Balochistan: A Pearl Among the Debris of Nations of Hate, Religious Extremism and Terrorism
Balochistan’s strength and uniqueness in the region lies in the fact that the Baloch culture is secular and tolerant. To a Baloch, religion is a very private matter and they don’t appreciate when others try to impose their beliefs on them. Many who do practice their faith, are moderately religious but they are quite spiritual. It is not unusual to find a Baloch who is an Agnostic, Atheist, Christian, Hindu, Jew, Muslim, Zikri or some other belief.
Unfortunately, the region in which Balochistan resides is infested with religiously intolerant people. In Iran, most Baloch and Kurds (who are moderate Sunni Muslims) are persecuted on religious grounds due to their conflicting religious beliefs with the majority Shia Muslims. The Iranians either eliminated or expelled the Bahais, Christians and the Jews from Iran. Now they are adamant about “cleansing” Iran of the non-Shia Baloch and Kurds.
In Pakistan, the Christians, Hindus and Parsis are either forced to convert to Islam or imprisoned under the blasphemy laws. Out of fear of persecution by the government or lynching by the Islamic zealots, members of other religions keep a low profile and live the rest of their lives in fear.
The military personnel in Pakistan are systematically trained to hate Hindus and make “Allaho Akbar” as their battle cry to fight India in case of war. These days, they are being trained to think of Baloch as “pygmies” and godless people who worship their Sardars. The Punjabi officer of the Frontier Corp regularly brainwash their Pashtun soldier to kill the Baloch because it is “Jihad” (holy war) to purify Pakistan of infidels.
It is customary for every “mullah” (preacher) in mosques throughout Pakistan to preach hate towards America, India and Israel (in that specific order). They encourage their congregation that it is the duty of every Muslim to wage Jihad against the “Kafirs” (infidels) and kill every American, Indian and Israeli on the planet.
During a Friday prayer at a mosque in the F-7/2 sector of Pakistan’s most liberated city, Islamabad, a learned scholar was giving the usual sermon. An American stood up and objected. He stated that he is an American Muslim and it is not right to preach hate and killing of innocent people. This gentleman didn’t realize that he was standing among intolerant people; the situation became tense and his friend whisked him out of the mosque before the enraged mob could lynch him to death.
During the Taleban’s reign of Afghanistan, the local authorities persecuted the Hazara tribe (descendents of the Genghis Khan the Great of Mongolia) on the bases of their oriental race and religious beliefs. To express their intolerance, the Talebans even decided to desecrate Buddhist religious artifacts by destroying the world’s largest statue of Lord Buddha.
A liberal Iran, which was ruled by the late Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, was toppled and replaced by an Islamic theocracy headed by the late Ayatullah Khomeini. The Iranian clergy imposed rules to promote religious extremism resulting in deaths or displacement of its citizens to other parts of the world. Once they purged their country of moderate Muslims, they embarked on a program to turn their country into a center for international terrorism.
In Afghanistan, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Mujahideen forces began to form a democratic government. Pakistan didn’t have good relations with some of the Mujahideen commanders, especially with the late Ahmed Shah Masood. Therefore, it was not in Pakistan’s long-term strategic interest to allow a stable Mujahideen government to flourish in Afghanistan.
Pakistani intelligence agencies built over 4,000 “madrassas” (religious seminaries) throughout Pakistan, primarily in the Pashtun dominated areas. These madrassas owned the land on which they were built, and they were self-sustaining. They were usually constructed using two economically viable models. One was built as a two-story building so they can have shops at the ground level for rent, and the top floor to have classrooms and dormitories. The second model was built as one huge courtyard surrounded by classrooms and dormitories, and the outside parameter had shops to rent. It was important that there were enough shops to rent in order to sustain these madrassas.
The “Talebs” (students) were systematically taught religious intolerance and extremism towards moderate Muslims like the Mujahideens of Afghanistan and Hindus of India.
Pashtun “Talebans” (group of Talebs), mainly from the Afghan refugee camps, were brainwashed into believing that Afghan Mujahideens were not true Muslims, and therefore, they should not rule an Islamic Afghanistan. These enraged Talebans returned to Afghanistan and toppled the newly formed Mujahideen government, and governed Afghanistan until the Americans ended their rule. Meanwhile, the Punjabi Talebs were sent into India to commit terrorist activities primarily in the Kashmir region.
These madrassas evolved into centers that trained its students in religious intolerance, extremism and terrorism. Gradually they turned their attention inwards and started to turn against those who differed in their beliefs, especially the Shia Muslims of Pakistan. The root cause of sectarian intolerance and violence in Pakistan are these madrassas. They have now turned into centers of religious extremism.
The world’s two most dangerous terrorist organizations are Iran’s Pasdar force and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). They are mainly targeting Afghanistan, India, Israel and the US. The Iranians are supporting terrorist activities in Afghanistan, Iraq and Israel; and the Pakistanis are stirring trouble in Afghanistan and India. Since the US forces are present in both Afghanistan and Iraq, the Iranians and Pakistanis are fighting a proxy war with the Americans.
Pakistan’s ISI is collaborating with Al-Qaeda to spread terrorism around the globe. The September 11, 2001 attack on the US was planned and executed by ISI using Muslims of non-Pakistani origin so that the blame is placed on those countries that have cordial relations with the US.
Policy makers in the US are mistaken to consider Pakistan as their “ally against terrorism”. American taxpayers are paying billions of dollars to Pakistan each year to combat terrorism. But, in essence, Al-Qaeda is Pakistan’s goose that lays golden eggs; so, why would they foolishly kill the goose to appease the Americans? Therefore, it is not in Pakistan’s interest to end global terrorism, instead they are keen to fuel it.
Pakistan knows very well that they can cover their tracks and easily deceive the world community into believing that they are doing everything possible to nab members of Al-Qaeda. Whenever there is pressure from the US, the Pakistani forces go on a killing spree into the villages of Waziristan and massacre innocent men, women and children, and afterwards claim that they killed Al-Qaeda fighters.
The world has not seen the worse side of global terrorism yet. Nuclear-armed Pakistan collaborating with Iran to build their nuclear arms industry has upped the stakes. Now, the world’s two major terrorist countries have a-bombs, and they are ready to blackmail the global community into submission. Time is of the essence, and the world powers must act fast to neutralize both Iran and Pakistan.
The only ray of hope to stabilize the Middle East and South Asian region is to end the Iranian and Pakistani regimes, dismantle their nuclear arms, and revise the curriculum at religious seminaries. It is a long process to retrain the extremist Talebs to be tolerant. But, the rapid economic development in Balochistan will bring positive change, prosperity and liberalism in the region.
Mir Azaad Khan Baloch
Desk of The Government of Balochistan in Exile
The World Baloch Jewish Alliance Building
PO Box 5631