Monthly Archives: December 2015

Ethnic Nationalism in Pakistan: A Case Study of Baloch Nationalism during Musharraf Regime

Muhammad Ijaz Laif
Muhammad Amir Hamza

This paper is an attempt to define ethnic nationalism in Pakistan with reference to Balochistan. The federation is weakened by military regimes that cannot understand the real situation of Baloch nationalism and its deep roots among the people of Balochistan. To explain and analyze the problem, the study has used books, journals, newspapers, government documents and interviews for quantitative/explanatory analysis. To analyse the situation, the philosophy of ethnicity and nationalism and their difference has been discussed. Balochistan has become a gateway to Central Asia, Afghanistan, China, and Europe.bugti It is also approachable to West Asia due to the Gawadar port and some other mega projects. Peace, development, rule of law, and political stability has become of utmost priority to the area of Balochistan and Pakistan. Therefore, it is very important to analyze the present situation of Balochistan which includes the characteristics of Baloch nationalism, its roots, brief history, and ethnic elements of Pakistani nationalism, provincial autonomy and the basic causes of Baloch uprising during Pervez Musharraf regime. The paper analyses the seriousness of Baloch nationalist movement and its future’s consequences and impact on the mega projects in Balochistan.

Ethnicity refers to rather complex combination of racial, cultural, and historical characteristics by which societies are occasionally divided into separate and probably hostile, political families. In its simplest form the idea is exemplified by racial grouping where skin colour alone is the separating characteristics. Almost anything can be used to set up ethnic divisions, though, after skin colour, the two most common by a long way, are religion and language. According to the Dictionary of Politics, ethnicity raises the whole socio-political question of national identity that is why ethnic politics is at its most virulent and important in third world countries whose geographical definition owes often far more to European empire builders to tend them to any ethnic homogeneity.1
Probably, one needs to distinguish between the politics of ethnicity in advanced societies, where it is some what luxurious, given the overall strength of national identity and the relative importance of other basic political issues related to organizing a productive economy, and the Third World, where ethnic divisions may be absolutely central to the problems of organizing a working political system at all.2
Ethnicity is basic since it provides for a sense of ethnic identity where cultural and linguistic symbols are used for internal cohesion and for differentiation from other groups. It is an alternative form of social organization to class formation. W. J. Foltz has identified four types of characteristics that distinguish different ethnic groups. The first characteristic is biological, where members of a group develop common physical characteristics by drawing upon a ‘particular genetic pool’. More important are the next two distinguishing features, cultural and linguistic, where the ethnic group develops a distinctive value system and language. Finally, the ethnic group may evolve a structural identity by developing a particular type of ‘joint’ relations, differing from the way others organize their ‘social roles’.3
Another Sociologist Paul Brass brings “ethnic groups within three definitional parameters, first, in terms of ‘objective attributes’ – some distinguishing cultural, religious or linguistic feature that separates one group of people from another, second, in terms of ‘subjective feelings’ where a subjective self-consciousness exists. Third, in relation to behaviour – that is, how ethnic groups behave or do not behave, especially in relation to other groups, since cultural and other distinctions really come forth to one group’s interaction with other groups.4
Shireen M. Mazari says in her paper that in most heterogeneous states, ethnic identities and groupings exist within the state and national structures, problems arise when ethnic movements is transformed into nationalist movement. As Tahir Amin points out, ethnic movements seek to gain advantages within an existing state, while nationalist movements seek to establish or maintain their own state.5 There are very few modern states, which are ethnically homogeneous. In his study of nation-building, Walker Connor points out that of a total of 132 states existing in 1972, only 12 (9.1%) could be viewed as ethnically homogeneous, while another 25 (18.9%) states consisted of one main ethnic group, which accounted for more than 90% of the state’s total population. In 31 states (23.5%), however, the single largest ethnic group formed only 50-74% of the population, and in 39 states (29.5%), no one ethnic group accounted for even half of the population of the state.6
With the addition of new states into the system, after the disintegration of the Soviet Union, and in the aftermath of continuing decolonization on the African continent since the seventies, the picture would not have altered in terms of the trend. One of the fallouts of decolonization was the resurgence of ethnicity as a means of identity assertion in the newly-independent states – especially, since in many cases, ethnic groups were split across artificially created borders, without regard to natural, geographic borders and divides, especially in Africa. This also led to ethnicity often having a trans- national framework.7
On the other side nationalism is the political belief that some groups of the people represent a natural community which should live less than one political system while leaving others independent and often has the right to demand an equal standing in the world order with others. Although some times a genuine and widespread belief, especially under conditions of foreign rule, it is equally often a symbolic tool used by political leaders to control their citizen. Nationalism has always been useful to leaders because by stressing national unity harping on threats from those who are clearly foreign or different internal schisms can be prepared over or otherwise unpopular policies can be executed. This statement simplifies, the nationalism contrast with internationalist movements or creeds, and it is a means of stressing on local, at times almost tribal, identities and loyalties.8
Nationalism is a feeling of protection of interests of a nation and national state. It should not be intermixed with ethnicity. Sociologist Hasan Niwaz Gardezi describes that Nationalism was and is a great power which developed nation states in Europe. This gave birth to colonialism, and it resulted in the development of multinational aspects of nationalism and imperialism. Due to colonialism, nationalism developed in the clave countries and they got freedom from the yoke of colonialism. Later on, in the new independent states, under the neo-colonial set up, ruling classes have changed this weapon into ethnicity and used it for their own interests under the philosophy of divide and rule.9
According to the Encyclopedia of Wikipedia, nationalism, in its broadest sense, is a devotion to one’s own nation and its interests over those of all other nations. The term can also refer to a doctrine or political movement that holds that a nation usually defined in terms of ethnicity or culture has the right to constitute an independent or autonomous political community based on a shared history and common destiny. For nationalists, the borders of the state should be congruent with the borders of the nation. Extreme forms of nationalism, such as those propagated by fascist movements in the twentieth century, hold that nationality is the most important aspect of one’s identity and it attempts to define the nation in terms of “race” or genetics.10
Nationalism has had an enormous influence in world’s history. The quest for national hegemony has inspired millennia of imperialism and colonialism, while struggles for national liberation have resulted in many revolutions. In modern times, the nation state has become the dominant form of societal organization. Historians have used the term nationalism to refer to this historical transition and to the emergence and predominance of nationalist ideology.11
But ethnic nationalism is more than nationalism. It defines the nation in terms of ethnicity that always includes some element of descent from previous generations i.e. gynophobia. It also includes ideas of a culture shared between members of the group and with their ancestors, and usually a shared language. Membership in the nation is hereditary. The state derives political legitimacy from its status as homeland of the ethnic group, and from its function to protect the national group and facilitate its cultural and social life, as a group. Ethnic nationalism is now the dominant form, and is often simply referred to as “nationalism”.12 Theorist Anthony Smith uses the term ‘ethnic nationalism’ for non-Western concepts of nationalism, as opposed to Western views of a nation defined by its geographical territory. (The term “ethno-nationalism” is generally used only with reference to nationalists who espoused an explicit ideology along these lines; “ethnic nationalism” is the more generic term, and they used it for nationalists who hold these beliefs in an informal, instinctive, or unsystematic way).13
After the collapse of Soviet Union and with the end of cold war, the nation state is being challenged by the drive of racial, cultural and religious minorities for the rights of self-determination. The world is facing a wave of ethno-nationalism. The problem is being faced by both old and new nations, from Great Britain, Russian Federation, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Pakistan etc. The myth of national integration or unification is being exploited by the social diversity of constituent minorities.
Pakistan is trying its utmost for the fulfillment of minority’s demand for self-determination. It was an ethno-nationalist state in the post colonial era. Being an independent state, Pakistan largely ignored the social diversity and economic disparities of its people. The construction of national ideology based on pure mechanical national unity and simplistic ideas of cultural homogeneity. The ruling classes of Pakistan neglected the social diversity and ignored the interests of ethnic and regional minorities. This gave the ultimate death blow to Pakistan. A majority of its people broke away to form a separate country Bangladesh. The remainder of Pakistan is under the siege of political instability, ethnic and sectarian conflicts, religious terrorism and economic inequality.14
In Pakistan, the ethnic movements have been of differing varieties, and have shifted from seeking advantage within the state to moving beyond into the realm of ethno-nationalism,15 rather than reverting to the former position. While these shifts have been correlated primarily to internal political developments (for example, in the case of the ‘Sindhu Desh’ movement), in some cases, external developments have had a major influence also (as in the case of the ‘Greater Balochistan’ and ‘Pushtunistan’ movements). The 2002 elections showed a trend that had begun in the last elections (February 1997), that ethnic parties have lost ground to national political parties.16
The roots of these problems lie in Pakistan’s failure to acknowledge and accommodate its ethnic diversity, economic disparities and provisional autonomy. Ethnicity particularly has been much talked about, with little understanding. Pakistan is a multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-ethnic society. The constitution of Pakistan provides equal rights and opportunity to all nationalities and ethnic groups in all walks of life. Language and culture of all identities should be promoted and there should be mutual respect and tolerance. Suppression of diversity in the name of Islam, national unity or strong centre is not only violation of basic human and democratic rights but is counter productive to the aims of suppression. Unity among all nationalities, ethnic or racial groups must be sought and can be found within the cultural and ethnic diversity of Pakistan.

