Struggle For Baloch Rights: Either My Way Or Highway! Abdul Sattar Doshouki

as if the monopolistic meaning of “Baluch struggle” has been transliterated exclusively to Abdullah and his friends by the Almighty God! And that they are the only ones privy to sacred truths with moral obligations to denounce or rectify others towards redemption and emancipation in accordance with their own “Bible”.

Struggle for Baloch Rights: Either my way or highway!

My dear old good friend Vaja Abdullah had written an article on the opposing perspectives of Baloch activist. It was published on the Zrombesh website. With due respect, In essence he should have entitled his piece with a flashing headline called “either my way or highway”. But instead in a very kind and unyielding manner, yet self-righteously he pronounces differing views as treason and treacherous act of “misrepresentation of the Baluch struggle”. He claims: “others fail to see Baluch people’s belonging at open and democratic forums”. Well, one may say that in a democratic forum one does not so fervidly condemn differing views as “treacherous” and accuses one’s political rivals of misrepresentation of the Baluch struggle, as if the monopolistic meaning of “Baluch struggle” has been transliterated exclusively to Abdullah and his friends by the Almighty God! And that they are the only ones privy to sacred truths with moral obligations to denounce or rectify others towards redemption and emancipation in accordance with their own “Bible”.

Therefore even slight dissension and deviation from the self-proclaimed divine script, is punishable initially by accusations such as “false mi-representation” and treason, and thereafter God knows what! Such obsessive and uncritical zeal is usually the exclusive domain of religious fanatics who have cold-bloodedly sub-zero tolerance for differing ideas or opinions. Far be it from me to accuse Abdullah of religious fanaticism on the ground of intemperate nationalism, as he is a very selflessly good man. However, just like religious Jihadist, a devout nationalist Jihadist could easily lose the plot, and in proving one’s super-nationalistic credentials and fervency, thread in the same path of sanctimoniousness righteousness and intolerance where elimination and slanging accusations at other are regarded as acts of self-less piety for national or religious struggle.

Guy de Maupassant once said zealot patriotism is a kind of inbred religious certainty; it is the egg from which wars are hatched. Sadly for zealots, just like charity, wars begins at home. Moreover self-confirming fanatical views, based on moral certainty and ideological purity, are not necessarily false in their core assumptions. For example majority of Muslims around the World may aspire for “Sharia Law”. However most of them oppose the intolerant behaviour and methods espoused by the religious zealots who claim to be fighting for “Sharia Law” and in doing so making the highest sacrifices. It is true of nationalist struggle too. Although self-respecting people or nations reject subjugation by others and aspire for self-determination and freedom. By the same token that religious fanatic, due to their sub-zero tolerance and inability to recognize differing views, call the opponents of their behaviour as “Kafir” and condemn them to beheading, the nationalist devotees are in danger of falling in the same trap of narrow-minded intolerance albeit under a different name and a holy aim, which on the face of it may not seem to violate nationalistic norms and aspiration. It is the generalized underlying tendency to dehumanize and even demonize those who differ or oppose their methodology of “struggle”.

As with different events at the European parliament I will not make any comment because such copious gatherings and meetings – small and large – are aplenty. Indeed it is good that different Baloch groups and personalities try to highlight the Baloch cause through different prisms . I should also refrain from any criticism of such groups who try to portray themselves as the sole and exclusive or the so-called most active representative of Baloch people in a tribal and preclusive manner. Self-serving cozying up conduct is a very sorrowful bevahioural trait which is a prominent characteristic amongst us Baloch. Unfortunately such self-seeking tribal rivalries and self- ingratiating self-promotion are the hallmarks of the backward aspects of your clan-based culture, and there is very little that can be done about it. That is why each Baloch party or group does its utmost to exclude others from such meetings as if they are the sole God-given representative of Baloch People on Earth – let alone in that undersized gathering. This egocentric selfishness not only highlights the core of our disunity, but our culturally exposed and vulnerable point that has been exploited by our enemies at home and abroad, and we gleefully and furtively indulge in it.

Vaja Abdullah writes : “the sad fact is that even now at the height of Baluch struggle, they in repeated interviews with the media proudly express themselves as Pakistani or Iranian”. It is true that in Eastern Balochistan (Pakistani side), a significant proportion of people openly defy the State and assert their own sense of independent Baloch identity, and it is true that a very significant proportion of Baloch in Pakistan are done with Pakistan and call for an independent Balochistan. However, there are still others who want the failed Federal System to be revived and have presently opted for this route. They, in my opinion, have a right to have their own outlook. Moreover they have been elected by the Baloch people. Regarding western or Iranian Balochistan, the situation on the ground is very different. Unlike other side of the border, there are no such calls or nationalistic armed struggle for independence. All I see are droves of people vying to join the Tribal Militia (Basij Ashayeri) of the revolutionary Guards. The latest count is 600,000 joined the Basij. Not only the count, but also the contrast is quite telling!

As regarding the support of some politicians be it from the EU or the USA, one must be reminded that one swallow does not make a spring, especially on the day that USA released $1.6 billion Aid to Pakistani Army. The question is which one weighs more? $1.6 billion dollar, or a note of congratulation from a congressman among hundreds? So it is very important that we should not get carried away and become tanked-up empty-handed in wishful desires. I always remind Vaja Abdullah of Kurdistan in Iraq, which is completely self-governing but does not declare independence despite their own nationalistic desires. Do we ask ourselves why? Another example is or rather was Tamils of Sri Lanka, which through a Norwegian brokered peace initiative got regional self-governance within Sri Lanka. Just like what the Kurds have in North of Iraq, they had it in Jaffna peninsula. However, the extremist nationalists among the Tamil Tigers regarded the deal as a betrayal and a treacherous act, so the deal started unraveling under the pressure. What happened next was a calamity of catastrophic proportion and extermination of the poor Tamil people, while the rest of the world kept quiet, including the Norwegian government which kept giving millions of dollars of aid to the government of Sri Lanka even after the brutal massacre of tens of thousands of Tamil population. Of course The ardent independent-seeking activists talk of liberation of the Christian South Sudan from Muslim Sudan and Christian East Timor from mainly Muslim Indonesia. As if the Christian West will one day comes to the rescue of “Christian Balochistan” from “Muslim Pakistan”.

As with propaganda and spread of mis-information against Dr. Malik and his government, that is part of the dehumanization or demonization campaigns which go hand in hand with any fanatic and self-righteous course of action as I have alluded early in my current article. My final message to my dear old good friend Vaja Abdullah whom I believe is a fine and respectable “Baloch Bahador, and to like-minded people who think they occupy higher moral grounds” is, let us conduct this debate and conflict of ideas in a democratic forum without denunciation, indictment and allegations of treasons and so forth.

AbdulSattar Doshouki
Centre for Balochistan Studies

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