Are the people of Balochistan not human enough for us?

Published: August 9, 2016

Family members of the victims mourn the death of loved ones in the massive explosion that took place in Quetta. PHOTO: AFP

Nations can be judged in times of tragedy. How they live, how they breathe and how they react to an atmosphere of fear, fire and blood, tells a lot about them. As a nation, which has seen years of relentless bloodshed, bombings, beheadings and coffins, the Baloch, Pakhtuns and Hazaras of Balochistan are amongst the most resilient people our region’s history has witnessed. They have been cut down, mauled, killed in their own homes – yet they do not react irrationally nor do they retaliate barbarically in return. Such resilience and patience is beyond compare in modern times.

However, if we are to judge the Pakistani ‘nation’, we have unfortunately failed miserably in the face of these same odds. We do not reach out to help, cower in our homes, or raise our voices for more than one day before going back to sleep the next day. Yesterday’s harrowing incident in Quetta is another prime example. How long will the residents of Quetta die at the hands of the terrorists for the rest of Pakistan to realise that there is a serious problem that needs to be addressed?

When the Hazara braved the freezing cold and rested their martyrs on the road a couple of years ago, every empathetic soul felt their pain. To brave the weather is one thing but to do it with the bodies of their loved ones was heart-breaking. Even then it took our stone faced government days to reach Quetta and ask them about their worries. The negotiations, even then, centred around the Hazara ending their protest rather than solving their security issues. It only took a couple of months for the incident to repeat itself with another hundred or more souls becoming victim of Balochistan government’s security failure.

Are the people of Balochistan not human? Is their blood of no value or is it not red in colour? Why does it require a hundred casualties or more, for the government and the bureaucracy to actually acknowledge that Balochistan exists? The black screens, sad faces, official tweets of condemnation are not a replacement for concrete measures to rectify the situation.

How many Baloch have died at the hands of banned groups such as Lashkar e Jhangvi (LeJ), yet the government refuses to carry out any action against them. Was the killing of innocent men, women and children returning home in buses a year ago not enough to warrant any operation against them? Are we afraid of the terrorists more than they are afraid of us?

The coverage received by the Quetta incident is another case in point. There is an outpour of condemnation against the cruel act and almost every politician has been on record to condemn the incident. However, nobody has been able to say or suggest what really needs to be done to tackle the situation. Will the Punjab government allow military action to be taken against LeJ which has its headquarters in Southern Punjab? This incident has been claimed by a splinter group within the Taliban but what is it that differentiates these groups from each other?

To be honest, nothing.

All these groups kill, maim and behead in the name of a pseudo-religious ideology which they believe in. If that is a fact, then why are we differentiating between them? If the actions are the same, then why is there an operation against the Taliban and none against other banned groups, who help and support them?

I am sure the media will highlight the suffering of Balochistan as it has in the past. I am sure that the statements of Nawaz Sharif made in Quetta yesterday will be televised for days. What I am not sure of is, will the blood of our brethren bear any fruit in that barren land?

Dear Quetta, I pray for you.



The author holds an MPhil in Public Administration and has taught Politics and Public Policy at the University of Karachi.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Jay

    No Baluchi are not human enough for Pakistani. Kashmiris ? ohhhhh yes they are more humans ! Palestines ? OHHH yes they too are humans , Rohingya Muslims , sure they too are humans . Pakistan is always the ” Thekedaar ” of Muslims world over , sadly they never care to see within !Recommend

  • Usman K

    To answer your question : yes! they are. They are our brothers and fellow countrymen! Any loss of Baloch blood is akin to loss of blood anywhere in our country. These are true sentiments of Pakistanis everywhere. We love this piece of land like our own. The Baloch, the Hazaras, the Shias and Sunnis there all are our people!
    May Allah bring respite to the people of Pakistan from such heinous acts. Terrorism has no religion. But that doesn’t mean that its not being fueled by fanaticism. We need to wake up to the reality and own the true message of Islam and deny the fanatics any space in our homelandRecommend

  • Bana Post

    India can send the medical crew to help the victimsRecommend

  • oats

    We all know that India is behind this cowardly act through their agents in Afghanistan. Rather than offer to “help” maybe you should ask yourself what Indian agents have gained by killing innocent civilians in Baluchistan. You know the majority of Baluchis as well as other groups in Baluchistan such as Pashtuns are all proud Pakistanis whereas the people in Indian occupied Kashmir do not want to be part of India. Trying to distract from Indian terrorism in occupied Kashmir bu such acts is not going to go anywhere.Pakistanis stand behind all of the people in each of every province and feel their pain. Unofrtunately, Quetta is close to the border with Afghanistan where Indian and Afghan agents cross the border to commit crimes of cowardice against Pakistani civilians. The people of Pakistan will not let Indian aggression derail CPEC or investment which is the real aim of these anti state actors. The Baluchis will see their province develop under CPEC and this is what scares the enemies of Pakistan. In honor of the victims, all Pakistanis must ensure that work on CPEC and the uplift of the province is done even faster to thwart Indian designs.This is a time for Pakistanis to stand together and not give Indians satisfaction.Recommend

