The BNP’s grand peace march in Balochistan is a testament to the enduring determination of the people of the region to address the critical issues they face. It serves as a vivid demonstration of their collective strength and commitment to seeking justice, peace, and resolution. While there may be differences in the perception of the events, it is essential that dialogue and understanding prevail, leading to comprehensive solutions that can alleviate the grievances and concerns of the people of Balochistan. It is only through open and sincere communication that progress can be made, and the march itself is a testament to the power of peaceful assembly and the voices of the people.
President of the Balochistan National Party, Sardar Akhtar Jan Mengal, eloquently voiced the concerns and hopes of countless Baloch people when he addressed the protestors at Ayub Stadium in Quetta. In his powerful speech, he shed light on the painful reality that mutilated bodies are not an uncommon sight in Balochistan. These grim and horrifying discoveries are a stark reminder of the relentless cycle of violence that has haunted the province for far too long.
The BNP’s rise to prominence in the political landscape of Balochistan has been grounded in their ability to resonate with the people’s aspirations and concerns. It is not by the conscience of the rulers but by the power of the people that this party has earned its place in the political arena. Their demand is simple but profound: a peaceful Balochistan. A region that has been marred by conflict, suffering, and violations of human rights for too many years deserves nothing less.
The warning issued by Information Minister John Achakzai, regarding a possible violation of Section 144, the legal provision meant to maintain public order, underscores the lengths to which the BNP is willing to go to make their voices heard. It is a testament to their determination and dedication to their cause. The challenges posed by the government should not deter the pursuit of justice.
The concerns raised by Sardar Mengal about the neutrality of the federal and provincial supervisory governments are crucial. In a democratic society, neutrality and fairness in elections are fundamental to the democratic process. In a setup that lacks these crucial elements, a truly neutral election can never take place. Any harm that befalls Sardar Mengal, any BNP worker, or any protestor must be traced back to the supervisory institutions at both federal and provincial levels, which raises important questions about their roles in ensuring justice and fairness.
Sardar Akhtar Jan Mengal’s stark declaration that the caretaker set-up in both the center and Balochistan serves as an undertaker, the grave digger, is a poignant commentary on the state of affairs in the province. The people of Balochistan are tired of living under the shadow of conflict and insecurity. They deserve better.
Perhaps one of the most sobering moments in his speech was the statement that the blood of Baloch people is possibly worth less than water. This serves as a call to conscience, not just for the people of Balochistan but for all citizens of Pakistan. The world’s attention often turns to global crises, but the grievances of the Baloch people are equally deserving of empathy and action.
Sardar Mengal’s words regarding the silence and apathy surrounding the situation in Balochistan, in contrast to the outpouring of emotions and support for other global issues such as Palestine and Kashmir, should give us pause for thought. It is an uncomfortable truth that the suffering in Balochistan has too often gone unnoticed and unaddressed.
The responsibility does not rest solely with the government. Sardar Mengal’s callout of the chiefs, nawabs, nationalist, and religious parties for their silence and fear is a stark reminder that the entire society shares a collective responsibility for addressing the suffering in Balochistan.
As the BNP continues its struggle, we must recognize that their demands are not just a call for justice and peace in Balochistan; they are a call for justice and peace for all of Pakistan. The government, as well as the international community, must take heed of this call and work together to resolve the deep-seated issues that have plagued the province for too long. The time for action is now, and the people of Balochistan deserve no less.
In a remarkable display of resilience and determination, the Balochistan National Party organized a grand peace march, defying Section 144 restrictions in the city of Quetta. Despite the challenges, a vast number of party workers and fervent supporters made their way to the city to voice their concerns and demand justice for the people of Balochistan. This peaceful march was an embodiment of their unwavering commitment to addressing the pressing issues facing the province.
The BNP’s peace march, led by party president Sardar Akhtar Mengal, embarked on its journey from Wadh, covering an impressive distance of 370 kilometers. What made this event truly remarkable was the unity displayed by the workers and supporters who joined the caravan from various towns and cities including Khuzdar, Sorab, Kalat, Mangacher, Khadkocha, and Mastung. This show of solidarity served as a powerful symbol of the shared aspirations of the people of Balochistan.
The grand procession reached Ayub Stadium in Quetta, with participants forming a massive convoy on Sariab Road. The sheer number of participants underscored the magnitude of the issues they sought to address and the collective determination to find solutions. The gathering also prompted a robust security response, with the deployment of police forces along the roads around Chaman Phatak to ensure the safety of the public convoys arriving from different parts of the province, such as Kali Ismail, Alamo Chowk, Sarki Kalan, Nichari, Eastern Bypass, and Hazarganj.
The march did not proceed without its share of controversy. Upon reaching Kalat, the Caretaker Information Minister, Jan Achakzai, issued a warning of legal action due to the violation of Section 144 restrictions. He expressed the government’s commitment to resolving the issues and claimed that a committee had been established for this purpose. Despite two meetings held by this committee, no BNP representatives participated. This raised concerns about the communication gap between the government and the BNP leadership. Yet, amid these developments, another statement emerged from the caretaker Minister of Information in Balochistan, highlighting the complex nature of the situation. The statement clarified that the BNP chief was misinformed without confirmation and that the doors of Ayub Stadium remained open to the March participants. Security was provided to ensure their safety, and no obstacles were placed along the entire route of the march, allowing all protestors to enter the stadium.
The BNP’s decision to organize this peace march was prompted by a host of critical issues plaguing the region. The announcement of the march came on October 12, in response to concerns about the troubling situation in Wadh, Khuzdar, the recovery of missing persons, death squads, kidnapping for ransom, and the broader challenges to law and order in Balochistan. These issues have been a source of anguish and frustration for the people of Balochistan for far too long.
The BNP’s call to action extended beyond the march itself, as they also announced their intention to block national highways on October 26, further emphasizing their determination to bring attention to these pressing issues. Such actions are indicative of the urgency and gravity of the problems facing Balochistan and the party’s resolve to seek redress.