Objectives of Study:
This research is about the ethnic nationalism with reference to Baloch nationalism and its political impact in Pakistan. The purpose of the study is to test a hypothesis that the ethnicity, ethnic nationalism is a serious threat to Pakistani federation. The un-democratic forces cannot understand the real situation of provincial autonomy and the power of nationalism. In this respect, the study will endeavor to deal with the following:
1. To discuss the elements of Ethnic Problems in Pakistan.
2. To analyze the historical and political causes of Baloch Insurgency.
3. To evaluate the role of tribal chiefs in the movement.
4. To analyze critically the causes of Baloch insurgency during Musharraf Regime and its threat for the.
5. To discuss the nature of Baloch unrest and its impact on future of Pak-Iran-India Gas Pipeline and other development projects.

At the end recommendations and conclusion will be drawn. The focus of this study is on the Balochistan’s insurgency in 1999- 2007 and state ‘suppression’ by Musharraf regime due to which many workers of Baloch political parties including Akbar Bugti were removed from the scene for ever. It would attempt to examine the impact of these savior state ‘oppressions’ and its consequences on Pakistani politics. The future of federal structure and over all country’s political situation is discussed in this paper.

The research problem in this paper is to explain the ethnic and national problems of Pakistan with reference to Balochistan. The existing material on ethnicity, nationalism and provincial autonomy in Pakistan is mostly descriptive and theoretically ambiguous. Thus, the study used secondary sources i.e., books, journals, and newspapers, at times quantitatively to explain and analyze politics and nationalism in Pakistan. In addition, primary sources such as reports are used for quantitative analysis. The study relied on quantitative facts in the data collected because it would help to test hypothesis. The questionnaire that was built for this purpose shall analyze the problem with the help of theoretical framework.
Finally, the study has mainly focused on Pakistan’s provincial problems, general politics and Baloch nationalism. It has excluded otherwise very useful narration of political developments such as a detailed description of the causes of Pakistan’s partition in 1971 and various military actions in Balochistan. It has been done knowingly because it is very difficult to include all in this short paper. The study is intended to explain the problem that has not been dealt with the way the present study does. Therefore, unnecessary details are avoided to fully concentrate on the problem.

Literature Review
Sixty years of Balochi nationalism in Pakistan have had very few impacts in the print media due to the military factor prevailing in Pakistan that has suppressed Balochi nationalism. In order to test the hypothesis, several books on the subject and some original reports and documents of the government of Pakistan are used as a primary source. Various books e.g. Ethnicity and politics in Pakistan by Dr. Feroze Ahmad (1991) Sang-e-Meel Publications, Lahore were relied upon in terms of quantitative/qualitative facts to explain the Ethnicity and nationalism in Pakistan.
In addition, reference has been made of another book Adeel Khan (2005) Politics of Identity: Ethnic Nationalism and the State in Pakistan, SAGE publications Delhi, to explain the role of Army, Civil Bureaucracy, political parties and tribal ‘sardars’ in the structure of Pakistani federation. Both the books also cover general politics of Pakistan and Balochistan and the philosophical aspects of ethnicity and nationalism. On the issue of national question of Pakistan and ethnicity, a valuable book was Hasan Niwaz Gardezi’s Understanding Pakistan- the Colonial Factor in Social development, (1991) Maktba Fikro Danish, Lahore. In this book he discusses Balochistan’s tribal belts and its pre capitalist modes of production. About Ethnic and nationality question, he describes the early eruption of ethnic resistance against the central authority in Balochistan.
A valuable historical work of Justice Mir Khuda Buksh Marri Searchlights on Balochi’s and Balochistan (1974), Royal Book Company, Karachi, was also consulted. In In his book, Justice Murri attempted to trace the origin, customs, language and history of Baloch people from Tell-Harire and Allepo in Nothern Syria to ancient Babylonian, Kerman, Balochistan and Delhi from the earliest times to the present. Two important books on national crisis, national integrity and political situation of Pakistan are also consulted for this paper. From Crisis to Crisis by Herbert Feldman (1972), Oxford University Press, Karachi is a valuable writing to examine the administration of the country by Ayub Khan through the instrumentality of the constitution promulgated by him and brought in to effect on the abrogation of martial Law on June 1962.
The second one is Rounaq Jahan’s Book, Pakistan- Failure in National Integration (1972), Colombia University Press,London. In this book, she focused on national development, national integration of Pakistan since 1971. Some valuables articles of Dr. Mubarik, Ishfaq Saleem Mirza, Dr. Anees Alam, and Tahir Muhammad Khan on nationalism, nationality, and the evaluation of Baloch-Pashtoon movement in Balochistan and their contradictions were also consulted, published in Journal of ‘History’ (2005), Fiction House, Lahore.
To explain the historical aspects of the Baloch nationalism, the study relies upon secondary sources like journals, newspapers, magazines and internet resources. The secondary sources helped a lot in terms of explaining the historical background of Baloch nationalism, mega projects in Balochistan, real causes of the unrest in Balochistan. Some primary material in terms of Pakistan Census Report (1998) to quantitatively explain the impact of inters province migration towards Sindh and Balochistan were also accessed.
Interviews of some of the leaders of political parties of Balochistan, intellectuals, experts on Baloch issue were conducted in order to get some information and insight on the Baloch nationalist movement and politics and economic ventures to explain research problem. However, unfortunately, the accessibility to some of the concerned persons was made difficult due to their engagements and critical situation of Balochistan and the judicial crisis of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The time constraint too proved a setback in this respect. To solve this problem, Chairman of a political party Khaliq Baloch and Rashid Rehman an expert on Balochistan were accessed. This source has been used quantitatively to explain the real situation of Balochistan.