  • Juan

    I think since the APS attack, Pak nation, or at least the authorities, have taken notice, though unfortunately not in the past, like on the Hazaras. But there was also a certain level of apathy to bombings in other provinces as well, not just Balochistan. I’m usually not optimistic and very critical, but I honestly believe there will be a strong reaction and crackdown, compared to the past, to find the culprits…at least I pray there will.

    There have been arrests of LeJ activists in Punjab, Karachi and other parts of Pakistan, including rooting them, and their affiliates, out from the North in the Zarb-e-Azb operation. I don’t want to make light of this massacre, but holistically speaking terrorist violence has been on the decline. However, I believe there will be more attacks on soft targets in the rest of the country, a tactic terrorists won’t stop, though less frequent from before as they are on the ropes and somewhat displaced.Recommend

  • 19640909rk .

    ” Terrorism has no religion” – you can say this all the time, but how hollow does it sound, do you realise? Is there any person from other religion who is involved in terrorism world wise- other than Mualims????Recommend

  • 19640909rk .

    Pakistan has been cleansing Baluchistan populace from their own ands. Tis is just to exploit their mineral riches. Contractors and businessmen from Punjab want to loot their wealth. Baluchis need world wide support to gain their independence.Recommend

  • Rohan

    Baloch are 2nd class for the punjabis who rule Pakistan Recommend

  • Indian

    Very touching writeup from a rare brave individual who dares speak the truth. Reality that everyone knows is that Punjabis think they are the only real Pakistan and rest do not matter. If an honest plebiscite is conducted across Pakistan, except for Punjab ALL provinces will vote for independence. And here we are trying to “save” Kashmir!!Recommend

  • Grace

    Comments like yours only confirm the real truth in the minds of Pakistanis that India is behind this horrible act. India routinely uses Afghanistan as a base for attacks on Pakistani civilians to distract the world from their own atrocities in Indian occupied Kashmir. Just so you know, most Baluchis and all of the people in Quetta (Hazara, Baluch, Pashtun, Muhajir) are very pro Pakistani. We should agree to hold a plebiscite there as long as India holds one in occupied Kashmir and you will see the truth.Recommend

  • Maria

    Can’t believe ET allows Indian propaganda unfiltered. See how Indians celebrate death of people in Pakistan. Shows you their mentality.Recommend

  • Rohan
  • Meh Wish

    what would be the impact of this blast on the multinationals?Recommend

  • siesmann

    Stop living in delusions,and confront your Mullahs who preach hate and murder.Recommend

  • siesmann

    Just a mention-you forget Ahmadis who are by far the most persecuted even by the persecuted ones you mention.And when did they resist ever?
    Pakistanis have to realize that there is something very wrong in the Islam that their Mullahs teach and they practice,Mullah is a subhuman creature who only thinks of shedding blood ,and will find his prey wherever he can. Mullahs have made Islam into a death cult,and a most hated religion in the world. Cliches like “Islam this and that–” don’t work any more.Islam that Muslims wants others to believe need to be first practiced to be taken as authentic.Blaming outsides for your own deficiencies never works.Is Muslim so low-life that he will blow himself up to kill his own for money. ?People do become traitors for money,but have you ever heard of any other faith that its adherents will kill themselves for others.If Muslims do,then here is something very wrong with Islam they practice.Recommend

  • Bana Post

    *India is behind this cowardly act through their agents.* then what u r doing in India through your agents in India Kashmir in particular.We have seen much more effective than the project CPEC (chinese zakat). Its really shame when you boast about CPEC. 60 odd years have passed since independence and you are not able hatch an
    indigenous project.Adding that it seems to be the whole future Pakistan lays on CPEC. Dont you feel shame. U need the Chinese help even for everything. The whole world laughs at we you cry for CPEC. U cannot achieve integration in you state as you failed to set up a constitution like India THANKS to your khakis and corrupt politicians. U need at least 50 years from 2016 to become a moderate Islamic Republic. Advance happy Independence dayRecommend

  • numbersnumbers

    Wow, and just WHERE is your proof of Indian Involvement in the face of Taliban types screaming themselves hoarse taking credit???Recommend