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Friend of the Baloch and Balochistan

Post  Bolan on Thu Nov 29, 2012 8:52 am


Asad Rahman played a significant role in the resistance movement in Balochistan. He was one of the eyewitnesses of the Baloch genocide in the 1970s

In an interview to Malik Siraj Akbar, Asad Rahman revealed that he was hosted by Mir Hazar Khan Bijrani, whose father Gula Khan, who died in 1975 at the age of 105, would tell him about Baloch history, folklore, customs, traditions, the do’s and don’t’s and the administration of tribal society. Mir Gula Khan had fought at a young age against the British when they invaded the Marri area and the war he financed lasted four years.

The group Asad belonged to modernised the thoughts and techniques of the resistance movement regarding guerilla warfare that was fought in Balochistan, because they had studied the ideas of Mao Tse Tung, Che Guevara, General Vo Nguyen Giap, and even non-communist generals of Cyprus. About the resistance, Mr Rahman revealed in his interview that he purchased a Dara-made 303 rifle in 1972, and had not owned sophisticated weapons. They would capture weapons from the forces, since there was a shortage of weapons and ammunition. Pashtun traders would sell ammunition to them.

In 1973, after the NAP government’s dismissal, the paramilitary forces were surrounding the Marri and Bugti as well as the Mengal and Bizenjo areas. The forces launched an operation in Balochistan and killed many Baloch, mainly from the Marri tribe. Then Mir Hazar Khan deputised Mr Rahman as a commander of the Marri tribal units, having about 1,500 guerillas.

“When the forces invaded the Baloch areas, the Shah of Iran provided helicopters to the belligerent Pakistani forces because at that time the Pakistan army did not have helicopters, especially the Chinook, which the Iranians possessed. They also gave gunship helicopters to Pakistan and provided the entire war disbursement because the Shah of Iran was afraid that if a NAP government in Balochistan was established and strengthened, it would support the Iranian-Balochistan movement. The Shah wanted the NAP government to be immediately sacked. Mr Bhutto looked at his personal interests based on his relationship with the Shah of Iran rather than considering the national interest of Pakistan. The Bhutto-Reza Shah alliance actually started the war. It was the bloodiest war Balochistan has ever seen. Even today, that kind of fighting is not taking place. Nearly 5,000 casualties were suffered by the army, out of which 1,500 were killed and 3,500 injured. On the Baloch guerrilla side, we only lost about 70 guerillas but 15,000 Baloch old men, women and children were killed or wounded,” revealed Asad Rahman in his interview with Malik Siraj Akbar.

Asad Rahman commanded right from Pie Slaman down to Marri tribal areas and Dera Gazi Khan, while Meharullah Khan Mengal, the brother of Sardar Attaullah Mengal, had a group in the Mengal area. Aslam Gichki led a group in Lasbela and Mir Safar Khan Zarakzai was operating in Sarawan. The resistance movement continued until September 1977, until General Ziaul Haq withdrew the Hyderabad Conspiracy case and announced a general amnesty for the Baloch and Pashtun leaders.

The huge and indiscriminate operations against the Baloch women, men, children in 1974 compelled the Baloch tribes to go to Afghanistan to take refuge. When the general amnesty was given to the Baloch, the members of the group were denied it. In January 1979, Asad Rahman went to Afghanistan after Mir Hazar Khan called him for assistance in establishing and managing the refugee camps of 10,000 families from Balochistan.

Being in Afghanistan, he could not participate in the funeral ritual of his father when he passed away in February 1979. From Afghanistan, he flew to London in May 1980. He came back to Pakistan in June 1980.

Asad Rahman played a significant role in the resistance movement in Balochistan. He ambushed military convoys and took away ammunition from them to sustain the movement. He was one of the eyewitnesses of the Baloch genocide in the 1970s. Mr Rahman, alias Chakar Khan, was once arrested in 1975 when he had fallen seriously ill. He went to Karachi for treatment and was arrested there, but fortunately, he was not identified.

After returning in 1980, Mr Rehman adopted the human rights line of work, got associated with the Aurat Foundation, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and more recently, as an executive director of Sungi.

About his death Daily Times reported that Mr Rahman, along with his 30-year-old son, were manhandled by Punjab Police in front of their residence in Lahore, after they had tried to save the life of a rickshaw driver who had sustained injuries in a road accident. Both father and son were beaten up badly by the Punjab Police. It is said that Mr Rahman could not bear the humiliation and ill treatment by the Punjab Police and had fallen ill in the wake of the police beating and eventually passed away on October 29, 2012. May his soul rest in peace.



(Concluded)

Bibliography:

1. A Trusted Comrade: by Malik Siraj Akbar

2. Chakar Khan: an intrepid warrior for justice: Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

3. Tribute to a comrade: Sanaullah Baloch

4. Revisiting the Che Guevara-like days of Baloch resistance movement with Asad Rahman: by Malik Siraj Akbar

5. The Baloch Hal

The writer is a Baloch author and human rights activist. Currently, he is a sub-editor at Monthly Bolan Voice Quetta, a staff writer at The Baloch Hal and a freelance online columnist
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Bolan
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