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بلوچستان میں سیاسی بیداری کا نیا دور

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سانحہ ڈنک اور اس کے خلاف اٹھنے والی رد عمل سے بلوچستان سیاسی بیداری کے ایک نئے دور میں داخل ہوا۔ عام عوام کی ایک بڑی تعداد خاص طور پر نوجوان جو گزشتہ ایک دہائی پر محیط خوف کے ماحول میں سیاسی عمل سے دور ہو گئے تھے ایک عرصے کے بعد پہلی مرتبہ برمش سے یکجہتی کے نعرے کے ساتھ احتجاجی مظاہروں کی شکل میں سڑکوں پر نکل آئے۔ سیاسی گھٹن کے ماحول سے بیزار نوجوانوں نے روایتی قوم پرست اور شاہ کے وفادار سیاسی جماعتوں کے سہارے کے بغیر ایک موثر احتجاجی تحریک چلا کر عوامی سیاست کو واپس اپنے ہاتھوں میں لینا شروع کیا۔ سیاسی بیداری کا یہ عمل اگرچہ سڑکوں پر اور گلی محلوں میں جاری تھا اس کی گونج سوشل میڈیا پر بھی برابر سنائی دی۔ خواتین کی شمولیت نے اس پورے احتجاجی عمل میں ایک نئی جہت کا اظافہ کر دیا۔ یوں نوجوان، طلبہ اور دانشور طبقہ، خواتین کی واضح نمائندگی کے ساتھ ، پارلیمانی اور غیر پارلیمانی سیاست کرنے والے قوم پرست پارٹیوں سے الگ ایک نئی عوامی سیاسی قوت کی شکل میں سامنے آیا جس کی مثال حالیہ بلوچ سیاسی تاریخ میں نہیں ملتی۔ رہنماؤں کے زاتی مفادات کی بنیاد پر منقسم روایتی قوم پرست سیاست کا حصہ بننے کے بجائے عوامی سیاسی بیداری کی نئی لہر اپنے آپ میں منظم ہوتی ہوئی، نئے نعروں کے ساتھ ایک غیر مرکزی عوامی تحریک کی شکل میں سامنے آئی۔

سانحہ ڈنک اور اس کے ایک مہینے بعد ہی تمپ میں کلثوم بی بی کی شہادت سے اٹھنے والی عوامی سیاسی بیداری کی لہر حیات بلوچ کے سفاکانہ قتل سے ایک نئے دور میں داخل ہوا۔ ڈنک اور تمپ واقع کے رد عمل میں ہونے والے احتجاجی مظاہروں کی نسبت حیات بلوچ کی شہادت کے خلاف عوامی سیاسی رد عمل بلوچستان سے باہر بھی واضح طور پر دیکھنے میں آیا۔ بلوچستان کے تمام چھوٹے بڑے شہروں کے علاوہ ملکی سطح پر مختلف ترقی پسند حلقوں کی جانب سے کراچی، حیدرآباد، لاہور اور اسلام آباد میں بھی احتجاجی پروگرام منعقد کیئے گئے۔ وزیرستان جیسے علاقے جو خود دہائیوں سے ظلم و بربریت کا سامنا کر رہے ہیں وہاں بھی مقامی لوگوں کی طرف سے صدائے احتجاج بلند کیا گیا۔ حالانکہ مقامی انتظامیہ اور فرنٹیئر کانسٹیبلری کی جانب سے عوامی جذبات کو ٹھنڈا کرنے کی بھرپور کوشش کی گئی۔ ایف سی نے حالات کی نزاکت کو بھانپتے ہوئےاپنے ایک اہلکار کو پولیس کے حوالے کر دیاجبکہ پولیس نے معمول کے برعکس فوراََ ہی واقع میں ملوث اہلکار کے گرفتار ہونے کا اعلان بھی کر دیاجس کے بعد حکومتی نمائندوں کی جانب سے مذمتی بیانات آنا شروع ہوئے اور یہاں تک کہ آئی جی ایف سے بھی ورثا کے ساتھ تعزیت کرنے شہید حیات کے گھر پہنچ گئے۔ لیکن ان سب کے باوجود واقع کی نو دن بعد 22 اگست کو ملک گیر احتجاجی پروگرام منعقد ہوئے اور لوگ ہزاروں کی تعداد میں حیات کے ساتھ اظہار یکجہتی کیلئے سڑکوں پر نکلے۔

پے در پے ہونے والے دلخراش واقعات کے خلاف عوامی رد عمل در اصل سیاسی گھٹن سے تنگ عوام میں عدم تحفظ کے بڑھتے ہوئے احساس کا اظہار ہے۔ایک اور برمش کی بے بسی، ایک اور ملک ناز، کلثوم یا پھر حیات جیسے نوجوان کا قتل دیوار پہ لکھا نظر آتا ہے۔ اس ناقابل گریز خطرے کا احساس سیاسی طور پر باشعور نوجوانوں کی ایک نمایاں تعداد کو سیاسی میدان میں دکھیلنے کا سبب بنا جس سے سالوں سے قائم خوف کا حصار بلآخر ٹوٹ گیا۔ برمش کے ساتھ ہمدردی کیلئے بنائی گئی کمیٹیوں سے جو سیاسی ماحول بنا اسے کسی ایک واقعے تک محدود کرنا ممکن نہ تھا اور نہ ہی سیاسی میدان میں فعال کسی گروہ میں اس نئی سیاسی قوت کو اپنے اندر سمونے کی سکت تھی۔

ایک وسیع تر پر امن عوامی تحریک کے مادی حالات اپنی نقطہ عروج تک پہنچتے جا رہے ہیں جس کا اظہار سیاسی و سماجی جبر کے خلاف اٹھنے والے عوامی رد عمل کی شکل میں ہو رہا ہے ۔ ایک پر امن تحریک جو سماج کی نمایاں سیاسی قوت بنے خارج از امکان نہیں۔ اس تحریر میں ہم برمش یکجہتی کمیٹیوں سے شروع ہونے والے عوامی سیاسی بیداری کے اس لہر کا ایک وسیع تر عوامی سیاسی تحریک میں تبدیل ہونے کے امکانات اور ترقی پسند قوتوں کی تاریخی کردار کا جائزہ لینگے۔

