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Posts Tagged Balochistan

Controversial Senate Elections Brig.Gen (Retd) Asif Haroon Raja

Controversial Senate Elections

Brig.Gen (Retd) Asif Haroon Raja





The March 3 Senate elections seem to be the most controversial elections in the 45-year-old history of the upper house of the Parliament as all the parties are crying foul and accusing each other of indulging in horse-trading. It is proven that big amounts were doled out to 20 legislators of PTI in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly to secure votes for PPP. PTI MPAs have confirmed that they are being asked by their leadership to return the amounts. Likewise MQM (Bahadurabad Group) MPAs were also purchased by Zardari.

Next round of foul play was witnessed on March 12, on which the election for the offices of Senate chairman and deputy chairman took place. PML-N with highest numbers of seats had fielded Raja Zafarul Haq to contest against joint opposition candidate Sadiq Sanjrani from Balochistan. Zafarul Haq was appointed at the 11th hour when PPP refused to accept PML-N’s proposal to field outgoing chairman Raza Rabbani. For the seat of a deputy, Usman Kakar from Balochistan was pitched against Mandiwala (PPP nominee). The opposition band comprised of PPP, PTI and MQM (Bahadurabad).   

The ones sitting inside the parliament house and those watching on their television screens were taken by complete surprise as the presiding officer declared that 40-year-old Sadiq Sanjrani, an unknown entity and a political minnow was the new, democratically-elected chairman of the Senate. He had secured six votes more than the desired figure of 52. Without any political association, he had managed to defeat an alliance of parties headed by political heavyweights such as Nawaz Sharif (NS), Mahmood Khan Achakzai, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Hasil Bizenjo and Pir Pagara.

To dub this is a surprise would be an understatement. How could a pygmy first win the Senate elections as an independent candidate, and then, bag the crown of chairman of the upper house of the parliament? How could he floor all the seasoned politicians in one lunge? The only support that Sanjrani seemed to have was from five independent candidates from Balochistan. There had to be some secret hands that helped him in achieving the marvel.

What magic this six-man team had that forced archenemies Asif Ali Zardari and Imran Khan (IK) to join forces and put their weight behind Sanjrani? Why did the PPP the second-largest party in the house with 20 seats opt for the deputy chairman`s office? The consensus among commentators is that the party would have bagged the Senate chairman`s office with ease had Raza Rabbani been nominated. Whether one likes it or not, the fact is that Sadiq Sanjrani is now the democratically elected chairman of the Senate, as prescribed in the constitution.

Elections to the Senate are held after every three years. In Pakistan, where the military has directly ruled for more than three decades, these elections have continued to take place without fail for the past 33 years. But never have the Senate elections evoked as much public attention as they did this time.

The media gave exceptional coverage to it, in part because there was absolutely no certainty about whether elections would even be held. The apprehension was that the `real political players` or the `establishment` of the country did not want to see a second smooth transition from one civilian government to another.























A perception that Senate elections were in jeopardy was given hype by the media and PML-N social media in the wake of the events that had unfolded starting with the Supreme Court removing NS from office in the Panama Papers case to a ruling that barred NS from holding the office of party president. As Senate elections drew nearer, this narrative bugged the minds of all the mainstream political parties and had become a hot topic for discussion by the analysts.

Some baseless rumours gained currency and several scenarios about future political dispensation were floated and heatedly debated on social media. The most hyped themes were ‘technocrat government’, and ‘nexus between Establishment and Judiciary. While NS and his lobbyists blamed the judiciary for being prejudiced, anti-NS lobbyists bucked up the judiciary and kept elbowing it to hurry his conviction in three reference cases.  

The seeds of discontent were sown in January when the PML-N lost its coalition government in Balochistan after a revolt within the party. Many started to argue that this political move in Balochistan, at this point in time, was being orchestrated by the invisible `non-political forces` in an attempt to delay the Senate polls or to deprive PML-N of winning Senate elections.

The ruling party found more reasons to beat the drum. Its stalwarts cried out that it was not possible for Zardari to have conducted political engineering and horse trading all by himself. The July 2017 apex court verdict that barred Sharif from holding a party office also deprived PML-N candidates of their election symbol, just a few days before the Senate polls, because their nominations had been signed by Sharif. These steps further reinforced the suspicions of PML-N that the judiciary was predisposed and was implementing the given script. 

Despite the obstructions, the Senate elections could not be delayed. But those intent on disrupting the democratic process had more tricks up their sleeves. Analysts and political pundits in Islamabad believe that once `Plan A `to delay the Senate elections failed to materialise, the `schemers` implemented `Plan B` and deprived the single largest party of the upper house of getting its nominees elected as the Senate chairman and the deputy chairman.

