A plague of suicide in Balochistan

Updated March 31, 2015

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The Baloch have spent decades chasing a world that never existed.—Ali Shah
The Baloch have spent decades chasing a world that never existed.—Ali Shah

Abdul Razzaq Baloch knew what he was doing when he left his friend’s house in Lyari, on the evening of March 24, 2013. He must have discussed it with a friend or left a note to his family, for how else could one explain his turning up dead and mutilated four months later from Surjani Town?

Razzaq, mutilated his own face beyond recognition; took a razor to cut his face meticulously and then dabbed acid on it, before strangling himself.

He is not alone.

From 2010 to 2013, 592 Baloch followed the path of self-mutilation.

Khuzdar, Kalat, Mastung, Panjgoor, Turbat are just some of the places where one could find the suicidal Baloch, who believe in ending their lives in the most gruesome ways. This disease has engulfed the entire population of Balochistan.

Last year, the Balochistan Government told us that 800 bodies were found in Balochistan in the three and a half years before.

Explore: Shrine to the Disappeared

Sources said that 466 victims were identified as ethnic Baloch, 123 as Pakhtuns, and 107 from other ethnicities. Meanwhile, 107 bodies remained unidentified.

The unidentified ones were likely to have mutilated themselves beyond recognition, before rolling over to a random street and ending up dead.

This is Balochistan for you, where the dead keep turning up in the streets. No wonder the state is not paying attention, no wonder there is a media blackout on the issue and no wonder websites containing details of incidents in Balochistan are swiftly blocked.

God forbid this plague ever spread to the rest of the country. Imagine the havoc it would create if the bodies turned up in Lahore, Karachi or, worse of all, Islamabad!

Now that would be a human rights issue warranting international attention. But not Balochistan; for it is the land of the invisible.

Have you heard of Mama Qadeer? He took 10 women and children and walked for five months to get from Quetta to Islamabad on foot, all because he was looking for his son Jalil.

Take a look: Stopped from going to US, Mama Qadeer thinks of going to SC

Can someone please tell him that Jalil abducted himself and might be turning up dead any minute now?

Why bother the state for a personal issue? It is good that not many people know his name and for those that do, there are too many who are afraid to do anything about it. I mean, who wouldn’t be?

Let me tell you what I think is the problem with the Baloch: they have spent decades chasing a world that never existed.

Just a few months ago, I met Lateef Johar, a young man who was near death because he was on a hunger strike to bring justice to his ‘abducted’ colleague.

Johar looked me in the eye and said:

“When we read Mao or Che, we are picked up and tortured. We are treated inhumanly. I say jail us, take us to court, treat us as political prisoners but to abduct, kill-and-dump is pure injustice...”

Now, that is what you call wishful thinking.

Every other month, there’s yet another report from a human rights organisation urging the government to take action; to let people see the mass graves and the piles of mutilated dead bodies that lie buried. I say, we should ignore them altogether.

After all, what good can we ever get from letting our guards down, calling a spade a spade and being human for a change?

Certainly, there must be other fathers out there with issues; why waste our precious time on Mama Qadeer?

See: A history of betrayals and disillusionment

The people of Balochistan are better off living in the fear of death, knowing that when it comes, they will not even have the chance to say goodbye to their loved ones.

They are better off raising their children with the warning that one day, they might be called in to recognise an unidentified body and that when their time comes, they should know how to do it.

Let us not give Farzana Baloch any hopes that Zakir will turn up alive some day.

Let us just be honest about our cowardice once and for all.


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