عوامی تحریک کیلئے سازگار ہوتے حالات

جرائم پیشہ گروہوں یا بدنام زمانہ ڈیتھ اسکواڈ کے ہاتھوں ملک ناز اور کلثوم کی شہادت ہو یا ایف سے اہلکاروں کے ہاتھوں حیات بلوچ کی شہادت اگر دیکھا جائے تو تینوں واقعات بلوچستان میں جاری شورش سے جڑے ہیں۔ جنرل مشرف کی فوجی حکومت کے دوران شروع ہونے والی سیاسی کشیدگی نے نواب اکبر بگٹی کی شہادت کے بعد جنگ کی شکل اختیار کرلی جو کہ آگے جا کر خوف کے دہائی میں منتج ہوا جہاں جبری اغوا اور مسخ شدہ لاشیں معمول بن گئی۔ ملک ناز اور کلثوم کی شہادت میں ملوث گروہ اسی دوران سامنے آئے جن کا بنیادی مقصد مخالف مسلح تنظیموں کو ختم کرنا تھا۔ اپنے مقصد میں کسی حد تک کامیاب ہونے کے بعد ان گروہوں کو ختم نہیں کیا گیا بلکہ وہ لاقانونیت کے ماحول میں پھلتے پھولتے رہے اور جلد ہی پر امن شہریوں اور خاص طور پر کمزور طبقات پر ٹوٹ پڑے۔

ان گروہوں کے سفاکانہ کاروائیوں کا نشانہ عموماََ بزگر، دہقان اور روزنداری پر گزارہ کرنے والا محنت کش طبقہ یا پھر چھوٹے پیمانے پر زمینداری یا دیگر کم آمدنی والے کاروبار پر گزارا کرنے والا سفید پوش اور نسبتاََ تنگ دست طبقات ہوتے۔ بلوچستان کی مقامی معیشت کا انحصار بنیادی طور پر زراعت، مالداری اور ماہی گیری جیسے کم پیداوار ی شعبوں پر ہے ۔ بارڈر سے منسلک متوازی معیشت مکران سمیت اندرون بلوچستان کیلئے ایک متبادل زریعہ معاش بن چکا ہے ۔ مقامی معیشت میں زبوحالی سے متاثر محنت کش عوام کی کثیر تعداد بارڈر کے غیر مستحکم کاروبار سے وابستہ ہے جہاں بمشکل ہی لوگوں کا گزر بسر ہوجاتا ہے۔ ریاستی معیشت کا کردار عوامی سطح پر سرکاری نوکریوں تک محدود ہے جسے واحد مستحکم زریعہ معاش کی حیثیت حاصل ہے ۔ قدرتی وسائل جن کی وجہ سے بلوچستان عالمی دنیا میں جانا جاتا ہے کبھی بھی مقامی معیشت کا حصہ نہ بن سکے ۔ بلکہ ہمیشہ سے ہی قدرتی وسائل مقامی لوگوں کے استحصال کا سبب بنے جن سے ہونے والی اربوں ڈالر کی پیداوار سے ایک طرف قبائلی بالادست طبقہ اور سیکیورٹی اسٹیبلشمنٹ مضبوط ہوا ہے وہیں غربت کے شکار مقامی محنت کش آبادیوں کیلئے معاشی مواقع مزید کم تر ہوئے اور ان کی حالت مزید ابتر ہوتی گئی۔

ان معاشی سختیوں سے دوچار محنت کش، چھوٹے زمیندار اور کاروباری طبقہ کو اپنے روز مرہ کی زندگی میں کھیتوں پر کام کرتے ہوئے، بازاروں میں دوران کاروبار اور یہاں تک کے فارغ اوقات میں اپنے گلی محلوں میں یا تفریح گاہوں میں نہ صرف سیکیورٹی فورسز کا بلکہ ان جرائم پیشہ گروہوں اورڈیتھ اسکواڈز کا بھی روزانہ کی بنیاد پر سامنا کرناپڑتا ہے جہاں کسی بھی لمحے کوئی سانحہ رونما ہونے کے امکان موجود ہوتے ہیں۔ یہی کچھ حیات اور ان کے والدین کے ساتھ ہوا۔ ہر وہ دہقان جو روزانہ کھیتوں پر کام کرنے جاتا ہے، ہر مچھیرا جو سمندر میں رزق کی تلاش میں نکلتا ہے اور ہر دکان دار جو کاروبار کیلئے بازار کا رخ کرتا ہے وہ ہر لمحہ اسی خوف سے گزر رہا ہوتا ہے۔

بلوچستان کا مقامی بورژوازی یا بالادست طبقہ جو کہ قبائلی ایلیٹ اور دولت کا وسیع زخیرہ رکھنے والے کاروباری طبقے، سیاستدان اور بیوروکریٹس پر مشتمل ہے اس شورش زدہ صورتحال میں خصوصی رعایت رکھتے ہیں جنہوں نے عوام کی محنت کی کمائی کا بڑا حصہ ہتھیا کر یا پھر ان کے ترجمانی کے نام پر سیاسی زرائع سے دولت جمع کر کے اپنے دفاع کیلئے لشکر کھڑے کیئے ہیں۔ ان کے پاس اتنے مسلح لوگ ہمہ وقت موجود ہوتے ہیں جو پر تشدد واقعات میں ان کی ذاتی حفاظت کر سکیں جبکہ عام عوام انہی واقعات میں آسانی سے نشانہ بن جاتے ہیں۔ مقامی بالادست طبقہ بیک وقت مسلح تنظیموں اور سیکیورٹی فورسز کے تشدد سے اپنے محافظوں کی مسلح قوت یا پھر بالادست طبقے میں اپنی حیثیت کی بنیاد پر اپنی حفاظت کرتا ہے۔ حیات شاید بچ سکتا تھا اگر اسے سول سروسز کا امتحان پاس کرکے بیوروکریسی کے توسط سے مراعات یافتہ طبقے کا حصہ بننے کا موقع ملتا لیکن وہ ایک محنت کش کا بیٹا تھا جنہیں بم دھماکوں کے باوجود اپنے کھیتوں میں رہ کر محنت کرنا تھا۔

گزشتہ تین دہائیوں سے یہی بالادست طبقہ مختلف قوم پرست پارٹیوں کی قیادت کی شکل میں بلوچ سیاست پر براجمان ہے۔ اس دوران یہ طبقہ سردار نوابوں کی اولادوں اور متوسط طبقے کے کاروباری شخصیات اور بیوروکریٹس کی حیثیت سے برائے راست سرمایہ دار بنا یا پر سرمایہ دارانہ معیشت میں کمیشن خوری کے زریعے حصہ دار بن گیا۔ آج ان نام نہاد قوم پرست سیاست دانوں کے پاس دولت کے انبار لگے ہیں جو کہ نہ صرف مقامی طور پر جائیدادیں رکھتے ہیں بلکہ خلیجی ممالک سمیت دنیا کے دوسرے حصوں میں عالمی سرمایہ داروں کے ساتھ ان کے شراکت داریاں چل رہی ہیں۔ ان کا بیشتر سرمایہ بیرون ملک منڈیوں میں لگا ہوتا ہے جس کا اظہار مقامی طور پر صرف ان کے اولاد کی شاہانہ طرز زندگی میں نظر آتا ہے۔ ان بورژوا سیاستدانوں کی اولادیں بڑی شان سے اپنی طبقاتی برتری اور دولت کی نمائش ایک ایسے سماج میں کرتے ہیں جو اپنے آپ میں معاشی بدحالی کی ایک مثال ہے جہاں عوام کی اکثریت بنیادی سہولیات سے محروم سماجی اور سیاسی انتشار کی سی کیفیت سے دوچار ہیں۔ بلوچستا ن کا بورژوازی جس کی جڑیں قوم پرستی کی سیاست میں پیوست ہیں کبھی بھی اپنے معاشی اور سماجی مراعات کا اعتراف نہیں کرتے ۔ بلکہ ان کی سیاست کا زور اسی تصور پر قائم ہے کہ بلوچ اور بلوچستان کا استحصال قومی بنیاد پر ہو رہا ہے جس سے وہ بھی اتنے ہی متاثر ہیں جتنا کہ معاشی طور پر زبوں حالی کا شکار اور سماجی طور پر انہی کے زیر دست ایک عام بلوچ۔