Similarly, it was also opined by some politicians that when `their` plan to force the government to call it a day through Faizabad Interchange dharna failed and the next plan to bring Zardari and IK together through Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Dr Tahirul Qadri in last January also backfired, they managed to achieve the same target through unknown young Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Quddoos Bizenjo belonging to PML-Q.

Lodged in Balochistan House in Islamabad a few days before the Senate elections, Quddoos shuttled between Zardari House and Bani Gala and eventually managed to bring the two antagonists together. He succeeded in getting IK to vote for Zardari`s nominee for deputy chairman. Although the move was justified in the name of giving representation to a smaller province, nobody is ready to believe that Zardari and IK have done so out of love for the people of Balochistan and to alleviate their sufferings.

Both PTI and PPP are vying to gain power in next elections, but well knowing that their chances are slim due to their below average performance, they are expectantly looking toward the judiciary to remove the major stumbling block, NS led PML-N whose performance is far superior to others. Another contender for power has emerged in the form of Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) under Quddus, which comprise mostly of dissidents of PML-N. All legislators of PML-N in Baluchistan will soon join the new party.

It has unveiled the wily plan which is similar to the birthing of King’s Party by Gen Musharraf in 2002. Other suchlike experiments were MQM, MQM Haqiqi and PSP. We know the fate of those experiments. For the first time, a national party had won a sizeable chunk of seats in Baluchistan in 2013 elections and it might have further improved its vote bank in next elections. Regionalization of politics and marginalization of national political parties, when seen in context with germs of provincialism and 18th Amendment, is harmful to the federation.

The BAP soon after its inception on March 29, made history by inducing exiled Juma Khan Marri to return and join the new party. Hopefully, more would return. If the intentions of BAP are sincere and based on the honesty of purpose to make Baluchistan peaceful, integrated and prosperous and free of racial prejudices, I wish the new party all the best.    

Many in the PTI rank and file are unhappy with the leadership`s decision to enter into an undeclared alliance with the most corrupt Zardari. They feel that the party has compromised its high moral ground. In order to hide his embarrassment and to pacify PTI activists, IK futilely tried to justify his volte-face by saying: `Had we allowed the PML-N to bag the office of the Senate chairman, they would have brought legislation to save the Sharifs from accountability and to protect the money that they have looted.

The other fear of PTI, PPP, Judiciary and the Establishment was that after winning a majority in both the houses, PML-N will not only restore NS but also clip the wings of Judiciary and Establishment. PTI’s leading lights naively feel that the move made by their leader has not only blocked PML-N from gaining a majority in two houses but has also lessened the chances of victory of PMLN in coming elections and brightened the chances of PTI. 

Saner elements and experienced politicians, however, are not buying their arguments and believe that machinations in the Senate polls amount to razing of a genuine political mandate and will harm democratic progress. Some are suspecting that once the initial plan of sabotaging Senate elections backfired, Plan B was launched to put up controlled Senate with puppets running the show. They say that perhaps Raza Rabbani and Farhatullah Babar advocating supremacy of parliament were irreconcilable.

Some of the reasons behind Plan B were the sinister designs of ruling party, hype created by media about annulment of certain clauses of 18th Amendment in the constitution, supposedly harmful to the integrity of the federation, allegedly professed by COAS Gen Bajwa, together with so-called Bajwa doctrine and the circulating gossip that ‘Army was standing behind the judiciary’.

Nationalist Senators from Baluchistan affiliated with PML-N were in high temper and expressed their deep resentment after the results were announced and the first session of The Senate was presided over by Sanjrani.  They bewailed that they had managed to build a semblance of the supremacy of parliament, brick by brick, but now they felt that the house had crumbled. Hasil Bezinjo angrily said that the face of parliament had been blackened.

He claimed that the parliament stood defeated this day when it was practically proved that the `dominant forces` were more powerful than the parliament. He said the assemblies of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had been turned into a market where votes were purchased. He asked the `dominant institutions` and political parties to let democracy prevail.

PkMAP`s Usman Kakar bluntly said that an intelligence agency was continuously meddling in the affairs of parliament; an act he deemed as `venomous for the state’. He warned, `They want to defeat parliament and democracy. They have opened up a front in the country’. He appealed to all political parties to unite for the supremacy of parliament, rule of law and constitution, and to prevent the interference of intelligence agencies in politics. He argued that given what had happened during the Senate elections, the intelligence agencies had now put a question mark over the upcoming general elections, too.

