By Mir Sohaib Mengal
June 22, 2012
The perpetrators of the Bengali genocide never learnt anything from history. This time the playing field is Balochistan and the targets are Baloch intellectuals
The Khmer Rouge, an organisation that ruled Cambodia from 1975 to 1979, executed almost everyone with an education, or even people who could speak English or wore glasses.
There has always been a cleansing by occupiers and dictators of the intelligentsia who stand out from the masses. The occupiers have reasons to do this as intellectuals and artists, based on their popularity and position in society, are the kind of people who would be most able to influence the masses. The occupiers and dictators want to consolidate their power and eliminate all voices that dissent against them and cause difficulties for their unquestionable impunity.
The suppression of political activists and intellectuals in Chile in 1973, followed by Argentina’s dirty war, where ‘kill and dump’ remained the main tool of crimes against humanity, are some chilling accounts of these tactics.
However, the most terrible case was the killing of intellectuals by the Pakistani army and its collaborators in Bangladesh in 1971. A number of professors of Dhaka University were murdered during the first few days of the war. There was an enormous upsurge in targeted killings of intellectuals during the last few days of the war. It is believed that al-Badr and al-Shams forces created a list of doctors, teachers and scholars and killed almost all of them.
Bangladesh subsequently achieved its liberation but the perpetrators of the Bengali genocide never learnt anything from history. This time the playing field is Balochistan and the targets are Baloch intellectuals, educationists, doctors, students and artists. The fifth insurgency in Balochistan has been the bloodiest and most destructive for the Baloch nation in the sense that almost the whole cream of Baloch society has either been brutally murdered or forced to leave Balochistan by the hand of the Pakistani state and its intelligence agencies.
Since June 2010, more than 500 Baloch have been either killed and dumped or targeted in hit and run attacks. The most heartrending was the murder of Qandeel-e-Baloch, Shaheed Ustad Saba in broad daylight. He was the one of most vital things that the Baloch nation ever lost. The author of almost 24 books, founder of a premier Balochi language library, which was self-financed, a great poet, a novelist and one of the most sincere activists of Balochistan was killed for his views and dissenting voice about Balochistan. His only sin was his valid demand of legitimate rights for his people.
Subsequently, a Baloch professor of Bolan Medical College, Surgeon Dr Mazar Khan, was gunned down in Quetta city. The case was not different again; a Baloch professor with a political view, who helped his students in many ways, had no right to live in this cuckoo land. His sins included the accommodation and easing up of the postmortem process for the families of kill and dump victims.
The recent victim of this elimination of the Baloch intelligentsia is Nazeer Marri, an educationist who was widely known as Master Nazeer. He was gunned down on Arbab Karam Khan Road on Tuesday. The deceased, who was attached to the noble profession of teaching for 32 years, was the vice principal of Killi Shaikhan High School, Quetta. Nazeer Marri was a very popular figure among his students due to his firm stand and the chilling ordeal of his three terms of tortures in Pakistani military torture cells.
Mr Marri was illegally arrested three times during the dictatorship of General Pervez Musharraf, but was subsequently released due to a lack of evidence. He was arrested for the first time in the Justice Nawaz Marri murder case in 2000 along with many other Marri Baloch including Nawab Khair Baksh Marri. He was badly tortured for six months in the CIA detention centre in Quetta.
The second time he was abducted by the intelligence agencies on November 17, 2005, and remained missing for six weeks. He was again abducted for the third time on November 2, 2006 and was kept in illegal incommunicado detention for more than a year, where he was tortured badly. He was released in a very bad and critical condition.
Though Mr Marri faced many agonising hardships, he never abandoned the teaching profession. He was arming the young Baloch students with awareness and enlightenment, which too is considered a sin in this state. The beloved SST teacher of Baloch students was gunned down on June 19, when he was heading to the school. This created rage among his students and the young students of his school blocked the road and attacked government installations on Sariab Road for many hours.
Is this the last brutality? No, and neither is it the first one. The Baloch nation has developed an acquaintance with these brutalities since March 27, 1948, and there seems to be no ray of hope. The Khmer Rouge of Cambodia has reincarnated in the shape of the intelligence agencies and their collaborators in Balochistan. The day is not far when every person with a surname Baloch may be killed.
The world has to act, as it is already too late.
Mir Sohaib Mengal is a CC member and international representative of BSO-Azad.