By Dr Amjad Ayub Mirza
Glasgow [UK], August 13 (ANI): Sindhi, Baloch, Pashtun and certain nationalist groups in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan have announced that they will not celebrate the 73rd Pakistan Independence Day on August 14. Instead, they will be observing a Black Day.
Since righteous voices are meet with brutal repression and it is too risky to have such observance in Pakistan, it has been decided that the discontent will be demonstrated through a series of car rallies across Europe, America and Canada. The anti-Pakistan car rallies by Pakistani diaspora have been planned which will protest against forced disappearance, extrajudicial killings and ongoing persecution and manhunt of nationalists and political as well as human right activists.
The decision to mark August 14 as a Black Day comes as a shock to many as it is in stark contrast to the perceived mindset of people who had previously claimed to be bound together by a sentiment of religious association and who considered themselves as a united body of an imaginary nation they proudly called Pakistan.
In this article, I set out to demonstrate how the people of Pakistan have finally ended up calling for its breakup- a country carved out of the living body of Hindustan, under the leadership of Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
In order to comprehend the genesis of Pakistan one has to look at the separatist ideology that developed at the end of the 19th century. It was among a section of the Urdu-speaking Muslim intelligential of North India that the idea of Muslims being separate clout took rooting, which by 1906 snowballed into becoming a crucible for Muslim League.
The British, who had cunningly colonised Hindustan, saw an opportunity to further divide the common people of the country and formed a separate electorate for the Muslims. The Morley-Minto Reforms, which ended up in the culmination of the India Council Act of 1909, divided Hindustan's electorate on the basis of religion. The seed for a separate nation-state to be carved out in the sub-continent was sowed through the implementation of the above-mentioned India Council Act.
The rest is history. Pakistan was not voted for but assembled by putting together pieces carved out of India by the Westminster and by drawing lines across Muslim majority parts of North India and Bengal. Hence the country that became independent was India and not Pakistan since the latter was created artificially on the basis of a communal divide that was fostered through the India Council Act.
The creation of Pakistan resulted in the worst and probably the first genocide on communal lines in the modern history. A religious nationalistic fanaticism among the Muslims of North India and the United Provinces ended up displacing 10 million people and leaving one million massacred. The Urdu-speaking Muslim elite who migrated to Pakistan, settled in Karachi, Hyderabad and other cities in the Province of Sindh.
It did not take long for the people of Pakistan to realise that they had a serious problem within the newly formed state. On March 19, 1948, the founder of Pakistan Muhammad Ali Jinnah arrived at Dacca airport. On March 21, he was received by a jubilant crowd at the Dacca Race Course ground where he addressed the people of the Eastern (Bengal) province. Jinnah threatened that he will not tolerate any subversion or conspiracy, leaving the crowd confused and puzzled.
On March 24, Jinnah addressed the special convocation of the students at the Curzon Hall in Dacca University. Jinnah declared that "Urdu and Urdu alone" would be the national language of Pakistan, thus immediately causing resentment and anger in the Bengali-speaking Eastern Province. Among the audience, many shouted 'no, no', anti-Urdu protests spread across the country. On February 21, 1952 police opened fire on students at the gates of Dacca University killing many.
The protests continued for days with strikes and lockdowns. The speech delivered by Jinnah on March 24 at the Curzon Hall was the first time that the largest ethnic group among Pakistanis lost their trust in the newly assembled state. On August 12, 1948, police opened fire on a public meeting in Babrra Ground in the district of Charsada. It was a public meeting called by Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan's Khudai Kidmatgaar Movement. More than 800 were killed and more than 900 were wounded on that day. This is known as the Babrra incident.
It took place on the direct orders of the first chief minister of NWFP Abdul Qayyum Khan Kashmiri. The public meeting was called to protest against the arrest of their leaders. This incident broke the trust between the ethnic Pashtuns and the state of Pakistan.
On January 7, 1953, a newly formed inter-collegiate body and Democratic Students Federation met with the education minister in Karachi and presented him with their educational demands. The procession that accompanied the students was brutally attacked by the police that led to further protests in the then capital city. By the next day, 27 students and a passer-by had already been killed due to police firing. This incident is commemorated on January 8 of each year as the Martyrs Day.
It was after this gruesome incident that the bond of trust between the youth of Karachi and the state was damaged beyond repair. On October 22, 1947, Pakistan Army and tribal mercenaries attacked the sovereign state of Jammu Kashmir and occupied western districts of Jammu province. Similarly, on October 31, 1948, Pakistan engineered a coup in Gilgit Agency through Major William Brown who was entrusted by the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir to take charge of the Agency till such time that he could send his representatives to take over from him. Hence, till this day the people of the above-mentioned occupied territories resent the fact that they were forcefully subjugated by Pakistani state.
