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Punjabi Ultra-nationalism a threat to peace in South Asia
Sunday, July 16th, 2017 12:23 am GMT +1
Baloch Perspective: Punjabi Ultra-nationalism Must be Defeated in South Asia For the Sake of Peace!
By Archen Baloch
Pakistan is the common cause of two different schools of thoughts: Punjabi Ultra-nationalism and Muslim Umma – Ultra-nationalist Punjabi school of thought believes that Pakistan’s existence is extremely crucial to sustain Punjab’s hegemony over Pakistan’s resources for its development. Muslim Umma school of thought with universal concept of Muslim-hood believes that Pakistan is the bastion of Muslim world with nuclear power and that they can dictate their sharia law world over. This amalgam of Punjabi ultra-nationalism and mullah-military alliance is in the helm of all Pakistani affairs and directed to prevent Baloch and Pashtun nationalism from gaining external support for their freedom movements.
As a result Afghanistan, India and occupied Balochistan continue to suffer in the scheme of Pakistani security dispensation. The tools Pakistan uses to scare the world are the scarecrow of nuclear weapons and the bogeymen of terrorist Mullah, and they have so far successfully prevented international community from probing into the compressed chamber of so called Punjabi dominated Pakistani federation where Baloch, Sindhi and Pashtun are made to suffer helplessly.
In order to understand how Pakistan’s internal political dynamics work, it must be acknowledged, by facts, that Pakistan is the smokescreen of Punjab and Punjab is the front lawn of Pakistan, seen lushly green by foreign visitors. But its backyard, occupied Balochistan, Sindh and KPK are extremely littered with abject poverty and corruption.
Exclusively, from top to bottom the so called Pakistani state is micromanaged by dominant Punjabi military and political establishment. Look at the composition of its armed forces, political administration and foreign office. They’re entirely Punjabi nationals micromanaging the internal and external affairs of all other ethnic entities of occupied Balochistan, Sindh and KPK under its colonial rule. For almost 40 years Pakistan has directly been ruled by military dictators. It gave up power to civilian governments partially only when the external pressure mounted which had financial implications for Pakistan’s economy.
However, now Punjab army has learned the trick how to manipulate the political myopia of international community. Instead of imposing direct military rule and estranging Pakistan’s relation with outer world, it has now chosen to pull the strings behind the scene – controlled democracy.
The participation of other nationalities in Punjab-led Pakistani electoral process is just a formal process to fill the blanks with selected stooges of Punjabi army for hoodwinking international community. In 2013 general elections, the voter turnout in Balochistan was hardly 3 percent. Pro freedom forces in Balochistan termed this turnout a referendum against Pakistani colonial rule over Balochistan.
In fact, Pakistan is anything but a federation. It is a quota based federation its numbers are determined by Punjab exclusively. Punjabi leaders though always call themselves loyal to Pakistan yet they are ultra-nationalists in their attitude towards other nationalities when it comes to management and distribution of Pakistan‘s resources. In order to protect the interests of Punjab, its army, which is consist of almost 90 percent Punjabis, has created an intrigue web of covert policies and tactics. Being a self-centered nation in their dealing with other nationalities within its so called federation affairs, they are extremely ultra-nationalists, albeit garbed in the pall of Pakistani Muslim brotherhood in the name of religion and they don’t trust other nationalities even to the level of a simple policeman capacity! The natural resources of other nationalities are looted and exploited only for the benefit of Punjab. Baloch natural gas from Sui Dera Bugti is running like blood through the veins and arteries of Punjab since the day it was discovered in 1952. In return Baloch get nothing except bullets, death and destruction.
When the elder generation of genuine leadership of Baloch, Sindhi and Pashtun struggled to convince Punjab: “Baba (boss) please respect our democratic rights on parity basis as we’re federating units, we’re not colony of Punjab!” but the callous Punjabi leadership in the army uniform, instead of heeding to their democratic rights, put all of them behind the bars on clumsy pretext of being foreign agents like India. This Punjabi ultra-nationalism never allowed Pakistan to become a genuine federation.
