Translated by Malik Siraj Akbar
Veteran Baloch nationalist leader Nawab Khair Baksh Marri, who champions the cause of an independent Balochs and supports the armed struggle in Balochistan, was interviewed recently by a Sindhi newspaper. The Baloch Hal brings you the complete text of the interview in English.
Q: You have remained associated with the politics of subcontinent for a long time. What do you think are its nature and traditions?
A: (Smiling lightly) The question is too vague. One cannot speak about every aspect of the Subcontinent.
Q: What do you think about the overall politics here?
A: I will only speak about the people of this region. There has mainly remained an attitude of slavery. For example, the Punjabis have ruled forever. It is said about the Punjabis that give them money. Intimidate the Sindhi; Give the Phatan money too and slaughter the Baloch with a sweet knife.
It often happens that if you give respect to Balochs, they will go to the extent of doing anything for you. Punjabis only want the money. The Pashtuns cannot take a challenge. Phatans may resist you at the inception if you challenge them but they will not be able to face you (in the long run). However, we have largely remained slaves.
Q: Do you feel any difference between the politics of Mr. Jinnah and Ghandi?
KB: [Laughs loudly] The answer is simple: Ghandi was the leader of human beings and Jinnah was a the man of English rulers.
Q: Talking about the freedom movement, who do you think brought religion into politics?
A: Freedom? Why is there freedom?
Q: We will talk about it later.
A: It is a very thorough question. I don’t want to get into the details. I do not know who brought religion into politics.
Q: We will get back to the same question about the independence movement. How do you see the independence of Subcontinent?
A: How do you see the independence of subcontinent?
Q: I am asking this question to you. There are different opinions. Some say it was achieved while the others believe it was pre-planned.
A: A number of movements of liberation were taking place then. There was no sustainable mistake anywhere. Hindu-Muslim issue rose because the Hindus were dominant on all key positions. What is our condition right now in Pakistan? This Pakistani Establishment was and still is loyal to the English. I think the Partion was pre-planned. Punjabis had an inhuman vision and they were only looking at their power. They could nto understand the foresightedness of the British. English were not stupid. There was only problem with the Punjabis. They left the region but kept Pakistan as their colony and supported the Punjabis. We are not the slaves of Punjabis but the slaves of the international powers.
Q: Why is it that India attained a strong parliamentary system whereas Pakistan has failed to do so?
A: Would you call Pakistan’s a parliament? How would you call it a parliament when it is under the influence of foreign forces? India supported her system. They truly understood the meaning of independence. Those who do know know the importance of freedom are animals and slaves. Independence is a blessing of the nature. In Pakistan, the system itself is defective.
Q: How do you see the tragedy of 70s?
A: Punjabis had made up their mind that either keep the Bengalis as their slaves or get rid of them.
Q: What was it that the Bengalis had due to which they gained independence so quickly?
A: [After thinking for a while] They had the wisdom. Maybe, they had started working on their independence much earlier. A relative of mine came from Bengal and informed that people there already knew me. They used to say that this man played clean and transparent politics. You had earlier talked about General Tika Khan. Surely, the power here can march in Balochistan and Sindh but may fail to march till Bengal. In the meanwhile, the Bengalis got the support of India as Bangladesh falls in between India and Pakistan. Circumstances also favored the Bengalis. Most importantly, the Establishment here was not willing to tolerate the Bengalis any longer. It was because the Bengalis were very developed. They had everything. The Punjabis either wanted to keep the Bengalis as their slaves or get rid of them.When they could not keep them as slaves, they decided to get rid of them.
Q: From when does the role and politics of the Establishment start? After all, Balochistan had already been incorporated in Pakistan in 1948.
A: It has had its role since day one. The Establishment had been created with the intention to keep the others slaves. They never wanted to change their master and they had been created to rule on the others.
Q: What do you mean with “masters”?
A: International powers: The English and the US.
Q: How do you see Balochostan?
A: How do I see Balochistan? A beautiful scenic land where there is a lot of love; where shepherds sing songs of happiness while escorting their cattle; where the mountains are beautiful and the wind is…[Keeps silences for a while and resumes] for me, Balochistan is too beautiful.
Q: Is Balochistan burning?
A: Yes, yes. That is the question! Balochistan is engulfed with a conflagration.
Q: Who is responsible for this pain of Balochistan?
A: International powers are responsible for it. And Pakistan is the biggest subordinate of the international community. They are sinful as they have controlled our natural resources.
Q: Isnt’ it strange that here you hold the international powers responsible but in front of your people, you only oppose the Establishment?
A: Yes comrade [referring to the interviewer] maybe it is this way. The Pakistani Establishment represents them (the international powers). Whatever happens in front of us, we obviously talk about it. We will talk about them who are in front of us. They are sinful. The US is running Pakistan. Otherwise, they (the Establishment) do not have the spunk to rule on the Balochs.
