Feb 29, 2012

Balochistan: Pakistani Workers Demonstrate To Show Solidarity

Protesters demand withdrawal of state security personnel, discontinuation of ‘development’ projects and accountability for enforced disappearances.

Below is an article published by the Baloch Hal:


Scores of political activists, students, trade unionists and ordinary citizens held a protest demonstration on Monday at Aabpara chowk in the federal capital to demand an end to state repression in Balochistan and for sustained and serious efforts to address the sense of exploitation amongst the Baloch people.

The protest was called by the Worker’s Party Pakistan (WPP) in cities across Punjab as an attempt to demonstrate the solidarity of Punjab’s working people with the Baloch nation. Protestors stood at Aabpara chowk for an hour chanting slogans against the military establishment and the United States for attempting to fragment the Baloch cause.

Speaking on the occasion Aasim Sajjad of the WPP said that the gruesome kill-and-dump and kidnapping tactics of the state’s security apparatus has driven the Baloch people to distraction and provided an opportunity to imperialist powers to influence the nationalist movement. He said that the situation in Balochistan is panning out exactly like that in east Pakistan four decades ago when unbridled military brutalities on the part of the state resulted in the Bengali people’s move towards separatism. Aasim Sajjad said that Balochistan will soon reach the point of no return and until and unless the military’s control over all affairs in the province gives way to a genuine political process, there is no chance that the Baloch can be wooed back into the Pakistani mainstream.

Speaking on the occasion Alia Amirali of the National Students Federation (NSF) said that the primary victims of state excesses in Balochistan are students and youth and when the future generation of any society is subjected to such treatment the entire society becomes radicalized. She said that young Baloch have been educated in the same schools as other Pakistanis yet they are becoming increasingly alienated from the Pakistani state because there is no space for the Baloch to secure their identity, rights and resources. Alia Amirali said that if the Pakistani military continues to subject the youth of Balochistan to such inhuman treatment hatred will intensify and the civil war in the province will become increasingly brutal.

Other speakers rejected the typical characterization of Baloch nationalists as sardars noting that it was the Pakistani state itself that has historically patronized the tribal elite and in fact the current nationalist movement is dominated non-tribal elements. The protestors appealed to all Punjabi working people as well as those of other ethnic groups in Pakistan to oppose the military operation in Balochistan. The protestors passed resolutions to demand a complete withdrawal of all state security personnel from the province including the Frontier Corps, discontinuing existing ‘development’ projects such as Gwadar and Saindak until control over such projects is passed completely onto the Baloch people, and immediate accountability of all intelligence operatives who have been responsible for kidnapping Baloch youth and dumping mutilated bodies across the province. The protest ended with an appeal to the Baloch people to look to an alliance of all of Pakistan’s oppressed nationalities and working people rather than to the imperialist powers who will never genuinely support the Baloch cause.