By Mehr Tarar
April 24, 2019
It happened in the late hours of the night of April 18, 2019. It happened in the Ormara region of the Balochistan province of Pakistan. It happened near the Buzi Pass, in a very remote place near the Hingol national park on the Makran Coastal Highway that connects the port city of Gwadar to Karachi. It was like a scene from a horror movie.
An act of methodical brutality that is seen in a movie, and disturbed, angry, the viewer watches it as mere sensationalism to make a screenplay more potent, more grotesque. Real life is sometimes worse than that. Devoid of the option of pause, stop, fast-forward, it jolts you with a punch in the gut: human beings were and human beings are capable of perpetrating the most inhuman cruelty on one another. It all becomes harder to fathom when its target are human beings who have never done anything to the perpetrators. That is the worst thing about any act of terrorism: slaughter of innocent human beings. Not that human beings deserve to be slaughtered even they are guilty of really bad things.
Seven buses were stopped. Identification cards were checked. It was not a random search. Certain individuals were picked: systematically, coldly, precisely. 16 men. Mostly young. Most of them worked for the armed forces. 11 personnel of Pakistan Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard. Taken off the buses, they were taken to the nearby Noor Baksh Hotel, their hands were tied behind the back, and they were all shot at point blank range. In the head. Two managed to escape. 14 were killed. Reportedly, the stark walls of the room in that hotel were painted red with the sprayed blood of people who were picked and killed.
The Balochistan Liberation Front, the Balochistan Republican Army and the Baloch Republican Guard, an alliance of banned militant organisations, claiming responsibility for the killings, announced that the killing of all security personnel was conducted after confirmation of their identity.
One man was reportedly set free after taken off a bus when the killers discovered he was a resident of Winder, Balochistan. This was to be the massacre of outsiders. Those who had come from other provinces of Pakistan to work in Balochistan of Pakistan. Those who were just doing their duty were chosen and killed simply because they did not belong to Balochistan. Shot in the head. Killed in their own country as outsiders.
Speaking to media, Mohammad Musa, a local health official in charge of examination of the bodies of the slain, said: “They were all bullet injuries. There are no wounded, all are dead.”
It is not the first incident when in the name of a “noble” cause, a massacre is carried out, when people are killed with a methodical cold-bloodedness for “revenge,” when the unarmed are killed in an armed battle of other-ing people, all from one country.
A Baloch ethnic movement whose main grievances against the state of Pakistan are injustice, abuse of human rights and usurping of rights of the Baloch people while extracting Balochistan’s rich mineral resources for the benefit of the rest of Pakistan has continued for more than a decade. Justified grievances that turned into a messy political fight with vested interests of local and foreign elements, and which is now used as a pretext to unleash barbarity on poor labourers from Punjab and elsewhere, and on April 18 on the security personnel working in Balochistan. Innocent human beings are killed in the name of justice for violations of rights of other innocent human beings.
The horror of child servants in Pakistan: Uzma was battered to death for taking one bite of food
Terrorism is terrorism, stripped of any tags of nobility and heroism. Killing of unarmed people for any reason is an act of terrorism. Period. There must not be any ambiguity about that. There must not be any whataboutery.
Be it in Balochistan, in Kashmir, in Christchurch, in Sri Lanka.
Terror in Sri Lanka
It happened in Sri Lanka. It was a day of prayer. It was a day of celebration. It was a day when families and loved ones assembled to be thankful for one another, thankful for what they were blessed with. As they folded their hands in prayer, they were killed. Children, women, men. In churches in the cities of Colombo, Negombo and Batticaloa on the Easter Sunday of May 21, 2019, bombs went off, and people in prayer, sitting with their loved ones, were blown to pieces. Eight bomb blasts. Carried out by suicide bombers. Reportedly, 359 people killed. 500 wounded.
Among the dead, there were 45 children, according to Unicef.
The attacks were also in the Shangri-La, Kingsbury and Cinnamon Grand, three luxury hotels of Colombo where Sri Lankans and tourists from other countries were just sitting...talking, eating, laughing.
Most of those killed are Sri Lankan nationals, but officials say at least 38 foreigners are among the dead – including British, Indian, Danish, Dutch, Swiss, Spanish, US, Australian and Turkish nationals.
Entire families died.
That of Rangana Fernando and his wife Danadiri, and their three children, 6-year-old daughter Biola, 4-year-old daughter Leona, 11-month-old son Seth. They died as they prayed in the St Sebastian’s church in Negombo.
Also killed in the same church were Tyronne Gulding, his wife, Gayani Fernando and his mother-in-law Mary Anaslyn Silva. Guldong was a rickshaw driver.
Also killed in the attacks were the three children of a Danish businessman, Anders Holch Povlsen. Povlsen, the owner of “the Bestseller clothing chain and the largest stakeholder in the hugely popular online retailer Asos” is a billionaire.
Also killed were the British nationals Anita Nicolson, her 14-year-old son Alex and 11-year-old daughter Annabel. They were having food in a restaurant in the Shangri-La Hotel.
Also killed were two siblings. British nationals, Daniel Linsey, 19, and Amelie Linsey, 15, college and school students in London, were in Sri Lanka on holiday.
Also killed were an Australian woman Manik Suriaaratchi and her 10-year-old daughter Alexandria. They were praying at the St Sebastian’s Church, Negombo.
Also killed was the grandson of the Bangladeshi MP Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim.
Also killed were 10 Indians, seven were “political party workers from Bangalore.”
Sri Lanka’s State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardene said: “The preliminary investigations have revealed that what happened in Sri Lanka was in retaliation for the attack against Muslims in Christchurch, but we are continuing investigations.”
As per Wijewardene, a little-known militant Muslim organisation, National Thawheeth Jama’ath, and another local organisation, Jammiyathul Millathu Ibrahim, are suspected of being the perpetrators of the attacks.
Daesh “without providing any evidence” has claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Terrorism Is Faceless
Terrorism has no colour but black. Terrorism leaves no colour but red. Terrorism notwithstanding the disguise it comes cloaked in, notwithstanding the colour it paints itself in, of any religion, nationality, ethnicity, ideology, is devoid of any principle of humanity. Terrorism is methodical killing of human beings by human beings in a mad orgy of bloodlust and a blood-chillingly macabre misplaced sense of victimisation. Terrorism is faceless and nameless even when it chooses its victims with a coldblooded precision. Terrorism is human beings sinking to the lowest of humanity.
Terrorism is what is dividing the world into them and us. Terrorism is what puts all victims of terror into one group of humanity for which the entire world unites without the division of them and us.
Terrorism exists to destroy. Terrorism will never succeed. Humanity will prevail...
Be it in Balochistan, in Kashmir, in Christchurch, in Sri Lanka.