Elements of Ethnic Problems in Pakistan:
Much has been said and written about the history, facts and legitimacy of ethnic problems, grievances and national question of Pakistan. Here, we will only highlight some basic elements of the ethnicity in Pakistan.

Provincial Autonomy:
Provincial rights, regional autonomy, and self-determination are basic types in which the ruling class of the dominated nationality or ethnic group has raised grievances against the domination of the ruling elite of the Punjab. In different part of the country, political elements from time to time raise their voice for complete independence, confederation with only residual powers for the centre, more autonomy within federation, creation of new provinces for different ethnic entities and demand for change in provincial boundaries to create more homogeneous provinces.17

Allocation of Resources:
This is the most important area in which oppressed nationalities and ethnic groups are very sensitive. The resources for which they struggle are financial resources for development and recurrent expenditures, more share in irrigation water, Government jobs, opportunities for professional and higher education and allotment of agricultural land to civil and military bureaucracy in Sindh and Balochistan.18

Inter-Province Migration:
There is a great resentment on migration from Punjab and NWFP to Sindh and Balochistan. Refugees from other South Asian countries, Afghanistan, and Arab countries are also a problem for Balochistan. In 1998, the last Population Census calculated a net migration to a total population ratio of 9.6 for Sindh.19 This migration created a huge burden on limited resources of these provinces. In Balochistan the case of Gawader and the making of cantonments become a sensitive issue, because it will change the demographic balance of Balochistan.

Language and Culture:
This is another sensitive area. Demand for the protection and promotion of languages and cultures of different ethnic groups against the domination of Urdu and neglect of regional cultural heritage. It is a permanent feature in the struggle of different ethnic groups for their identity assertion. In spite of a dominated nationality, Punjabis are deprived of their mother tongue. Language and cultural identity serve as instruments to forging group cohesion and legitimating group demands.20

The major issue, for the leadership, was to frame a viable political system in the aftermath of the state’s creation in August 1947. The preparation of the various drafts for a viable constitution which could satisfy the expectations of all the provinces of the new country reflected the economic, social, political and cultural problems which confronted Pakistan. The failure of the political leadership to accommodate ethnic diversities within a representative political framework was responsible not only for the failure of civilian rule and the military takeover in 1958, but also for the creation of ethno-nationalism.
Nationalism is a product of concept of a nation. Pakistani state has four nationalities in its federation. The ruling class of Pakistan is ignoring this fact since its creation and trying to change its multi-nation status into a single nation. Anees Alam says that in the newly independent states, the institution of state was born and developed under the shadow of colonialism. Now this institution (state) has become involved in ‘negative’ practice to develop a single nation country Pakistan. Creation of Bangladesh and continuous unrest in Balochistan is the result of this state ‘mentality’.21

Political Background of Baloch Insurgency
To understand the present insurgency in Balochistan, it is necessary to overview the historical background of the movement. In 1947, there were three independent rulers in independent Balochistan, Khan of Kalat in Baloch areas, Nawab Jogezai in some Pashtoon areas and some other Pashtoon areas were independent. Geographically, Balochistan was distributed into four states or regions. They were (1) Bela (2) Kallat (3) Makran (4) Kharan. The four states were under the Khan of Kallat before the arrival of Britishers. Two agreements were signed in 1878 and in 1939 among Khan of Kalat and the British government.22
The Britisher got Quetta, Noshki, Bolan and Naseerabad on rent from Khan of Kalat. The area of railway line from Jakababad to Taftan was also on rent. In 1947; The Khan of Kalat and other Baloch sardars wanted to be an independent Balochistan. For this purpose they formed Kalat National Party. The forceful merger of Balochistan into Pakistan was the first contradiction of Baloch with Pakistani ruling class.23 When the nominal rulers of Balochistan, the Khan of Kalat, dragged his feet in the early 1950s over signing the Balochistan accession document to Pakistan, the impatient federal government threw diplomacy and negotiation overboard and hastily sent a couple of PAF jets to strafe his palace and make him change his mind.
Natural Gas was discovered in Sui around 1952. Since then, Pakistan has benefited enormously from this cheap source of energy. Balochistan, however, neither had gas for its own use nor was paid royalties which was its due right till the mid-1980s, when General Zia-ul- Haq was trying to mollify the Baloch nationalists since he had his hands full with Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s People’s Party. Even today, only gas pipeline in Balochistan runs through Quetta, with a proposed pipeline to Khuzdar, still to become a reality. The lack of alternative fuel has denuded; whatever little forest covered the arid province. Only under international environmentalists’ pressure, has the federal government lately conceded to the need for gas supply to Ziarat to save the unique Juniper forest from extinction. The royalties being paid to Balochistan for its gas are lower than those being paid for later discoveries in Sindh and Punjab. This was cause of much heartburning for the Baloch.24
When One Unit was declared in 1955, Sher Mohammad Marri, a tribal ‘wadera’, protested the usurpation of ‘provincial rights’, fled to the hills with a band of loyal tribesmen and started taking pot-shots at the ‘occupying Punjabi army’ The seeds of Baloch provincial awakening gave rise to Baloch nationalism in the aftermath of national elections, the eruption of Bengali separatism and the creation of Bangladesh in 1971. Mr. Bhutto’s PPP won Sindh and Punjab and Sheikh Mujibur Rehman’s Awami League swept East Pakistan, the fact also was that the National Awami Party led by “nationalists” Ghaus Bux Bizenjo, Ataullah Mengal, Khair Bux Marri, Akbar Bugti and Khan Wali Khan dominated Balochistan and the NWFP. At the time, even the Jamiat i Ulema i Islam of Maulana Mufti Mahmud (father of Maulana Fazlur Rehman) thought fit to join hands with the nationalists to espouse the provincial cause.
The 1970s revolt of the Baloch, which manifested itself in the form of an armed struggle against the Pakistan army in Balochistan, was provoked by federal impatience, high handedness and undemocratic constitutional deviation. It was the effect of unjust federal policies and not the cause of them. At that time, Nawab Akbar Bugti served as an agent of the federal government when he was appointed governor of Balochistan by Mr. Bhutto throughout the time of the insurgency and spoke not a word in favour of Baloch rights or provincial autonomy. The greater irony was that the insurgency came to an end following the army coup of General Zia ul Haq against the civilian government of Mr Bhutto.
Soon thereafter, Gen Zia unfolded plans to desensitize the alienated Baloch and Pashtun leadership by a multi-faceted strategy aimed at co-opting the leaders into office while providing jobs and funds in the federal government to the alienated and insecure tribal middle classes. More significantly, he created maximum political space for the religious parties in the NWFP and Balochistan so that they could be galvanized in the jihad against the USSR in neighbouring Afghanistan. The years of Zia’s political machinations had had their effect, and although the PPP emerged as the single largest party in the 1988 elections, it failed to gain an overall majority in the national legislature. Benazir Bhutto’s Prime Ministership was, therefore, the result of a compromise with the existing structures of power, with the division of powers tilted heavily in favour of the President.
In the course of the four elections held in Pakistan since 1988, political coalitions have been built across ethnic lines and the national parties have made inroads into the provinces. (See Appendix I) For instance, after the 1997 elections, the Pakistan Muslim League (PML) chose to form a coalition government with a number of ethnic parties – although it could have ‘gone it alone’. Instead, it formed the coalition with the Awami National Party (ANP), the Balochistan National Party (BNP), Jamhoori Watan Party, The Baloch leaders, who had taken up arms against the Z. A. Bhutto regime, were also brought back into the mainstream after the death of General Zia. While the Baloch political parties remain fragmented, the mainstream national parties increased their support in the Province. The old alignment between the Balochs and Pushtuns also ended as a result of the influx of Afghan refugees into Balochistan.
Although conflicts continued with the centre over the distribution of resources, including water, these issues are not framed in ethno-national terms anymore. The civilian Governments headed by Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif made overtures to the Baloch nationalists and managed to persuade them to give up violence, despite continuing differences between Islamabad and the Baloch nationalists over questions such as genuine political autonomy for Balochistan, larger allocation of central tax revenue and development funds for Balochistan and payment of inadequate royalty for the gas found in Balochistan and taken to Punjab to sustain its economy.
The return of the Army to power under the President General Pervez Musharraf on October 12, 1999, led to a gradual deterioration of the situation in the province. Amongst the reasons for this were: the traditional grievances of the Balochs over the lack of political autonomy, inadequate royalty payment for gas and lack of economic development. The construction of the Gawadar port by the Army with Chinese assistance without the involvement of the Baloch people and their Government in Quetta in the decision-making related to the port; the award of all major contracts relating to the construction of the port to companies based in Karachi and Lahore; and the re-settlement of a large number of ex-servicemen from Punjab and other parts of Pakistan in the Gawadar and the surrounding areas on the Mekran coast in order to assure the security of the new port. The fact that Pakistan’s nuclear-testing site was located at Chagai in Balochistan also aggravated the grievances due to fears of long-term environmental and health damage.

