“The first Punjabis settled in Balochistan in 1901. Till 2007 not one Punjabi-Baloch targetted killing took place,” he said. “Punjabis were first killed after the murder of Nawab Akbar Bugti in 2007,” he said.
Bizenjo says people of Punjab have suffered most from the ‘establishment’.
” Balochistan is full of resources. Let me tell you one statistic: 12 million acre feet of water is wasted every year in the province,” National Party Chairman Dr Abdul Hayee Baloch.
The leadership in Punjab will have to change Pakistan’s foreign and Balochistan policy paradigm, said Senator Mir Hasil Baksh Bizenjo on Tuesday.
Speaking at the seminar Balochistan: Problems and Solutions organised at the Al-Raazi Hall in Punjab Universisty, Bizenjo said that Pakistan must become a true federation for democracy to grow. He said this required a change in foreign policy.
Talking about the situation in Balochistan, he said, “The government needs to do three things in Balochistan: recover all the missing persons, end the recovery of bullet-ridled bodies and stop contractors hired by security agencies to carry out targetted killings.”
The establishment has taught the people of the Punjab to fear the Baloch and Sindhis, he said. “It is for the people of the Punjab, who have suffered most at the hands of the establishment,” he said.
In Balochistan, he said a tribal elite has violated the rights of the Baloch while building the perception that Punjabis were violating their rights, he said.
There have been four mutinies in Balochistan but none of them had been for secession, he said.
“The first Punjabis settled in Balochistan in 1901. Till 2007 not one Punjabi-Baloch targetted killing took place,” he said. “Punjabis were first killed after the murder of Nawab Akbar Bugti in 2007,” he said. “Baloch political parties condemned these killings and continue to do so,” he said. “But let me also tell you that a majority of Quetta’s population is still Punjabi. Pakthuns and Baloch come second and third.”
“There should be no problem if one wants to introduce himself as a Punjabi, a Sindhi, a Baloch or a Pakthun. Pakistan can be a country whose various cultures come together like different flowers in a bouquet,” Bizenjo said.
National Party Chairman Dr Abdul Hayee Baloch said that the Baloch people would never accept slavery. He said that while hundreds of Baloch youth were missing, the government claimed that the number was only 48. He said that bodies being dumped across Balochistan had increased hatred of other Pakistan’s among Baloch people.
“Balochistan is full of resources. Let me tell you just one statistic: 12 million acre feet of water is wasted every year in the province.”
“The people of Balochistan share the right to sovereignity with people of other provinces. Women in Balochistan have also come forward to join the struggle for its rights,” he said. A former director general of the Military Training Centre General (r) Javed Iqbal said that only a few people in the Punjab knew about the culture and traditions of Balochistan and vice versa.
“Political and legal minds can solve the problems in Balochistan, not the soldiers. Baloch elders and tribesmen can be asked to provide solutions,” he said.
He claimed that the Pakistan Army was teaching around 27,000 Baloch youth in army schools in Balochistan. He said that students from Balochistan should be given seats in the Punjab.
Young Baloch activist Kaleemullah Baloch said that the problems of Balochistan had not created by the Baloch and the state had to take responsibility for them. He said that decisions on Balochistan were being taken without taking the Baloch leadership in confidence.
Political analyst Syed Mowahid Hussain said that the problem of Balochistan was a problem of national unity which had been worsened by a leadship crisis. He said that the Baloch should remain within Pakistan or they would be weakened..
Political analyst Professor Dr Mujahid Ali Mansoori said that people had begun to realise the root of the problem and the middle class does not consider Baloch traitors. He said that Ghaus Baksh Bizenjo example as a politician should be shared with the new generation. He said that it was unfortuate that a civilian government had dissolved the first representative government in Balochistan in 1973.
Political analyst Asadur Rehman said that understanding Balochistan’s history was essential to resolving its problems. He said, “We are not ready to accept historical facts. The 1973 NAP government in Balochistan was dismissed to strengthen the government of the time. Civilian casualties began in 1976 as a response to this.”
PU Vice Chancellor Dr Mujahid Kamran announced a seat to be reserved for a student from Balochisan in every PU department.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 18th, 2012.