November 15, 2011

Leadership crisis — where are women of Balochistan?

The Terrorland Report 

Young and energetic Provincial Minister 
Raheela Durrani can fill the leadership 
vacuum in Balochistan if allowed.
ONCE upon a time there were some important woman leaders in Islamabad. Today there is none. The few seen around are either someone's wife, relative or in relationship with someone in the corridors of power!

Among the vanished women leaders are Dr. Noor Jehan Panezai and Zubaida Jalal who represented Balochistan in the federal capital of Pakistan. They both have disappeared from the political scene, and no one seems interested in the whereabouts of the lost women leaders of a province that is bleeding!

Dr. Panezai, a medical doctor, was Deputy Chairperson of the Senate of Pakistan in the early 1990's. She had been a member of the National Assembly and a Minister for Health and Women Division as well. She was the only female senator in Pakistan in the late 1980's.

Dr. Panezai joined politics in 1985 when former military dictator Gen. Zia was in power. She remained active till the early 1990's when two 'democratic' leaders, Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif, were fighting for absolute power, and the almighty generals of the time, along with their chief lackey and bureaucrat-turned-president, Ghulam Ishaq, were enjoying the nasty bullfight. At 62, today, Dr. Panezai may be spending a reclusive life as she had preferred to remain a bachelor.

There are possibilities that the powerful military establishment, which had brought her on the political stage to play, has thrown her back into, what they call, the gutter! Anyway, the once prominent national leader is a forgotten name today.

Another female leader from Balochistan is Zubaida Jalal. She was Education Minister in the government of former military dictator Gen. Musharraf. Today she has also become a forgotten chapter of our political history.

Former Deputy Chairman Senate 
Dr. Noor Jehan Panezai outside 
the Pakistani Parliament. 
There is crisis in the province and where are the women leaders of Balochistan? This is what The Terrorland asked a Baloch intellectual. “Mostly at the Quetta Press Club," he responded, "holding hunger strike for their missing loved ones abducted by the Pakistani intelligence and security agencies.”

When the issue of Dr. Panezai and Ms. Jalal was raised, he alleged: “NGOs are manipulating, corrupting, enslaving and detaching our women from their culture in the name of empowering them. You need to go through the agendas of the actual global ruling elite before raising such questions." 

Then realizing demands of the Cyber Age, he added: “If you go through the history of Balochs, you will find out that Baloch was a matriarchal nation till the wars were imposed on her which turned it into a patriarchal society some three thousand years ago."

It seems impressive that once women ruled men in a typical tribal Baloch society. "And now," he continued, "the rule of Mafioso Criminal Syndicates… want to turn it (society) into a brothel. Because, that is what these so-called leaders of these foreign occupying countries are i.e. pimps. And that is why everyone is feeling that there is a leadership crisis except for the Balochs as Balochs have got the finest, most moral and most righteous leaders (exempting the Paleed parliamentarians and Paleed agents) I have ever known in this Godless world.”

The intellectual who favors the separatists said: “The Baloch women leaders are doing their job mostly underground. Because, the Baloch nation is in a state of war with one of the most brutal fascist lunatic religious fundamentalist fifth largest army on planet earth. Once we are independent, sovereign and free, you will definitely see great women leaders all across the board of Baloch political fabric.”

Former Minister Zubaida Jalal talks to an American 
leader during a meeting.
However, a worker of a mainstream Pakistani party from Quetta said: "If there were really some women leaders from grassroots level, there would not have been the current insurgency in Balochistan. We need women leaders who with their soft behavior can bring those armed angry young-men back to home who are fighting security forces in the mountaintops."

It really makes one think seriously about the importance of woman leaders in a tribal society!

"In the presence of our tribal leaders, we can't get women leaders," said a journalist. "The militants have no woman leader either."

Sources say that the militants are divided over the issue of human rights violations in Balochistan as global powers have taken notice of violence on part of both the military and militants. Balochistan is bleeding and there is no effective voice from the restive tribal region in the federal capital which is a national tragedy. That is why the people are suffering in silence!

Currently, there are some female parliamentarians from Balochistan in the federal capital but they seem deaf and dumb housewives who were chosen by their family/tribal members/elders to fill the political 'blanks' and get 'blank' checks! This is how democracy works in our militarized country.

Baloch women during a token hunger-strike in Europe
show solidarity with families of missing persons.
Some locals say that there is one potential female leader in Bolochistan currently she is a Provincial Minister and lives in Quetta.

"Raheela Hameed Durrani is a young leader and well-known lawyer in the province," says a government official. "She is brave and blessed with confidence. She could have raised a voice if she were a member of the Parliament in Islamabad."  

Ms. Durrani, locals say, is a tomboy and lives like an "equal human being" not a "woman" in the tribal and male-dominated society.

However, analysts say, she is a member of the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid, considered one of the political wings of the military establishment. Therefore, she could not do anything even if she were in Islamabad. "The military establishment wants Hina Rabbani Khars not Marvi Memons in the Parliament," says a journalist. 

"There are brutal tribal leaders and incompetent generals in the country who can't afford a real public leader from Balochistan," said a member of the civil society. "The generals need stooges and puppets. Therefore the province is in the grip of terrorism as the youth wants real leaders."

The Terrorland Team believes that if the government and establishment promote women leaders from the restive province of Pakistan, things could change for good. As had been said in a previous post: "If the Pakistan Army had not killed Akbar Bugti, the Balochi separatists would not have the portrait of a martyr to unite under it for a separate nation state. Violence can't solve a problem rather itself is a problem. Therefore, the assassination policy of political leaders, intellectuals and journalists should be abandoned, now!"

The military and militants both should realize that violence can't solve the issue. Dialogue, directly or indirectly, is the only way to get peace in the region. If the militants of the 1970's can become famous journalists and intellectuals today then Dr. Allah Nazar Baloch and comrades of the Balochistan Liberation Front (BLF) can also become statesmen tomorrow.

So, dialogue is the only solution to solve the crisis in Balochistan. No one today supports violence in the changed world. This is what recent history tells us. Just look, what happened to the years of violence in Sri Lanka? Southern Sudan won independence through negotiations with Sudan. These are lessons for the Pakistan military and Balochi militants. 

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