Analysis of Baloch Ethnic Nationalism during Musharraf Regime
The present phase of Baloch struggle for ‘independence’ was propelled by socio-economic reasons. Baloch-Pakistan relationship did not rest on even keel even after Sui gas started flowing to Pakistani homes and industries in Punjab and Sind, Port Qasim and Gawadar were being developed with Kuwaiti and Chinese assistance. New industrial infrastructures attracted professional and labour forces from Punjab, Sind and other areas of Pakistan.
President Musharraf’s arrival did not improve the situation. Baloch demand for political autonomy, royalty from Sui gas, and award of major work orders to Punjabis and Sindhis and induction of more Frontier Guards and regular army contingents increased the ambience of tension. Islamabad added to the tense situation by rehabilitating large number of ex-servicemen on de-notified tribal land and inducting more NWFP Pushtoons to Quetta areas. Some minor Sardar’s were either bought off or disinherited by affluent Punjabis and rich ex-army personnel. Islamabad even failed to negotiate an acceptable formula on gas, copper, silver, gold and coal royalty. The Baloch Sardars resented the fact that Islamabad had not considered it necessary to consult the provincial government before conducting nuclear tests at Chagai Hills.25
After the military coup in 1999, however, the fight against a ‘common enemy’ once again acquired more urgency than group interests. The military regime’s desperate move to manage Pakistan’s dwindling economy, for which it seemed to believe that the exploration of Balochistan oil and gas resources hold some hope, once again radicalized the nationalists in Balochistan. The military ruler, General Pervez Musharraf announced in December 1999 that exploration work would soon be started.26 Since then nationalist elements have started using harsh language against the federal government. “The army is very strong, but this time it will not get a walkover,” Mengal has been quoted as saying, implicitly pointing to the 1973 military operation launched against trouble-making Baloch tribal chieftains during the tenure of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto government that broke their back.
Since long, a predominant majority of the Baloch nationalist leaders have been agitating against the establishment of proposed army cantonments and the mega projects, including the Gawadar deep-sea port, in Balochistan. “In the name of gigantic projects is a plan under way to settle the Punjabis in Balochistan,” Mengal says.27 Since 2000 the Kachhi Canal, Mirani Dam, Gawadar Port, Makran Coastal Highway, Saindak Copper Project and Quetta Water Supply Scheme were announced by Islamabad. Over 300 percent increase was made in the national budget for development programs in Balochistan. These things have failed to materialize from paper into concrete.
Along with the development programmes came in the Punjabis, Pushtuns, Sindhis and Chinese work forces. The Baloch people suffering from economic distress developed clash of economic interests with the Chinese and other Pakistanis. Examination of economic indices of this period brings out the facts of glaring disparity between Balochistan and Punjab and Sind. The Balochs, like the Bengalis were treated as raw material suppliers.28 The government accuses the nationalist Sardars of being opposed to the mega-projects in particular, and to development in the province in general, for fear that their traditional hold on their areas may be weakened by modernization. However, enlightened nationalists, including the three main nationalist Sardars, Marri, Bugti and Mengal, assert that they do not oppose development, but deprivation of Baloch people’s rights in the name of development and modernization.
Given this background, it is easy to understand nationalist misgivings about further exploration for gas and oil in the province. The tribes have been resisting exploration activities without a fair share in gas and oil development. Whatever little exploration activity has occurred in the past has been either under the protection of military deployments or under agreements with local chieftains. In the case of the latter, the exploration companies have been accused by local people of bad faith and reneging on promises of providing jobs, schools, healthcare and other social infrastructure to the local populace.
The Sandak copper and precious minerals project was supposed to train and employ local youth. Instead, after many false starts and remaining in limbo for almost a decade because of the unwillingness of the federal authorities to provide a paltry Rs 1.5 billion29 as working capital, the project has been revived under Chinese management. The latter, which put up the project in the first place, never forgot its export and earnings potential, and have a contract to run it in return for 50 percent of the profits.30 Out of the remaining, 48 per cent goes to the federal government and Balochistan receives 2 per cent.31 It is also argued that there are no local youths trained or employed in the project, another broken promise in a long line of similar disappointments.
Gawadar port’s strategic and economic value has never been in doubt. In fact it was the Baloch nationalists, at that time in coalition with Nawaz Sharif, who invited the former prime minister to announce the initiation of the project at a rally in Gawadar. But subsequent developments have left these very nationalists bitter. The master plan for the Gawadar port, city and military base adjoining it have never been seen by either the chief minister of the province or been laid for discussion in the Balochistan Assembly.
Along with other development work on the ground, perceptions have developed that the new Gawadar city has turned out to be a major land grab for investors from outside the province, as advertisements in the national and even international media show. Initially, the federal authorities envisaged 2.5 million people being inducted from outside the province. This has now climbed to 5 million. Given that the population of the entire province is only 6-7 million32, the people of Balochistan have raised protest that this massive influx will swamp them; deprive them of a share in the opportunities created by these mega-projects, and wipe out their identity.
The government believes that these are the work of elements opposed to the exploration. One of the radical nationalist, Khair Bux Muree, who had played an active role in the 1970s insurgency, but has been living a secluded life for last two decades, seems to have been chosen for the role of one social element and the government has implicated him in the judge’s murder and put him behind the bar.33
The clash in Balochistan is between ‘aggressive’ modernization (backed by military force) and the Baloch people’s demands for their rights. Force has not yielded good results in the past. It is unlikely to do so in future. The government therefore would be better advised to seek a consensual mode of implementation of the mega-projects the poor people of Balochistan desperately need to overcome decades of neglect and deprivation of rights by bringing the nationalists on board through a fair distribution of the benefits of development and modernization.
Since several years, there was a tension in Sui between the Bugti tribes led by Nawab Akbar Bugti and the federal government over issues of employment, job security, compensation, etc., relating to work conditions in the gas generating and distribution companies that pump sui gas to the rest of the country. But that was presumed to be a local affair. The federal governments of Benazir Bhutto, Nawaz Sharif and General Pervez Musharraf were convinced that Nawab Bugti was extorting money from Islamabad ostensibly on behalf of the Bugti tribesmen who work the gas plants but actually for himself by nudging his fiercely loyal Bugti tribesmen to rocket the pipelines whenever the negotiations get bogged down against his liking.34
Divided, fatigued and shorn of ideological moorings or avowed enemies like Z.A. Bhutto, the Baloch movement melted into memory over the next two decades. Nawab Akbar Bugti was consigned to negotiating rights and concessions only for his Bugti tribesmen in Sui. And the various civilian federal governments that came and went were content to accede to his local pecuniary demands. In the event, what has changed under General Pervez Musharraf to compel the Bugti and Marri tribes to join hands? What has transpired since 1999 to lead to a reinvention of the “Baloch middle class nationalist struggle for provincial rights”?
The military cantonments planned at Gwadar, Dera Bugti and Kohlu are viewed as outposts of repression and control, not development. The Frontier Corps is thoroughly hated and despised as a federal instrument of oppression. With the religious parties rampaging in much of Balochistan and defying the writ of the government, the rise of incipient armed nationalism poses a grave challenge to the stability and security.
In this political seesaw, Mr Bugti was not flexible about terms like ‘gas royalties’, ‘provincial autonomy’, ‘constitutional rights’ etc while portraying himself as the great and patriotic Baloch nationalist fighting for the rights of his province rather than for his tribe. The federal government, on the other hand, seemed falsely obsessed about “the need to open up Balochistan for economic development” and was constantly carping about the exploitative Sardari system in the province that kept the tribesmen in chains and acted as a brake on progress, unfortunately for the stability and security of Pakistan, the truth is different on both counts. There is an unfortunate situation in which a Baloch Liberation Army comprising a few armed bands under tribal and middle class command is conducting military operations against the army in Balochistan. Gawadar is an obvious target as it is perceived as a federal project without provincial approval or participation in which the non-Baloch civil-military elites are ‘grabbing land for a song’.35
The single most critical macro factor was the social and electoral engineering initiated by the military regime in its last five years. By sidelining the mainstream PPP and PML-N parties and their natural progressive allies like the ANP, BNP and others in favour of the religious parties, like Jama’at i Islami and Jamiat i Ulema i Islam, General Musharraf alienated the old non-religious tribal leadership as well as the new secular urban middle classes of Balochistan who see no economic or political space for themselves in the new ‘military-mullah’ dispensation.
Similarly, by undermining the cause of provincial autonomy at the altar of local and federal government, the military regime has threatened the very roots of the constitutional consensus of 1973 enshrined in the Baloch consciousness. If the federal government had also delivered the great development paradigm and provided jobs and office, it might have avoided this sense of deprivation and resentment among the political and economic have-nots of the province. But it hasn’t, Balochistan remains a backwater province, infested by Taliban-type mullahs and opportunist politicians, all beholden to the (military) regime in Islamabad.
The Baloch nationalism, with very few exceptions, tends to be articulated by the local elite and intelligentsia. Why should it be surprising then that some Sardars are voicing the demands of Baloch nationalism? Given the tribal structure of Baloch society the only surprise is that ‘more of them are not doing so’. The Balochistan crisis is becoming worse and more serious. The Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), after retreating in the face of regular troop’s deployment in Sui, has shown its capability to strike not only all over Balochistan, but even in the heart of the state, i.e. Punjab. In separate incidents gas line to Lahore was blown up near Changa Manga, as was the gas line near Taunsa. Meanwhile rocket attacks and the blowing up of railway lines have preceded apace. Every new day brings news of fresh disasters.36
The intelligence agencies, civil and military, have been bending their backs to convince the government that the ubiquitous foreign hand has been responsible for all the trouble in Balochistan. The finger of accusation has been pointed by these agencies at Iran. The Iranian government has denied more than one time meddling in Balochistan, pointing out that only if peace prevails in Pakistani Balochistan will peace reign in Iranian Balochistan. The logic of this position is that Iran has nothing to gain and the prospect of trouble with its own Baloch nationalist’s resurgent demands for autonomy and rights if it were to ever contemplate support to Baloch nationalists in Pakistan. Much is being made by the government and its hangers-on of the alleged blockage of modernization and development by the Sardars of the Baloch tribes in order not to lose their grip on their subjects. In fact, if it is not the foreign hand, then the Sardars are the authors of all the trouble, according to this official view. This is misplaced propaganda capable of taking in only the uninformed.37
History teaches that nationalism, with very few exceptions tend to be articulated by the local elite and intelligentsia. Why should it be surprising then that some Sardars are voicing the demands of Baloch nationalism? Given the tribal structure of Baloch society the only surprise is that most of them are not doing so. The overwhelming majority of Sardars is, as usual, aligned with the status quo, including leaning on the Centre of their political existence, perks and privileges. The small intelligentsia on the other hand is in the Baloch nationalist camps. Quite progressive people too have been taken in by the government’s propaganda about the Sardars being the sole obstacle to progress and development in Balochistan, in a faint echo of the 1970s, when Zulfikar Ali Bhutto managed to convince the rest of the country, especially the Left, aided considerably by a total news blackout on events in Balochistan, that Balochistan’s resistance to his military operation was only for the defence of Sardari privilege.
People have to understand that a tribal society is at a different stage of historical development. When deprived of its rights for long and oppressed in myriad ways, it resists, its language is inevitably that of nationalism, and its articulation inevitably by the local elite and intelligentsia. Balochistan is no exception. The tilting against Sardars is a red herring that obscures the real issues concerning Balochistan historical grievances becoming inextricably intertwined with the affront to the tribal code of honour in the shape of the rape of a doctor on Balochistan soil and the attempts to protect the perpetrators, especially the principal accused hiding behind his sullied uniform.

