The month of March has always left very bad impacts on the lives of the Baloch, and I do not need to repeat here what is the part of the history from the past till today. Before the partition of the subcontinent, Balochistan was already a distinct and autonomous state by the name of the “state of Kalat.”
We as Baloch can say that the rise or emergence of one nation can be the humiliation of another nation because when cupidity builds up, exploitation follows, as the example of the subcontinent and British and the Spaniards and the Red Indians shows – similar is the case of the Baloch and Balochistan. Pakistan came into – or was brought into – being after the subcontinent was cleaved in two on August 14th, 1947. As I said before that Balochistan was already a prevailing self-sufficient state, which was forcefully annexed into Pakistan on the 27th of March 1948 and that aggressive annexation continues to this day.
The month of March might be a reminder of stability, hegemony, and prestige for some people, but as far as the Baloch are concerned, it has always been a black day in our history because, after the forcible annexation of the Kalat state to Pakistan, a vicious circle started for the Baloch because they lost their individuality and national identity on this day. It was not just this single day, but the entire month of March in 1948 that became a harrowing journey inscribed in the collective memory of the Baloch nation. For many, Balochistan might just be a piece of land, but for the Baloch, it is their homeland, and since its forceful occupation that day, it has never been the same.
Those who don’t have a blood relation with the Baloch nation are concerned with Balochistan solely due to their self-interest. The massive natural gas reserves in Sui, the billions worth of mineral resources in the mountains, the Reko Diq and Saindak mine and the unparalleled Gwadar deep seaport are enriching these people beyond their wildest dreams. The Gwadar port is the epicentre of a great game, one that is bound to dominate the global trade. Yet the Baloch, the owners of this land, are not allowed to go there. For the Baloch, many areas of Balochistan are no-go areas, especially for the local communities. Besides this, the issue of Baloch missing persons is an alarming one.
The Baloch missing persons admittedly are more than ten thousand, and this figure was accepted by the then federal interior minister Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao during the Musharraf regime. Reliable sources, such as the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons, put this figure much higher than what the government admits. The active factions of the Baloch nation have been rallying and campaigning to bring these issues into the government spotlight. As the pace of enforced disappearances has increased and the kill-and-dump policy has gained momentum, these rallies have been organized at higher levels of authority in this country, but to no avail.
On this 27th of March, some families of missing persons from entire Balochistan, especially families from district Khuzdar, will be organizing a demonstration in the form of a peaceful rally in the provincial capital Quetta to show solidarity with their missing loved ones.
Kabeer Baloch and Atta Ullah Baloch went missing from Khuzdar on the 27th of March 2009. Similarly, Saad Ullah Baloch was abducted on the 25th of August 2009. All three of them remain missing after twelve years of their disappearance.
The Baloch nation is unique from all other nations of the world in the sense that all these nations celebrate their national holidays, like the independence day or Eid, or organize social events, like birthdays and anniversaries. But in Balochistan, these things don’t happen – we Baloch don’t celebrate festivals, we instead mourn. We only commemorate days like the ‘missing persons day’, ‘martyrs day’ or ‘black day.’
So on this 27th of March, the families of these three missing persons and the families of thousands of other missing persons will be conducting a rally just to awake the deaf and dumb ears of the thick-skinned politicians.
Then there is Sammi Baloch, the daughter of Dr. Deen Muhammad Baloch who went missing years ago and still has not returned. All she wants is to see her father again, to hug him, to weep with him, to just sit with him. She just wants to end the pain and misery of her family who have been waiting for the safe return of their breadwinner for so many years.
This is exactly the condition of the families of Atta Ullah Baloch, Saad Ullah Baloch and Mushtaq Baloch and numerous other grieving families. Would it be possible to eradicate this month completely from our collective memory, or just to rename it as the “month of recovery”? Who knows.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Balochistan Post or any of its editors.