“JUSTUJU” / The Quest
PAST LESSONS AND THE CURRENT CONUNDRUM
A military operation against militias is not feasible and acceptable in the current global scenario. An urgent top level political dialogue can diffuse the crisis
By: Hashim Syed Mohammad Bin Qasim,
Riyadh: Friday, March 25, 2005 -- When some Ballochis openly rebelled against Pakistani Armed Forces guarding the key installations in Sui, reportedly in rage against January 2, 2005 sexual assault on a lady doctor in the Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL) Compound, and later attacked military convoys in mid March 2005, this did not come as a total surprise. After all, for over one year, the activities of the tribes armed to their teeth were known and widely reported in the Pakistani media. Some websites had carried detailed reports and pictures of “friendly journalists” visits to certain camps run by Pakistani Ballochis, calling themselves “Balochistan Liberation Army”. The insurgents are recruited from ordinary Ballochis brutally controlled and suppressed by their own political leaders, and find themselves in a quandary as to how to fight for their survival in a land full of riches, stashed away beyond their control.
These insurgents had been attacking civilian utility installations, and causing limited damages to railway lines, electricity, and gas conduits for sometime. For a common Pakistani, the sources of their motivation, inspiration, and supplies have largely remained a mystery so far. There are some indications that they were provided with the money, weapons, and training through connections extending to
The surprising factor has been that how little Pakistani leaders have learned from their national life and death lessons, like that of 1970-1971 East Pakistani Bengali civilian movement for their moral, economic and political rights. Personally, I have often thought that what choices the Pakistani Military had in the face of a certain defeat and surrender in front of Indian forces in
When the Pakistani President, General Parvez Musharraf commented that this is not 1971, and the Ballochis fighting against the federation might meet with a sudden death from lethal weapons fired from beyond their visual range (obviously referring to missiles fired from Gunships and the like … an Israeli Vs. Palestinian strategy) he too was losing not only the historical perspective, but also ignoring the new global realities. In the current international political and strategic setup, any serious challenges to a government in any part of the world are looked at with more sympathy than with a wrath, especially, if it is in the interest of weakening a geo-political entity that is considered not fully in line with the new world order. Eastern Timor (
Balochistan too, with a population close to 7 million (
In today’s political world, where
With this perspective, the current agitative actions of Pakistani Opposition, that is a sitting ally of the Government too, are extremely against the interest of
Immediate Parliamentary Actions are required to make laws against Tribal and Private Armies in any areas of Pakistani Federation … which must be disbanded soon
It is widely known and believed that most of the social and economic plight of a common Ballochi is due to a social and political strangulation by their own Tribal leaders. Pakistani leaders should opt for a fast paced method of enlightening the Ballochi masses as to how they can escape the clutches of their ruthless masters, and use the modern democracy to liberate themselves, instead of lifting the guns in the defense of their mischievous leaders. The catch 22 here is how to achieve this without enraging those tribal leaders !
In order to avoid an un-due attention from international community, Pakistani Parliament should quickly take an immediate refresher course in the 1971 debacle, and learn from the latest democratic parliamentary techniques as used by
Pakistani Opposition should show a political maturity and patriotism and postpone their protests in deference to the visit of Chinese leaders
With some parliamentary legal process in due course, and quick economic development – headed by Ballochis themselves – the Ballochi militias should be fully disbanded, and Ballochis be treated with full respect as patriot Pakistanis who need not fear the private militias and illegal private jails of their Sardars any more. As soon as common Ballochis find themselves a free citizen and in the seats of a decision maker, chances are that they would become friendlier towards the federation’s initiatives that are certainly going to benefit them in not too distant future.
At the same time, the role of PPL the corporate giant controlling the natural supplies from Ballochistan, should also be investigated. The company seems to be running its operations in a clandestine manner and in questionable ways that can be considered above the law. For instance, they openly defied the national pressure, and local police investigating the sexual assault case that occurred within their premises in January 2005.
In the short term a peace can be achieved by inviting all major Ballochi Sardars as honorable hosts to welcome a true friend of
This is a test of the Pakistani President’s ego that seems to be getting stronger with passage of time in power.
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Mr. Hashim Syed Mohammad Bin Qasim is a Pakistani writer, global analyst and columnist, based in