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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 September 2006, 11:30 GMT 12:30 UK
Peace Day: Balochistan
Even as I write, I am afraid of that knock on my door.

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Map of Balochistan
Name: Najeebullah Marri Baloch
Lives: Balochistan

I am afraid that I may be picked up and lost to the world forever. Since 1945, the people of Balochistan have been waiting for the day when the world will finally wake up to their suffering.

I wonder if a "Peace Day" will ever result in ending the miseries and sense of alienation that the people of Balochistan feel and endure.

The "war zone" I live in is in very bad shape. State bombardment of our areas means that we often find the disfigured bodies of our children.

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The bodies of our elders killed in so-called "military operations" are brought in locked coffins and we are not even allowed to perform their last rites.

Thousands of Balochis are in the custody of the state's secret services.

No charges are brought against them, they are never produced before any court and most of them are never found.

Military camps

Is this Pakistan's very own Guantanamo Bay? Why are human rights organisations and the UN silent on this?

Investment - to any sane, logical person - means the construction of schools, universities and other facilities, and no one can oppose any of that.

But it seems that as far as the Pakistani state is concerned, investment in Balochistan means the construction of military camps and containment areas.

These areas do not border India and do not face any foreign threats. Then what purpose do these camps serve?

If peace could be forced at gun point then Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine would not still be aflame.

the Pakistani media is a victim ... of self-censorship

I know it's hugely difficult for me to take the story of my home and my land to the outside world.

But I wonder why journalists, brought in on a military helicopter to witness Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti being buried by a dozen common labourers, couldn't ask relevant questions.

It seems like the Pakistani media is a victim not so much of the state's will but of self-censorship.

The people of Balochistan are a free-minded and independent lot, and if the government of Pakistan - after numerous military operations in its short history of 50 years - has still not been able to understand that, then I do not know what the way forward can be.

For thousands of Baloch people, peace has remained elusive. We haven't seen even a single day of peace in years, not even on 21 September.




SEE ALSO
Balochistan peace dialogue urged
14 Sep 06 |  South Asia
Balochistan bombing 'kills five'
08 Sep 06 |  South Asia
Pakistan's battle over Balochistan
26 Aug 06 |  South Asia

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