Q: Balochistan was ruled by the English and now by Pakistan. How would you differentiate between both rulers?
A: Yes, to some extent. The slavery (of the English) was the initial slavery for us. Now, the Pakistani and English slavery is no longer the primary slavery. In this (Pakistani slavery), we faced considerable loss.
Q: What do you mean with ‘primary ‘ (slavery)?
A: The British only laid the foundation of our slavery but the Punjabis bathed us in blood and kept us slaves. What would we do in such circumstances? Obviously, we would retaliate. I would reiterate: Punjabis are the subordinates of dictatorship (imperialism). Ultimately, the United States will have to negotiate with us (the Balochs).
Q: Have the Baloch sardars been able to learn a lesson from their historical consciousness?
A: Yes, (they are) learning. But there are some who are crooks. They still believe that they would get something. Now, the solution of Balochistan does not lie in packages. Now, we have gone too far. These packages are meant to fool us.
Q: Can you name (those Baloch sardars) you are referring to.
A: [Angrily] These Raisanis, Magsis, some Bugtis and, yes, some members of the Marri tribe who are being pampered with some money. Besides, they have also researched about the reservoirs of natural resources in Balochistan as to how much of it exists in Balochistan. They (the government) have discovered oil from Balochistan but do not make it public. These roads, avenues and packages are not the solution to our problem.
Q: The Cabinet Plan given by the British had envisaged the Kalat State as an independent state. Even Jinnah had also agreed to the independent status of the Kalat State. Then we see how Kalat State was forcefully incorporated into Pakistan. How do you see such behavior?
A: In fact he (Jinnah) was the friend of the international powers.
Q: But people say he was a principled man.
A [with surprise]Who says so? He remained the lawyer of the Kalat State and the Khan of Kalat. He was a man with double standards. It was the strategy of the British and the Americans to incorporate Balochistan into Pakistan.
Q: Do you agree that before the creation of Pakistan, Baloch tribal chiefs were busy fighting each other. They were firstly committed to their tribes and then to Balochistan.
A: Our ancestors used to fight in the past as well to defend Balochsitan.But yes you are right to some extent.
Q: How do you see the military operations of 1948, 1958, 1962 and 1973? Which one of these was the worst?
A: Whenever we were attacked, they ( the attackers) faced stiff resistance. We kept on fighting against them.We may not be as united as we should be but there is unity at the people’s level.We will have to fight. In the past, we were not united like this. Previously, Quetta was believed to be a place where no one could fight. But now you can see resistance fighters there as well. [Laughs] This means Balochistan has changed. Our children are asking their parents to bring them guns instead of toys. It is a big change. We have become more united than before. Now, we are not in the same position as we were in the past. Our status has now changed.
Q: What is your opinion about Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto?
A: [replies with a mocking smile on his face] Now you should tell me what I should tell you. He was not a nationalist. He was was democratic, Islamic socialist and (Niccolo) Machiavelli. [pauses]. Well, he was Machiavelli.
Q: We cannot say whether or not you are getting foreign assistance. But how can a movement face a state without getting external support? You see Kashmir and Palestine both get external help. Even the Maoists are getting the support of educated Indians. Who is supporting you? After all, even a news related to you does not run in this country [owing to the state control on the media to check the Baloch nationalists' coverage].
A: We are not getting assistance in a way that we should be. For us, even encouragement is a big support. What do you know how much power guerrilla war entails. How many states were with Che Guevara? Our people have been sufficiently trained. They have fought long wars. Balochs living in different countries are raising voice. In foreign countries, Balochs and Sindhis are collectively raising voice. I would share an example with you: A young man wanted to marry but the mother of the girl that he wanted to marry did not approve of the proposal. The girl’s mother, while elaborating the preconditions she set in return of giving her daughter to the boy, said cold water would be dropped on your body throughout the night.
” If you survive the coldness,” she said, ” I will agree to marry off my daughter to you.”
It was a cold winter but the guy still survived. Subsequently, it was learnt that a candle had been burning in that room. The imagination about the presence of the candle gave birth to a new feeling in the heart of the young boy.
A similar quantity of support is enough for us. As far as the question whether India is supporting us or not is concerned, I do not call minor support as full assistance. India has got air power but it is not offering us that support (against Pakistan). You may ask where the weapons comes from. During the Soviet War, a lot of weapons were made available. It is not a big deal to get weapons from the open market now. The Afghans defeated the Soviet Union with the help of guerilla war.
Q: But we see Americans provided support during the Afghan war.
A: [Laughs] Exactly. The instrument of guerrilla war is too powerful. You see, they have kidnapped our people. They say they are in hundreds. I say they are in thousands. Some of them have been eliminated and the others are still alive.