بلوچستان کے زیر دست طبقات کا سیاسی طور پر باشعور حصہ تاریخی طور پر انہی بورژوا قیادت کے ساتھ وابستہ رہا ہے جنہوں نے ہر دور میں اپنے طبقاتی مفادات کو اولیت دیتے ہوئے عوامی توقعات کو پس پشت ڈالا ہے۔ قوم پرست قیادت کی اسی حقیقی کردار کے سامنے آنے کے سبب حالیہ برسوں میں زیر دست طبقات اور مراعات یافتہ قومی قیادت کے درمیان وابستگی ختم ہو کر بیگانگی کی شکل اختیار کرتا جا رہا ہے۔ یہ بیگانگی قومی سیاست میں واضح طور پر نظر آتا ہے جہاں عوام کی اکثریت بلعموم سیاسی عمل سے بیگانگی کا شکار ہوتے جارہے ہیں۔ قوم پرست پارٹیوں کی گرفت سے آزاد طلبا تنظیموں، سول سوسائٹی اور عوامی یکجہتی کے مقامی تنظیموں کی شکل میں مختلف غیر روایتی بنیادوں پر لوگوں کا اکھٹا ہونا سابقہ سیاسی قوتوں سے اسی بیگانگی کا اظہار ہے۔

عوامی سیاسی یکجہتی

گزشتہ دہائی کے خوف کے ماحول میں ایک نئی نسل پروان چھڑ چکی ہے جو اب طلبہ اور نوجون سیاست کا ایک فعال حصہ ہے۔ نئی نسل جس کا حیات بلوچ حصہ تھے سیاسی تنازعات سے آگے سوچنا چاہتے ہیں۔ وہ اپنے معاشی حالات، بوسیدہ سماجی ڈھانچے اور قومی قیادت کے دیوالیہ پن کا سیاسی ادراک رکھتے ہیں۔ اپنے تعلیمی اداروں میں، کھیتوں میں، گلی محلوں میں سکیورٹی کے نام پر اسلحہ برداروں کی موجودگی سے اکھتائے ہوئے نوجوانوں کیلئے مزید کسی ڈیتھ اسکواڈ کے خوف کے سائے میں رہنا نا ممکن ہو چکا ہے۔بلوچستان کا نوجوان عوامی جذبات بھڑکانے والے موقع پرست سیاسی قیادت کے پیچے چلنے سے انکار کرتے ہوئے ایک آزاد اورباوقار زندگی گزارنا چاہتے ہیں۔ یہی سیاسی قوت وہ خام مال ہے جس سے شورش زدہ ماحول میں ایک نیا سماجی و سیاسی تحریک جنم لے سکتا ہے۔

مکران جہاں مزکورہ تینوں افسوسناک واقعات رونما ہوئے وہاں پر امن سیاسی احتجاج کی نئی لہر کی قیادت سول سوسائٹی کر رہی ہے جس میں طلبہ و طلبات ایک فعال کردار ادا کر رہے ہیں۔ بلوچستان میں سول سوسائٹی نسبتا نیا مظہر ہےجو کہ شہری آبادی کے پھیلاؤ اور پڑے لکھے طبقات میں بڑھتے شہری حقوق کے ادراک کے ساتھ ساتھ سامنے آیا ہے۔ شہری مراکز میں انتظامی اداروں کی مفاد عامہ سے مکمل لاتعلقی اور کرپشن کی وجہ سے تربت اور پنجگور جیسے مرکزی شہر پانی، بجلی اور گیس جیسے بنیادی سہولیات سے محروم ہیں ۔تعلیم یافتہ نوجوانوں اور دانشور ادیبوں کا مختلف سماجی تنظیموں میں متحرک ہونا انہی بنیادی مسائل پر عوامی سیاسی رد عمل کا ابتدائی اظہار ہے۔ ایسے حالات میں جبکہ عوامی مسائل کے حل کیلئے حقیقی سیاسی سرگرمیوں پر مختلف قدغنیں ہیں سول سوسائٹی ایک متحرک سیاسی قوت کے طور پر سامنے آیا جو سماج کے مختلف پرتوں کواجتماعی مسائل کے حل کیلئے وقتی طور پر ہی سہی لیکن ایک مشترکہ پلیٹ فارم پر لانے کا سبب بنا۔

ڈنک واقع کے بعد پہلی مرتبہ سیاسی مسائل جنہیں عموماً نظر انداز کر دیا جاتا تھاسول سوسائٹی کے ایجنڈے کا حصہ بن گئیں ۔ البتہ انفرادی واقعات کے رد عمل میں سیاسی طور پر باشعور طبقات کو متحرک کرنے میں اہم کردار رکھنے کے باوجود سول سوسائٹی عوامی رد عمل کو ایک با اثر تحریک میں تبدیل کرنے سے قاصر رہی۔ سیاسی میدان میں سول سوسائٹی کا محدود کردار برمش یکجہتی کیمپین میں واضح ہوا جہاں بے مثال عوامی رد عمل ایک پائیدار سیاسی تحریک میں منتقل نہ ہو سکا۔ اپنی مخصوص ساخت میں سول سوسائٹی کی افادیت مجرمانہ واقعات میں ملوث قوتوں کی مذمت اور متاثرین کے ساتھ ہمدردی تک ہی محدود ہے۔

ایک ترقی پسند تحریک کی ضرورت

معاشی و سیاسی جبر کی حکومت اور اس سے پیدا ہونے والی خونی تنازعہ کا حل سماج پر سیاسی اختیار کا مسئلہ ہے اور اس وقت تک حل نہیں ہو سکتا جب تک جبر کے شکار عوام ایک انقلابی پروگرام کے تحت منظم ہوکر سیاسی قوت اپنے ہاتھوں میں نہیں لیتے۔ ایک منظم ترقی پسند لائحہ عمل کے بغیر سول سوسائٹی کی سیاسی قوت بہ آسانی روایتی رجعتی گروہوں کے ہاتھوں میں مرکوز ہو سکتی ہے جن کا مقصد عوامی سیاسی قوت کو اپنے گروہی مفادات کے حصول کیلئے استعمال کرنا ہے۔ عوام کی سیاسی قوت کو یکجا کر کے اسے ایک پر امن سیاسی تحریک کی شکل میں منظم کرنا ان قوتوں کے ہاتھوں ممکن نہیں جن کی سیاسی قوت کا دار و مدار جبر کے شکار عوام کی حمایت کے بجائے اشرافیہ یا پھر عالمی سرمایہ داروں کی خوشنودی حاصل کرنے پر ہو۔

