Criticism on Balochistan is not anti-military, it’s pro-Pakistan



The discussion about the situation in Balochistan shows no signs of letting up, and we should seize the opportunity to apologise for past mistakes and correct our course so that all Pakistani citizens are afforded their rights. As I have written already this month, a sustainable solution can only come as the result of the democratic political process and not political point scoring – this means not using it as an excuse for establishment bashing, but not using it as a whitewash either.

For example, Ahmed Quraishi argues that the APC should ignore any mistakes made by security forces and instead use the opportunity to create a forum for BLA bashing. As usual, Ahmed Quraishi misses the point completely and even contradicts himself as he does so.

Responding to the bill introduced in the US Congress, Ahmed says “governance in our southwestern province is a domestic issue”. This is true, of course, but human rights are not domestic issues. Just as recognising the rights of Palestinians is not limited to people who live in Palestine or Israel, recognising the rights of Baloch should not be limited to Pakistanis only. This doesn’t excuse the inappropriateness of Dana Rohrabacher’s actions, but it doesn’t mean that we should ignore the situation in Balochistan either.

Ironically, a few paragraphs after declaring Balochistan a domestic issue, the self-appointed defender of Pakistan’s sovereignty actually requests the CIA to send its agents into Balochistan to fight a covert war on our own citizens.

[America] could start by designating the BLA a terrorist group and ordering the CIA to cooperate with Pakistan in eliminating its terror bases in US-controlled Afghanistan.

That’s right. Brig. Ahmed Quraishi (Ghairat Brigade, Sovereignty Division) is requesting the CIA to send assassins to kill Pakistani citizens. Don’t worry, though, he flip-flops again later.

[APC] should take a clear position on rejecting foreign interference in domestic issues. It should outlaw individuals cooperating with foreign governments and spy agencies under the pretext of rights and grievances.

We don’t need CIA agents in Balochistan killing BLA members. We don’t need to escalate the conflict at all – we need to end it. To do this, the APC needs to openly address the concerns and frustrations of the common man in Balochistan whose only desire is to live and work peacefully with his family without the threats from separatist militants or overzealous security forces.

Ahmed Quraishi wants to pretend like security forces never cross the line, as if we had a military made up of angels and not men. A year ago I wrote about how real love requires us to face the imperfections of the ones we love so that we can help them improve. I have said it many times – it is your friends who tell you when there is food in your teeth. It is your enemies who let you walk around look foolish. There is nothing wrong with the APC taking up the issue of abuses by security forces so long as it is done in a fair and constructive manner and not a ‘witch hunt’.

The military is strong enough to take criticism as long as it is fair and constructive. It is the military itself that has brought Brig. Ali Khan to book for ties to extremist groups, and working together with the support of the APC they can also stop any excesses carried out in Balochistan also. That isn’t an attack on the military, it’s supporting it. And it’s the only way to defend both Baloch rights and Pakistani sovereignty – which is real patriotism.


Author: Mahmood Adeel