Q: The Supreme Court has taken action on the issue of the missing persons. Do you think it will succeed?
A: Firstly, how much importance has the Supreme Court given to this matter? The Supreme Court does not have the power to confront the authority of the Establishment. When there is no democracy and judiciary in this country, how are they going to impart justice among us?
Q: What do you think plays the most important role in a movement?
A: Thought, ideology and armed struggle play a vital role in a movement. Above all, our own spirit plays an important role. Every Baloch has to pick up guns to fight for independence. Besides,different aspects of socialism should also be analyzed on the basis of which equality would be established in the society.
Q: You talked of thought and ideology to understand which one would require education. Education is not very widespread in Balochistan yet.
A: What, in your views, is “education”? Guerrilla warfare is also education. A little while you talked of awareness. Our people are aware. It is not important that we should get education from certain educational institutions where there is no education. There are literate people in your judiciary but have they got a brain like Lenin? Lenin was also a lawyer. Would you call these lawyers as educated? Education is all about your spirit. Armed struggle is the real education.
Q: Recently, the Khan of Kalat talked of apply ing non-violence in Balochistan.
A: [wrinkles appear on his face] (he) is a guy man with a little mind. He is a commodity.
Q: What does “commodity” mean?
A: He is a man who needs the money in the market.
Q: The Khan of Kalat was asked by the BBC if he wanted to create a separate state. Then, he refused to make such a demand. Mr. Marri, do you not think he would distribute Balochistan among different sardars on the lines of the English rulers?
A: The fifth column is using (him). We also understand (what is going on). Only Kalat is not Balochsitan. Now, he cannot divide Balochistan because even the common Baloch would fight against him (if he takes such a decision). It is not easy.
Q: Hairbyar Marri said that the army should talk to me directly. How do you see this?
A: [Surprised] I don’t know what he is saying. [In the meanwhile, one of Marri's aides interrupts and says Hairbayar had been misquoted by the BBC. The news is inaccurate for which the BBC had apologized].I told, right, that they would try to use the fifth column.
Q: Keeping in consideration the prevailing situation with Afghanistan caught up with its own problems and unable to support the Balochs, do you think a change appearing in Iran’s mindset would lead to some kind of support offered by Iran to the Balochs?
A: [Laughs] Iran cannot support us because it has always remained our enemy. Regarding Afghanistan, I would say it is not our active enemy but it is not a bosom friend either. We have traditional friendship with Afghanistan because my grandfather went towards them, so did I. During exile there, one would not be allowed to move freely. You remain under their influence. They were not loyal with socialism. They established traditional friendship with us. We do not have high expectations from them. Iran, on the other hand, has always wanted to eliminate our very existence.
Q: How do you see the Pakistani parliament?
A: Is it a parliament where you are not allowed to speak up? Here, you can vote but you cannot stand to vote. What kind of system is it? This is entirely a drama. We need a system where everything is based on equality. It is only socialism that can differentiate between human beings and animals.
Q: How do you see the future of Pakistan?
Q: Pakistan became too weak in 1970s. You did not talk of rights then. You supported the 1970 constitution.
A: Then the level of our political consciousness was not very high. Conditions were not as such. We were not united. Now the circumstances have changed. Those who demand rights are being killed. They are converting us into a minority through the Gwadar Port.
Q: How do you see the situation of Sindh?
A: I really don’t understand why the Sindhis have accepted slavery. What will they get out of this kind of democracy? They are contended with a post of a peon. After all, why don’t they stand (against this slavery)?
Q: Would you say anything about GM Syed?
A: No comments.
Q: How do you see the MQM (Muthida Quomi Movement)?
A: What has MQM given you (Sindhis) that you have accepted and hugged them? This is kind of a disease which will not be cured and will not let you get treated. [says angrily] we had once proposed that we (Balochs) would take care of Karachi. We were resented. We had uttered this sentence only in reaction that if you Sindhis cannot protect Karachi then we (Balochs) will do it. Sindhis should tell me where to convene a Jirga with them? What type of Messiah are you waiting for?
Q:What is your opinion about General Zia-ul-Haq. He had freed all the Balochs.
A: What do you mean? He was a dictator. Those who were released by him were not nationalists.
Q: Do you think those who are fighting in the mountains can defeat the international powers?
A:You see nationalism does not see how you are fighting. We have the spirit and the education. One day, the international powers will have to negotiate with us directly. When they see that these people’s war is not ending, their own needs will bring them to us. The Baloch will only fight now even if it results in his death. Jobs offered by Pakistan will not deter us now.
Q: You lived on exile and it seems you are still on exile.
