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Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction As Is Evident From The Situation In Balochistan

Fiction has always been popular among people of all age groups and has been enjoyed in all languages spoken in the world. What makes fiction interesting are the little details; details on how something unconventional and strange can happen to anyone, in any part of the world and that the phenomenon is not restricted by time and space. The human mind likes the idea of reading about (next to) impossible things and strange accounts.

I have been a fond reader of fiction myself. From early readings on how a teenager slays the vampires in the darkness of the night all by himself and how an Afghan girl manages to break free from the shackles of a patriarchal society and is reunited with her lifelong beloved.

After finishing a fiction, I would always ponder over what it would be like if this happens in real life – with me or with anyone I know. With time, it turned out that fiction is not something unreal, it’s not always untrue and not always something made up of sheer imagination or something pulled out of thin air. It does have roots in reality and the writers do get inspiration from real life events.

One of my all-time favourite authors Dan Brown has written in his recent novel that “Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction”.

The recent assassination of Nawab Amanullah Zarakzai, along with his aides and a fourteen year old grandson in Khuzdar, reminded me of this particular phrase. I always thought how a single family, tribe or a country could go through such misfortune for generations as at some point the grievances or injustice do not get rectified. I was wrong because sometimes the truth is as bitter and cruel as fiction.

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Such bitter truths exist in the form of Kashmir and Palestine, where generations have suffered from loss of life and property, from injustices and ruthlessness. In our country, the same happened with Amanullah Zarakzai and has happened to countless other Baloch families over the past many years.

Nawab Nouroz Khan (also known as Babu Nouroz) was head of the Zarakzai tribe and was responsible for leading armed revolts against the British in the 1920s and 1930s. After Kalat’s accession to Pakistan in 1948, the province of Balochistan have had at least four insurgencies (1948, 1958-69, 1973-77, and the recent one which started in General (r) Pervez Musharraf’s military rule).

Out of all the insurgencies, only the first one was against the merger of Kalat with the newly established state of Pakistan. The rest were fought for the rights of the Baloch people, for their due share in the resources of their province and greater political freedom to run the affairs of their province. The demands which were political in nature were dealt by the state with brute force.

Nawab Nouroz lead the second insurgent movement in Jhalawan after the Khan of Kalat and his aides were arrested for launching a movement against the one unit system in the 1950s. The main demands of these insurgents were to release the Khan and abolition of the one unit system.

Nawab Nouroz and his army of guerillas gave a major setback to the Pakistani authorities and compelled them to approach them for a settlement. The forces swore on the Quran and told the representatives of Norouz Khan that they would be heard and their demands would be given due recognition during the dialogue process, but only if they surrender and come down from the hills to talk things out.

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Nouroz Khan and his people surrendered but Ayub Khan’s government refused to acknowledge that they made any such pact with them. Nourouz Khan was 90 at the time when he along with his aides and sons was arrested and given death sentence. His sentence got changed into life imprisonment and he died in jail in 1964.

The slained Amanullah Zarakzai is the son of the same legendary Nouroz Khan. Unfortunately, the cold blooded assassination is only being condemned by a few politicians of Balochistan and the rest of Pakistan is still unaware of the story of this Baloch who resisted against the state’s brute force and have raised his voice for the emancipation and rights of the people of this small province.

History is indeed being repeated in the province but misinformation is also widespread and the silence of the federation (government and people alike) is deafening. Balochistan and the people of this province have always been meted out the worst kind of treatment that we usually read about in fictional accounts.

Being completely unaware of the truth, a cold response has come from within the society in this case, and it is indeed stranger than fiction. Balochistan and its people are waiting for justice and a happy ending that most of the fictional accounts have to offer. They are hoping that just like the unreal injustices that they have faced over the decades, eventually, justice would also come their way no matter how unattainable it sounds.

Let’s start by listening to what they have to say, how long they have been fighting for and what they have lost over the long harsh years of their daily struggles.

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