Mohammad Hanif: People of Balochistan deserve better


Baluchistan is by territory, the largest province of Pakistan, and yet it has been the most neglected and abused part of Pakistani territory. International human rights organizations have often reported on the ‘kill and dump’ policy followed by the Pakistani state.

In a scathing column, one of Pakistan’s well-known authors Mohammad Hanif, wrote: “It’s often said that Balochistan has immense economic potential, its mountains and rugged planes holding gold and minerals and other potential goodies that can transform not just Balochistan but the entire country. People of Balochistan often complain that Pakistan wants its natural gas and gold and minerals but has no interest in its people.”

Hanif criticized the appointment of Javed Jabbar, who served in General Musharraf’s cabinet and has become a key promoter of the military’s narrative,  to the 10th NFC to represent Balochistan. Poking fun at Jabbar as “pioneer adman and filmmaker and writer of many books,” Hanif writes “Why would a man as accomplished as him accept a position for which he is not qualified, but also many people from Balochistan find his nomination suspicious. Maybe all he wants is a seat on the table. Doesn’t matter what table, don’t care what chair, just get me in the room, as Don Draper of advertisement drama Mad Men used to say. JJ doesn’t even care which room. His inique reason: “45 per cent of the territorial dimension of my national identity is derived from Balochistan!” More than the percentage it is the exclamation mark that is scary. Is it something that just occurred to him? You wake one morning and say “hip, hip hurray, one is 45 per cent Baloch”. Maybe one can also claim that one’s gender dimension of national identity is 51 per cent woman, or all of us are a fraction of a fraction of Jahangir Tareen.”

Hanif notes “Even the incompetent residents of Balochistan probably remember that Jabbar had a seat on the table with Musharraf who threatened to kill Akbar Bugti on live TV and then went ahead and did it. The insurgency that followed gave Balochistan a whole new generation of orphans. Some are still confused about being orphans as they don’t even know if their fathers are dead or just missing. That’s our state at its best: first make them orphans and then send in a suave man, a compassionate man to heal their wounds.”

Hanif ends his column noting sadly “maybe it’s not about Balochistan, it’s about our enlightened entitlement. Just get us in the room with the big boys. There is that big little troubled place called Balochistan, yes.”

On May 31, after the humiliating criticism, Javed Jabbarr has resigned from acting as Balochistan’s representative in the NFC.


Author: Nida Paras