Monday, January 23, 2006

A Ruthless Voice From the Past


Sadly many Pakistanis continue to be fooled by the propagandists from Islamabad.

Thirty-five years ago we lost more than half our population thanks to the widespread belief that most East Pakistanis were unpatriotic miscreants. Few bothered to consider the fact that the malaise lay with the rulers and not with the people.

And so, as history repeats itself, we now have Musharraf and his gang repeatedly warning us about the unpatriotic miscreants of Balochistan. According to them the state is now under attack by heavily armed tribesmen following the tyrannical orders of their sardars.

Here is a pertinent quote from the Nazi Reich Marshal, and heir-apparent to Hitler, who asserted:

Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.


Hermann Goering


Quote taken from, Nuremberg Diary, Gustave Gilbert, Farrar, Straus & Co., 1947, p. 278.
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14 comments:

Anonymous said...

While it's nice to bash Musharraf, and he really deserves, you have to keep in mind that the Bugtis and Marris ARE monsters. They might have a lot less power than Musharraf, but don't cast them as innocents being threatened by the big bid wolf.

The bugti's and Marri's are far more evil and twisted than the army is. Forget the newspaper reports - talk to people who know them personally for the true story.

Anonymous said...

the govt. is commiting human rights abuses left right and center, but they have nothing on the bugtis. And I'm not talking about Musharafs talking points - hes probably never been to the real baluchistan, or any of his advisors.

go spend some time there, speak to people, and you will see why these tribal leaders are beyond redemption.

Onlooker said...

Anonymous

Just wondering have you met any Bugtis or Marri tribesmen (say apart from one or two rottenly spoilt and vicious mini-Sardars in Karachi or Lahore)?

Try and remember there are thousands of these tribesmen quite willing to die fighting Islamabad.

Tyrany cannot possibly breed such desperate willpower (which cannot be all that disimilar to the Fundamentalist or Palestinian suicide bombers - and note no one is promising these Baloch keys to any Paradise either).

The Baloch tribesmen and women are citizens of Pakistan (do try for a moment to overlook your feelings for their sardars and simply concentrate on the plight of the ordinary Baloch).

As I said before, no loyalty to any sardar could bring such a fierce response as we are seeing. These people are fighting for their rights - whatever they be.

Gedroshian said...

Dear Anonymous at 11:46 pm,

You said;
"The Bugtis and Marris are Monsters."

NO. THEY AREN'T. YOU ARE.

Anonymous said...

onlooker, have met a number of them, in their areas.

You are wrong in your assumptions, which seem to be based mostly on a armchair reading of what is going on. I am not trying to attack you, just trying to point out what is the case.

Tribesman are distinct from the leaders - I was not talking about the tribesman, but their masters - the sardars.

It is hard for someone in a city to comprehend the lives of the tribesman. They are brought up in a environment of fear and want, where their only savious is the sardar. This is drummed into them from birth - they know nothing else. They will fight and die for him, for that has been their custom for centuries.

You seem to think that the tribesman hate the federal govt. and that is why they're fighting - but no, it's because they would fight anyone their sardar wanted to fight.

boys are seperated from their families, enticed with toys, guns and so on by the sardar from a very early age. The most prized possesion from a early age is the gun, and the surest way of getting it is subservience to the sardar. The tribesman you see guarding the sardars are a throwback to a earlier age. What makes the sardar's life more precious than them? They will not be able to answer because after a lifetime of abject slavery they can no longer think. Women are treated as dirt, the the whle system is set up to make sure sons don't get influenced too much by the women. How else can you make stone cold killers out of them?

Today's world has completely overtaken them, and the sardars make sure they don't learn any of the new ways - education, free thinking, all is put down ruthlessly. Let one question why they must kowtow to the sardar, and they are put down most harshly.

There are landlords and then there are landlords. there are plenty of good 'sardars' in this country who do all they can.

The Marri and Bugti sardars - they are both vicious killers, with much blood on their hands. Despite being educated, they treat their tribesman as scum, and consider themselves fit only to lick their boots.