Punjabi dominated army is always afraid of genuine democracy; the day genuine democracy established in Pakistan, Punjabi dominance would diminish; it has been the thinking behind all military martial laws and coup in the past. Its establishment regards equal partnership of Baloch, Sindhi and Pashtuns in federal affairs as an existential threat to Pakistan, which, if happened, would deprive Punjab of its hegemony and pillage of the natural resources of other nationalities. The parasitic Punjab, with a swarming population and meager resources, is a landlocked province dependent on Pakistan’s army’s political dispensations for sustainability.
In order to sustain Punjab’s hegemony and pillage of the natural resources of other nationalities, its army has put genuine democratic dispensation at bay and maintained a certain level of power management which will never allow the non-Punjabi genuine nationalists to come in power who believe in democratic values with real power. To maintain that certain level of discretionary power management, Punjab army has promoted religious forces to dilute Baloch, Pashtun and Sindhi identities and their nationalism, besides the use of brutal force against Pashtun, Baloch and Sindhi leadership with assassination and intimidation. However, this containment policy isn’t that easy to maintain without raising the slogan of Muslim hood and creating proxy wars at its periphery of Durand Line and Kashmir. Durand Line has divided Baloch and Pashtun collective powers. In order to intimidate India, it has used Kashmir card in the name of Islam so that India’s attention never turns towards its neighboring Sindh which has historical and cultural ties with India. It shows that the secret of Pakistan’s proxy wars against Afghanistan, India, America and NATO member states have multiple internal dimensions and they’re directly related to its internal politics.
Punjab its Army, Nuke and Mullah – It is widely believed that Pakistan is the headquarters of all terror cells around the world and Jamaat-e-Islami and JUI are its interface in synchronizing all global terrorist activities! They’ve a wide range of relationship with almost all Islamic movements, you just name it. Apparently they are typical religious political parties active in Pakistani politics, but their main task is to coordinate with all Islamic terrorist organizations world over and assign strategic task of terror act in order to send ominous signals whenever Pakistani military state needs to exert a particular pressure for advancing its external policy objective – preventing international community from supporting Baloch and Afghans national causes for freedom. Recent London bombings linkages led to Pakistani origin, Khuram Butt. Wednesday Kabul bombing, of course, left also no doubt for Afghan officials to believe that the brutal Kabul bombing was planned in Pakistan and executed by Haqqani network.
This important point must be noted here that both Baloch and Pashtun nationalism are the worst nightmares for Punjab. Its military leadership thinks that a peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan eventually helps liberate these two nations from Pakistani clutch of slavery. Therefore, so long as Taliban are under its control, it continues to wreak havoc in Afghanistan.
The nagging question is that why international community is tolerating Pakistan’s terrorism and failed to declare Pakistan a state that sponsors terrorism? The fear of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons is widely believed in western world that they will fall into the hands of religious extremists in case Pakistan was destabilized or collapsed due to international economic sanctions. It is also the fear that Pakistan might use the tentacles of its terror cells in major capitals of world powers.
The fear of Pakistani nukes falling into the hand of Mullah are highly justified, but these fears shouldn’t be the obstacle in twisting Pakistan hand, after all the world has better options that guarantee peaceful and secure handover of these weapons to international custody. When the Soviet Union was collapsing no nation bothered to bail it out though there was the fear that USSR’s WMD would fall into the hands of rogue nations.
But, First of all let us understand that Pakistani Jihadi organizations and its nuclear weapons are two tactical tools used by Punjabi generals to blackmail international community so that the world won’t pay attention to its internal suppression of different nationalities under its new colonial rule. Enough to Punjab bravery, it is blatantly using its jihadi assets against Afghanistan and India without a bit of hesitation and what is more its scarecrow of nuclear weapons use is always on table. This intrigue world of Mullah and Nuclear combination of Pakistani terror has successfully prevented world powers to take drastic action against Pakistani terrorism in Afghanistan and India and the war crimes in Balochistan.