Sanjrani with no past experience has an uphill task ahead of him. His first task will be to win the trust of the house, the majority of whom believe that he has reached the office through manipulation and with the support of `unseen forces.` It will be extremely difficult for him to fit into the big shoes of Rabbani who had transformed the Senate from a `debating club` to a true `House of the Federation` in merely three years and had issued 78 rulings, more than the combined rulings of his three predecessors in 13 years.

PM Khaqan Abbasi has made things further difficult for Sanjrani when he stated on March 24 that he commands no respect among the masses since votes were bought to make him the chairman. He suggested his removal and replacement by consensus chairman. Some quarters are suspecting that PML-N may use the money to bring a vote of no confidence against Sanjrani. BAP leaders have taken offence to Abbasi’s outburst and threatened to march to Islamabad if he doesn’t take his words back.    

All eyes are now set on the NAB’s verdict on three cases which have already crossed the deadline of 15 March given by apex court. So far no documentary evidence has been furnished before the trial court by prosecution witnesses including Wajid Zia that NS had any linkage with Gulf Steel Mills, Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Avenfield apartments, or he had any role in these deals. It was also not established that NS had any connection with Qatari royal family. These have apparently gone in favour of NS and has deeply upset his antagonists.

As if this worry was not enough, sudden and unplanned meeting of PM Abbasi with chief justice Saqib Nisar on March 27 is giving sleepless nights to them. They are trying to read too much out of it and fear that some kind of NRO may not have been agreed upon to let NS off the hook. Earlier on, a rumoured meeting between COAS and CM Punjab had also disturbed the opponents of PML-N. However, in the wake of NS’s unrelenting attacks on the judiciary, they are very hopeful that soon he will land in jail. 

It was against this backdrop that the DG ISPR dropped another bombshell upon the rumour mongers by making it clear in his press briefing on March 28 that the Army had played no role in political manoeuvring, nor has anything to do with NRO, or had sought an alteration in 18th Amendment. He said that the news about Gen Bajwa-Shahbaz meeting was false. He also clarified that Bajwa doctrine was misquoted and wrongly interpreted and that it envisions safe, secure and peaceful Pakistan and nothing more. He rejected the impression that the Army was behind any dharna. About elections, he stated that EC is empowered to announce dates and sitting government and interim setup have a role in it. His briefing has punctured the balloons of the gossipers trying to tarnish the image of the military.      

The people are looking forward to timely elections but for that delimitation of constituencies has to be completed by Election Commission (EC). The PM and opposition leader are required to form an interim government. It is generally perceived that given the level of aversion, differences over selection of caretaker PM and CMs will prop up and perforce EC will do the needful, failing which the Supreme Court will step in to resolve the issue. A smooth and peaceful transition will strengthen democracy. 

Despite all the internal difficulties and external dangers, I still believe that Pakistan has a great future and it has the requisite potential and resilience to overcome the challenges. Pakistan is blessed with infinite resources and CPEC is a major project which is a ray of hope in these melancholic circumstances.

Since political stability is going to play a pivotal role in the development of our country, what is needed is electoral reforms. Democracy is essential for a better Pakistan but certain crucial reforms are required such judicial, bureaucracy, police, education, media, and moral reforms. These projects should be undertaken either by the caretakers or by the next elected government. 

The writer is retired Brig, a war veteran, defence, security and political analyst, columnist, author of five books, Vice Chairman Thinkers Forum Pakistan, Director Measac Research Centre, Editor-in-Chief Better Morrow magazine. [email protected]




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Anti-India protests erupt in Balochistan By Mohammad Zafar




Anti-India protests erupt in Balochistan

By Mohammad Zafar

Published: August 19, 2016

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent statement on Balochistan has sparked furious protests across the province with Chief Minister Sanaullah Zehri accusing New Delhi of stoking terrorism in the volatile region.

On Thursday, civil society activists and different political organisations staged rallies in Dera Bugti, Lasbela, Naushki, Chaghai, Khuzdar, Naseerabad, Jaffarabad, Kohlu, Dera Allahyar, Dadhar, Sibi and Bolan among other cities of Balochistan.

Modi ‘crossed the red line’ when he mentioned Balochistan: Foreign Office

The protesters marched through the streets, condemning the Indian premier’s Independence Day diatribe against Pakistan, in which he claimed that the people of Balochistan and Azad Kashmir had thanked him for talking about them.

In Quetta, the Pakistan Workers Party workers took out a procession and marched through different roads before ending the protest in front of the Quetta Press Club.

The protesters also set fire to Indian flags to express their anger and shouted slogans against the Indian prime minister while demanding the federal government take up the issue on international forums.

Balochistan CM Zehri said the demonstrations and rallies were evidence that Balochistan’s people did not like whatever Modi had said about the province.

