Baloch Battles: Youth Versus Systemic Suppression. By Ambreen Baloch

The Pakistani elite’s narrative portrays education as a serious problem in Balochistan, with the implication that Baloch youths are being kept away from education by a conspiracy. By constructing a well-crafted narrative, they present their perspective as the dominant, effectively shaping the discourse. According to their build narrative, “Baloch youths are either unwilling to receive education or being manipulated by external forces to further their own interests.” This narrative is perpetuated by the Pakistani establishment, media, and politicians, who repeatedly portray Baloch youths as miscreants who cause mischief in educational institutions and propagate extremist ideologies.However, the reality lies far away from this imposed narrative.

Despite the challenges they face, Baloch youths work hard to reach higher educational institutions, only to be met with racism, discrimination, and baseless accusations. They are subjected to torture, profiling, and threats for simply being who they are – Baloch.Numerous incidents have been reported in recent years where Baloch youth have become the worst victims of state-sponsored terrorism and ruthless torture.

A young Baloch student, Balach Baloch, who worked part-time at a tailor’s shop in Turbat, was killed by Pakistani forces in a fake encounter in November 2023. He was abducted on the 29th of October and held in judicial remand for 10 days, proving how Pakistan’s Counter Terrorism Department has a history of killing our youth in fake encounters. This is just one of the heinous incidents from Pakistan’s long record of committing human rights violations.Forced disappearances have become a particularly egregious issue in Balochistan. Young people are often picked up by security forces during operations or while traveling to or from their villages. Many are never seen again, leaving behind families who are left to wonder about their loved ones’ fate. This anarchy has created an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty among the masses, making it difficult for people to speak out against the state’s actions.

Hayat Baloch, a student of Karachi University, was killed by Pakistani forces on the 13th of August, 2020, in Turbat in front of his father. The unimaginable pain of the family cannot be put into words. In any other nation, students are considered the future, but here in Pakistan, the future is being mercilessly killed and its voices are stifled.

Heart-wrenching incidents involving Zakir Majeed Baloch, Asad Baloch, Shabir Baloch Sohail and Fassieh Baloch, and many others have failed to catch the attention of the international media, but the unimaginable pain has united efforts for the Baloch resistance.Education, the only instrument at the hands of the Baloch is being snatched away forcefully. The true extent of the problem lies not in the supposed lack of interest in education among Baloch youths but in the systemic issues plaguing the education system in Balochistan. For a long time, Balochistan has been facing a severe shortage of teachers, facilities, and resources, making it difficult for students to access quality education. The lack of opportunities for employment and poverty in the region also force many students to drop out of school or pursue education outside of their hometowns.

Despite these challenges, Baloch youths have managed to overcome them and make it to higher educational institutions. However, they often face extreme treatment from university administrations and professors, who profile them based on their ethnicity, language, dress code, and cultural practices. This discriminatory treatment can take many forms, including threats, torture, and forced disappearances.

The situation is so dire that many Baloch youths have been forced to go on hunger strike or take drastic measures to bring attention to their plight. Despite this, they continue to face discrimination and oppression at every turn. The state’s efforts to suppress Baloch consciousness have been ongoing for decades.

The goal is clear: to keep the Baloch population subservient and ignorant of their national identity and struggle for rights. However, these efforts have failed miserably. The Baloch youth has continued to resist oppression with courage and conviction. Saami Deen Baloch, prominent Baloch activist and a young voice among the Baloch resistance has been campaigning for the release of her father, Dr. Deen Mohammad Baloch since 2009 but the state has turned a deaf ear.Despite the umpteen challenges faced by them, the Baloch youth remain committed to their cause and steadfast in their action. They demand justice for their missing loved ones, an end to forced disappearances, and an end to state-sponsored terrorism. They also seek recognition of their national identity and the right to self-determination.

The Pakistani state would do well to recognize that its policies of oppression will only fuel further resistance among the Baloch population. Rather than attempting to suppress their consciousness through violence and intimidation, it should engage with them in a meaningful dialogue about their concerns and aspirations.Ultimately, the future of Pakistan hangs in the balance. If the state continues down its current path of oppression and denial, it risks igniting a volcano of hatred that could destroy its very foundations. On the other hand, by engaging with the Baloch population in a spirit of dialogue and cooperation, Pakistan can build a more just and equitable society that respects the rights of all its citizens, including Baloch.

News Editor

News Editor

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