Post Bugti Scenario:
Some sources allege that the fourth phase of Baloch insurgency was triggered off by sexual assault on a female doctor, Dr. Shazia Khalid, by a gang of Punjabi employees of the PPL at Sui. Islamabad handled the matter in a cavalier fashion. Accumulated anger incensed the people and they mounted attack on the Sui facility. Nawab Akbar Bugti, the leader of Jamhoori Watan Party of Balochistan, stated that the attack was a manifestation of anger of the people and had nothing to do with nationalist struggle for freedom by the tribes. General Musharraf retaliated by ordering the ISI and the Army to mount operations against rebel Baloch forces headed by Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti. Bugti’s critics alleged that he had rebelled demanding higher royalty payment for Sui gas. These charges have not been proved.38
In his death and the manner in which it was carried out, Sardar Akbar Bugti was likely to become a martyred hero for Baloch nationalism. Bugti, the Sardar or chief of more than 200,000 Bugti tribesmen, was killed along with more than 35 of his followers when the Pakistan Air Force bombed his hideout in the Bhambhore mountain range in the Marri tribal area.39 Pakistani officials declared that at least 16 soldiers including four officers were killed after they went in to mop up the remnants of the Baloch guerrilla group. A fierce battle ensued which led to their deaths. Bugti, a 79-year-old invalid who could not walk due to arthritis, is reported to be buried in the rubble of the cave where he was hiding.40
For months, Pakistani politicians including members of the ruling party had been insisting that the military regime agree to hold talks with the Baloch leaders in order to stop what was becoming an ever-widening civil war in the province. Several security agencies and advisers to President Pervez Musharraf, including the Inter services Intelligence (ISI) and Intelligence Bureau, asked Musharraf to hold talk with the Baloch leaders.
However, other councillors and the Military Intelligence advised him to crush the Baloch leaders, which included three prominent Sardars, Bugti, Khair Bux Marri and Ataullah Mengal. Senior politicians say that Mr. Musharraf’s lack of understanding about the Baloch issue, his underestimation of the growing sense of alienation in all the smaller provinces and the attack on his ego when his helicopter was fired upon by Baloch rebels in 2006, all contributed to his helping him take the decision to kill Bugti.
Bugti was not the leader of the mysterious Balochistan Liberation Army which has been banned by Pakistan, but he was certainly its most visible spokesman over the past three years, as the Baloch insurgency against Islamabad has grown. The army has attempted to divide the Baloch by promising large aid grants to those tribal leaders who support the government, even as Islamabad claims that it is eliminating the Sardari system. Pervez Musharraf may have underestimated Baloch nationalism. Baloch nationalists have long argued that while Islamabad exploits their massive gas and mineral deposits, they give little in return to the province.
In 2006, the ruling Pakistan Muslim League agreed on a package of incentives for the Baloch that included a constitutional amendment giving greater autonomy to the province, but it was overruled by Mr Musharraf and the army who then vowed to militarily crush the rebellion. The army argues that millions have been spent in development, but projects such as the building of the Gawadar port, the building of cantonments and even new roads do not necessarily benefit ordinary Baloch. The projects are defined by the army and its national security needs, rather than through consultations with the Baloch or even the Balochistan provincial assembly. Then the projects are carried out by outside companies who give menial jobs to the Baloch.
By killing Bugti, the president earned the enmity of not just the Baloch rebels but the wider Baloch population who may not believe in taking up arms, but are still frustrated with Islamabad for its failure to develop the province. He might have seriously underestimated the power of Baloch nationalism which has led to four wars with the Pakistan army in the past. Nationalism within the smaller provinces has always been the biggest threat to military regimes just as it was to Mr. Musharraf.
The hanging of former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in 1979, who was a Sindhi, by an earlier military ruler has made Sindhis resentful of the army, while they have, by and large, always voted for the opposition Pakistan People’s Party. In the North West Frontier Province where Talibanization is rampant, Pashtun nationalism is presently taking the form of political Islam.41
By killing Bugti, the army was sending a clear message to nationalists in other provinces as to how they will be dealt with if they rear their heads. However, the smaller provinces are seething with resentment against continued military rule. Their sense of frustration and alienation is growing as they see the army representing only its own interests or that of Punjab, the largest province in the country.
The army is also sending a powerful signal to neighbouring India and Afghanistan. The army has accused India of financing and arming the Baloch rebels, while it has accused Afghan President Hamid Karzai of allowing the Baloch to train in Afghanistan. India and Afghanistan have denied these charges at the highest level, but Pakistani officials say that there is little doubt that the Indians were involved in funding the Baloch movement because of their long-standing involvement with the Baloch and the evidence that arrested Baloch rebels have provided the Pakistani intelligence services.
There is an ever-deepening political crisis in Pakistan which the death of Bugti will only exacerbate. Many people say that the country is rapidly unravelling with Mr Musharraf refusing to give clear-cut guarantees about free and fair elections in 2007, while he insists on running again for another five-year term as president even as he remains army chief. Bugti’s death will only add to the growing fears about the country’s future and the danger inherent in a policy of killing political opponents rather than holding a dialogue with them.