All they say in public is lies - meant only to further their aims. They have killed many, some for trivial causes, and boast about it.

Do not take anything they say at first value.

I don't like Musharaf myself, but two wrongs battling don't make either one of them palatable.

too many pundits are making that mistake.

Onlooker said...

Anonymous

I welcome rational discussions on this blog.

Here is my perspective, which obviously is different from yours (you suggest my views are ‘armchair based’ …ummm)

Both the sardars and the Baloch tribesmen belong to a culture that is near extinct. The sardars are fighting to retain the culture because their wealth, importance and power depends upon it, while the tribesmen – with the sardars’ positive encouragement – are fighting to retain a lifestyle that they value (after all it is the only lifestyle they are familiar with).

The average Baloch tribesmen, in common with the Pushtoon, probably looks down disdainfully on most other cultures as in his view these non-tribal cultures lack the ethos of ‘ghairat and izzat’. Yes, perhaps to many of them their ‘sardar’ is the ultimate leader and symbol of their tribe and they will die for him simply because they will then be upholding the honour of their clan, tribe and their homeland.

And yes, they are not fighting Islamabad because they hate its army – to them these people are simply outsiders and invaders of their homeland.

And yes, because these people lack education, guns remain of paramount importance to them. In a tribal society, whether Baloch or Pushtoon, there are constant threats from rivals belongs to other groups, be they other families or clans. Weapons are the surest means of protecting one’s kin and upholding one’s ‘honour’ - which after all is the intrinsic part of their tribal code.

You said ‘after a lifetime of abject slavery they can no longer think’. If you mean ‘in abject slavery’ to their culture I might agree with your viewpoint. But if you are suggesting that the tribesmen are ‘abject slaves’ of their sardars then I would disagree with you. Somehow ‘Baloch culture’ and ‘abject slavery’ would appear to be quite contradictory.

There is no disputing the fact that some sardars have been extremely cruel and have ruthlessly suppressed all forms of dissent –that is the nature of the autocratic system that appears to have descended on a number of Baloch tribes. (Ironically, it is all not that dissimilar to being an Army chief - the military has a similar culture of harshly crushing all forms of dissent within its ranks).

Time cannot be stopped. Change is coming to Balochistan but it cannot be imposed at gunpoint by those who are looked upon as armed intruders.

Govt. of Balochistan said...

Anonymous,

You have every right to express your point of view, but I can’t believe how eloquently you’ve expressed your ignorance about the Balochi culture. Furthermore, your argument is quite weak regarding the Sardari Nizam, the way a Baloch tribesmen is raised, treatment of women in the Balochi culture, suppression of intellectual development, etc. I believe that your comments prove that you are guilty of basing your arguments on what you’ve read in media sponsored by the Pakistani government. Perhaps this statement applies to you instead of Onlooker: "You are wrong in your assumptions, which seem to be based mostly on a armchair reading of what is going on."

For centuries, the Balochi culture has sustained, and the Sardari Nizam (of governance) has served our people. Though I’m not from a Sardar family, but as a common tribesman, I personally prefer resolving any issue in the Sardar’s court than in the corrupt and inefficient courts of Pakistan. Fortunately, I’ve used both court systems, and prefer going to my Sardar; I’m guaranteed a fair trial and outcome in an efficient manner. Plus, my Sardar is easily approachable, not like a Pakistani bureaucrat for whom I have to wait for days before I can speak to him.

Sardari Nizam is a System of Governance, and just like any other government, it requires enforcement of laws. Similarly, if the court of law in any country imposes punishment or death sentence, does it mean that the head of state, the judges, etc. are monsters or murderers?

The tribesmen look at their Sardar as the caretaker of their rights, property, and interest. If someone from another tribe steals my sheep, I’ll ask my Sardar to recover my sheep or compensate me. In reality, my Sardar is someone who is going to protect my interests and me. And, he has “earned” my respect, my devotion, and my love. If my Sardar asks me to fight the oppressor of Baloch, the Pakistani armed forces, by all means, I’m grabbing my Kalashnikov to fight. No questions asked. It’s an honor to die for the Baloch cause.