No doubt, that If these weapons fall in the hands of Mullah, then their use against India, Israel and West is highly possible, however, It is an utter stupidity to think that the ultra-nationalist Punjabi military leadership (Corps Commanders in Rawalpindi so far as the nukes are under its control) has that kind of courage that leads to the use of nuclear weapons against India, the reasons are clear: Nuclear weapons are used only on densely populated areas and Punjab’s swarming population could be the legitimate targets of Indian retaliation if sanity betrayed Punjabi leadership because it is Punjab that has messed with India and Afghanistan by spreading bloody terror in these two countries and beyond. Punjab’s ultra-nationalism is on driving seat of Pakistan’s external and internal affairs, therefore Punjab must be held responsible for any mishaps to world peace that emanates from Pakistan. Another deterring fact is that over the last 70 years Punjab has been looting every ounce of natural resources of Baloch and other nationalities in Pakistan for building a prosperous and progressed Punjab. So, How come sanity would betray Punjabi military elites to get its cities nuclear bombed by India? Pakistan army’s threat of nuclear use is a mare bluff. It must not be taken seriously.
However, the impending Jihadi coup within Pakistan’s armed forces, mainly manned by Punjabi and Pashtun ethnics and indoctrinated in jihadi concept of Islam, must not be ruled out which eventually leads the nuclear weapons to fall into the hands of Jihadi mullah!
Punjab is the Serbian character of Pakistan. If Pakistan didn’t abdicate its nuclear weapons voluntarily to international custody, screws must be tightened around Punjab with warnings of grave consequences, as these weapons solely belong to Punjab and right from beginning all other nationalities have been excluded in all its strategic decision making processes. This option must be applied in the immediate future while ultra-nationalist Punjab establishment is still running the state affairs and the weapons are still under its control.
Pashtun nationalism – The true father of Punjabi politics, Gen Zia once told his generals “The water in Afghanistan must boil at the right temperature” and true to their father’s bloody word, the Punjabi generals never gave up their undeclared war against Afghanistan. It is just because once Afghanistan had opposed Pakistan’s inclusion to UN. Afghanistan had good reasons to oppose Pakistan’s membership to UN as Pakistan’s very existence was violating Afghanistan’s sovereignty over Afghan Lands as result of Durand Line.
The prospect of a peaceful and prosperous Pashtun on the other side of the Durand Line is a nightmare for Punjab; therefore Pakistan continues to destabilize Afghanistan. Durand Line is the main enemy of Pashtun nationalism and it has validated Pakistan’s claim as a virtual line of national borders between the two countries.
Punjab’s insecurity about stable Afghanistan is understandable, however, Pashtun nationalism never dared to cross the Rubicon river despite the thundering tall talks by Mahmood Khan Achackzai and Wali Khan. Awami National Party, once the torch bearer of Pashtun secular nationalism, seems has either surrendered its enlightened Pashtun slogan to the lure of Pakistani parliamentary fork and privileges or it has been intimated by dark forces of Punjabi chauvinism. Recent brutal murder of young Mashal Khan shows that bright minded people like Mashal Khan are left at the mercy of wolfs of Jungle laws, otherwise the Tragic lynching of enlightened Mashal by fanatic mullah raj would not have happened.
Admittedly, Awami National Party of KPK is the genuine representative of Pashtun enlightened nationalism; however, its current leadership seems complacent with the typical Pakistani political discourse of party politics. It has failed to raise the slogan of Pashtun nationalism in the sense that Pashtun are a national entity rather than a quota based digital entity in the so called federation of Pakistan. As result of absence of Pashtun nationalism, it has created a vacuum for negative religious forces to fill. ANP must be reminded of its international obligations to Afghanistan peace, which cannot be achieved without the defeat of Punjab chauvinism in Pakistan.
British contained the unruly tribal Pashtuns by Pashtuns themselves by creating a petty militia called Frontiers Corps – the present Pakistani Frontier Force. Pakistan is using this frontier corps militia of Pashtun ethnic against Pashtuns and Baloch killing two birds with one stone. The same strategy can be applicable in Afghanistan’s stability; hundred thousands of jobless Pashtuns are idle on both sides of the Durand Line, they can be employed as a light force, exactly on the same pattern as the Frontier Corps of Pakistan is. I’m sure this will give rise to Pashtun nationalism against religious forces in KPK.
