The Moment Time Stops

Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

How does one measure time? I suppose the criterion varies from individual to individual, from situation to situation and this means that time is and can be measured in different ways. True, some may measure it nonchalantly in their life of opulence and ease while some may measure it as a tedious exercise in their abject poverty.

The different attitude to measuring time is dependent on the usual circumstances that human live and survive in but how does one measure time in extraordinary and abnormal circumstances for then the measurement requires completely different parameters.

I have asked this question to understand how does a person whose father, brother, son or other relative has been disappeared measure time and bide time in hope when their loved one will come or what news will they receive about them? Just give it a kind and considerate thought for I cannot ask you to put yourself in their shoes for we may feel a lot for them but we cannot truly relate to the pain these people suffer specially when the abductor is the State and the abductee is a Baloch when thousands of Baloch families have seen the bodies of their disappeared ones dumped somewhere tortured and mutilated inhumanly with drills, burns, bullets and broken bones.

For Sammi Baloch, her younger sister Mehlub and their family the time is frozen at dawn of 28th June 2009 when they received a gut-wrenching call from the driver of the ambulance at hospital where their father Dr. Deen Mohammad worked in official capacity as a government doctor. The driver told them that people of law enforcement agencies had come and forcibly taken him away and manhandled another of his colleague there. That horror-stricken moment is forever etched on their souls as they strive and struggle for his recovery and in trepidation also wait for news about him.

Banuk Sammi was only 10 years old then and was suffering from chronic tonsillitis which her father Dr. Deen Mohammad had promised to get treated once he is free but that promise remains unfulfilled for, he languishes in unknown conditions in unknown dungeon in Pakistani custody. From that tender age she has been striving for recovery and release of her father; she has appealed to different forums, different persons and to people and world at large but all seem helpless in helping her or thousands of others whose relatives are missing.

When time stops it is an unbearable burden for though it stops in a way but that doesn’t mean that problems too stop. Her mother is ill and is all the time naturally obsessed with his fate and recovery. Time stops but that doesn’t mean your needs vanish, they only become increasingly difficult to satisfy because your provider and your protector has been unjustly snatched from you.

Dr. Deen Mohammad was not a gun carrying militant he was a member of the Baloch National Movement and wrote about the injustices and the missing persons. Banuk Sammi says if he has committed a crime he should be tried and it is absolutely inhuman to deny them the love and protection of their father.

Banuk Sammi along with Banuk Farzana and others participated in the 105-day duration Long March which began in Quetta in October 2013 and culminated in Islamabad in March 2014. I had the honour of being the part of this historic Long March and have seen blisters on her feet as well as Farzana Majeed. I once asked her that despite the pain from the blisters and all the tiredness and unfavourable circumstances during the March how could she continue, to which she replied that, “The pain of a missing father is thousand times more painful than all the blisters in the world and it was for him that I was walking and am ready to accept all the pain that comes my way in efforts for recovery for him.”

For Farzana Majeed and her Family the time stopped on 8th June 2009 and despite her efforts her missing brother Zakir Majeed is still missing. Banuk Farzana along with Mama Qadeer was the motivating force behind the Long March.

For Ali Haider Baloch the time stopped on July 14th 2010 when his father Mohammad Ramzan was picked up by agencies in front of him and a decade has nearly passed without any news about him. To add more to his misery, he himself was disappeared last year in June for a few days last year. He and his sister and aunt marched with Mama from Quetta to Islamabad.

For Haseeba Qambarani and her family the life has stopped more than once; once when her brother Salman and cousin Gazzain were picked by State from Qilli Qambarani in June 2015 and on 11thAugust 2016 when they saw their horribly tortured bodies. They were hoping their already shattered world would be left alone but when the State becomes a man-eater it never relents and on February 14th her brother Hassan and cousin Hizbullah were picked up and once more their lives are shattered and time frozen in one moment of horror which never seems to tick away.

For Mama Qadeer the time stopped ticking on 13th February 2009 when his son Jalil Ahmed Reki was picked up and it turned into a moment of horror on 23rd November 2011 when Jalil’s body was recovered and that moment of horror has seen him spend 11 years protesting outside press clubs. There are thousands of families that are living with the eternally frozen moment of horror when their loved ones are abducted or their mutilated bodies found.

Seemingly the State has visceral fear tinged by hate towards Baloch and it continues to destroy lives of people in Balochistan in an organized and systematic manner otherwise why else the body of Sangat Sana would have 28 bullet wounds on his heart and body and why would Jalil Reki’s body have 3 bullet wounds on heart. The fact is that they know these are the hearts that they can never subdue and so show their wrath on those they can and do pick up.

These are the few stories of the pain and sorrow that the Baloch people suffer when their loved ones go missing. As much as I may want but I cannot bring myself to appeal for kind heartedness from the State for I know it is as heartless as it is soulless so appealing to it useless. If they for so long have not been able to hear and see the pain of Banuk, Sammi Deen, Banuk Farzana Majeed and Banuk Haseeba Qambarani they will not be able to hear me too.

رہزن ہے میرا رہبر
منصف ہے میرا قاتل
کہہ دوں تو بغاوت ہے
سہہ لوں تو قیامت ہے

The writer has an association with the Baloch rights movement going back to the early 1970s. He tweets at mmatalpur and can be contacted atmmatalpur@gmail.com

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