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Baloch Women Leading the Movement against Oppression and Injustice
Monday, March 9th, 2015 12:19 pm
By I Baloch
All around the world today; people celebrated International Women’s Day. We pay tribute to all the Brave Women throughout history and commemorate their significant achievements and impact upon the world. Still, even today in this modern and developed world, in many Middle Eastern & Central Asian regions; women are oppressed, victimized and treated as slaves.
The Women of Occupied Balochistan are deprived of all the basic necessities of healthy life such as clean water, education and adequate health care facilities. Often times Baloch women must often travel over 700km to the hospital in Karachi. Because of the deprivation of proper health care facilities, Baloch women are faced with very high maternal mortality rates. According to a Pakistan Health Demographic Survey, more than 3 times as many Baloch women die during childbirth than all the other regions of Pakistan combined.
Since the day Balochistan was annexed and occupied by Pakistan in 1948, the Punjab run State has been plundering Balochistan’s resources. Every day Baloch women are being beaten, tortured, abducted and murdered during Pakistani Army operations in occupied Balochistan.
Although the Balochistan is rich in natural resources such as Gold, Gas, Coal, Oil, etc. Balochistan remains one of the most impoverished and underdeveloped regions in the world. While Balochistan is a major natural gas producer, Baloch women and families are left to cook their food on sticks over open fires. Additionally because of the lack of clean water, illness and disease have become commonplace. Many Baloch women have been completely deprived of education. As a result of threats & attacks against female students & educators, as well as lack of educational facilities, many Baloch women have been prevented from learning Urdu and English and obtaining meaningful education.
The Baloch women who have become educated, learned their rights and realized Pakistan was directly responsible for the oppression and suffering of the Baloch people. Women like BSO-Azad chairperson Banuk Karima Baloch, and Voice of Baloch Missing Persons General Secretary. Both are struggling for the rights of Baloch women and freedom for the Baloch nation. Banuk Farzana Majeed was at the forefront of the VBMP Long March demonstration to demand the safe release of the over 20,000 abducted and 2000 killed Baloch people.
Alongside Mama Qadeer, Banuk Sammi Baloch, Banuk Saba Baloch, and 11 year old Ali Haider Baloch, Banuk Farzana Majeed marched 2000km from Quetta to Islamabad via Karachi. Unfortunately despite promises from the United Nations; the international community has not taken any action to investigate or improve the shameful human rights situation in occupied Balochistan. In addition to the Long March demonstration, the VBMP has also been holding hunger strikes and protest camps for 1918 days since 2009. Banuk Farzana Majeed’s brother Zakir Majeed was abducted by Pakistani Intelligence Agents 6 years ago and has never been seen or heard from again. Since then Banuk Farzana Majeed has been actively protesting for his safe release.
Banuk Karima Baloch is currently the chairperson of Baloch Student Organization (Azad) and prior to the abduction of former BSO-Azad chairperson Zahid Baloch by state security forces in March of 2014 Banuk Karima Baloch was the vice-chairperson of BSO-Azad. Since the abduction of Zahid Baloch, Banuk Karima Baloch initiated a campaign to protest the enforced disappearance of the former BSO-Azad chairperson. Although BSO-Azad has been holding continual protests, demonstrations, hunger strikes, and social media campaigns, former chairperson Zahid Baloch is still being unlawfully imprisoned by State forces without charge or crime.
As a result of her active campaign to demand the safe release of Zahid Baloch, Banuk Karima Baloch has been regularly threatened by the Pakistani State Agents. On a number of occasions her home was attacked by Security Forces, who on one occasion even bombarded her house with mortars. Despite state persecution, threats and attacks, Banuk Karima Baloch bravely stands against the occupier state’s oppression and persecution. She is considered to be an effective leader, and is universally admired and respected as a true daughter of the Baloch nation most recently, BSO-Azad announced an awareness campaign and rallies on March 18th the day Zahid Baloch was unlawfully abducted by State Security Forces in Quetta one year ago.
Banuk Farzana Majeed and Banuk Karima Baloch are but two examples of an entire nation of strong bold women who are perpetually faced with untold suffering and severe inequality. Every day the mutilated dead bodies of their Brothers, Fathers, and Husbands are found dumped in Occupied Balochistan. Pakistani Armed Forces carry out constant military operations against tiny rural villages injuring and killing countless civilians. Thousands more have been displaced within their own homelands, forced to flee the unending violence dealt upon them by the Occupier State’s cruel armies. Many Women too are abducted and martyred by State Forces in occupied Balochistan, taken to torture cells and subjected to unspeakable atrocities. In 2006 Pakistani Security Agencies abducted Zareena Marrie along with her 6 year old son Murad Bux. Since their enforced abduction, her status and location remain unknown.
Baloch Women have set an example for all of us, they have shown us their bold tenacity and perseverance in the face of extreme adversity. Despite such harsh realities; today’s Baloch Women have never abandoned hope, they are bravely standing at the front lines of the Baloch struggle for freedom with obstinate resolve.