Implications for Pak-Iran-India Gas Pipeline and other Mega Projects
The political unrest in Balochistan and the murder of Akbar Bugti is a serious threat for gas pipeline of Iran, Pakistan and India’s project. During the visit of Iran’s oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh of New Delhi to discuss the future of the pipeline, anti- government element in Balochistan blew up two gas pipelines sending a message to all parties involved in this pipeline of peace project.42 The area of the Balochistan-Punjab border where the pipeline is supposed to run is one of Pakistan’s poorest areas and its most restive province. In recent years it has been a battleground of private militias belonging to Baloch tribes. Sporadic armed clashes resulted in attacks against water pipelines, power transmission lines and gas installations. Yet, the region is strategically important due to its large reserves of oil and gas. Over the years Islamabad has failed to provide a fair share of the oil and gas wealth in shape of royalty to Balochistan. Lack of economic progress and a deep sense of disaffection have contributed to the distrust between the federal government and the Baloch people.
As a result, the tribes now oppose any energy projects in their area. Since 2003, sabotage of a gas pipeline from Sui to cut off supply to the Punjab has become a routine. Later on, a wave of attacks against gas installations caused the government to send troops to protect the installations. During the era of Mushraf regime and especially in the following year the confrontation is growing more and more. To calm the area Islamabad added carrots to its policy of sticks by increasing investment in regional development projects. However, it seems that violence has resurfaced and the region is sliding into a near war situation.
After the murdered of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, it is very difficult for Mushraff Government to snub the Baloch nationalism and insurgency in Balochistan. The attacks of the Baloch Liberation Front and Balochistan Liberation Army fired rockets at the pipeline and exchanged gunfire with the security forces for several hours on government installation.43 During the fire exchange the pipeline caught fire, disrupting supply to a power plant. As we have seen in other parts of the world where pipelines are under attack, ending the onslaught may well prove to be mission impossible. Nevertheless Islamabad has already indicated that the pipeline project will be pursued even were India to decide not to join.44

