second largest ethnic group in Balochistan, appear to part ways with their erstwhile political allies, the dominant Baloch people. Pashtun political parties have vocally opposed the target killings in Quetta and demanded the Baloch nationalists openly condemn these killings and disassociate themselves with the elements responsible.
Similarly, members of civil society, human rights activists and intellectuals from other provinces have been perturbed by these targeted killings.
Such friends of Balochistan are now reasserting a â€œcalculated supportâ€ to the Baloch case against the state, rather than their â€œunconditional supportâ€ to the aggrieved Baloch people.
â€œThe government, as well as the Baloch civil society, has observed criminal silence over the targeted killings of Punjabi teachers,â€ complains a senior professor at the University of Balochistan.
â€œIf Punjabi professors and professionals are not protected and compelled to leave Balochistan, many key institutions in the province will remain shut or at least dysfunctional.â€ He said the government and nationalists ought to separate education from politics. â€œTeachers serve the humanity regardless of their own religious, national, lingual and racial affiliations. They need protection and respect if a society is keen to progress,â€ he stated.
It was learnt that at least 14 teachers of the Balochistan Residential College, all Punjabis, have requested for transfers. There have also been similar reports of several PhD-holders prominent professors at the University of Balochistan planning to permanently leave the province.
If Balochistan is to be prevented from utter chaos, experts recommend, all the stakeholders in Balochistan and Islamabad should urgently keep politics aside and devise a strategy to protect Balochistanâ€™s teachers. â€œIf the government and the nationalists fail to sit together and address this dire situation, Balochistanâ€™s educational institutions will be deserted for good. The major loser, if such a situation emerges, would be Baloch children, not Punjab, whom the Baloch nationalists hold responsible for everything,â€ an education expert said.
Second Editorial: Killing Punjabi settlers in Balochistan
A spate of target-killings of Punjabis in Balochistan has spread dismay and disgust across Pakistan. The Baloch nationalists, deserving of some sympathy for their cause, have consequently suffered a setback because of this reaction. Such is the state of lawlessness in the province and powerlessness of the provincial government that the principals of Balochistan Residential College at Khuzdar, Government Commerce College Quetta and Government Pilot Secondary School Mastung, all Punjabis, have been killed in recent months, while the PPP-led government stands by and watches silently.
Unfortunately, there is a parallel between what the Taliban did in the NWFP when they targeted the education sector and the Baloch rebels as they kill educationists in Balochistan. In both cases the future generations of Pakistanis are being deprived of the ability to survive in modern times. Being â€œtribalâ€ doesnâ€™t mean burying oneself in medieval savagery. The educationists in Balochistan have always been faithful to the Baloch cause despite the Punjabi origin of some of them. Killing them is actually weakening the very cause for which the rebels are fighting.
In Balochistan, the post-Bugti era has unleashed a lot of violence. But after this yearâ€™s kidnapping and killing of some Baloch leaders in Turbat, unknown rebels have warned the schools against playing the national anthem and hoisting the national flag. The Punjabis, feeling that they are being targeted, are trying to leave, only to find that their properties are worthless. This is not a good situation. Ultimately, the Punjabis will all leave since the state cannot protect them, but the Baloch children will suffer the most as they grow up in fear of violence without the education needed to make them fit for the struggle of life. *
Friday July 10, 2009
It has been reported that yet another teacher of Punjabi origin has been murdered by Baloch separatists. This is not the first of its kind; several educationists have been murdered in the past year, and separatists have threatened to kill many more. Balochistan has been simmering for years now, and it seems that successive governmentsâ€™ lack of action and apathy has pushed the situation to the tipping point. Pakistani flags are being taken down, schools are being threatened against singing the national anthem and non-Baloch residents are scared for their lives.
The prime minister promised an all-parties conference on Balochistan months ago, and every other week his office issues a statement that there will be an APC on the issue â€œsoonâ€. These promises are worth nothing if the conference continues to be delayed. In fact the prime minister should raise this issue in parliament and open it for debate. The APC must also be held at the earliest, because the disillusionment within the province is growing by the day and we cannot afford to have yet another part of the country fall to violence.
Balochistan has immense strategic and economic value for Pakistan, and the Baloch people have a long list of very valid grievances that have been ignored for decades. The need of the hour is to address those grievances with both short- and long-term policies; and also ensure that the level of trust between the Baloch people and the government is raised. The government should stop sitting on its hands and act.
Finally, this meekish protest, not from a Pakistani politician or organization, but from the “Academy of the Punjab in North America”:
The PNC fully supported demands of provincial autonomy by other provinces. The conference strongly condemned the atrocities being committed against the Baloch. The PNC endorsed the Baloch people’s rights over the natural resources of Balochistan. The military operation in Balochistan should be stopped and the missing political leaders and workers be recovered forthwith, it said. Target killings of Punjabi inhabitants and Punjabi teachers in Balochistan should come to an immediate end, it demanded.
Needless to say that the plight of Punjabi settlers in Balochistan remains grossly censored or ignored by the mainstream media as well our fellow bloggers in Pakistan and abroad.