عوام کر متحد اور منظم کرنے کیلئے ان ترقی پسند قوتوں کو آگے آنا ہوگا جو سماج میں رائج بالادستی کے ڈھانچوں کا حصہ بننے کے بجائے عوامی سیاسی قوت کی بنیاد پر سیاسی و سماجی بالادستی اور اس سے پیدا ہونے والی جبر کے مکمل خاتمے سماجی برابری اور انصاف پر یقین رکھتے ہوں۔ ترقی پسند قوتوں کی یہ تاریخی زمہ داری بنتی ہے کہ وہ آپس میں متحد و منظم ہو کر عوام میں اپنی جڑیں مضبوط کریں اور ایک ایسے عوامی تحریک کی آبیاری کریں جس کی قوت اور قیادت بالادست طبقات یا عالمی سرمایہ داروں کے نمائندوں کے بجائے عوام کی اپنے ہاتھوں میں ہو۔

Frederick Engels Speech at the grave of Karl Marx

On the 14th of March, at a quarter to three in the afternoon, the greatest living thinker ceased to think. He had been left alone for scarcely two minutes, and when we came back we found him in his armchair, peacefully gone to sleep-but forever.

An immeasurable loss has been sustained both by the militant proletariat of Europe and America, and by historical science, in the death of this man. The gap that has been left by the departure of this mighty spirit will soon enough make itself felt.

Just as Darwin discovered the law of development of organic nature, so Marx discovered the law of development of human history: the simple fact, hitherto concealed by an overgrowth of ideology, that mankind must first of all eat, drink, have shelter and clothing, before it can pursue politics, science, art, religion, etc.; that therefore the production of the immediate material means of subsistence and consequently the degree of economic development attained by a given people or during a given epoch form the foundation upon which the state institutions, the legal conceptions, art, and even the ideas on religion, of the people concerned have been evolved, and in the light of which they must, therefore, be explained, instead of vice versa, as had hitherto been the case.

But that is not all. Marx also discovered the special law of motion governing the present-day capitalist mode of production and the bourgeois society that this mode of production has created. The discovery of surplus value suddenly threw light on the problem, in trying to solve which all previous investigations, of both bourgeois economists and socialist critics, had been groping in the dark.

Two such discoveries would be enough for one lifetime. Happy the man to whom it is granted to make even one such discovery. But in every single field which Marx investigated — and he investigated very many fields, none of them superficially — in every field, even in that of mathematics, he made independent discoveries.

Such was the man of science. But this was not even half the man. Science was for Marx a historically dynamic, revolutionary force. However great the joy with which he welcomed a new discovery in some theoretical science whose practical application perhaps it was as yet quite impossible to envisage, he experienced quite another kind of joy when the discovery involved immediate revolutionary changes in industry and in historical development in general. For example, he followed closely the development of the discoveries made in the field of electricity and recently those of Marcel Deprez.

For Marx was before all else a revolutionist. His real mission in life was to contribute, in one way or another, to the overthrow of capitalist society and of the state institutions which it had brought into being, to contribute to the liberation of the modern proletariat, which he was the first to make conscious of its own position and its needs, conscious of the conditions of its emancipation. Fighting was his element. And he fought with a passion, a tenacity and a success such as few could rival. His work on the first Rheinische Zeitung (1842), the Paris Vorwarts (1844), the Deutsche Brusseler Zeitung (1847), the Neue Rheinische Zeitung (1848-49), the New York Tribune (1852-61), and in addition to these a host of militant pamphlets, work in organisations in Paris, Brussels and London, and finally, crowning all, the formation of the great International Working Men’s Association — this was indeed an achievement of which its founder might well have been proud even if he had done nothing else.

And, consequently, Marx was the best-hated and most calumniated man of his time. Governments, both absolutist and republican, deported him from their territories. Bourgeois, whether conservative or ultra-democratic, vied with one another in heaping slanders upon him. All this he brushed aside as though it were cobweb, ignoring it, answering only when extreme necessity compelled him. And he died beloved, revered and mourned by millions of revolutionary fellow-workers — from the mines of Siberia to California, in all parts of Europe and America — and I make bold to say that though he may have had many opponents he had hardly one personal enemy.

His name will endure through the ages, and so also will his work!

________________

Courtesy: Marxists.org

The Agony of Baloch Women

#JusticeForShaheenaShaheen Art by Majida Baloch Instagram @majida.baloch

تحریر اردو میں پڑھنے کیلئے کلک کریں

Shaheena Shaheen’s murder yet again brought into light the vulnerability of Baloch women—especially of those who dare to make their way across the invisible red lines of patriarchy. The Baloch variety of patriarchy also shares the key character of the said system: that the dominance of men over the social, political and intellectual structures, tolerates the inclusion & participation of women in social fields as long as the aspiring women limits herself within the abstractions set by the men. So that they can live, they must not resist appropriation in all of its manifestations. The very moment a daring woman shows any ambitions of outgrowing the narrow man made limits, she is not just threatened and subdued but also tortured and killed in broad daylight, that too with impunity.

On 5th of September, 25 years old Shaheena was murdered in Turbat town allegedly by her husband Nawabzada Mehrab Gichki with whom she was married for about six months. Sources privy to the matter claim that the husband, audaciously called Shaheena’s mother after the incident and asked her to collect the dead body from the district hospital. Gichki’s nonchalance is understandable, as he is a member of the (ex)aristocracy that once ruled Makuran. Although, formal tribal titles are now defunct in the region for over half a century. But the entitlement and social capital carried over, just like many other parts of the world. The bygone tribal aristocracy joined by international drug lords, religious militants, and oligarchs of oil smuggling rackets form and run the murky underworld of Makuran. As shown by repeated incidents in the region, this new criminal alliance has developed deep roots within the state structures as they also work to reinforce the writ of the state in these restive regions.

The unrest in the Baloch society, which was already agitated by the wave of violence targeting women, has further intensified after the murder of Shaheena. Therefore, the disturbing incident is also being viewed by the political class as a continuation of similar attacks on Baloch women. It is argued that the decades long conflict in Balochistan is impacting the entirety of its population, irrespective of gender where women are simply victims of political repression alongside their male counterparts. Beneath the cross gender political repression thesis certain sections of Baloch intelligentsia and the political elites try to cover its internal fault lines which have grown so sharp, intensified under the influence of new forces emerging from within the conflict, that they cannot be ignored any more. Among these fault lines patriarchal repression in the form of male dominance, misogyny, and gender segregation have also translated into violence.

