Just a few years back 14th august meant everything to me, it was the most important day of the year at School and at home. Flags, badges, new patriotic song albums that is all we waited for.
Who is going to be a part of singing that Vital Signs or Junoon song, which Girl will be part of the skit on patriotism that is all we could think of. And of course after the celebrations at school we were all excited to roam around the Zarghoon road to see the lights on Governor House, Provincial Assembly and the High Court. And if we were very lucky our school would take us to Ziarat to Quaid’s residency
I always wrote one of those patriotic speeches for the school assembly-excited and full of enthusiasm .
Now today that feeling is gone, there are no lights, no songs and no badges because there is bloodshed, there is mourning and there is fear and death. Let me tell you why :
The people who disappeared
Today this “Independence day” there are many mothers and sisters in Balochistan who are waiting for a loved one to return home a young boy who went to school and never returned, a father who was sitting with his friends at a local restaurant sipping tea and some armed man came and took him from there,or a brother who was vocal about rights of people in Balochistan and he went out of home never came back.
No one knows how many people are missing; the numbers are estimated in thousands .Estimated 4,000 people went missing between 2004 and 2005. Voice for Missing Baloch Persons claims that more than 14,000 people are missing in Balochistan . These people are allegedly taken by Armed Personal non uniformed backed by Agencies or by FC themselves
“on July 1, 2010, Shams Baloch, the 49-year old former mayor of Khuzdar town in Balochistan,was abducted from an ambulance while accompanying his sick mother to a hospital in Quetta, Balochistan’s capital. About an hour after they left Khuzdar, men in Frontier Corps uniforms stopped the ambulance at a checkpoint and ordered Baloch to get out. They proceeded to beat him, while holding others at gunpoint. Four armed men in plain clothes arrived a short time afterwards and took Baloch with them. The police refused to investigate.”
“We Can Torture, Kill, or Keep You for Years”2011-Human Rights Watch ( Report)
Tortured dead bodies of these people are often found on roadsides, abandoned buildings and in pits.
“The bodies surface quietly, like corks bobbing up in the dark. They come in twos and threes, a few times a week, dumped on desolate mountains or empty city roads, bearing the scars of great cruelty. Arms and legs are snapped; faces are bruised and swollen. Flesh is sliced with knives or punctured with drills; genitals are singed with electric prods. In some cases the bodies are unrecognizable, sprinkled with lime or chewed by wild animals. All have a gunshot wound in the head.”
The Guardian, Wednesday 30 March 2011
You can find a number of news reports, pictures, social media content online..and some how all of that does not exist for people of my country -the people of Pakistan.
“She has given up on the state of Pakistan and its people. “Isn’t it quite obvious that they hate us Baloch people? If Zakir has committed a crime why don’t they bring him to a court, put him on trial, and punish him? Why are they punishing the whole family, the whole nation?” -Farzana Majeed sister of a missing activist Zakir Majeed (Express Tribune)
The killings, the bombings , Criminals and our worlds falling apart
Have you ever seen someone hide their faces , cover their eyes with dark glasses , wear gloves just because they will be seen and they will be killed. Every day for nearly past 6 years some Hazara were shot somewhere in Quetta, gone unnoticed. The Hazara people mourned
their dead silently each day. They cannot go out of their areas in Quetta Hazara town and Alamdar road, they are known for their mongolian features they are shot killed …
More than 500 Hazara are only killed in 2013
Then came the big incidents this year..Hazara’s of Quetta sat 3 days outside their houses with their dead demanding justice demanding the perpetrators (Who everyone knows off ) to be caught…and there was nothing. Silence
On our streets our professors were killed people like Saba Dashtiyar and Nazima Talib. On our streets Balochistan National Parties political leaders and workers were shot dead, and on the same streets you can see hundreds and thousands of security forces, beating up school children, performing body search of innocent youth and cursing the women.
On the streets of Quetta the school girls are bombed and hospitals are blown up. And again on the same street you can see those private death squads walking with their arms … left by security forces to do whatever they want to do.. Kill burn loot …
In the same city there is a Golf Course… where not for a day the grass looked pale, where not for a day flowers faded away… There are celebrations..there is happiness… as if it is two different countries .There is no corner of Quetta where blood has not been shed, there is rarely a house which hasn’t seen violence.
“I devoted my life to my child, but the terrorists killed my son. Now without my son I don’t want to live any more,”- Azroa Safdder a Hazara Mother (Report)
Tyranny is not these people were taken by the state, or state sponsored militias. Tyrany’s is my so called brothers and countrymen are blind to it. Tyranny is when it comes to Balochistan the Human Rights are “Selective”.None of my fellow countrymen ask “who were these people” ? .“Why were they taken”? , “If they had done something wrong why haven’t they been presented in Pakistan Courts”, If some other force has taken them then why aren’t Pakistani security agencies looking for them.
Instead my brothers and my countrymen say to me this is all a propaganda, you are a CIA agent, India is funding you, or even worse they will come with a history logic saying Balochistan does not belong to Baloch people and you are refugees here.
That is my Countries answer to 1,000s of people missing and hundreds killed and dumped on streets, in the sewerages and in abandoned building. This is my country’s answer to all those mothers who are waiting, all those children who have lost their fathers and all those youngsters who have lost their friends.
The famous political parties can shout about people dying from “Drones”, but would never says a word on “where are these missing people”.
The Pakistani media who create havoc on some court case, or some politicians called some other politician an agent. But none of them would ask “Where are these people”? “Why are they being killed”.
For me and people like me in Balochistan human rights are not selective , we are as grieved for our Hazara brothers as we are for Baloch, we equally condemn the attacks on unarmed people from Punjab as for the Baloch , we are equally shaken at the incidents in Karachi as for those in Quetta or Turbat.
Hundreds of Haraz are killed and thousands fled the country and apart from a few tweets, some articles there is nothing..
But I don’t see that with my fellow countrymen- it’s as if everyone is blind to issues in Balochistan, it’s as if people in Pakistan don’t consider us humans or human enough.
It seems as if anything the Media, the politicians and the citizens of Pakistan care about is the Gawder port, the pipeline to Iran , the reiko dik project and the Quaid’s residency . We the Baloch people, our miseries and our pain , our dead bodies, our bloodshed does not matter.It seems as if children carrying pictures of their loved ones don’t exist as if we don’t exist
There are no more songs..No more lights ..No more flag.
For only thing we are left is left with is mourning, sounds of gunshots and screams of the people who are being tortured right now somewhere… somewhere a Hazara mother is crying at a loss of his son… and somewhere in Pakistan people are celebrating the independence day.