“The Baloch are protesting against Indian prime minister’s statement while people in Kashmir are protesting against the policies of India [as well],” he said. “Protests are taking place in Kashmir despite the imposition of curfew.”

Zehri said the Kashmir and Balochistan issues were entirely different as people of his province were in favour of Pakistan while people in Kashmir were resisting state-sponsored oppression.

He also castigated Brahamdagh Bugti, the self-exiled head of the banned Baloch Republican Party (BRP), for thanking Modi for taking up the issue of Balochistan.

Calling him a traitor, Zehri said Brahamdagh should have thought about the friends of his grandfather Nawab Akbar Bugti who had sacrificed for this country. “By saluting Modi, Brahamdagh has proved that he is a traitor,” Zehri told the media. “He saluted the man who is responsible for bloodshed in Balochistan.”












“Thousands of people resort to protest in Kashmir, but here, Brahamdagh or anyone who supports Indian intervention, cannot manage to assemble 50 people,” he added.

The CM said he had pointed out India’s support to terrorists in Balochistan earlier but no one had paid attention back then. The home minister, he said, had publicly announced the arrest of four terrorists who had confessed the Indian government was providing them financial assistance.

Balochistan terms Modi’s remarks confession of Indian meddling in province

“I have the evidence of RAW’s involvement in Balochistan, and whatever I say is based on evidence we have. RAW is providing training to the terrorists in Balochistan,” he continued,” and Brahamdagh wants to make us a slave of India which is not possible.”

Meanwhile, Home Minister Sarfaraz Bugti said the people of Balochistan had given a clear message to the Indian prime minister that he should think before making any statements about them.

While addressing a conference at Quetta Law College, he also seconded Zehri that India was behind the unrest in Balochistan.

The home minister said the politics of Brahamdagh was restricted to Facebook and he did not enjoy any support in Balochistan. “Brahamdagh has lost support even in Dera Bugti as the people took to the streets to condemn the statement of Modi,” he said.

“This is Balochistan where the people are patriotic and will go after every terrorist who wants to create problems,” Sarfaraz said. “This is not Bangladesh.”

Published in The Express Tribune, August 19th, 2016.


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UNPO, Balochistan & Imperial Agenda

UNPO, Balochistan & Imperial Agenda

                                                            By Sajjad Shaukat


In July, 2013, the report of the Abbottabad Commission was published, which had also recorded the statement of the ex-DG ISI, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha who indicated that the CIA had infiltrated in many foreign Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in Pakistan including Save the Children, and due to lack of cooperation by other civil agencies and police, it was not possible for the ISI to track activities of all these NGOs.

However, these non-state entities which are called NGOs are non-profit groups, organized at local, regional and international level to address issues concerning human wellbeing and goodness of people, and have, no doubt, brought about social change in the less developed countries.

NGOs are independent in their outlook, but are faced with the constraints of operating under sovereign compulsions and constitutional obligations of host countries to plan and execute their activities.

Overtly, the vision, mission and operating principle of the NGOs is to provide humanitarian services towards surmounting poverty, eradicating endemic diseases and providing relief to the victims of natural and manmade calamities and other tormented ordeals of the masses. But covertly, some foreign and even domestic institutions manipulate the NGOs to further the imperial agenda of some vested interests, especially western powers which take advantage of these non-sovereign entities so as to promote their political influence by financing them and dictating their malevolent stratagem, which is contravention to the accepted norms and value systems of the host country.

In fact, it is a new face of imperialism which can take the shape of aiding and abetting regional interest groups to revolt against the legitimate governments and develop suitable platforms to endorse their schema.

In these terms, the unique idea of creating Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) was implemented at the Peace Palace in Hague in 1991. The humanitarian purpose behind was that since UNPO members were not adequately represented in the UNO, hence, it was created with a noble mission: to help minorities, marginalized communities and sub-nationalities to find a platform from where they could raise their voice in order to maintain their identity and to avoid total exclusion. Initially, UNPO was entirely formed by its 15 members, but now it includes over 40 members. Although the membership is given to those who pledge to remain nonviolent, working for human rights, democracy, self determination, environmental protection and promotion of tolerance, yet some of the sponsors exploit UNPO for the endorsement of their vested interests.

It has been noted that a few members of UNPO in EU and USA are involved in instigating Pakistani nationals to participate in anti-state activities, support insurgency and promote dissents. Reportedly, UNPO is extensively involved in sustaining Baloch Sub-Nationalities (BSNs) and is promoting separatist agenda by expressing allegiance with the separatists. UNPO members participate in every anti-Pakistan activity and protest demonstration organized by Baloch separatists abroad, thereby damaging the image of Pakistan while sowing the seeds of separatism.