We believe Shaheena became a victim of the patriarchal structures of the society. She had to suffer and embrace a cruel death at a young age because of her gender and because she was a woman who was supposed to obey the commands of her husband, regardless how ridiculous they were. She had to accept restrictions imposed upon her — to quit her social life, to distance herself from her art and to choose silence. Lest we forget, she wanted to be the voice for the voiceless. One must mention that none of the above is experienced by the heterosexual men of the society, nor they make a reason for their death. Of course, there is no denial that for Baloch men, abduction, torture, and death are a everyday reality. But for the women their gender and sexuality are a death sentence, specially for those who choose a liberated life for themselves

This is not just about Shaheena, but every Baloch woman exposed to the changing economic and social conditions. To came out into the public space which is already dominated by men whose most powerful sections in the Baloch society are organized and armed to the teeth poses special risks. This category of heterosexual men can go to any limits to reinforce their dominance at the cost of innocent lives.

Who was Shaheena Shaeen?

The Five Shaheen Sisters: Art by Shaheena Shaheen displayed in the University of Balochistan, Quetta on April 25, 2019.

Shaheena was the eldest among five daughters of Bibi Mahrang, a brave mother from Turbat who has been fighting her own fight against patriarchy. Her father, expecting a male child, left them when her mother gave birth to the fifth girl, leaving the family of five daughters and a mother to survive on their own. Shaheena’s mother embraced the challenges of patriarchy and raised her girls independent of any male support. She is also known as the first woman who drove a car to support her family in Turbat town where even today it is a taboo for most of the female professionals.

Shaheena grew up under a strong woman in a house with no dominant man to impose the patriarchal restrictions. Her mother’s struggle turned the challenges of patriarchy into new possibilities for her daughters, from there she set off on the journey to push further the boundaries for women in Baloch society. Here a generational struggle truly presents the larger Baloch society a immanent moment.

Shaheena began her journey with Dazgohar magazine, the first ever women’s journal in Balochi language to amplify the voice of Baloch women. The first edition of the magazine was published in 2014 when she was a young student. The immature journal stopped there, but she did not. She broke the next barrier by joining the entertainment industry through the state-run PTV Bolan. She started working as host of a morning show in September, 2012. Her role as a female editor of magazine did not attracted much attention. But the entertainment industry was a popular space with majority of its audience being male who could see their patriarchal power and the gender roles breaking apart on the screen.

However, such norms started changing with the capitalist advancement of technology across the globe on the eve of the new millennium. The change came to Baloch society much later and with a slow pace, but it did arrive. The breakdown of social structures created a new stratum of population that was forced by the material conditions of life to deviate against the established norms. The new opportunities created by the increasing monetization of economy and the new technology served as a tool for the growth of the new forms of expression and being within the Baloch society. Shaheena became the face of change. Her tool initially was the electronic media through which she gained outreach to almost every middle-class household in Balochistan. Although she along with a growing number of women in popular space were a source of entertainment for the male audience, but it also showed the women living under oppressive family structures the world beyond the boundaries enacted around them by their so called protectors.

The entertainment industry gave her fame and fortune which enabled her to confront the male dominance of the society and its religious and cultural dogmas. She chose the medium of art to express the agony of Baloch women of which her life story was just another chapter. She started studying fine-arts at the University of Balochistan in 2015 where she graduated with a gold medal. Her efforts indicate that she believed that Baloch women can break free from the chains of patriarchy with the right opportunities.

Her confrontation with the male dominated status quo did not go well for herself. She was forced to marry young with her mismatched cousin at the onset of her fame, as the male authority of the society could not tolerate a young unmarried woman becoming example for the women they suppress at home. She must have misjudged the Baloch patriarchy thinking that her marriage with her cousin will shut the criticism that were coming her way. This first major compromise of hers’ ended in complications and ultimately on divorce. This separation might have been a sigh of relief for her as she returned to her creativity, resuming her young dream of Dazgohar Magazine, and enriching her artistic capabilities in which she had started to craft her new image independent of her fame as a TV host. Her new life introduced her to new elite circles where she met her future husband and alleged murderer, Nawabzada Merhab Gichki.

Her marriage with a person of higher status was an ill-fated union. She knew no artificial boundaries of the regressive society and set on a path that cuts through not just economic and social status, but the notorious hierarchy of zat, the ‘tribal’ caste system of Makuran that still works as a major factor in social stratification. She made it to the glass ceiling, the limits of what a woman in Baloch society can achieve but no further. She had no place in the world of Mehrab Gichki, where crime meets social status and the armed religious dogmas.

Around six months before her murder she got married with Gichki despite her mother’s opposition to another mismatched union. Her husband for his so called status could not even openly admit the marriage. After a secret marriage she was forced to live a life away from the lime light, a life as desired by a criminal influenced by radical religious thoughts. She was forced to quit not just her profession as a host, but also to restrict her social and creative life. She was not seen in any social event for months before her murder. Her last wish was a child from her new marriage. On Saturday, the 5th of September she was taken to a house by her husband, where she was tortured and shot dead. Her murderer, allegedly her husband left the body with scars and slap marks, at district hospital’s entrance and walked away with no fear of whatever consequence her murder might bring.

Note: This feature story is written by Balochistan Marxist Review team in collaboration with the close companions and the family of Shaheena Shaheen.

Art and the Resistance: A Tribute to Shaheena Shaheen

When famous Spanish painter and artist Pablo Picasso painted one of the iconic paintings in history “Guernica” at his home in Paris, a Gestapo officer asked him “Did you do that?” to which Picasso replied, “No, you did it!”

Whether art should have a political purpose or not has for centuries been a subject of debate. Many argue that art cannot be separated from politics while others believe that the purpose of art is to please without any political objective.

The capitalist market forces commodify the very essence of art where its only purpose is to please the oppressive classes. But at the same time art has also been a form of struggle in the hands of revolutionary forces against oppression.

Our art is the art of resistance, the art of struggle, for a new world. We need to ignite the creative fire within us to untangle the false consciousness amongst our people through art. Art that could preserve our culture and identity. Art that could become a political force and bring a social change. Art that could decolonize our minds.

Shaheena Shaheen’s life was a struggle. Her art was resistance. She used her art to portray the resilience and struggle of women in Balochistan. Her self-portrait reminds us of Frida Kahlo that symbolises rebirth, miseries, but also a forlorn hope.

The art exhibition held in Mastung by various progressive groups pays tribute to her feminist art and her courage to become the voice of the voiceless.

We Can’t Afford You: Punjab Shuts Doors To Baloch Students

Picture By Kamil Baloch, Twitter @kamilSayed3, Bahaddin Zakariya University, Multan, 1st September 2020.