By the way, American children are growing up watching violent movies, playing video games in which they kill Muslim terrorists. Similarly, Pakistani children attend Juma prayers and learn that’s it’s okay to kill the Hindus, Jews and Amercians. So, what if the Balochi children are growing up to defend themselves if their oppressors are committing Genocide of the Baloch nation.

Having lived in various parts of Pakistan, I fully understand the status of women in the Pakistani culture. For your information, Baloch women are in control of the family politics. Baloch society is internally matriarchal, but patriarchal externally.
The Baloch women hold a much higher status than women anywhere else in Pakistan. Just observe the Baloch wedding ceremony: Baloch groom is required to pay a huge dowry to the bride’s family, not like in Punjab where the bride’s family has to provide the dowry! We Baloch men treat our women with respect, as we can’t afford to continue paying dowries to get married again. Not like the Punjabi men who just use kerosene oil to burn their brides and keep on collecting dowries by getting married multiple times.

Besides the Baloch population in Pakistan, there are large clusters of Baloch in East Africa, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Oman, UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and Iran. Each area has a tribal Sardar, and contrary to your statement, there is no shortage of Baloch intellectual development. However, such development is directly proportional to infrastructure development. The Pakistani occupied Baloch areas are one of the least developed areas in the world. And, therefore, the Baloch of this region is focused on basic sustenance than worry about his intellectual development. During the last 57 years of occupation, the Pakistani government has intentionally denied the Baloch areas of any infrastructure development.

During my years of interacting with other ethnic groups within Pakistan, I have come to the realization that there are only a handful of Pakistanis who understand the Baloch concerns; Anonymous is not alone in his naiveté. If they did empathize with the Baloch, then today’s crisis would not even have surfaced.

But, now, the Baloch are fed up of being neglected, treated like traitors, oppressed, massacred, raped. So, we are asking to break away from the federation, just like the Muslims of India in 1947 decided to break "Mother India". Who is going blame us for aspiring to be a free nation, once again?

Gedroshian said...

The natives are primitve.

The natives need to get some cilvilization.

The natives will be given some of that.

Anonymous said...

For centuries, the Balochi culture has sustained, and the Sardari Nizam (of governance) has served our people. Though I’m not from a Sardar family, but as a common tribesman, I personally prefer resolving any issue in the Sardar’s court than in the corrupt and inefficient courts of Pakistan. Fortunately, I’ve used both court systems, and prefer going to my Sardar; I’m guaranteed a fair trial and outcome in an efficient manner. Plus, my Sardar is easily approachable, not like a Pakistani bureaucrat for whom I have to wait for days before I can speak to him.

This sums up in a nutshell whats wrong with the whole system. History has shown throughout the world that a system based on a hereditary ruler is doomed to failure, and the Baluchi sardar is no exception to this rule.

You speak of justice - yes they dispense it as they see fit, but they are above the law and to every one person who admires them (like you do) there are others who hate them - for justice denied, cruelty, and a host of other peoples.

Sardari Nizam is a System of Governance
Well yes, and Nazi Germany and Communist Russia also had a system of govt - the Sardari Nizam system is broken - that it exists is nothing to crow about.

If someone from another tribe steals my sheep, I’ll ask my Sardar to recover my sheep or compensate me. In reality, my Sardar is someone who is going to protect my interests and me. And, he has “earned” my respect, my devotion, and my love.
What you seem to miss, is that only when his interests lie with yours is he going to protect you. It is all in the intentions. Obviously the sardars want the loyalty of their subjects so they help them out in many small ways. But, and this is the important part - he is not doing so out of the goodness of his heart.

With the resources at their disposal, they could do so muhh more. A common excuse is that they only have enough money to keep flats with rolls royces all over the world, but not enough to help their people - which is complete bullshit. It's not just money, but the social capital which they have which gives them the power to really bring about improvements - and to the last none of them do so.

