On Thursday, nationalists across Balochistan commemorated the 11th anniversary of the “Martyrs of Murgaap”. Admirers have paid homage to their mentors for their “struggle against oppression, fidelity to their motherland and sacrifice for the wellbeing of their Nation”.
On April 9, 2009, the mutilated and bullet-riddled bodies of three prominent Baloch separatist leaders, Ghulam Muhammad Baloch, founder and then president of Balochistan National Movement (BNM), And general secretary of the Baloch National Front (BNF), Lala Muneer a central leader on BNM and Sher Muhammad, member of central committee of Baloch Republican Party (BRP), were found in Murgaap, nearly fourteen Kilometres away from Turbat city.
Ghulam Muhammad and his Comrades were “forcefully abducted” from Advocate Kochkal Ali’s chamber on April 3, 2009. Their partially decomposed dead bodies were recovered a week later near Murgaap. Former legislator of Balochistan Assembly, Kochkal Ali, as an eyewitness of the abduction, alleged that the abductors belonged to Pakistani security forces. Afterwards, numerous nationalist organisations including Baloch Liberation Army, Baloch National Movement, Baloch Student Organization, and several politicians also accused Pakistani Intelligence Agencies for the assassination of the said politicians. Leaders from National Party urged the Pakistani Government to take action against the chiefs of ISI and MI, Pakistan’s’ strong intelligence agencies. Akhtar Mengal, leader of the Balochistan National Party, expressed solidarity with the martyrs and demanded an instant investigation and trial.
Frothing with anger, Baloch nationalists lodged protests all over Balochistan, which were dealt strongly by security forces resulting the peaceful protests into violent riots. Rioters vandalized shops, burned vehicles, launched attacks and blocked roads, including the National Highway, thereby thwarting the traffic between Sindh and Balochistan. In the subsequent confrontations, several died and many more were apprehended.
Ghulam Muhammad was among the most influential figures in the Baloch struggle. He worked with the well-known nationalist organisations at higher echelons. He served as the Chairman of Baloch Student Organization from 1990-92. After his tenure, he joined Balochistan National Movement, then the strongest political party in Balochistan. Due to some ideological differences, BNM bifurcated into Baloch National Movement, headed by Ghulam Muhammad, and National Party, led by Dr Haye Baloch. This split marked the true start of Ghulam Muhammad’s political journey.
Ghulam Muhammad Baloch had played a cardinal role in the recovery of John Solecki, the president of UNHCR Balochistan branch, who had been abducted by Balochistan Liberation United Front. Following his assassination, American news agency Reuters in a news story acknowledged Mr. Baloch’s crucial role in securing release of John Solecki. The American Embassy in Islamabad strongly condemned the incident and urged the Pakistani Government to take prompt action. Muttahida Quomi Movement organised rallies all over Karachi, expressing sympathy with the Baloch people and demanded the Government to cease “oppression in Balochistan”.
Eleven years later, the admirers of the Baloch leaders still pay tribute to their protagonists. Baloch Student Organization, once headed by Ghulam Muhammad Baloch, paid tribute to the Martyrs of Murgaap in a tweet on Thursday. BSO stated that,” We pay huge tribute to the Martyrs of Murgaap who sacrificed their lives for the sake of Baloch identity and National cause”. They further added that, “It is because of the martyrs that Baloch National Movement did not bow their head in front of any brutality.”
The spokesperson for Baloch Republican Student Organization, remembering the Martyrs of Murgaap, stated that, “BRSO pays rich tribute to Shuhda-i-Murgaap for their unmatched sacrifices, and vow that we would continue their mission to victory in the shape of a free Balochistan,” He further added that,” our enemies drastically failed to meet their evil purposes; rather, the martyrdom of Shuhda-i-Murgaap opened a new chapter of national struggle in Balochistan”.
The South Korean offshoot of the Baloch National Movement (BNM), once presided by Ghulam Muhammad Baloch, held a gathering to remember their heroes and respect their struggle. Mama Qadeer Baloch, a renowned Human Rights Activist from Balochistan, wrote that “Chairman Ghulam Muhammad Baloch and his comrades, Lala Muneer Baloch and Sher Muhammad Baloch, were among the scintillating stars in the galaxy of the altruistic souls of the movement [of freedom]”. He further commented the incident was a tell-tale clue from the oppressive forces that, “even those who pursue democratic means to acquire their rights will endure a fate similar to the Martyrs of Murgaap”.
As per reports, different other branches of BNM also held references and online events to commemorate the anniversary of the Baloch leaders.