In this regard, India, the US and Israel have been internationalizing the Balochistan issue in accordance with their secret designs. In connivance with the Baloch separatist leaders who have taken refuge in Switzerland, Sweden, US and London, these foreign elements use media and UNPO including various NGOs and human rights organizations for false propaganda against Pakistan’s security forces and ISI in relation to extrajudicial killings, mutilated bodies and the missing persons.

Regarding various demonstrations and rallies of the Baloch separatists and so-called human rights organizations, on August 3, 2011, the former ISPR spokesman, Maj-Gen Athar Abbas, while rejecting human rights groups’ reports about Balochistan as a conspiracy against Pakistan, called for probing the funding of these organizations as this could be traced back to those forces which want to destabilize Pakistan.

Notably, Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) is also in collusion with some US Congressmen to get foreign support so as to animate the scheme of separatism in Balochistan. For the sinister aims, BLA and the Baloch feudal lord, Khan of Kalat had planned to take the issue of Balochistan to International Court of Justice (ICJ) and expected that India would pay $2.4 million lawyers’ fee to contest their case in ICJ. As Indian support did not get materialized, BLA and Khan of Kalat went over to US leaders to press forward their case.

In February 8, 2012, three Republican Congressmen, Dana Rohrabacher, Louie Gohmert and Steve King tabled a bill before US Congress, supporting an independent Balochistan. Although the US Administration distanced itself from Congressional hearing, yet US denial does not augur well with ground reality, as American think tanks and NGOs go on instigating the separatist elements in Baluchistan.

Nevertheless, about the deteriorating situation of Balochistan, everyone knows the foreign-backed separatist groups like the BLA, BLF and their affiliated outfits including another group, Jundollah (God’s soldiers) which have been fighting for secession of the province get logistic support from American CIA and Indian RAW—these miscreants kidnapped and killed many innocent people and the security personnel in the province through subversive acts including sectarian violence. Therefore, they are responsible for dumped bodies and extrajudicial killings and the missing persons in the province. On a number of occasions, these militant outfits claimed responsibility for their subversive acts.

While, a Gallup survey of the UK official body, DFID, conducted on July 20, 2012, disclosed that the vast majority of the Baloch people oppose the idea of an independent Balochistan. This survey has proved that some external entities have been conducting subversive activities in the province by supporting the minority elements, and are inciting the other Bloch persons for independence of Balochistan.

As a result of the elections 2013, the government led by a nationalist leader Chief Minister Balochistan Dr Abdul Malik Baloch has been established. Being progressive and moderate man, he ensured that socio-economic justice would meet with success, while playing a key role in empowering Baloch leaders to manage the affairs of their province and also to participate in Pakistan’s decision-making process. And on December 7, 2013; local bodies elections were largely held in a peaceful manner in Balochistan.

Observing the intentions of the hostile powers which have eyes on mineral resources of Balochistan and its significance due to geo-strategic location, during his trip to Beijing, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang signed eight agreements on July 5, 2013 in various fields. The most important one envisages the establishment of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) between deep Gwadar seaport of Balochistan and the historic Silk Road city in western regions-Xinjiang of China—connecting to Gilgit-Baltistan through Khunjerab Pass.

Nonetheless, UNPO is not in consultative status with Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), a UN body to bring any good for the poor of the less developed nations. Therefore, it is quite evident that western imperialism is behind such organizations to advance their covert designs. 

No doubt, like some other NGOs, UNPO is violating its own basic charter by advancing imperial agenda and evil designs of the external elements by damaging Pakistan’s interests. The Baloch dissidents are rebels and any organization which promotes the interests of rebels against a sovereign state is illegitimate and illegal.

Now, the right hour has come that our domestic media must expose international conspiracy against Balochistan by condemning the activities of anti-Pakistan countries and UNPO by exposing its nexus with BSNs.

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations

Email: [email protected]




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Of love, revenge Camels & Jat woman

The folktales and myths of the Baloch constitute an archive of authentic material. Until very recently they possessed no written history or literature only a vast treasure of epic and romantic ballads and tales handed down through the centuries. 
These constitute an oral tradition from which their history is drawn: and demonstrate the physical and, moral capabilities of the Baloch, his expertise in war, his skill, powers of endurance, his generosity. They also have a darker side highlighting covertness and his overwhelming passion for revenge.

The fifteenth and early sixteenth century was the golden age for Baloch. In spite of its being a time of fratricidal war; the great rivalry between the Rinds and the Lasharies ,under their chiefs Mir Chakar Khan Rind and Mir Gowhram Lashari. Both descended from a common ancestor. Amir Jalal Khan of Siestan. Most of the Baloch’s greatest stories and Balads relate to his period.

