Wednesday, 21 March 2012

After the Baloch, the flood

 'Après moi, le déluge
                                    - Louis XV
The Baloch man must have been angry with the government. He was a Pakistani politician and he was fed up, he believed in Pakistan, but he was angry. His people were marginalised by the federal government and the army was watching in the background. The coalition governments ineptnesss at governance had reached new levels. Karachi was in turmoil amidst ethnic violence and with gangs running amok, Asif Zardaris reputation for corruption had reached epic proportions, the frontier was reeling from a the effects of withdrawing superpower and Punjab was in the hands of the the opposition Pakistan Muslim League. And his own people? There were no Baloch at senior levels of the bureaucracy or Army, by 1980the amount his province received for the gas generated was estimated to a measly $1.8 million dollars.

The Baloch must have been angry when he decided to speak at the PML opposition alliance meeting in Lahore. There he stood , facing the sitting Sharifs, Jamaatis and many others and spoke:

'I am hungry, you've food in your belly
I am naked, you are clothed
I am homeless, and you have a home
How can we have the same view of life? '

Sixteen years after his speech, the 79 year old man would be dead at the hands of another military led operation in Balochistan.

The Baloch had spoken, but he was no ordinary Baloch, he was a dyed in green Pakistani, a former minister of state for defence, former governor, former Chief Minister and former Presidential candidate. It was the year 1990, the Baloch was the Tumandar of the Bugtis and his name was Nawab Muhammad Akbar Shahbaz Khan Bugti.


In a brief obituary, writer Ardeshir Cowasjee  wrote 'we will have to live with the consequences of this most dishonourable craven crime. Yet another war has been ‘won’ in the annals of Pakistan’s dismal history.

-Cowasjee,Ardeshir (3rd sept 2006) The Tumandar of the Bugtis . DAWN
- Lamb,Christina (1991) Waiting For Allah . Penguin books

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