An Interview with Baloch Intellectual, Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur; Fundamentalism and Terrorism

Has the Middle East seen peace since the creation of Israel? Whenever a state is created on the basis of religion it cannot but be a problem for itself and the neighbors because it will never be interested in the present and future as it prefers to live in the past based on false mythical glories which never were a reality then and can never be reproduced today.

 

From the creation of Pakistan; the people of Afghanistan and the region have not been seen a single peaceful decade, would you like to discuss in detail that why?

Has the Middle East seen peace since the creation of Israel? Whenever a state is created on the basis of religion it cannot but be a problem for itself and the neighbors because it will never be interested in the present and future as it prefers to live in the past based on false mythical glories which never were a reality then and can never be reproduced today.

This mania with the past glory of the Mughals and other Muslim rulers with whom the present day Pakistan has nothing to do with has and will keep Pakistan and its establishment as a bane for the region they will never get the ability to live in the present and work towards the future. They will keep dragging the entire region towards the past and keep it in turmoil and turbulence.

As an intellectual, human rights activist and political expert what do you think about the birth of fundamentalism and why these roots are not crushed for decades?

The birth of fundamentalism in Pakistan can be traced to the Pakistani establishment’s obsession with religion and the past. The objectives Resolution soon after the creation of Pakistan ensured that they could not but choose the destructive path for themselves and the region.

The Western world too had its phase of fundamentalism and still has shades of it but has created institutions which keep the fundamentalism at bay at least apparently. While in the Muslim world it is usually the state which encourages this fundamentalism and not only that they gang up to thwart those who want democracy and justice for the people. The best example of this ganging up was seen after the ‘Saur Revolution’ of Afghanistan in 1978. Had the Western world along with the Muslim world not created the terror that they did for Afghan people the history of the region would have been different. The attitudes haven’t changed in the Muslim world and they continue to create problems by actively supporting fundamentalism in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan

The region was optimistic after the fall of the Taliban and Killing of Osama Bin Laden, but now the new version of ISIS and most of our people and international experts believe that the project has been given to the Pakistani establishment, should we say that the war economy still needs the exploitation of religion and specifically of Islam?

Events do effect historical developments, but we should remember history is determined by historical process and not by events. Change is not and can never be an event it is a process and should be understood as such and dealt with in light of this the fall of the Taliban and death of its leaders needed to be built upon.

The Taliban and the ISIS are just the names of the same phenomenon though one could say that the ISIS is an upgrade on the Taliban, but these are essentially the same and those who have been the sustainers of the Taliban will naturally assume the role of sustainers of ISIS and these include Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and other Gulf countries.

Do you think struggles like Balochistan will help the region in enlightening and modernizing the minds and will it help in tackling the religious fundamentalism?

An independent Balochistan will be a democratic entity with nothing to do with religion as state policy and this will certainly help in enlightening the minds as religion will be left as between individual and God with the state having nothing to do with it. The Western world progressed only after separation of State from Church.

The life-line of fundamentalism exists in Punjab but the National Action Plan doesn’t disturb the terrorists in Punjab, so should we believe that Pakistan is not ready to quit the fundamentalism?

Fundamentalism is now woven into the Pakistani tapestry and it is not only Punjab but wherever the establishment has the writ it is an issue. The state has long nurtured and nourished fundamentalism for its ulterior motives and chickens always come home to roost. Pakistan is not ready to quit on fundamentalism is certain, but now the stage has reached where fundamentalism is not ready to quit Pakistan.

On the other hand the elements back by Saudi Arabia well known as Salafi within Pakistan Army converting their attention towards Balochistan to undermine the Baloch Freedom Struggle and if we further clearly speak about that the killing of Shiites is a good example, would you further like to elaborate, is the proxy war of Saudi and Iran has been planned to fight on the land of Balochistan and what do you think about Afghan Taliban’s Quetta Shura?

Pakistani establishment actively supports fundamentalist organizations influx into Balochistan with the purpose of countering the Baloch National struggle with religious organizations and ethos. After the September 2013 earthquake in Awaran no international or local organization was allowed to help the victims but the Jammat ud Dawa was facilitated and is still facilitated and one has seen attacks on the Zikris who have always lived without any problems with mainstream Muslims in Balochistan. Pakistan has always emphasized that the basis of Pakistan is religion and all Muslims here are Pakistanis. This is to destroy the millennium old cultures and identities in of Baloch, Pashtun, and Sindhis with religion. The proliferation of Madressahs in Balochistan and Sindh is mind boggling.

The tussle between the two sects is most unfortunate and will eventually destroy the Muslim world and it becomes more unfortunate when this is turned into a proxy war on other peoples’ soil. Either way it is the religion used for ulterior motives which is the bane of the people.

The Afghan Taliban’s Quetta Shura is not a figment of the imagination. It exists with an active support of Pakistan and like the Haqqani group is used to tilt the balance in Afghanistan in Pakistan’s favour. Without an active support of Pakistan, many anti-Afghanistan groups would die their natural death.