Chakar Khan Rind is the demigod, the larger than life figure, flamboyant and chivalrous. Like King Arthur ruling from his castle and presiding over an array of valiant knights. Only the venue is Sibi and not Camelot, and the knights are Bhivragh, Shahdad, Mirhaan instead of Sir Galahad Lancelot and Perceivable.

In spite of its comparative decentness, this era is clouded in the mystery and we can only rely on the Ballads to tell its tale. Like King Arthur, Chakar has become an almost mythical leader. These tales are of war, love and revenge, and like all love have many variations there being no one-authentic version.

Mir Shahdad Rind was the eldest son of Chakar, a brave and noble warrior. It is said he commanded the Baloch forces when they helped Humayun recapture his throne from the Suris. The love of his life was Mahnaz, his second wife. They were inseparable, delighting in each others company, exchanging poems and token of love.
Murgo his first wife ! overcome with jealousy, conspires to bring about Mahnaz’s downfall .By intrigues and charades (disguising herself as a man), she convinces Shahdad that Mahnaz, his most devoted wife is in love with the shepherd Umar.

Shadad’s fury is uncontrollable, he curses and beats Mahnaz, accusing her of identify. She plead s, implores that she innocent, for it is only him that she loves. but to no avail. Shahdad is unmoved by her pleas. Mahnaz heartbroken, leaves Shahdad and returns to her family.

To prove her innocence and restore her family honor she agrees to undertake a trials by ordeal. The stage is set, both the families are there to witness the trial. Mahnaz has to retrieve a ring from a pot of boiling oil, if she does this without scalding herself she will prove her innocence. Calmly she puts her hand in the pot and removes the ring, without injury to her. Shadad is over joyed and rushes to embrace her, but she turns away. He begs forgiveness, but now Mahnaz has lost her! faith in his love and insists that Shahdad divorce her. He is shattered and cannot believe her intransigence but faced whit no option, complies with her request.

To further wound Shahdad’s pride she marries the shepherd Umar. This distresses him deeply; Mahnaz has chosen a shepherd and rejected him, a prince. He vents his feelings through verse, which he sends to Mahnaz.
Umar is like the hyena, Who inhabits the mountains. Who feeds on carcasses and lives in caves. 

And goes on in similar manner, ridiculing Umar. The proud and honourable Mahnaz in her reply addresses Shahdad:
O’ prince you are now incapable of any thing. But to sit in thin house and criticize later Umar is the sword-wielding horseman.

He is the leader of the herd. And further on Shahdad intelligence for believing Murgo. Your intelligence is like water that drips, From a Shepherd’s Mashkizeas.

Down to his heels, Mahanaz is regarded as the finest Balochi poetess. She is by all accounts a truly remarkable woman. Poor Shahdad having lost his love repents his folly for the remainder of his life.

The Sir Galahad of these tales is Bivragh Rind (the name is a distortion of Abu-Bakar). This valiant knight was the nephew of Chakar, an accomplished poet, musician, fighter and lover. He played havoc with both the enemy and women’s hearts. He traveled to distant lands and his exploits and loves were many.

Once whilst visiting Kandhar, he is put in jail for some misdemeanor. His cell is next to the Governor’s palace, from where he witnesses an apparition. This vision of loveliness is Granaz, the Governor’s daughter. Bivragh is love struck, and from that night he sing to her from his confinement. The power and beauty of his voice moves Granaz to ask her father to pardon him. Once free Biragh is not to be denied. He visits Granaz at the palace and both decide to elope. On his trusted horse Mal they frees, with the Governor and his army in pursue! it. Bivragh decides to go to Gandhava, and seek refuge with Mir Gowhram and the Lasharis (his bitter enemies), instead of Sibi to Chakar Khan and his own tribe the Rinds. For he knows that Gowhram will be honour bound to protect him as his ‘Bahot’.


Bahot is a custom of the Baloch whereby cannot be denied to one seeking it, be they even enemies. In fact the refugee giver becomes duty bound to protect with his life his “Bahot:. Thus Bhivragh clever move ensure that both Lasharies and the Rind come to his rescue.

The combined armies of the Baloch are ready for battle against the army from Kandhar, under Shuja-ud-din-Zumun. But now Bhivragh realizes that due to his folly thousands may perish, therefore he will not let his happen. So the night before hostilities are to commence, Bhivragh steals into the enemy camp, seeks out the Governor’s guard tent and after slaying the guard enters his tent.

Bhivragh awakes the sleeping Governor and tells him:
O’ King I am Bivragh – the truth full one.
And a heinous deed I hath done.
I come now to seek forgiveness.
For Kings are truly magnanimous.
But, if thou does not pardon me.
Then take thy sword – and stay me.

