Wednesday, April 24, 2013

COMMENT: A grim situation gets grimmer —Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

The state desperately wants to change the prevailing cultural and historical Baloch ethos of tolerance and secularism in Balochistan through religious organisations.   Balochistan, already ravaged by the establishment’s dirty war, political repression and economic deprivation, has suffered a devastating blow from an eight-magnitude earthquake. Mashkail town was hit the hardest as 80 percent of it was flattened. Nearly 40,000 people are affected; locals say 80 are dead and hundreds wounded while officials say 12 dead and 25 injured. With already barely existing infrastructure destroyed, people left at the mercy of the elements protested against totally inadequate relief by burning tyres on Friday. Mashkail’s remoteness is not solely to blame for the near absence of facilities and relief; most of Balochistan, thanks to systematic deprivation, discrimination and dispossession, survives in the most destitute category. Balochistan has always suffered immeasurably and the grim picture becomes grimmer when natural disasters strike, which exacerbates alienation and discontent.

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