Atrocities and injustices of colonial nature exercised by the state of Pakistan over its subjects have a long list. In order to keep hold of the natural resources of Baluchistan and other parts of the country, Pakistan's military has developed itself into a tool of oppression, a torture machine and a vast business enterprise. In order to create a standardised Pakistani identity, the military establishment has imposed Islam as an instrument of cultural oppression and Urdu as a means to suppress ethnic cultures and languages.
So as to consolidate its power base, the Pakistan military made an alliance with the big feudal lords and nurtured a Sunni Wahhabi extremist clergy. It is under the guise of being the protector of the nation that the Pakistan military generals have brutally ruled over its people and plundered their resources. Any challenge or dissent that they face from a disgruntled feudal lord or a discontented religious cleric is mercilessly crushed.
The assassination of Pakistan's first prime minister Liaquat Ali Khan, the hanging of the country's first elected prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and the assassination of his daughter and the first woman prime minter Benazir Bhutto are only a few examples to mention. Similarly, Shia clerics who dare to oppose the Wahhabi sharia laws have met with extrajudicial killings.
Likewise, thousands of Baloch, Sindhi and Pashtun nationalists and political activists who dare to oppose the ferocious exploitation of their natural resources have been made to disappear or killed under mysterious circumstances. Human rights activists such as Baba Jan of Hunza, Iftikhar Karbali and 14 others are serving 70 to 90 years imprisonment each for raising their voice against the plunder of their mineral resources by the Chinese state corporations who are operating in Gilgit-Baltistan in partnership with the Pakistan army under CPEC.
Lack of industrial development that could provide a sustainable supply of profit to run a fascist military enterprise, Pakistani military establishment and the big bureaucracy in partnership with the big feudal lords and Islamic clerics have become parasites that depend on foreign loans, aids and grants to continue to maintain their power.
In return, the Pakistan army offers mercenary services to anyone who is ready to pay the right money. Hence, they are fighting for Saudi Arabia against Yemen and for a very long time Pakistan has acted as a proxy of China against India and has been instigating violence in the Valley of Kashmir on its behalf and to use it as a pretext to its dominant role in national politics as well as its involvement economic activities such as the CPEC.
Pakistan Army has developed Islamic (mercenary) militias such as the Mujahedeen during the 1980s and the Taliban during the 1990s. These Islamic militias are recruited across the region and used as an arm of the Pakistan Foreign Service to blackmail sovereign countries like Afghanistan for example. To meet the running costs of an army of non-state actors Pakistan military has gotten heavy got involved in the drug trade. The so-called militants are used as handlers of heroin and cannabis that is smuggled into Jammu Kashmir, Iran, Turkey and Europe.
Perpetual economic dependence on loans, aids and grants has sunk Pakistan's economy into a debt spiral from which it cannot recover. Only last week Saudi Arabia demanded USD one billion from Pakistan for the oil it bought on credit from the former. Pakistan had to literally beg to China to lend Pakistan the money to payoff Saudi Arabia.
Chinese debt is proving to be the final blow to Pakistan's existence as a sovereign state. Chinese loans to Pakistan come at a higher interest rate than those of IMF or World Bank. As time goes by Pakistan will have to barter its sovereignty, natural resources and its sea and airports with China as a payment in kind for the debt it owes the dragon.
It is in the backdrop of the brief account above that for the first time in its 73-year history 'Independence Day' has become the most controversial day in Pakistan. Separatist political movements have sprung right from Gilgit-Baltistan in the north, Sindh in the south, Khyber Pakhtunkhawa in the northwest, Baluchistan in the southwest to PoK. They all want to set themselves free of the economic stranglehold of Pakistan. Hence, the call for observing a Black Day on August 14 should not come as a surprise.
It is a manifestation of decades of economic, political and social deprivation suffered by the oppressed nations of Pakistan. This year will mark the beginning of the end of the artificial state of Pakistan that was carved out of the living body of Hindustan by the British in order to create a client state that would guard their interests and deprive India access to Central Asia. The end of Pakistan is neigh.
(Disclaimer: The author of this Opinion piece is Dr Amjad Ayub Mirza, who is a human rights activist from Mirpur in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. He currently lives in exile in the UK) (ANI)
By Dr Amjad Ayub Mirza