The Punjabi and Persian elites have become adept at maintaining an obscurantist stance as concerns the Baloch question.
The Punjabi elite in Islamabad have continued to exhibit chronic ineptitude in addressing the question of thousands of Baloch enforced disappearances. Their inability to formulate or enact any credible procedures for dealing with appalling human rights violations whilst having little difficulty in arranging for Chinese investment opportunities in Gwadar have brought their motives into disrepute.
In similar vein the Pakistani media’s long time deafening silence over numerous cases of atrocities and a complete lack of coverage of the peaceful Voice for Baloch Missing Persons March currently being undertaken by the victims’ families reveals yet another morally reprehensible stance. These actions betray a deep rooted and all pervasive policy of intentional marginalization and oppression which lays at the very heart of the Pakistani establishment.
In 1935 Reza Shah requested the international community to refer to Persia as Iran in recognition of the supposed common Aryan inheritance that dated back millennia. In reality this misnomer merely hid the enforced Persian hegemony over Baloch, Kurdish, Azeri, Arab and Turkmen lands and which has left these regions as conclaves of illiteracy and underdevelopment as well as fertile terrain for Talibanisation.
The Persian domination of Iran which has been centered upon the twin pillars of Persian and Shiite supremacy has been brutal in its dealings with minorities. The disproportionally high number of Baloch executions in Iran as reported by Amnesty indicates that the death penalty is the foremost means of quelling unrest in minority areas, with the regime even resorting to moving Baloch prisoners for execution to other provinces so as to manipulate any statistical evidence reported by International Human Rights Organizations. These rights abuses have seldom been raised by the International community in its dealings with Tehran over its nuclear enrichment program.
The prohibition of Balochi language and history instruction and the Persian colonization of large swathes of Baloch land leaving the Baloch a minority in often ghetto like conditions with little access to proper sanitation and clean drinking water have left the majority of Baloch impoverished and subject to mass migration to the Gulf states. In addition a bar on top civil service posts and even the changing of Balochi place names to Persian ones all bear the hallmark traits of deliberate ethnocentric policies aimed at the long term eradication of the Baloch identity.
The Punjabi elite in Islamabad resorted to a similar form of connivance in their supposed call for Islamic unity in order to hide the usurpation of Baloch, Pashtun and Sindhi land with the creation of Pakistan or ‘The land of the Pure’. The stark reality is in fact a disjointed entity crippled by a relentless spate of high profile political assassinations, endemic corruption and deep seated nepotism since its very inception. This together with an incessant wave of suicide bombings in recent years has made life a living nightmare for millions.
The Punjabi and Persian elites have become adept at maintaining an obscurantist stance as concerns the Baloch question. It is becoming increasingly evident with the passage of time that the future survival of the Baloch as a nation urgently necessitates the establishment of an Independent Republic as the surest guarantor of self-preservation.
Mahdim H Bor is the UK Representative of the World Baloch Women’s Forum