Human Rights Violations:
There are serious violations of human rights in Balochistan. Thousands of Baloch militants had been killed in the last three decades movement. According to the Carnegie report, in the last 30 years the conflict in Balochistan resulted in 8,000 deaths, 3,000 of them from the army.45 The HRCP report said that up to 85 percent of the 22,000-26,000 inhabitants of Dera Bugti had fled their homes after paramilitary forces shelling repeatedly hit the town. There were alarming accounts of summary executions, some allegedly carried out by paramilitary forces. The HRCP received credible evidence that showed such killings had taken place, across Balochistan, the HRCP team found widespread instances of disappearance of torture inflicted on people held in custody, and on those fleeing from their houses. Carlotta Gall, The New York Times correspondent visiting the area in April 2006 reported having witnessed deep bomb craters caused by MK-82 bombs. According to her, “Hundreds of political party members, students, doctors and tribal leaders have been detained by government security forces, many disappearing for months, even years, without trials in well-documented cases. Some have been tortured or have died in custody.”46
She proceeds to comment, “In places like Dera Bugti and Kohlu, government forces have carried out reprisals against villagers, Baloch leaders and human rights officials say. In a case documented by the Human Rights Commission, the Frontier Corps killed 12 men from Pattar Nala on Jan 11, 2006, after a mine explosion near the village killed some of its soldiers. Two old men from the village who went to the base to collect the bodies were also killed. The next day, the 14 bodies were handed over to the women of the village. Local fighters say the Frontier Corps has carried out 42 such reprisal killings in the last three months of 2006.”47
The first reports about major displacement due to fighting appeared in April 2005 when some 300 government troops were surrounded by thousands of tribal militants in the town of Dera Bugti, located close to Pakistan’s largest gas reserves. The fighting was reported to have displaced around 6,000 people and killed scores of civilians.48 Militants have continued to target gas pipelines, railway lines and electricity networks, and have launched rocket attacks on government buildings and army bases, followed by retaliation and search operations by the military. The security situation for the civilian population has severely worsened due to the use of landmines in parts of the Dera Bugti and Kohlu districts both by rebel forces, in particular the Balochistan Liberation Army, and by the Pakistani army. As of April 2006, more than 50 civilians had been killed by landmine explosions since the beginning of the year.49 The army has used heavy artillery and launched air strikes against insurgent bases; this has also killed and maimed civilians. By December 2005, about 90 per cent of the population in the town of Dera Bugti was reported to have fled and displacement was also reported in the district of Kohlu. During subsequent fighting, thousands of civilians were reported to have fled several areas in the neighbouring Jaffarabad and Sibi districts.50 The situation deteriorated further in the wake of the killing of Baloch tribal leader Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti in August 2006 which was followed by bloody riots. Several have warned that the conflict will go on escalating if the government continues its harsh military response against political opposition groups in the region.
There are no official or UN estimates of the extent of the displacement due to the fighting. One regional human rights organisation says 200,000 people were displaced as of July 2006. The displaced had at that point fled to relief camps or towns in safe areas of Jaffarabad, and the Nasirabad, Quetta and Khuzdar districts of Balochistan, as well as to the Sindh and Punjab provinces. No other source has verified this figure. Another media report says 50,000 remained displaced due to military operations as of July 2006.51
Several reports have testified to the critical living conditions for the displaced that moved to relief camps as well as a general apathy demonstrated by the Pakistani authorities’ vis-à-vis the displaced civilian population. Although the media have not been allowed to move freely in the areas most affected by the violence, deplorable conditions and lack of assistance to the displaced in relief camps have been reported since the onset of the conflict. In May 2006, assistance had not yet reached the camps. The displaced were reported to be living in the open in baking hot weather without food and other facilities. Provincial opposition leaders appealed to international and national humanitarian organisations for assistance.52 The displaced were still reported to be living in temporary settlements without provision for water, sanitation, food, schooling and health care. The government is accused of deliberately blocking access to the displaced populations and has stopped efforts to provide health services in the camps. Official sources said that the displaced were well off and not in need of assistance.53

Pakistan is a federation of four provinces. Its creation is very unique in nature. The role of provincial units, nationalities and ethnic groups in the creation of Pakistan is basic and fundamental. The pre-partition strategy of the Muslim League was to struggle for provincial autonomy and lose centre for the rights of the Muslims. But after partition all the political parties, army, and civil bureaucracy had become the champion of strong centre. The attitude of strong centre and the refusal of provincial autonomy has played vital role in the creation of Bangladesh in 1971.Again, the ruling class of Pakistan, Civil and military bureaucracy is refusing the rights of self-determination of oppressed nationalities like Balochistan. The guarantee of provincial autonomy that is given in the constitution of 1973 of Pakistan is also denying these reserved rights. The various causes of unrest in Balochistan are serious and that should be addressed and touched by the democratic government in post Mushraf scenario.
Formation of the democratic government in Pakistan and Balochistan provided the opportunity that democratic government should meet with the provincial award among the provinces, royalty of the provincial resources, Gawader port problem, and cantonment issue. The national, regional and international political scenario is very dangerous and complex. Therefore, the Balochistan issue should be addressed as early as possible to strengthen the Pakistani federation.
The new Zardari government should focus on development plans and it must be directed towards the full empowerment of local people. The people must be recognized as stake-holders in the decision-making process, and their interests must be placed at the top of the list of priorities. For this to happen, the people must be given a voice, this is possible only if civil society organizations make greater efforts to visit the areas of deprivation and interact with the people and are allowed to do so. At the same time, all movements must alter their approach to seeking rights from one of aggression, to a broader based initiative aimed at building countrywide and even international alliances for their campaigns.
All steps are taken by the government as well as tribal leaders to end the practice of penal sanctions through jirgas as well as to do away with any form of private prisons that may exist. To meet the needs of people, educational institutions and vocational training centres must be established across Balochistan. Development cannot be limited only to building infrastructure or setting up giant projects. Development plans must focus on building civil society, including establishing press clubs, bar associations and community radio and television networks. This would connect the population of Balochistan to the rest of the country and enhance the cultural environment within which hey lead their lives. The low visibility, negligible educational attainments and virtual lack of any voice in decision making of Balochistani women is a serious hurdle in the development of the province. This situation needs the serious attention of the government, leaders of tribes, regional political parties as well as nationalist movements. In the explosive situation in Balochistan, the more vulnerable members of society, such as children, members of minority communities and unemployed youth not only deserve special protection, their social and economic advancement must be guaranteed through appropriate plans of action. Therefore, it is necessary to treat them very carefully on Issue of Balochistan. The national interests demand that patience, negotiation and compromise should be the hallmark of federal policy rather than knee-jerk army operations and detentions. At the same time, the federal government should make serious efforts to clinch the new development conditions of resource sharing with local tribes and regions. The future of the oil and gas pipelines that are being planned across the mountains and deserts and coasts of Balochistan for the prosperity and stability of Pakistan hinges on a sensible and exclusionary approach rebel killing raises stakes in Pakistan.
It should be remembered that danger in Balochistan is two-fold. The nascent but alienated middle class in the few towns of Balochistan is now rallying behind the nationalists and accepts the sardars spearheading PONM as genuine leaders. At the same time, the developmental lag in the province is sufficient to substantiate the anti-centre stance of PONM. That is why any military action in the province will completely lack local support. The other destabilizing factor relates to the ongoing battle against the Taliban-Al Qaeda combine. The Pashtuns in Balochistan also have serious problems with the federal government’s policy on the Pak-Afghan frontier. This could be troublesome since Pashtun nationalism has also been responsible for the internationally reported presence of the Taliban in the province.