Directionless Sindhi Politics – One of Pakistan’s biggest political parties is Sindh based Pakistan Peoples Party, PPP. Its current inept leadership is cajoling and pleasing Punjabi military establishment for a borrowed power in Islamabad. Once its leader, Benazir Bhutto, during Gen Zia martial law, had suggested a new Social Contract among all federating units of Pakistan based on parity principle – 25 seats strength for each unit in the national assembly of four provinces in order to break the vicious cycle of Punjabi military dominance and its intrigue and bring balance in the decision making process so that this new Social Contract will guarantee the establishment of true democracy and safeguard the rights of all nationalities. But it never materialized even during her two terms tenure in the power, because the dominant Punjabi military didn’t want to abdicate its dominance and hegemony over Pakistan’s fate.
In the current equation, PPP’s leadership is complacent with typical politics and that has all the more strengthened Punjab’s negative role in Pakistan and that has devastating fallout for world peace. Sindh’s national strength is mercilessly being exploited by stooges of Pakistan army through this party. This party has forgotten its international obligations. It is this party’s international moral responsibility to check Pakistan army and Punjabi ultra-nationalism in promoting terrorism across world for Punjab’s vested interests. This party leadership must be reminded of its international responsibility regarding the peace in the region.
In order to stir the pot, Pakistan People’s Party, PPP, must be pressurized to realize its responsibility to end Punjab army hegemony and force limit Punjab’s strength to a single unit, instead of population based disproportionate strength in the so called national assembly. If this party failed to check Punjab, the secessionist forces in Sindh must be rendered support at all level.
CPEC, Punjab’s New Found Treasure Trove – No matter how much Punjab is determined to bloodbath Baloch land but It is for sure Baloch resistance would continue to resist China-Pakistan Nexus of CPEC on Baloch soil! Punjabi military establishment sees CPEC as a treasure trove for Punjab’s development because it has replaced free American dollars. Entire roadmap of this grand project shows that Punjab didn’t bother to take into confidence the Pashtun and Sindhi leadership, let alone Baloch. It clearly underlines the fact that they’ve no interest in Pakistan’s sustainability, but Punjab’s vested interests – grab and appropriate as much as you can so long as Pakistan exists.
The CPEC is another additional reason for Pakistan’s state failure. The die-heard-Baloch resistance is something Pakistan has to reckon with, the signs are Pakistan cannot defeat it. Current resistance is more than 17 years; it has eroded Pakistan’s writ in Balochistan altogether. its command and control has gone into the hands of war-hardened core cadres of the movement with strong public backing. It might sound a tall claim, but why Pakistan doesn’t allow international media to assess the ground realities?
Additionally, in a way, it also marks a litmus test for Baloch resistance. If the leadership of all pro freedom forces succeeded in establishing a working relationship, the writing would be on the wall for China to read the story of its US $50 Billion investment sinking in the Baloch Sea.
Baloch Freedom Struggle and Pakistani State Writ – In terms of social justice and public amenities, you won’t be able to find a trace of a normal state of Pakistan in Balochistan except omnipresent Pakistan army pursuing a “Kill and Dump policy”, with blanked impunity. It is twenty first century; the writ of a modern state is defined for proving social justice to their public. In Balochistan such thing doesn’t exist under Pakistan’s colonial rule. Though in modern state, the existence of social justice is considered the symbol of state writ of a country, not the army. It seems Pakistan army itself has eroded this symbol of Pakistan state writ in Balochistan. For example, Pakistan army has put the state judiciary system in Balochistan in abeyance since the day when the insurgency began in 2000.