Shuja-ud-din-Zumun. Over whelm! ed by Bivragh’s bravery and courage forgives him. And willingly accepts this gallant Baloch his son-in-law. The armies return, no blood is shed, Bivragh’s valor wins the day.

Another instance of Bivragh’s wisdom is when he advice Chakar, not to stake the Baloch race for a Jat woman’s camels. The Jat woman is Gohar who having rejected Mir Gowharam’s amorous advances seeks ‘bahot’ with Chakar. Offend by her act Ramen (Gowhram’s son) and a group of Lasharis kill a few of Gohar’s camel. The Rind chief is furious and vows revenge for this dishonour. This leads to the thirty years war between the tribes, destroying the power of the Baloch and leading a poet to exclaim.
“War has been the curse of the Baloch”.

Of the many battles fought during this war. Nali is most often evoked by the balladeers. At this battle thousands perished. The Rindhs suffered heavy casualties and even Chakar would have lost his life it was not for the chivalry of a Lashari nobleman, called Nodband! agh. In Balochi lor, he is like Hatim generous in the extreme, and also known as “Zarzawal” (Gold Scattered). But Nobbandagh is supposed to have had a Rind mother. For when Gowhram shows his displeasure at his act of rescuing Chakar, Nodbandagh says that it was his mother who used to sin him.

Lullaby’s of Chakar and pray that one day he would help Chakar.”I cannot go against the milk of my mother “,he says.
Jat woman feature prominently in the Baloch story tellers repertoire. They are acclaimed for their beauty, spirit and independence.

Shali is a jat woman of great wealth. She hears of Hassan Maulanagh of the phuze-Rindhs,his noble character and other virtues, for he is the epitome of Baloch manliness. In spite of many suitors she send a proposal of marriage to Hassan !He also falls in love with her and they are engaged to be married. But before the conjugal rites can be performed, Hassan along with his brother, Mohammad is killed by a rejected suitor of Shalli. Sha! lli is heartbroken and spends the rest of her days as Hassan Maulanagh’s widow.

The wrath of Harim descends on his brothers murderers. His lust for vengeance abates only once he has slain a hundred of the Lasharies (sad murd gut geerum kuto”)
An interesting aspect to this tale is that when Harim is asked to marry Shalli his brother “widow” (a common custom amongst the trebles, both Baloch and Pathan), he refuses. For she was his brother’s love and he will not impose himself upon her. And it is because of this refusal that even today amongst the Gishkori tribe (direct descendants of the Phuz Rind )widow are not married to their brother in laws.

These are just a few tales of the Baloch. The dry and barren land of the Balochistan evokes the rich and diverse imagery that transcends time and place and speaks directly to the soul.


By Qazi Azmat Isa


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India’s subversive activities in Pakistan using Afghan soil by Brig.Gen (Retd) Asif Haroon Raja

India’s subversive activities in Pakistan using Afghan soil

By  Brig.Gen(Retd) Asif Haroon Raja


PM Gilani accompanied by Gen Kayani visited Kabul at a time when a visible thaw has occurred in Pak-Afghan relations. Karzai has repeatedly expressed his keenness to remove misgivings and to establish friendly ties with Pakistan since dawn of 2010. He wants Pakistan to play its role in finding an amicable solution to Afghan problem.

While agreeing to establish tension-free cordial ties, the visitors gave proofs of Afghan and Indian subversive activities in Balochistan. The hosts were pressed to give an undertaking that in future the Afghan government would not allow Indian interference in Balochistan or any other part of Pakistan. Presence of certain undesirable elements in Afghanistan since the establishment of Northern Alliance heavy regime of Hamid Karzai has been the cause of sour relations between the two neighbors.

Afghanistan-Pakistan constructive dialogue is possible only after Afghan rulers make a solemn pledge that it would not allow Afghan soil to be used by India for launching covert operations against Pakistan.

While Pakistan has always vied to maintain cordial and tension free relations with Afghanistan and has never tried to exploit its land lock handicap, successive regimes in Kabul have traditionally treaded hostile path towards Pakistan and have remained inclined towards India.

Pakistan’s softness towards Afghanistan has stemmed from commonality of religion and centuries old cultural ties. It was only during the Taliban rule that Pak-Afghan relations were friendly and Indian influence had waned.

Afghanistan is currently in deep trouble since it is an occupied country and ruled by a puppet regime installed by USA. Resistance forces are engaged in Jihad against occupation forces duly supplemented by US trained Afghan National Army which is non-Pashtun heavy. Unlike in 1980s when Pakistan was supporting Afghan Mujahideen to push out occupying Soviet forces, this time Pakistan stands on the side of occupiers and is acting as the conduit to provide logistic support to 152,000 strong ISAF in Afghanistan.