I believe that your comments prove that you are guilty of basing your arguments on what you’ve read in media sponsored by the Pakistani government.
How many sardars have you lived with? Spoken with? Stayed at their houses? Seen first hand what they do and think? The Sardars at the top, not the ones below. Have you read the biographies written about them? What the British rulers in Baluchistan wrote about them?

If want to fight for independence, then perhaps you should brush up on your history, and judge your Sardars by their actions and not their flowery words. Keep in mind, I was talking about the Marri's and the Bugti's in particular, who are truly as low down scum of the earth, inhumane, as one can imagine. To answer Onlookers question about meeting said sardars, yes.

There are other, far better Sardars, and perhaps you are referring to those.

Anyways, before throwing in your lot with someone, you should take a very carefull look at them. Which was the point of my original comment.

To give you an example, some of the Baluchi sardars run mines which make money hand over fist - and yet they refuse to spend anything at all to even streamline the operation. The workers toil away in inhumane conditions, but the sardar could be least bothered. I asked one sardar, and he shrugged - he couldn't understand why he should do something. I pointed out that by providing proper equipment and training, (and clean water and food) failing anything else, it would make the mine more productive, but he said no, he has enough money as it is.

Govt. of Balochistan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Govt. of Balochistan said...

Anonymous,

You said:

“History has shown throughout the world that a system based on a hereditary ruler is doomed to failure”

Not true, just hearsay. Currently, there are 29 active hereditary rulers in the world. Below is a list of 76 territories they rule (as monarchs or as the sovereign head of state):
Andorra, Anguilla, Antigua, Aruba, Ascension Island, Australia, Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Barbuda, Belgium, Bermuda, Bhutan, Bouvet Island, British Indian Ocean Territory, British Virgin Islands, Brunei, Caicos Island, Cambodia, Canada, Canary Islands, Cayman Islands, Ceuta, Cook Islands, Denmark, Falkland Islands, Faroe Islands, Gibraltar, Greenland, Grenada, Grenadines, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jamaica, Jan Mayen, Japan, Jersey, Jordan, Kuwait, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Melilla, Monaco, Montserrat, Morocco, Nepal, Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, Nevis, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Pitcairn Islands, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Saint Helena, Saint Kitts, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent, Serbia, South Georgia, South Sandwich Islands, Solomon Islands, Spain, Svalbard, Swaziland, Sweden, Thailand, Tonga, Tristan da Cunha, Turks Island, Tuvalu, and United Arab Emirates.
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“You speak of justice - yes they dispense it as they see fit, but they are above the law and to every one person who admires them (like you do) there are others who hate them - for justice denied, cruelty, and a host of other peoples.”

Dispensing of justice by person in authority is a dirty job, and someone has to do it. Nawab Akbar Bugti even sent his own son, Talal, to jail. It’s human nature to admire or hate people who are required by society to resolve disputes. So, it’s nothing new that there are some Baloch who admire the Sardars and others who hate them.
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“Sardari Nizam system is broken - that it exists is nothing to crow about.”

How do you know it’s broken? Perhaps it’s what you read in the government-sponsored media that implanted such an idea in your head. Furthermore, you are in no position to tell any society that their system of governance is “broken”. It is up to the members of that culture to decide if their system doesn’t serve them or needs tweaking. For your information, a person like me with experience in both the Balochi and Pakistani jurisprudence will prefer the Sardari Nizam any day over the “broken” Pakistani legal system which is confused about whether to apply the Shariah, the British Law or the Military Law. Moreover, there are millions of Baloch who still use the Sardari Nizam within Balochistan as well as in other Baloch areas around the world.
----------------------------------

“What you seem to miss, is that only when his interests lie with yours is he going to protect you. It is all in the intentions. Obviously the sardars want the loyalty of their subjects so they help them out in many small ways. But, and this is the important part - he is not doing so out of the goodness of his heart.”