How do you define the PKMAP role within Balochistan and its coalition with the federal government?

The PKMAP is playing the role of a collaborator of Pakistani establishment and anti-Baloch role along with the National Party of Dr. Malik. This does not in any way help the historical Baloch-Pashtun unity and is dividing them further.

How do you distinguish the support of Kurd freedom fighters and on the other hand, support of ISIS by the capitalism?

Capitalism has no friends it has interests so it does what it thinks is going to help its interests. Capitalism has never hesitated to do deals with the devil himself if it has seen that deal will serve its interests.

Many experts understand the hidden revolutionary forces are taking place in Turkey, and the Ankara terrorist attack was also the part of the plan to undermine the secular forces; how you look the situations are like?

Not revolutionary but counter-revolutionary forces are joining hands to undermine the peoples’ struggle for democracy, justice and secularism everywhere in the world. The religious oriented states will never allow democracy and justice to prevail because these endanger their hold over power. They will commit even genocides to ensure that they remain in power.

The European and Iranian Nuclear deal brought hopes to the region but do you think the involvement of the Iranian religious regime in Syria can affect the terms of both parties?

The European and Iranian Nuclear deal has no benefits for the region but helps satisfy European ego and strengthens Iran. The Conflict in Syria is quite complicated and there are many interests at play there with religion being the dominant one. Any war which is religious even in connotation is a lose-lose situation. There are no winners in any war and more so in religious wars. The Syrian war like that in Iraq and Libya has resulted in great human misery.

Pakistan and its establishment is the permanent part of war economy; what do you think the recent statement of Raheel Sharif against war economy will bring change in the behavior of Pakistan Army?

Pakistani establishment like establishments of other Middle East states is incorrigible; they will never learn from their mistakes until they are destroyed. I would like to quote Sheikh Saadi’s qatta to explain their attitudes.

“Haich saikal nako na danad kard

Aahanay ra kay bad gauhar bashad

Choon bood asal johari qabil

Tarbiat ra dar-u-asar bashad

Sag ba darya-e-haftgana bashoi

Kay cho tar shud paleed tar bashad

Khar-e-Essa garish ba Makkah barand

Choon bi aayad hanoz khar bashad.”

 

This means:

“The best of whetstones will useless be

If swords to be sharpened, of pig iron be

Training, tempering serves only those

If honourable of soul and intellect they be

A dog bathed in seven seas is not a whit pure

For the wetter, it is the more impure it turns out to be

If Essa’s ass for a Makkan trip taken be

An ass it was and an ass it will always be.”

How do you analyze the fate of the region and will you mind talking about a peaceful solution to the problems of the region?

Peace is only possible when all the states in the region begin to feel that the people are served by peace and the wars only benefit some vested interests. For Peace, the religious bigotry will have to be curbed and above all when there will be more interaction between people of different countries. Peace too cannot be an event as it is a process and all processes take some time to fructify.

 

Mir Mohammad Ali TalpurHyderabad, Sindh
Mir TalpurMir Mohammad Ali Talpur s/o Late Mir Ali Ahmed Talpur (Defence Minister of Pakistan 1978-1985) got his education in Karachi from Montessori to MA (prev) in journalism from Karachi University but didn’t complete his Masters as he joined the Baloch National Struggle in 1971 and was with the Baloch during 1973-1977 Insurgency and was with them till 1991 and continues to serve with his writings on Baloch question. Of these he spent some three years in Marri Hills and some three years in Sindh living underground as he along with his younger brother Mir Haider Ali and others activists including Rashed Rahman (present editor of Daily Times) Asad Rahman, and Ahmad Rashid the author of ‘Taliban’ was on the wanted list in Hyderabad Conspiracy Tribunal.

He spent 13 years (1978-1991) as a guest in exile in Afghanistan where he among other responsibilities educated people and took care of medical needs of refugees. Of these three years were spent in Zabul province and ten in Helmand province near Lashkargah where some seven to eight thousand Baloch refugees lived.

After return he after a gap of few years started writing and has written for ‘Newsline’, ‘The Reporter’ (a monthly from Hyderabad) has written some columns for Dawn, The News and wrote for ‘Daily Times’ for three years 2010-2013 and restated in 2015. Most of these articles can be accessed on Play Google @ Ustad Talpur. The articles written for Daily Times were translated into Arabic for Baloch in Gulf by Ahmed Yaqoub and Salah Albalushi  and has been published as a book under the title of “The Baloch Awakening: Essays on the Baloch Question.”

He participated in the Long March led by Mama Abdul Qadeer Baloch the Vice-Chairman of Voice of Baloch Missing Persons and marched with Mama and brave Baloch ladies for 26 days. The March itself was completed in 106 days.

Now, he is a Research Fellow at the Strategic Center for International Relations and a member of Editorial Board of its quarterly publication.

 

The Afghan Tribune | Web Desk| Published: November 14, 2015, 11:33 AM

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