Eight years of the so-called “national cohesion* efforts, started in 2012 by then Chief Minister Punjab Shehbaz Sharif, near an end as universities of Punjab follow each other’s lead to shut their doors to Baloch students. The anti-student atmosphere building up in the public sector universities across the country coupled with Imran Khan’s privatization regime is having its immediate fall outs on the most marginalized strata mainly the formerly patronized students from Balochistan and erstwhile-FATA.

The rollback was initiated in Lahore’s Punjab University in 2018 when the number of reserved seats for Baloch students was cut half from 100 to 53. The decision was revised in the following year after protests but instead of a full restoration the number was increased only by 17 seats from 53 to 70. The unwilling restoration of 17 seats was also made on conditional bases – only for women applicants. The intentions of the varsity establishment are clear, the old policy of patronizing Baloch students under scholarship programs is no more in effect.

The lead set by Punjab University is now followed by Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan and Islamia University, Bahawalpur. Both public sector universities suspended their scholarship programs overnight after initially announcing admissions and accepting applications on reserve seats. The future of hundreds of students, mostly from middle and working classes, have been put in jeopardy by a politically motivated scholarship program that has lost its raison d’etre in the changing political relationships between Balochistan and the core.

Colonial-style Pacification of Baloch Youth

Unlike ordinary financial assistance offered by any welfare club, charity or university independently, the scholarships Baloch students availing since 2012 have been a part of larger political program, the so-called Aghaz-e-Haqooq-e-Balochistan package. The reconciliation package was presented before a joint setting of the Parliament on November 25, 2009 and was aimed at addressing province’s “sense of deprivation, in political and economic structures of the federation.” The original package was to address matters relating to constitution, politics, administration and economy.

The clause on education that suggests “special quota of scholarships” for the students of the province is the last among the 21 ‘Politically-related matters’ that needed to be addressed. The designers of the draft must have had a strong logic to put education among the politically related matters. Clearly, here education was used as a tool to address not just the political issues, but the Balochistan conflict in general. The Baloch students who have availed these scholarships since 2012 were looked in the campuses in Punjab as the personification of the conflict.

Punjab, dominating the core in the core-periphery relationship between the state and the provinces has created general resentment among the people at both ends. The more so in the ‘peripheral’ regions. This retrograde order of things has been fostered by the forces dominating the state structures that include the Punjabi bourgeoisie as well as their counterpart in the smaller provinces such as Balochistan. The aim has been to divide the masses on the base of their identity so that their resentment can serve the hegemonic order in Pakistan. As a result alienation has developed among the youth in peripheries, and a superior air exists among the Punjabi middle class and top bourgeoisie alike that has resulted into stereotypes about various sections of the populace.

There has been a number of relatively less politicized incentives given to the students of Balochistan through the package, such as the aid provided through the Higher Education Commission. But the Punjab centred initiative of implementing the same has been driven mainly by the objective of giving the marginalized Baloch youth exposure of life in Punjab. This exposure instead of building a positive image of Punjab among Baloch youth proved unproductive as the identity based organizations of Baloch youth in those campuses not just disappointed the policy makers but also threatened them with a presence of new and organised student political force that might turn troublesome in future if allowed to foster further – as seen time and again in the Punjab University where Baloch–Pashtun–GB students alliances quickly occupied socio–political space within the campus and posed seriously challenges to right wing student groups.

The Balochistan package was thrown to dustbin within a couple of years. The political forces behind the package withdrew their authority in the matters of Balochistan in order to save their hold in the centre. For example, Pakistan People’s Party which was politically empowered to introduce and implement such a reconciliatory package, by the popular support it garnered after the killing of Benazir Bhutto on 27 December, 2007. Butto’s party although itself a part of the so-called establishment could not sustain that empowerment in the matters such as Balochistan that have been under the influence of the military establishment.

The colonial-style exposure of Baloch youth to the life in the core under the package was supposed to bear fruit only with its implementation in letter and spirit. Failing to do so, Punjab universities gathered a crowd of Baloch students while the political and economic conditions kept deteriorating in Balochistan. As an ultimate result instead of pacifying the Baloch youth it has contributed into further marginalization. The idea that the youth can be incubated in de–politicised space of campus did not work.

Baloch students in the campuses of Punjab have grown into a political force organized under various bodies named ‘Councils’. The Baloch Councils have been an important part in the new students uprising in the urban centres of the country demanding restoration of the student’s unions and also entering into issue-based short term alliances with other student groups. The new opportunities created by the initiatives such as Balochistan package have contributed majorly into the creation of the new political force that is being dealt with through scholarship cuts.

Implicit Privatization of Higher Education

The International Monitory Fund program for Pakistan under Imran Khan’s Tehreek-E-Insaf government necessitates privatization through explicit and implicit means. Pakistan Steel Mills is one of such big names that is facing an explicit privatization attempt, a number of other public sector entities are listed to follow the suit. Behind this the real privatization regime exists in governments attempts to discourage public sector activities in order to create space for the private sector. The general attitude of the PTI government towards education may not suggest massive privatization plans but it is discouraging the growth of public sector institutions while the private bodies thrive with no regulations in the name of the ease of business.

These underhanded tactics have provided not just the federal government but also the provinces an excuse to get away with anti-student and anti-working class policies in the name of fiscal constraints. The Punjab institutes are trying to hide behind shortage of fund and demanding an hefty amount from Balochistan government to finance the program. Knowing the unwillingness of the provincial government to provide funds, the Punjab universities have crafted a perfect excuse to get away with scholarship cuts.

Balochistan government is already pursuing its own similar plans with the privatization of the Bolan Medical Collage, the leading medical college in the province. The other public sector universities are not declaring explicit privatization plans as of yet but are put in a perpetual state of funds shortage and a governance crisis. The biggest public sector institute in the province, the University of Balochistan, operates under a strict regime that can’t even be changed after issues such as UoB harassment scandals. In recent attempts to discourage students political and academic space the university has opted to a covert policy of minimum admissions. During the academic year 2019-20 out of over 600 applicants in English literature department over 50 students were awarded admissions while the universities can easily accommodate over 100 students with its existing teaching staff and infrastructure. The same has been the case with other social sciences departments which are considered as dens of politicized students who can raise voice against harassment scandals and anti-student policies of the campus establishments.

Reclaiming The Campuses

One of the major concerns of the students protesting BZU and Islamia university scholarship withdrawal is that the policy will trickle down to other campuses providing scholarships to Baloch students in Punjab. There are around 700 students who have applied for admission on scholarships this year alone who can fall victim of this attack on educational rights. Most of the affectees having no other means to sustain their costly studies in Punjab campuses without an aid, will be forced to abandon their studies or return to universities at home. In Balochistan, they have but a few options, UoB need no further description, University of Turbat while a growing university in an ‘education-loving’ environ has grown its own corrupt campus establishment. The UoT establishment runs the campus with the sheer force of nepotism negatively impacting its administrative matters, hiring of academic staff and admission policies alike. The same could be observed in the Lasbela University of Agriculture, Water and Marine Sciences, Uthal.