It is naive of you to think that the world revolves around people doing things “out of goodness of their heart”. Of course the Sardar is not an angel. In order for him to be my leader, he has to earn my respect first. All genuine leaders in the world have a quid pro quo relationship with their followers; otherwise those leaders will be declared dictators or Saints. But, when it comes to dispensing justice, the Sardar follows tribal traditions and customs to issue a verdict and doesn’t allow his personal interest to taint his judgment.

People are not blind or ignorant if and when justice is dispensed impartially. Nor the Sardars will stoop to such low levels by putting their personal interest ahead of the tribe’s interest. It’s against Baloch honor.
----------------------------------

“With the resources at their disposal, they could do so much more. A common excuse is that they only have enough money to keep flats with rolls royces all over the world, but not enough to help their people - which is complete bullshit. It's not just money, but the social capital which they have which gives them the power to really bring about improvements - and to the last none of them do so.”

Every governing body requires funds to operate; Sardari Nizam is no exception. The Sardars don’t have unlimited financial resources. But, whatever amount of funds they can gather, they certainly spend a great deal of that money on the welfare of their tribe. Sardar Sher Baz Mazari has been selling his ancestral landholdings to fund welfare projects for his tribe.

For your information, the Baloch Sardars are living among their people, not in the comfort of palaces around the globe. They are not stashing money in numbered Swiss bank accounts, or buying flats with Rolls Royce in foreign countries (the modus operandi of corrupt government/military officials.)

Yes, the Baloch Sardars certainly do possess social capital, and that is the reason that they are demanding/fighting the well-equipped Pakistani military for equitable treatment of their constituencies.
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“How many sardars have you lived with? Spoken with? Stayed at their houses? Seen first hand what they do and think? The Sardars at the top, not the ones below. Have you read the biographies written about them? What the British rulers in Baluchistan wrote about them?”

I grew up among various Baloch Sardars who are “at the top”. I went to school and was close friends with their children. I was invited to their houses on every important occasion, such as birth of a child, marriage, death, etc. I’ve stayed at their houses in the tribal center, and observed them from a very close range in dealing with tribal matters. I’ve read a few materials by authors of different nationalities. So, is this supposed to prove to you that I know what I’m talking about? For your information, Baloch Sardars are approachable by a common tribesman like me, and it’s not a big deal to know them either.
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“If want to fight for independence, then perhaps you should brush up on your history, and judge your Sardars by their actions and not their flowery words. Keep in mind, I was talking about the Marri's and the Bugti's in particular, who are truly as low down scum of the earth, inhumane, as one can imagine.”

Nawab Khair Bux Marrie lived in exile in Afghanistan WITH HIS TRIBESMEN for eight years. Nawab Bugti is currently hiding in the mountain caves of Balochistan WITH HIS TRIBESMEN. The Baloch considers these Sardars folk heroes. We sing of their bravery in our ballads just like we sing for Mir Chakar Khan Rind, Prince Abdul Karim, and Mir Nauroz Khan Zehri.

Your comments make me wonder if you have ever researched the cause of Baloch aspirations to be a free nation. Calling our folk heroes, “scum of the earth, inhumane” has no basis, except that you and people who think on the same lines as you do are simply prejudice against the Baloch. And, prejudice usually is a sign of ignorance or hatred.

Perhaps Gedroshian is correct about you by insinuating that you believe:

“The natives are primitve.”

“The natives need to get some cilvilization.

“The natives will be given some of that.”

----------------------------------

“To give you an example, some of the Baluchi sardars run mines which make money hand over fist - and yet they refuse to spend anything at all to even streamline the operation. The workers toil away in inhumane conditions, but the sardar could be least bothered. I asked one sardar, and he shrugged - he couldn't understand why he should do something. I pointed out that by providing proper equipment and training, (and clean water and food) failing anything else, it would make the mine more productive, but he said no, he has enough money as it is.”

