Noam Chomsky Condemns Enforced Disappearances in Sindh and Balochistan

So, the situation of genocide of the Baloch has reached to the point where a bill has been tabled in the US which supports the ‘independence’ of Balochistan! Those fighting the Pakistani state for ‘freedom’ are looking forward to a practical response against the bill and waiting for the action in this regard.

This, however, is not a joke – a bill in the US House of Representatives does not immediately give independence to Balochistan – and may have quite severe repercussions on the land of the Baloch.

Pakistani state has always been blamed to protect on permanent basis the Punjabi interests and exploit the southern units of the ‘federation’ – Sindh and Balochistan – and has been fought back by the Sindhi and Baloch nationalists. How the Punjab started grabbing the country’s reigns was such loud that the first person to present the Pakistan Resolution in the Sindh Assembly, Saeen GM Syed, started campaigning against the exploitation of Sindh which, after the massacre of the Benglis in the then-East Pakistan resulting in the independent Bangladesh, turned into a strong movement of independence of Sindh. The slogan of Jeay Sindh turned out to be Jeay Sindhudesh referring to the proposed independent Sindh to be named, Sindhudesh.

However, in response, the Pakistani state’s infamous ISI has been in action and picking up the nationalists in both the lands, who are often found dead in the wilderness­­­ – bullet-riddled and mutilated.

Although this is an everyday story of Balochistan now, Sindh has also been witnessing such ‘kill-and-dump’ cases. Many nationalists have allegedly been abducted by the intelligence agencies of Pakistan and would be suffering in the torture cells.

In Sindh, the Jeay Sindh Muttahida Mahaz (JSMM) has been worst victim of the intelligence agencies in this regard. Although the members of the Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM), one of the major Sindhi nationalist parties, Jeay Sindh Tehrik (JST) and other parties have been facing no different situation, it’s worse for JSMM because they, unlike the other parties, openly support an armed movement for the freedom of Sindh.

On such case is of Muzaffar Bhutto (Amnesty International), the vice chairman of the party, who abducted by the intelligence agencies at New Saeedabad (Sindh) while travelling with his wife and brother-in-law from Sukkur to Jamshoro. This was not the first time that Mr. Bhutto was picked up by the agencies; he had been in the agencies’ custody extra-judicially from 2006 to 2009 and suffered torture.

BBC Urdu talked to Saima Bhutto, wife of Mr. Bhutto, on her protest in front of the parliament, Islamabad; here’s the video:

Recently, Mr. Noam Chomsky, the renowned American political analyst and activist, has written a letter regarding the enforced disappearances in Sindh and Balohchistan with a special stress on the case of Mr. Bhutto.

Following is the scanned image of the letter:

Noam Chomsky's letter to Sindh and Balochistan

The text of the letter is as follows (thanks to crisisbalochistan.com. See the update below):

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Department of Linguistics and Philosophy
77 Massachusetts Avenue, 32-D808
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139

February 6, 2012

I recently met with Sufi Laghari, who is a human rights activist. During our meeting, he brought to my attention the violence and enforced disappearances that occur frequently in the Sindh and Baloch provinces. These disappearances are a gross human rights violation against the people. A statement issued on October 13, 2011 by the Asian Human Rights Commission reports that 206 disappeared persons have been extra-judicially killed in Balochistan during the preceding 15 months. Such violence is disturbing and must be brought to an end.

One particular case of an involuntary disappearance that was brought to my attention is that of Muzaffar Bhutto. On February 25, 2011, Mr. Bhutto was abducted from New Saeedabad in the Sindh province of Pakistan. Mr. Bhutto is the Vice-Chairman of Jeay Sindh Mutahida Mahaz (JSMM), a Sindhi nationalist party. According to reports by family and friends, Mr. Bhutto was abducted while traveling with his wife and brother-in-law from Sukkur to Jamshoro. Mr. Bhutto had been previously abducted and tortured between 2006 and 2009. According to an Amnesty International report, Mr. Bhutto’s wife, Saima Bhutto, filed an application for a First Information report with the police and lodged an application against the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and police from the district on February 28, 2011. The case was heard on March 10, but representatives of the police and the ISI seldom appear at such hearings, particularly during hearings on disappearance cases. Mrs. Bhutto has also filed an appeal to the United Nations Human Rights Council.

This is a difficult time for the people of Sindh. The situation in Pakistan is volatile, the number of disappearances astounding. I would like to offer my support and encouragement to the families that are victims of such involuntary disappearances. It is my hope that they will receive justice, and that their loved ones will be returned to them.

Many would question the credibility of the letter since it names the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in such cases of ‘involuntary disappearance’.

For this, I contacted Mr. Chomsky on the contacts found on http://goo.gl/AjnqZ. I just wanted to make sure if the letter under discussion was ‘genuine’ and that he really felt concerned about the enforced disappearances of the Sindhi and Baloch nationalists. I wrote an email to him:

Respected Sir,

Hope this email finds you in good health- I’m ….

The purpose of writing this letter to you is to ask you for your kind confirmation whether the attached (scanned) letter is actually written by you. Since it involves the sensitive issues pertaining to the intelligence agencies of Pakistan, I need your confirmation before publishing it on my blog. I found it being shared on Facebook by some nationalists (not representatives of any Sindhi nationalist political party, though).

I hope you would be able to get a few moments to respond to the email, sir.

Thanking you in advance,

Me
Karachi, Sindh
Pakistan

(Dated: Feb 17, 2012)

I was prepared not get any response from him since he must be getting loads of emails everyday — but, to my surprise and excitement, he actually did respond to my email. I received a firm, single-line response from him:

The letter is genuine.

Noam Chomsky

(Dated: Feb 17, 2012)

Feeling confident after receiving a response from The Chomsky, I responded informing him about the worst situation of human rights violation in Sindh and Balochistan and how important it was for the world to take notice of such actions. To this, following was his response (opt not to publish my 2nd email here):

Very pleased to hear that the letter may be of some slight help in overcoming these state crimes and tragedies.  It will I’m sure be a hard struggle.

Noam Chomsky

(Dated: Feb 19, 2012)

Before this post, I have blogged the scanned images of the letter written by Congressman Dan Burton to the President of Pakistan, Mr. Asif Ali Zardari. Mr. Burton has also expressed his concern over the human rights violation in the form of the enforced disappearances of Sindhi and Baloch nationalists. Read the letter here.

Update 24Feb'12:

I just found out that the same letter has already been published online by CrisisBalochistan.com, banned by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, and can be found at Letter from Noam Chomsky: The situation in Pakistan is volatile, the number of disappearances astounding.

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3 thoughts on “Noam Chomsky Condemns Enforced Disappearances in Sindh and Balochistan

  1. I was unsure about what I’d find here, but after reading your posts I guess I’m glad I came. Your posts are accurate and you actually do bother to check your facts. It does, to an extent, restore my faith in journalists. And I’m glad to see that there are more and more people daring to speak out.

    A question though- As a Political science student I have to read a lot about current events b/c Pol Sci deals with the what, when and how of events. So I see a lot about whats wrong in Pakistan, but I rarely ever see anything about the steps taken to improve conditions.

    For instance, I remember reading about an educational institute set up by the Pakistan Army in Balochistan (http://www.defenceblog.org/2012/02/pak-army-unabated-contributions-for.html) in the Express Tribune’s website, but I didn’t see anything regarding it in local media- in print or on television.

    So my question to you, a more experienced writer and journalist is: Why is that so?

    And wonderful job on the site btw. I loved reading your posts. I’ll definitely be back.

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