Students are yet again pushed to streets to fight against the curb on their right to quality education. The camp in front of BZU Multan is led by Baloch council the students body of Baloch students in Punjab universities. The hopes for restoration of scholarships through these protests are already depressed given the past records of the university establishment and their dealing with such student’s protests. As witnessed in the campaign against the BMC Act where despite rounds of talks the students and employees are yet again forced to sit-ins as there is no indication of policy change from government’s end. The only achievement such token strikes have had is the partial restoration of incentives that are once withdrawn. Such partial restorations as Punjab University did last year are aimed only to reduce the impacts while the policy drive remains effective with the threat of further curbs at any moment.

The protests that have been restricted so far to Baloch students and their demand for restoration of scholarship program need to connect with other campus issues such as the privatization of BMC and the general anti-student policies being followed in almost all public sector universities. Through the ban on students union the campus establishment across the country have maintained coherent policies of condemning the progressive student forces while allowing regressive forces to flourish and maintain their control over the campus life. In the face of privatization and depoliticization of campuses all the progressive student tendencies as well the lower staff of the universities are hit alike. The capitalist encroachment over the basic rights can only be stopped through the unity of students and their joint struggle alongside the working class for whom the privatization is a question of bread and butter.

Note: This article is a collective effort by Balochistan Marxist Review team.

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* The University of Punjab, Lahore announced its free education program for Baloch Students on April 17, 2012. The varsity allocated 100 reserve seats in its all departments for free education up to PhD with free hostel and a stipend of rupees three thousands per month. Then Vice Chancellor Prof. Dr. Mujahid Kamran while announcing the program was quoted saying that the initiative aimed to strengthen “national cohesion” and to promote bonds of brotherhood between the Baloch youth and the people of Punjab.

Birth of a Movement: Transformation of Bramsh Solidarity Committees

Picture by: Zahid Ali Baluch @ instagram.com/zahid_ali_baluch/ 22 August, 2020 at Karachi Press Club

Baloch society has entered into a new phase of political mobilization since the Dan’nuk incident1. A growing number of students, youth, and ordinary citizens, previously withdrawn from political activities during the ‘reign of terror’, a decade of state atrocities that is epitomised in the popular but also gory phrase of “kill and dump” started reclaiming the popular political space from the conventional nationalists as well as the king’s party. This mobilization is happening in the streets as well as on the social media, with a leading role of students and an unprecedented presence and participation of women. This new political force, comprising of students, youth, and intellectuals has started organizing independent of both bourgeoisie parliamentary parties and the separatist militant groups. Organizing on its own, crafting its own slogans, and perhaps most importantly, refusing to be a part of reactionary nationalism divided on the lines of personal interests of the elite leadership. The new phase of Baloch political mobilization is taking a shape of its own – a decentralized solidarity movement.

Since Bramsh incident, the new phase of mobilization has entered into its third and most intense wave of protests which were sparked by the killing of Hayat Baloch who was murdered by the Frontier Constabulary with such brutality that it shook the society to its core. Unlike the solidarity campaign for Bramsh, and the protests against killing of Kulsoom Bibi2, the new wave has spread to more constituencies not just in the native land of Hayat Baloch but also in major cities such as Karachi, Hyderabad, Lahore and Islamabad attracting crowds from progressive circles in the urban centres. Solidarities also poured in from the politically marginalized Pashtun areas such as Waziristan that has witnessed its own episode of atrocities in the hands of similar forces. The keynote protest event was held on 22 August3, nine days after the murder, despite the fact that all attempts were made by the law enforcement agencies to defuse the situation through symbolic actions. The Frontier Constabulary, known by its acronym FC, anticipating sensitivity of the matter, surrendered one of its soldiers into police custody. The police showed unprecedented proactiveness by proclaiming the arrest of the soldier, even before a FIR could be lodged. In the follow up, condemnations poured in from government officials which peaked on an unprecedented visit by the Inspector General of the paramilitary force to the victim family.

The masses mobilized in response to the killing of Hayat Baloch, refuse to give in to the manoeuvres by the government and PR exercises by the FC. The consecutive waves of protests have resulted as the realization of the vulnerability of the common people who live amidst a fractionated insurgency and an unchained paramilitary force. Another Bramsh incident, another murder of Kulsoom and Hayat appear written on the wall; thus, pushing a large number of politically conscious youth into the field of action, and bursting the bubble of fear. The random and unsynchronized solidarity committees in the name of Bramsh on their turn are converging into committees beyond any particular incident. The material conditions for a broader Baloch solidarity movement are in the making. A civil rights movement with potentials to become the dominant political force of the society seems viable.

This article aims at highlighting key aspects of the Bramsh solidarity committee phenomenon, the possibilities of its turning into a Baloch solidarity movement and the historical responsibility of progressive forces in an imminent political movement.

Birth of A Movement

To state the obvious, the three main incidents responsible for this new phase of mobilization – the murder of Maliknaz and Kulsoom in the hands of patronized criminal groups or death squads, and the murder of Hayat in the hands of FC are closely linked with the ongoing Balochistan conflict. The hostilities that started in early 2000 soon gave way to a war like situation. It culminated into two decades that are known for missing persons, mutilated bodies, and military operations. The groups responsible for the first two incidents, of Maliknaz and Kulsoom, were created mainly to counter the militancy. After serving their purpose these groups were not disbanded; soon, they started to attack the ordinary population, often the weakest section.

The victims of such groups have been mainly the working class population and the petty bourgeoisie or the middle class, consisting of small land owners and traders who struggle to make ends meet. The Baloch indigenous economy is either subsistence agricultural, livestock, or fishing economy operating under-resourced to meet household needs or the informal economy which runs parallel to the capitalist state economy. Nevertheless, the contribution of state economy on mass level is limited to government jobs which serve as the only sustainable source of income. The larger ‘primary’ economic sector of natural resources, has never been a part of indigenous economy, instead, it has turned into a tool of exploitation; therefore, limiting the economic options for the local population while strengthening the tribal elite and the security establishment in the resource rich areas, while making the situation worse for the lower classes.

The working class and petty bourgeoisie, while struggling with such economic hardships have to face the death squads and the security forces in their daily lives, while they work on their farms, manage their small shops, trade in the market, and even in their leisure – for example on picnic spots. These daily encounters have the utmost possibility of turning deadly any moment. This is what happened with Hayat Baloch and his family. It is the fait accompli of every peasant that goes to see his crop, every farmer that goes to the farm, every fishermen that goes to the sea, every shop owner who has to go the Bazar daily to earn a living.