Once again, I wonder which Sardars you spoke to about streamlining their mining operation? Moreover, each type of mineral requires different mining techniques. I’m presuming that you implied Coal Mining, which is one of the most hazardous types of mining in the world. (Just this month, 12 coal miners died in the US, and 17 coal miners died in China.)

For your information, Punjabis and Pashtoons own majority of the coalmines in Balochistan, while the Baloch and Hazaras own only a few of them. And, more than 90% of the labour force is from Swat in NWFP, and the remaining 10% is spread between Afghan refugees and Hazaras. There are hardly any Sardars running coal-mining operations or Baloch working in the coalmines; and the few that own leases on mines, they have sub-leased them to mine operators.

Coal mining techniques used in Balochistan is consistent throughout the territory. Of course due to cost factors, it’s not as mechanized as mining is in the developed countries. PMDC (government owned), the Habibullah Mines (Punjabi owned), MQB (Baloch owned), Hashmi Mines (Punjabi owned), Islam Coal (Punjabi owned) are some of the larger coal mining companies working in Balochistan. These operators use the same mining techniques that are being used by the smaller mines in Margat and Mach areas. However, the Department of Mineral Development sends inspectors to regularly visit these mines to assure that proper safety procedures are followed. If not, they have been known to stop operations until the mine owners bring their mining up to code.

You may have talked to a Sardar who has allotted the mining lease in his name, but sub-leased it to an operator, and then of course, it is obvious that he has no idea about how to streamline his mining operations. His main concern is that the operator pays him the correct amount for the coal that is extracted from “his” mine. Hence, he has systems in place to weigh the coal at the mine-mouth and stop cheating by the operator. He collects a fixed fee on per ton basis from the operator, and then pays a portion of this fee to the government as royalty.
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In the end, once again, I would like to reiterate that perhaps this statement applies to you instead of Onlooker:
"You are wrong in your assumptions, which seem to be based mostly on a armchair reading of what is going on."

Anonymous said...

concerned baluch, some of what you say is true. However, there is a saying, too close to the trees to see the forest - and that applies to your thinking.

Most of the countries you've listed are abject failures - and some are wrongly listed. You realy think Australia is ruled by the Queen? Hell, do you think the Queen has any power in UK? What world are you living in?

the few that own leases on mines, they have sub-leased them to mine operators.
subleased or not, run by whoever, the leasors have a responisibilty for what is going on there.

They are not stashing money in numbered Swiss bank accounts, or buying flats with Rolls Royce in foreign countries
And who told you this? you should pay a visit to london and take a closer look. Statements like these make me wonder exactly how well you know your tribal kings - and especially their children. there are tons of them rolling around england in the most expensive cars known to man, living the high life.
Heck, forget london, hang around their karachi residences for a while.

Sure some pakistani govt. officials are corrupt - that doesn't excuse the sardars.

Furthermore, you are in no position to tell any society that their system of governance is “broken”.
Heriditary rule is broken. Doesn't matter where. It's simple commen sense. All decent countries with kings had to remove all power from them in order to progress. The sardar does not have much power, but for all practical purposes he is the king of his area. And that is just plain wrong.

for your info, I don't bother reading the govt. propaganda on balchustan - they are lying up their asses most of the time.

“The natives are primitve.”

“The natives need to get some cilvilization.

“The natives will be given some of that.”


It's so nice to be told what one thinks. I couldn't have figured it out myself. I feel sorry for you if that is the sort of thinking you ascribe to others. I have a feeling that is what you think of most non-baluchs.

Baluchistan is one of the most backward places on the planet.
I wish you and your trusty rocket launcher good luck in bring prosperity to it.

Anyways, I'm not going to split further hairs here - see you on another blog post!

Anonymous said...

You guys have gone off on a tangent. According to Onlooker's quote fm the News, 75 of 78 sardars are pro-Establishment. This fightning has not that much to do with the sardari system.

hcg said...

wow great i have read many articles about this topic and everytime i learn something new i dont think it will ever stop always new info , Thanks for all of your hard work!