It is strange, but true story. Rewind in time to fall 2013. Balochistan chief minister Abdul Malik Baloch is in London, along with his mentor Senator Hasil Bizenjo when news comes about the horrific earthquake in Awaran. This correspondent was also present. On hearing the news, instead of sadness there is relief on the chief minister’s face that finally Pakistani security forces will be able to penetrate into the militant stronghold. Not surprisingly, Pakistan army did not allow any international aid organization to enter Awaran but kept all “relief efforts” in the soldiers' hands.
Fast forward, July 2015. Awaran is one of the bloodiest killing fields in Balochistan’s 10-year-old uprising against Pakistani occupation. Scores of civilians die and buried in mass graves as Pakistan army, backed by air force, use brutal force to crush the freedom aspirations of the Baloch people. Awaran remained under siege for one whole month beginning mid-July. A number of close relatives of Baloch guerrilla leader Dr Allah Nazar, including his brothers and nephews, are among the martyrs. The fate of the doctor remains uncertain.
Not only in Awaran, but in the length and breadth of Balochistan the brave and honorable Baloch people are being treated and killed like flies, mosquitoes, ants and cockroaches by Pakistan army, Military Intelligence, Inter-Services Intelligence and the Frontier Corps. One of the main reasons Balochistan is bleeding and its best sons blood has become so cheap is the shameless opportunism of Senator Hasil Bizenjo, chief of the ISI-backed National Party and his sidekick Abdul Malik Baloch, who have totally sold their souls to the army GHQ and ISI.
There should be no doubt that popular aspiration of the Baloch masses is creation of an independent homeland in southwest Asia. Also there is little room for two opinion that once that happens, the new Baloch republic would be headed by none else but father of the Baloch nation Hyrbyair Marri, who has succeeded his late father Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri as the freedom icon of Balochistan.
However, until the dawn of freedom should Balochistan be allowed to slide into complete chaos like Afghanistan in the 1980s? The answer to all sane minds would be an absolute “No.” The fields for democratic and electoral struggle should not be left open for ISI-sponsored parties like the National Party. The void will have to be filled out by parties such as Balochistan National Party of Sardar Akhtar Mengal. Of course, this writer firmly believes that solution of Baloch problems does not lie in Pakistan parliament but at the same time advocates that democratic and electoral politics are necessary evil to limit the penetration of pro-establishment parties in Balochistan. Given that BNP rule in Balochistan is the best short-term answer, while the long-term solution lies in the creation of an independent state under the most able leadership of Hyrbyair Marri, a realignment of both political and militant forces is possible.
Since Balochistan is a patriarchal society, personalities do matter in politics. The most important thing here is Nawab Brahumdagh Bugti, tumandar of the largest Baloch tribe, has explicitly made it clear on more than one occasion that he has nothing to do with militancy but believes in democratic struggle. Since a honorable Baloch tumandar never lied in Baloch history, his words should be believed by both friend and foe alike. As such, there is absolutely no harm if the BRP merges into BNP to fulfill the "one Baloch party" cherished dream of the late Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, who was assassinated by the military. Brahumdagh Bugti publicly acknowledged he has inherited $100 million and this vast sum of money can be used for the good cause of Baloch unity once the BRP merges into BNP.
By the same token, there is absolutely no justification for Baloch National Movement to exist as a separate party. It is crystal clear that BNM representatives in London, Hammal Haider, and the representative in US, Nabi Bux – both excellent political workers—are more or less working for the BNP. This should be not be made a butt of ridicule, but taken as a positive aspect of the national struggle.
At the same time there is absolutely no necessity of different armed groups. For the Baloch struggle to succeed the best possible slogan is: “One nation Baloch; one army Baloch Liberation Army.” The dangers of having separate armed groups can be seen in the decay of the United Baloch Army -- a splinter group of the BLA--, which has over the last four years degenerated into a counter-revolutionary private army. The extremely dangerous step of the UBA to target innocent Pashtun travelers in May have few parallels in Balochistan history. The UBA attack had the potential of inciting an ethnic war between Baloch and Pashtuns, to serve the ISI interests. It is now well-known in Quetta that state agents have infiltrated the ranks and files of the UBA. It is also clear that the UBA is nothing but a money-making terrorist enterprise. It was heartening to note almost all Baloch leaders, including Hyrbyair Marri, Brahumdagh Bugti and Sardar Akhtar Mengal condemned the UBA over the Pashtun killings. Surprisingly, the man who both Pakistan media and social media activists describe as the chief of the UBA, Mehran Baluch, also came out with tweets against the UBA killings, without mentioning the group's name. However, UBA never apologized to the Pashtun nation for its action, and as such Mehran Baluch’s tweets that his mother is Pashtun becomes meaningless and borders on deception. The main reason why the Baloch became sitting ducks in Awaran is the UBA is believed to have pilfered the national “muddee” or resources of the resistance movement. Unfortunately, the BLF which was the main victim of the Awaran operations, okayed the pilferage and even the late icon of the Baloch freedom movement Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri gave his blessings to the alleged corruption of the UBA. Credit goes to Hyrbyair Marri for taking a firm and principled stand on the matter.
