A terrible war is unfolding in a faraway land called Balochistan. Almost daily, bodies of young men, kidnapped and tortured to death by the Pakistan occupation army, end up in ditches. Others, still alive, are thrown from helicopters into the arms of the rough mountain terrain below.
Yet, not a single western journalist covers this ongoing, slow- motion genocide of the Baloch people. Compare that to Gaza: Even a single Palestinian death at the hands of the IDF results in banner headlines. But no one notices the daily massacres of the Baloch, not even the Palestinians.
Boys stand next to a man as they watch fuel trucks which were set ablaze in the Bolan district of Pakistan’s Baluchistan province December 12, 2011.
A few years ago, a similar slaughter of Muslims by fellow Muslims dragged on for years before the world woke up to the Darfur genocide, where black-skinned Africans were decimated by the Arab Janjaweed of Sudan.
No flotilla sailed for Darfur, and none will likely leave harbour for Balochistan.
For Muslims, especially the victimhood-obsessed Islamists in the West, the lives of the Baloch and Darfuri are of less value to Allah than those of the Arab.
The irony is the Baloch are strong backers of the Palestinian movement in a relationship that has triggered absolutely no reciprocity.
Last week, I attended a workshop at the UNHCR in Geneva on Baloch Human Rights and witnessed first-hand how not a single Muslim state from the 56-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) was willing to pay even lip service to the tragedy of the Baloch.
The spokesman of the Baloch Human Rights Commission at the UNHCR, Mehran Marri
When Mehran Marri, the Baloch spokesman, wanted to make an intervention to register the ongoing killings of his people, the Pakistan delegate rudely interrupted him, demanding the chair cut off his speech; she dismissed the interruption and allowed Marri to continue.
Marri is the youngest son of Balochistan’s elder statesman, the octogenarian Khair-Bux Marri (with whom I spent time in a Balochistan jail as a political prisoner).
With anger blazing in his bluish-green eyes, he asked: “Why do Islamic countries support the independence of Palestine, but not the independence of Balochistan? Don’t we have a stronger case than them for a national homeland? While we have a distinct language, culture and a history going back thousands of years and a state since the 1500s, they don’t.”
Balochistan (the size of France) is currently occupied by Pakistan and Iran, with part of it in Afghanistan. The Pakistan part secured its independence from Britain on Aug. 11, 1947, three days before Pakistan came into existence. Its independence was recognized by Pakistan for nine months, before the Pak Army invaded and occupied it in March, 1948. Since then, four armed insurrections have taken place with considerable loss of life.
As the third generation of Baloch youth fight, they have turned to the West for help, with some success at hearings in the U.S. Congress led by Brad Sherman (D-CA) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA).
I asked Marri if it was wise to seek help from the U.S.
“If East Timor, Kosovo, South Sudan and Eritrea can get help from the West to gain their freedom, why not Balochistan?” Marri asked, as he savoured a meal of Pakistan tikka masala in a Geneva restaurant. “As you can see I love Pakistani cuisine, but I am not a Pakistani; I am a Baloch, seeking a dignified life for my people as free men and women.”