“Hayat could have survived if he had enough time to clear the civil service examination and join the bourgeoisie through the bureaucratic channel but he wasn’t there as yet, instead he was son of a farmer who had to keep working on his farm despite bomb blasts and armed clashes.”

The Baloch bourgeoisie – comprising of the dominant tribal elite, along with its non – tribal large business owners, the monied politicians and bureaucrats – has a rare privilege in this security situation. Extracting the surplus created by the working class, or the money they have collected on their name, they have raised armies of their own. They have enough armed men to guard them from violent attacks, unlike the working class which is a soft target – either attacked easily for being a spy or who happens to be in the line of fire between the militants and the security forces in his daily quest for economic survival. The Baloch bourgeoisie avoid being killed in the hands of militants as well the security forces and death squads using either his armed men or the privileges it has gained due to the membership of the upper class status. Hayat could have survived if he had enough time to clear the civil service examination and join the bourgeoisie through the bureaucratic channel but he wasn’t there as yet, instead he was son of a farmer who had to keep working on his farm despite bomb blasts and armed clashes.

The bourgeois class have been dominating the political superstructure of Baloch society since 1990’s by occupying the top leadership in nationalist parties of different names. In these three decades, they have turned from ordinary sons of Sardars or Nawabs or Mirs, the middle class business owner and bureaucrat into capitalist rent-seekers who own multi – billion businesses and real estate here and abroad and have established partnerships with various tycoons. The capital they have accumulated resides abroad and does not makes any appearance at home except in the elitist lifestyle of their children who proudly and shamelessly flaunt their upper class status in a society living at the edge of economic desperation and social chaos. In Balochistan where the bourgeoisie have its political roots in the nationalist politics they never admit to their own economic and social privileges, instead their entire politics is based on the illusion that the exploitation of Baloch and Balochistan is national and thus constant across the boundaries of economic class and social status.

The politically conscious strata of lower classes have historically affiliated themselves with the bourgeoisie leadership since the emergence of popular nationalist politics in 1980s and its maturity in the proceeding decade. This affiliation has however changed over the years as the bourgeoisie class proved repeatedly their incapability to lead the society towards social justice leave alone national revolution. The failure of bourgeoisie leadership has contributed to the alienation of masses from political process in general resulting in a political gap and the rise of nationalist militancy followed by a ruthless counter insurgency regime. Various non-conventional and independent bodies in the form of either civil society, students’ unions, or localized solidarity groups in response of recent events are emerging out of this political gap.

The Solidarity Committees

Over the past decade of terror, a new generation has grown up that is now an active part of students and youth politics. This new generation, like Hayat Baloch, wants to think and act beyond conflict, they are politically conscious of their economic conditions, the rottenness of their social structures, and the corruption of national leadership. They are fed-up of unpleasant daily encounters they have with the security forces at check posts, in their campuses, on the farms, and on the streets. They refuse to live under the fear of death squads, they don’t want to be led by a corrupt leadership, they want to live with freedom and dignity. This is the new political force, the raw material for an ensuing social movement born out of a deadly conflict situation.

In Makkuran, where the above mentioned three prominent incidents happened the new wave of protests are led by the civil society which is dominated by the students. Civil society is a new phenomenon in Balochistan which emerged with increasing urbanization and the resulting civic sense among the educated youth and intellectuals. The corruption and overall lack of concern in the state institutions administering these urban centres has resulted into an acute lack of amenities. The condition of educational institutes and health felicities is worst even in rapidly growing towns like Turbat and Panjgur with no adequate infrastructure and utilities such as gas, electricity and water supply. The organization of educated youth and intellectuals into various kinds of social groups have been a response to this deficit in civic services. Amid a depoliticized atmosphere, the civil society has been a vibrant social force accommodating within its ranks active forces from across the society, including students organized within campuses.

The conflict situation and its belligerent forces, the state and militants have hardly been the subject of interest for the civil society before the recent protests. The Dan’nuk incident pushed the civil society out in the streets in solidarity with a victim of a situation that it has always avoided to consider into its agenda. The civil society although has all the necessary ingredients to initiate an event-based solidarity campaign, is far from leading a sustainable movement of political significance. The constraints of civil society became visible soon after the formation of Bramsh solidarity committees that could not translate the momentum into social and political structures to create a sustainable force. With the condemnation of a criminal act and its political patronage, and the expression of solidarity with the victim, the civil society has served its purpose – reaching the limits of its structural capacity.

Need for a Progressive Movement

The resolution of an armed conflict and an end to arbitrary rule by the state forces is a question of political authority over the society and cannot be resolved without the organization of masses under a revolutionary program that enables them to take the political authority in their own hands. The dominant political forces of Baloch society, hitherto, have failed to perform this historical task in a tribal society that is in the middle of a modern nation building project. In the absence of an organized progressive political force the civil society in its various forms is inclined to fall prey to the reactionary nationalists who have already started influencing the solidarity committees in different cities. The national bourgeoisie is struggling to reclaim the political authority over the society that it has lost a decade earlier. While on the other hand the more radical groups are also trying to reclaim their support base through tried and tested methods.

The killing of Hayat Baloch is transforming the Bramsh solidarity committees in their respective constituencies. A transformation that has the potential to emerge in the form of Baloch solidarity movement against the arbitrary rule of state on Baloch society and the impunity that it has given to abduction and killing of the youth. It is the historical responsibility of the progressive tendencies to fight against the attempts by the reactionary forces to manipulate this transformation for their political gain. The progressive students, intellectuals, and the working class parties need to unite, organize and strengthen their bonds with the masses that is the only way the reactionary forces can be defeated and a new progressive political force can be built from within the society.

Note: This article is a collective effort by Balochistan Marxist Review team.


1 On 26th May, 2020 armed men stormed a house in Dan’nuk area in the outskirts of Turbat city in south-west Balochistan killing a woman Malik Naz and seriously injuring her four years old daughter Bramsh. One of the culprits was apprehend by vigilant neighbours was identified as a member of one of the many criminal gangs operating in Makkuran region. The incident became an epitome of anger among the masses against the criminal groups known as death squads. A viral video of little Bramsh on a hospital bed crying for her mother resulted into a wave of protests across Balochistan and the formation of Bramsh solidarity committees.

2 On the night of 14th June, 2020 Kulsoom a working class women was murdered in front of her children during a robbery in Tump area of Kech district. The incident further inflamed the anger of the masses and resulted into a new wave of protests to follow the earlier campaign against Dan’nuk incident.

3 On 22nd August 2020, a day of protests was marked in solidarity with Hayat Baloch who was killed by Frontier Constabulary on 13th of August in Absar area of Kech district. The protests originally called by Karachi University based Baloch Educational Students Organization, the students body Hayat was affiliated with, was later joined by Bramsh solidarity committees and other progressive organizations all across Pakistan. Protests demonstrations, candle light vigils and solidarity marches were held in at least 32 districts.