Saturday, 10 July 2010

No compromise over Balochistan independence; blood flowing like a river, says Nawab Marri

By Ahmar Mustikhan
[Translated from Urdu]

KARACHI: The main icon of the independence struggle in Balochistan has said the Baloch people have been pushed to the wall and there is no way out for them but to fight back against the Pakistani occupation of their homeland.

Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri, 81 – a legend in his lifetime for resolutely calling for independence of Texas-sized Balochistan for almost four decades now – in a wide ranging interview said the Baloch have been left with no choice but to pick up arms in self defense.

He said he would ask each and every Baloch to live like a common man during daylight, “but after dusk turn into a lightening thunder against the enemy.”

The veteran leader said announcement of packages by Islamabad can longer solve the burning issue of Balochistan as the struggle of the Baloch people have advanced far beyond any such eyewash by Islamabad.

“Each and every Baloch child is asking their parent for weapons instead of toys,” Marri said in a wide ranging interview with a team of reporters and editors of Sindhi Daily Ibrat.
Alluding to the Pakistani killing of countless freedom leaders and activists, he said blood is flowing like a river across Balochistan and the Baloch have been left with no option but to fight back against their national oppression and slavery.

He said the Baloch peoples struggle today was not only geared towards becoming the masters of their land and resources, but also ushering in a system of social justice that ensures progress of every Baloch individual.

Nawab Marri said the partition of the Indian subcontinent in August 1947 was stage-managed by the British rulers and added today Pakistan was merely a client state of the United States as its parliament is totally subservient to Washington DC.
“The Baloch will fight to their last breath. Our issue is no longer jobs and perks,” Marri declared.

He said the unity of the Baloch nation has all together changed the dynamics and complexion of their movement as the struggle is today not limited to remote mountains of Balochistan, but the resistance was steaming full-throttle ahead even in cities like capital Quetta.

But he lamented that the Baloch movement does not command the same level of support that Kashmiris and Palestinians enjoy at the international level.

“Balochistan is burning today,” Marri said, adding “The international powers are responsible for all this as Islamabad has enslaved the oppressed Baloch nation because of their support.”

He said many Baloch tribal chieftains have learned bitter lessons from Pakistan, but still there are some who hope they will get some money and jobs from Islamabad. But he said the Baloch are today determined to fight to the finish and their sacrifices will finally force the international powers to take action in support of Balochistan's independence.

Marri said many among the Raisani and Magsi tribal chieftains – Nawab Aslam Raisani is chief minister Nawab Zulfikar Magsi is governor of Balochistan -- and also some among the Marris have also been sold out for a few privileges and the Baloch nation expect no good from these elements.

Among others, he was obliquely referring to his eldest son Jangyz Marri, who has become a black sheep in the family and the fiercely independence minded Marri tribe for joining the Pakistan Muslim League of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and also to former guerrilla leader Mir Hazar Khan Marri who is now collaborating with the Pakistan military.

He said guerrilla warfare to repulse the occupation forces was in itself a form of political education and said he favored each and every Baloch to become a freedom fighter, adding that social justice that guarantees freedom for all was the foundation stone of Balochistan's struggle for independence.
He said he does not believe Pakistan's parliament was a free institution and called it a mockery of democracy as he said it has failed to guarantee equality for the Baloch. “What kind of parliament is this where there is no freedom of expression,” Marri said, pointing to the country's omnipotent military control over the body politic.

Referring to past demands of provincial autonomy, he said the goals of the Baloch struggle in the 1970s were wrong as at that time the movement lacked political maturity, while the conditions on the ground were also different. “Today we have a totally changed situation,” Marri observed.

Marri said he fails to comprehend why the Sindhis in neighboring Sindh have compromised with their national slavery and why they are ready to barter away their national rights for menial jobs.

He said war has been imposed on the Baloch people and ruled out any compromise or talks with Pakistan over Balochistan's independence. “Those who like to talk can go ahead and talk [I have no truck with them],” he said, disowning the talks Pakistan prime minister Yusuf Raza Gillani had with former chief minister Sardar Ataullah May.

He said the freedom fighters, also called Baloch sarmachars, will not accept the Sardari system in which tribal chieftains enjoy special status by virtue of their birth. “They will usher in a system based on equality for all,” Marri said.

To a question regarding the killing of his son Balach Marri in November 2007, he said his slain son symbolized the freedom movement of Balochistan which was very much alive and kicking in the length and breadth of Balochistan. “Such movements never die,” the aging Marri said with pride.
“Never surrender,” he said is his message to the Baloch freedom fighters.

To a question, he said while Mahatma Gandhi was from amongst the people, former premier Zulfikar Ali Bhutto believed in Machiavellian politics and used the slogan of social justice to protect the landed aristocracy.

Nawab Marri, who is with reverence called Baba-i-Azadi or father of the Balochistan independence movement, said it is his earnest desire to pen a book.

One of Nawab Marri's son, London-based Hyrbyair Marri is regarded by many as a national hero of Balochistan, while his youngest son Mehran Baluch is the Baloch people's representative at the U.N. Human Rights Commission in Geneva.

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