In order to suppress and contain Balochistan from spiraling out of control, Pakistan has disproportionately troop-surged across Balochistan, bulk of its armed forces, including FC militia have been deployed there. Its army conducts illegal army attacks with no due judicial process and willfully subjects the general public to collective punishment which includes shot to kill, abduct innocent men and women, burn the huts and crops of poor people and loot the valuables of the villagers. I dare to say that Pakistan won’t allow international media like Fox, CNN and BBC to assess the ground realities in Balochistan, no matter how much pressure international community put on Pakistan.
I won’t believe in tall claims, but given the iron curtained media blackout in Balochistan, it would be injustice to our nation if our cries were unheard by international community. I won’t be wrong if I say that the secular Baloch in their own right have 70 percent succeeded in their national struggle for freedom internally and, externally, the remaining 30% rests with international community and that needed to be done in the immediate future!
To begin with, what is needed to be done? – The secular Balochistan, if helped to restore its lost sovereignty, stands as a bastion against religious extremism in the heart of three major regions, Central Asia, Middle East and South Asia. The ideology of democratic Balochistan is the antithesis of the very Islamic extremism that believes that the nuclear Pakistan is the fortress of Islam. If Balochistan was liberated, it radiates secular values in the region and disheartens the ideology of religious state. But in the overall game of this war against religious extremism we hardly see any penny is being used to counter the global concept of Islamic ideology! Have you ever? No! Secular Balochistan is where you can invest for an enlightened and progressive Islamic world. The success of independent democratic Balochistan disheartens the regressive forces of Pakistan and Islamic world as well.
Punjabi led Pakistan is a common enemy of America, India, Afghanistan and Balochistan; it must be dealt jointly by complementing each other. However, the question is what needed to be done with this unruly Pakistan that has wreaked havoc in Afghanistan, Balochistan, India and beyond by its asymmetric proxy wars. Besides Taliban, it has now subcontracted the name of ISIS for diversionary purposes. What is in the name?
There is no viable option for world community other than to render support to secular Baloch freedom movement and balkanize Pakistan. America, European Union, India and Afghanistan must rake up Pakistan’s human rights record in Balochistan at highest body of international justice system by appointing an UN Special Rapporteur on Balochistan human rights violations committed by Pakistan as demanded by Baloch political and rights groups. Pakistan must be forced to allow international media and right groups unfettered access to Balochistan so that they assess Pakistan’s war crimes against humanity in Balochistan.
Baloch resistance against Pakistani occupying is surviving merely on its public support, no neighboring nation, including Gulf States, Afghanistan and India is bothering to extend moral and financial support to Baloch freedom movement despite knowing the fact that Balochistan’s independent means peace and stability for all friendly neighboring countries in the region.
International community must put Pakistan’s army officers on travel check list in order to deter them from having easy excess to international privileges. It is norm in Pakistan whenever its army officers get retirement; they migrate to Europe and America for permanent settlement with their families for quality life leaving behind messes with grave human rights implications, no matter how much they’ve committed war crimes in erstwhile Bangladesh, present Balochistan, FATA and Karachi.
If Pakistan didn’t stop its proxy war against Afghanistan and war crimes in Balochistan, then the international community must have the right to stop financial support to moribund Pakistan economy and its meager foreign reserves must be made to dry up – Pakistan cannot survive a single day without the financial aid of international community; it gets free oil from Saudi and other Gulf States, Dollar from US, China and World Bank. Currently it is heavily dependent on remittances it receives from US, EU and Gulf States. International lenders must understand Pakistani military has hijacked the peace and prosperity of almost 2 billion people in South Asia and Central Asia. Every penny imparted to Pakistan would strengthen the hands of religious monsters that kill Baloch, Afghans, Indians and American and NATO troops.
Baloch are determined to anchor Balochistan’s place in the free world camp where only democratic values govern Baloch society. Balochistan’s strategic location and the demand of secular Baloch people must be given importance. If they were supported to regain their lost sovereignty, they become genuine partner in peace and prosperity in the region. If Baloch resistance was not supported to success, the Baloch coast not only becomes a Chines outpost, but also it can be used by Pakistan as a launching pad for proxy wars against American and European interests in Middle East and beyond in future.