Pakistan position is very dicey since non-Pashtun Afghans have a grudge against Pakistan for having helped Taliban in capturing power in 1996. The Taliban are resentful that Pakistan had ditched them in their hour of crisis and sided with their enemies. The current regime friendly to India strongly suspect that Pakistan is assisting Taliban and hence is hostile to Pakistan. The US-NATO have its own set of grievances against Pakistan because of which it treats Pakistan less as an ally and more as an enemy country. Pakistan is up against massive covert war launched by its adversaries having common objectives against Pakistan. India having no role in war on terror is having the best of everything at the cost of Pakistan.

Faced with multiple challenges, Pakistan is still trying to maintain friendly ties with USA, Afghanistan and India. Since Afghanistan is faced with multiple challenges, Pakistan doesn’t want to add to its woes and is keen to help solve Afghan imbroglio. Stable, friendly and peaceful Afghanistan is in the overall interest of Pakistan. Despite its friendly overtures, Afghan government in the tight grip of USA and India is creating extreme problems for the national security and internal stability of Pakistan. The Indian Embassy in Kabul and string of Pakistan specific Indian consulates are involved in training and launching of terrorists and saboteurs into Pakistan.

India desires that Pakistan should open its land route through Wagah border to Afghanistan for two-way trade so that it could flood Afghanistan’s markets with Indian goods and thus in the name of reconstruction grab Afghan market and resources. The Indians know that they can reach the coveted riches of Central Asia only through the land route passing through Pakistan and Afghanistan since air business is unfeasible. India has been making strenuous efforts to expand its influence in Afghanistan since 2002. Governed by this strategy, it has been siding with Karzai and now when India has established itself firmly in Afghanistan, it has become that much easy for it to carryout subversive activities against Pakistan, particularly when it enjoys complete blessing of USA. The latter has helped India in gaining a foothold in Afghanistan and gradually expanding it.

It is unfortunate that today very few recall the huge sacrifices made by Pakistan in the 1980s when Afghanistan had been forcibly occupied by Soviet forces and none had come forward to contest Soviet aggression. Had Pakistan under Gen Ziaul Haq not put Pakistan’s security at stake and not stood up to Soviet challenge and not given full support to the Mujahideen, Afghanistan would have become a satellite of Soviet Union dancing to the tunes of Moscow. The latter had embarked upon massive Sovietization program to shatter Afghan’s Islamic identity, culture, customs, traditions and historical heritage.

Who doesn’t know the pathetic fate of Muslim Central Asian states which were brutally traumatized and their rich culture and identity demolished by Russia? But for Pakistan’s role, history of the globe would have been different since Soviet Union would not have fragmented. It was because of Pakistan’s principled stand that it had to inherit innumerable problems from which it is suffering to this day. In 1980s, Pakistan faced the brunt of KGB-KHAD-RAW-AlZulfiqar sabotage and subversion for over a decade. Now it is facing CIA-RAW-RAAM-Mossad-MI6 covert war as well as drone war since 2004.

It is an undeniable fact that Karzai regime has offered Afghan soil to anti-Pakistan intelligence agencies to indulge in cross border terrorism against Pakistan. The saboteurs, arms, ammunition, explosives and funds are all being funneled into Pakistan from Afghanistan to aid anti-Pakistan forces in Balochistan and FATA, which are fighting security forces and indulging in acts of terrorism. This inflow is not possible without the active collusion of Afghan government. How is it possible to barge into someone else’s house through your house without your permission?

The security situation of Pakistan has aggravated to such an alarming extent that it is no more possible to tolerate Afghanistan’s collusion in subversive activities in Pakistan. The people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan who have suffered the most on account of cross border terrorism from Afghanistan are writhing in agony. They are blaming provincial governments for failing to provide them security and for their docility towards adversaries of Pakistan. Their pent up anger has reached a boiling point which may spin out of control anytime.

It has been seen that despite all our goodwill and cooperative gestures, Karzai regime has continued to maintain a hypocritical attitude because of which our efforts have proved fruitless. It is high time that our rulers should come out of their mode of one-sided appeasement and convey firmly to Karzai regime to stop allowing Afghan soil as a launching pad for India to harm Pakistan. We should also review our Afghan policy without further loss of time. If we continue with our policy of ignoring unconcealed foreign interference particularly in Balochistan, it would embolden Indians to continue with their dual policy of extending a hand of friendship as well as stabbing us in the back.



– Asian Tribune –

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