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Balochistan slipping out of Pakistan's hands?  

Balochistan slipping out of Pakistan's hands?  

Balochistan is burning again, right at the start of 2021. The brutal execution of 11 coal miners belonging to Shia Hazara community on Sunday — their throats slit and bullets pumped into them — has made sure that the Balochs begin the new year on a bloody note, quite literally. Surviving the savagery and barbarism unleashed by the state-backed forces isn't the only major task for the people of Pakistan's largest province in 2021 though. They stare at bleak future, looking on helplessly as the Chinese take control of their mineral-rich land under the pretext of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), fortifying and fencing areas like the port city of Gwadar.

As #hazaragenocide trends on Pakistani social media, the world cannot help but compare similar gory incidents which resulted in the birth of Bangladesh, 50 years ago. What is being witnessed in Gilgit-Baltistan or Balochistan right now is quite similar to what had happened in East Pakistan in 1971 when powerful secessionist movements led to the liberation of Bangladesh from the clutches of Pakistan. Fed up with the atrocities and Pakistan's genocidal tactics, the Balochs too seem to be on the path of liberation after having recently found their icon in late <a href="https://indianarrative.com/world/pakistani-deep-state-hand-in-karima-balochs-mysterious-death-46733.html"><strong>Karima Baloch</strong></a>.

Year 2020 had ended with the mysterious death of exiled Baloch activist Karima Baloch in Canada's Toronto, believed to be <a href="https://indianarrative.com/world/we-will-send-a-christmas-gift-to-karima-she-will-never-forget-47394.html"><strong>a case of murder</strong></a> by many. Karima's death had signalled the more tumultuous times that lay ahead for the community. It not only led to Pakistan's worldwide condemnation but was also followed by the killing of seven Pakistani paramilitary troops in the last week of the year. And now, massive protests are being staged all over the province after the gruesome killing of the coal miners. It is said that violence has no place in a civilized society. However, in Balochistan's case, it seems that peace has no place in the province even as Pakistan is quick to push the blame for the latest terror attack on the militant Islamic State group or Daesh.

<img class="alignnone size-large wp-image-55047" src="https://indianarrative.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Hazaras-Pakistan-1024×681.jpg" alt="Hazaras Pakistan" />

Shia Muslims sitting in protest in Quetta against the massacre of coal miners said that Hazara Shia Muslims have been "paying the price" for their love and loyalty with Pakistan. Baloch activists smell a sinister plot.

Khalil Baloch, chairman of the Baloch National Movement (BNM), said that the killing of Hazaras is to divert the world's attention from the rising voices both inside Balochistan and internationally against the assassination of Karima Baloch.

"As a movement is rising against the killing and martyrdom of Karima Baloch, Pakistan has tried to divert international voices by targeting and killing the Hazara community through another form of terrorism. Such brutality will further embarrass Pakistan but will not be acquitted on any issue," the BNM said in a statement today.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet">
<p dir="ltr" lang="en">Heartbreaking to see Hazara community waiting in the biting cold for over 24 hours on the street for an explanation on why 11 coalminers were killed. Anywhere else, any time else the PM would have landed to sit with them, share their grief. But not even CM Balochistan had gone <a href="https://t.co/WoNvA8t25k">pic.twitter.com/WoNvA8t25k</a></p>
— SenatorSherryRehman (@sherryrehman) <a href="https://twitter.com/sherryrehman/status/1345989648942833664?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 4, 2021</a></blockquote>
<script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

The <a href="https://www.un.org/sg/en/content/sg/statement/2021-01-04/statement-attributable-the-spokesperson-for-the-secretary-general-%E2%80%93-pakistan"><strong>United Nations joined</strong></a> in Monday evening, condemning the disgraceful act.

"The Secretary-General strongly condemns the terrorist attack and killing of at least 11 coal miners in the Balochistan province of Pakistan yesterday. He extends his sincere condolences to the families of the miners and the people and government of Pakistan. He trusts the Pakistani authorities will do everything possible to bring the perpetrators of this terrorist act to justice," said Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesperson for the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

The "trust" is something that the Imran Khan government lost a long time ago.

The Pakistani Prime Minister had labeled the CPEC as a "game-changer" but China's flagship Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) project has instead had a devastating impact on human rights situation in the country so far – right from its starting point in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir's Gilgit-Baltistan till the Arabian Sea port of Gwadar in Balochistan.


Last month, the Balochs, already used to seeing more Chinese than the locals in their province, woke up to witness the fencing of Gwadar to alienate them further. Moreover, a new term 'south Balochistan' was coined to describe the Gwadar region apparently, as suggested by local Senator Mir Kabir Mohammad Shahi of the National Party, to separate the region administratively in the name of Gwadar Safe City project.

"Unfortunately, he said, the Presidency had become a source of issuing ordinances. Initially an attempt was made to declare the coastal belt of Balochistan the property of the federation through an ordinance and later islands of Balochistan and Sindh were handed over to the federal government through another ordinance," Pakistan's leading daily Dawn quoted Shahi as saying.


It was only after a petition was filed in the Balochistan High Court by Muneer Ahmed Kakar, the vice-chairman of the Balochistan Bar Council, that the plan to fence Gwadar was halted late last week. Kakar said that the fencing would affect the population of Gwadar of more than 300,000 with half of it remaining outside the fenced zone.

"The decision of the federal government to fence the port city amounts to divide it into two parts. In an era when the Berlin Wall fell, the city is being divided under the garb of security concerns. It has raised serious concerns amongst people of the area," former Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani had said in a statement.

The Balochs however know that the fencing will eventually happen. As Khalil Baloch says the argument that the Pakistani state is promoting terrorism, sponsoring terrorists or using terrorism as a blackmailing weapon is now meaningless as it has become "an integral part of the existence" of the state.

Their only hope is that one day, the international community will act on Pakistan's brutality.