Though the UBA role is not only highly questionable but also condemnable, Mehran Baluch has done some good work at Geneva and Brussels and deserves credit for that. However, it is now time that he stops sailing in two boats and make his position clear. If he believes in a free Balochistan, he should immediately disband the counter revolutionary UBA, seek forgiveness of father of the Baloch nation Hyrbyair Marri and open himself to accountability. He must understand he will never be able to upstage his elder brother through diplomacy and sweet talk. If however, he believes in securing Baloch rights within the framework of Pakistan he should also join the BNP. The same also holds true for Mir Jawed Mengal and his sons Noordin Mengal and Bhawal Mengal; either join Hyrbyair Marri camp and accept him as the father of the Baloch nation or work openly for the BNP. To announce that they want freedom in public forums, but secretly work for the BNP is causing confusion galore.
Just as on the political front it makes sense for the BRP and BNM to merge into the BNP, on the militant front there is no justification for the BLF or for that matter Lashkar-i-Balochistan and Baloch Republican Army to exist as separate entities. Instead they should merge into the national and oldest Baloch army, the BLA. Since the BLA is the most disciplined and organized force, these organizations should be open to the idea that not all of their commanders or fighters will meet the high standards required for joining the BLA.
Until and unless such realignments happen at both the political and militant fronts, Baloch blood will flow like a river while the vultures and bald foxes like Hasil Bizenjo and Abdul Malik and their masters at the Aabpara headquarters of the ISI and army GHQ in Rawalpindi would have a field day in Balochistan. To sum up, the two most important Baloch leaders are Hyrbyair Marri, for an independent Balochistan, and Sardar Akhtar Mengal for securing Baloch rights within Pakistan, until the dawn of freedom. The duo must develop understanding as their rivalry will mean Baloch are going to be killed like flies, mosquitoes, ants and cockroaches for many years to come.
Before closing it is worthwhile to mention the recent dispatch of Pakistan stooges by the ISI to Cardiff, Wales, to lure back Khan of Kalat Mir Suleman Daud. Those who went to Cardiff and walked hands in hands with him include Sardar Sanaullah Zehri, who allegedly killed his eldest brother Sardar Rasool Bakhsh Zehri for his personal power. This development of Islamabad trying to get the Khan back should not be dismissed as a non-issue even if the Khan has never played any significant role in the present Baloch militancy. There is absolutely no doubt that a conspiracy is afoot to have the Khan of Kalat assassinated upon his return to Pakistan. His meetings with US congressmen and lobbying in the West for a free Balochistan are unforgivable sins that Pakistan generals would never forgive. It may be noted that one reason why Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, who had for decades worked within the established Pakistan system, became a victim of ISI intrigues and subsequently assassinated was his meetings with the late US ambassador Robert Oakley. As a young man, more than a quarter century back, the Khan of Kalat is said to have killed the nephew of a serving corps commander and the generals had once forgiven him on the plea of his mother Begum Jamila Daud, but he later revolted against them. This time around there may be no reprieve for him. Like in the past when Pakistan army went back on vows given under oath of Holy Quran, the Khan will be promised return of his family fortunes but once he sets foot on Pakistan soil he may be either tried for sedition and treason or eliminated by none other but one of his close family members. Hence, Baloch activists must prevail upon the Khan not to return to Pakistan. And even though the Khan's recent meetings never had the blessings of the father of the Baloch nation Hyrbyair Marri, he may also meet the Khan and convince him he will most certainly be eliminated if he returns to Pakistan. If necessary, US and Indian politicians must also ask the Khan to stay put in Cardiff.