A: Yes, I am on exile. I will be relieved only when I am free. We are seeing the dream of freedom for the whole world where every human being should be free. Baloch will no longer live in slavery. If we do not fight now, we will be transformed into a minority.
Q: Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto ended tribal system. What would you say about it?
A: He was a wadera (landlord) who admired Napoleon. Do you think Napoleon was a good guy? He (Bhutto) abolished tribalism only to stage the drama of socialism.
Q: One particular family in Pakistan, the Bhuttos, have been killed. In the meanwhile, Benazir Bhutto was held responsible for the murder of Mir Murtaza Bhutto. How do you see this bloody game?
A: There is no doubt that this family has been killed. The Establishment wanted to kill Murtaza Bhutto. I cannot say with certainty but I doubt that Benazir (Bhutto) knew that Murtaza (Bhutto) would be killed. She may have told him to keep quite. What else could she do? She had come to meet me and I wanted to ask her why she did not consider taking revenge.
I did not ask because she was too depressed and I also did not have the time to ask the query. I had met Mir Murtaza in Afghanistan. That meeting was also accidental as he had come with my son Gazin. I asked what People’s Party meant for Mir. Did it refer to some people of Sindh. He smiled and said: “People”. I did not argue with him because I did not want to spoil the environment.
Q: How do you see Khair Baksh Marri?
A: I am very strong in terms of pride and have become too weak physically by now. I cannot fight but I am imbued with the spirit (of fighting).
Q: Which ideology do you support?
A: I support the ideology which is not well known; in which everyone is equal and no one’s rights are usurped.
Q: What would you call this ideology?
A: [Laughs loudly] Don’t you know?
Q: What should we assume?
A: I won’t name it. You can’t write it.
Q:Tell me, please.
Q: Where is Balch Marri?
A: [smiles with happiness] He is in the mountains of Balochistan.
Q: Has Balach passed away or not? You have not received condolences for him yet.
A: [ tears stream from his eyes. Silence. Tears dry. He starts speaking again] Balach is a movement and he is alive for me. Some people say in a religious angel that martyrs do not die. When Balochs meet me, they say Balach’s photos are displayed at their homes. No one is willing to agree that Balach has been martyred.
Q: Balach is also loved in Sindh.
A: It is the nicety of the Balochs and you people (Sindhis) that you gave (us) so much respect. Balach was very conscious. He was seen enviously by the Establishment and the Americans. Therefore, he was removed from their way. Balach would never get exhausted. He would walk such distances that we used to travel by cars. Yet, he would not get tired.
Balach was the son of a sardar but his temperament was not like the sardars. But all the Balochs who were martyered are Balach for us. I am too old now to recall the names of all the Baloch who have been martyred but they are all like Balach to me. I am proud that Balach was my son. I named him after the legendary Baloch character. This is the color of Balach’s martyerdom that today even the women of Balochistan talk of independence.
Q: For how long will the movement in Balochistan continue?
A: Until we get independence, this movement will continue. I do not know how much time is fixed (for the accomplishment of this goal).
Q: Will the disillusioned young men in the hells agree to end their anger?
A: I am not their spokesperson.
Q: Do you keep some space for negotiations?
A: No conscious human being or Baloch will talk to these treacherous people. At least, I will never do that. Otherwise, those who are fond of talking to crooks should go and talk. We did not want war but we were killed. What would they expect from us after opening rivers of blood and sending dead bodies to us? There is no justice here. We want a system where everyone is equal.
Q: Musharraf said it was not the 70s but the style of war is almost the same.
A: The style of the guerrilla war is the same but Musharraf must remember that we are no longer the same Balochs of the 70s.
Q: What system do you see for the future Balochistan?
A: We have the traditional system which would change eventually. Those who are fighting will surely not keep Balochistan under tribalism. They are enlightened Balochs. They will bring a system in which everyone is equal.
Q: What is the philosophy of life?
A: Life is not the name of comfort and luxuries only. Human life should be spent under a system in which equality and freedom are ensured. For me, life is only one thing: Freedom.
Q: What message would you like to give to the Balochs?
A: (I have) given messages throughout my life. I would only say never give up your weapons and don’t you ever accept defeat. Keep fighting for liberation. For the Balochs, I would say live like an ordinary man in day time and attack your enemy like a brave lion during the night time.
Q: Do you intend to write a book?
A: I have tried many times but I am too lazy. Now, I am not in a position to write. But will now try my level best to write.
Q: Thank you so much for imparting your time.
A: Don’t say that.
Thanks to the Balochhal News for translating the interview of Baloch National Leader Nawab Khair Bux Marri
Monday, 12 July 2010
” Ultimately, the World Will Have to Directly Negotiate With the Balochs”: Sardar Khair Baksh Marri
Translated by Malik Siraj Akbar