Notes and References
1 David Rober (1987), The Penguin Dictionary of Politics, Penguin Books, New York, pp.111-112.
2 ibid.
3 W. J. Foltz, (1974) ‘Ethnicity, Status & Conflict’ in Bell & Freeman (eds.) Ethnicity and Nation-Building: Interpretational and Comparative Perspectives, Beverly Hills, Calif: Sage Publications, p. 8.
4 Paul R. Brass, (1991) Ethnicity and Nationalism, Sage Publications, Delhi, pp. 18-19.
5 Shireen M. Mazari, Director General of the Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad, in her paper presented at the Conference on ‘South and South East Asia in Perspective – 20th and 21st Centuries’, held at the Institute of Political and Social Studies, Lisbon, Portugal, on November 12-14, 2002. Tahir Amin, Ethno-Nationalist Movements of Pakistan (1993), IPS, Islamabad, p. 2.
6 W. Connor, (1972), ‘Nation-Building of Nation Destroying’ in World Politics quoted by Shireen M. Mazari.
7 Shireen M. Mazari,op.cit.
8 David Rober (1987), The Penguin Dictionary of Politics, Penguin Books, New York, pp.111-112.
9 Hassan N. Gardazi (1991) Understanding Pakistan, ‘The Colonial factor in Societal Development,Maktaba Fikro Danish, Lahore, p.49.
10 accessed on 19-06-2007.
11 ibid.
12 ibid.
13 ibid.
14 Feroz Ahmad (1998) Ethnicity and Politics in Pakistan, Oxford University Press, Karachi, p.15.
15 For example, ‘Greater Balochistan’ movement in the seventies which has dissipated over a period of time, as have the ‘Sindhu Desh’ and ‘Pukhtunistan’ movements.
16 Shireen M. Mazari, op.cit.
17 Feroz Ahmad (1998) Ethnicity and Politics in Pakistan, Oxford University Press, Karachi, p.15.
18 ibid, p.16.
19 Government of Pakistan, Statistics Division Population Census Organization (2001), Census report of Sindh province, Islamabad, p.19.
20 Feroz Ahmad (1998), Ethnicity and Politics in Pakistan, Oxford University Press, Karachi, p.16.
21 Anees Nagi (2005), ‘Nationalism in new independent countries’, History,(special number on nationalism)a biannually Journal,no.24. Fiction House, Lahore, p.55.
22 Adnan Adal (2006), “Historical background of Baloch National Movement”, Monthly Nawa-e-Insan, vol: 6, issue: 11, January 2006.
23 ibid.
24 Zafarallah Jamali’s conversation with newsmen, reported in Dawn, Karachi, August 2006.
25 /?tac=Balochistan-Cruches_Of_History accessed on July 13, 2007.
26 , accessed on 04-06-2007.
27 Interview with Atta Ullah Mengal by Najam Sethi, Friday Times, Lahore, Febrary, 2006.
28 mastop_publish/?tac=Balochistan-Cruches_Of_History accessed on July 13, 2007.
29 Interview with Rashid Rehman, currently a freelance contributor, has held editorial positions in various Pakistani newspapers, on January, 2007-06-06.Quoted by , accessed on 04-06-2007.
30 ibid.
31 ibid.
32 , accessed on 04-06-2007.
33 ibid.
34 Haroon Rashid’s report in Monthly Herald, Karachi, November-December, 2000.
35 Adeel Khan (2005), Politics of Identity: Ethnic Nationalism and the State in Pakistan, SAGE publications Delhi, p.119.
36 publish/?tac=Balochistan-Cruches_Of_History accessed on July 13, 2007.
37 ibid.
38 ibid.
39 Wajahat Masooad, The murdered of Akbar Bugti (2006) Monthly Nawa-e-Insan.vol.7, September, 2006.LRL No. 279, p. 22.
40 ibid.
41 Dawn, August, 17, 2006, Karachi.
42 accessed on 29-05-2007.
43 Wajahat Masooad, The murdered of Akbar Bugti (2006) Monthly Nawa-e-Insan.vol.7, September, 2006.LRL No.279, p. 22.
44 Dawn, August, 17, 2006, Karachi.
45 publish/?tac=Balochistan-Cruches_Of_History accessed on July 13, 2007.
46 ibid.
47 ibid.
48 6CEF209F30020F37C1257203004E6189/$file/Pakistan accessed on July 13, 2007.
49 ibid.
50 ibid.
51 Dawn,13 July 2006
52 Dawn, 16 April 2006.
53 Dawn, 13 July 2006.
Pakistan Vision Vol 10 No 1

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Posted by on December 18, 2015 in Research Papers on Political Issues


Nationalism in Pakistan: A Comparative Analysis of Ethnic Factors in East Pakistan and Baluchistan

Fauzia Ghani, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Political Science
GC University Lahore

Sadia Mushtaq, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Political Science
GC University Lahore

Namra Mehmood
MPhil Scholar
Department of Political Science
GC University Lahore


The world comprises of different nation states which are comprised of sub nationalities. Some states have homogenous and some have heterogeneous population. States having heterogeneous population consist of many ethnic groups. Each ethnic group residing in such heterogeneous countries have their needs and demands which are very hard to fulfill completely. When this happens, the demands might turn into a movement where people from a certain ethnicity raise their voices so that the ruling elites might hear them and address their concerns completely. States like Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka etc are facing problems of ethno nationalism. A certain ethnicity may ask for provincial autonomy, devolution of power and even independence. In Pakistan case, there are many ethnic groups like Punjabi, Pathan, Baluchis, Sindhi, and Muhajirs etc which are affecting the whole polity. The issue of disintegration of East Pakistan which gave a set back to the political system of Pakistan is well known and nowadays Baluchistan’s movement of ethno nationalism is attracting national as well as international attention. The researchers have tried to dig out the ethnic factors of both federating units i.e. East Pakistan and Baluchistan. The research also provides the theoretical framework of Ethno nationalism in Pakistan and also does an analysis of the factors and causes of ethnic rivalry residing in East Pakistan and Baluchistan.

Key Words: Ethno nationalism, Modernization, Industrialization, Baluch Nationalism, Extra judicial killing, Marginalization, East Pakistan and Baluchistan.

After a series of events Pakistan appeared on the map of the world. Much day and night effort was made to create Pakistan. Soon after its creation the death of Quaid-e-Azam clogged the development in Pakistan as there was no leader alike Jinnah. Majority of other leaders were driven by personal power and greed. In order to achieve the power the leaders brought in civil and military bureaucracy into politics thus harming the democratization process and country’s unity. This also gave rise to frustration and a sense of deprivation among ethnic groups residing inside Pakistan. As there was no devolution of power and the system was highly centralized, the demands of many ethnicities were not taken into account. There was unequal distribution of resources and power resulting in a widened gap between haves and haves not. All this resulted in promotion of ethnic nationalism.
A majority of writers talked about ethnic problems and their reasons in Pakistan. South Asian ethnic insurgencies are mostly indigenous. These issues emerged from states having past colonial socio, cultural, economic and political heritage and mostly in reaction to unwise government policies. 1In accordance with the Brown, the Asian ethnic conflicts are triggered by bad and corrupt leaders or bad neighbors. These bad leaders or bad neighbors might convert the politically unstable situation into warfare. 2 Feroz Ahmed is of the view that ethnic conflict in Pakistan emerged because the state leaders refused to accept that these regions were entirely different in culture and language from each other. When they were not accepted as different entity and were taken as one. This created ethnic problems as culture or language is dear to people’s heart and they don’t want to lose it or can’t see it fading away at any cost. This resulted in weakened national integrity as relations got bad among various ethnic groups.

Adeel Khan views ethnic conflicts in Pakistan as a struggle for power between the dominant and non-dominant groups. 3He analyzed ethnic conflicts in Pakistan as a political matter and for him politics is all about power. 4He says that if all the ethnic groups have their share in power structure the ethnic conflicts can be minimized.
Veena Kukreja has done very useful work on ethnic issues of Pakistan. She concluded that ethno nationalism arises due to problematic relations between the center and the provinces. 5She agrees with Feroz Ahmed and says that the powerful Pakistan ruling elite has remained reluctant to accept heterogeneous society and named it as to law and order problems rather than focusing and solving the issues of governability which was the real root cause of ethnic problems. 6

Tahir Amin, has devoted much part of his work on the ethnic issues of Pakistan. He is of the view that the state policies play an important role in ethnic conflicts in Pakistan. 7He says that in order to reduce the conflicts every ethnic group should be taken in account; they should have equal participation in every field. Having no equal participation will mostly result in conflicts among different ethnicities thus raising the chances of civil war inside the state.
Analyzing the history of Pakistan, one can construe that the ingredient of ethno nationalism is always there. It is in Sindh, Baluchistan, KPK and was also in former East Pakistan. In some provinces, the cry of a separate homeland was also heard as the central government was unable to fully address the concerns of the people. The same happened in East Pakistan where a secession movement occurred and then ultimately Bangladesh was appeared on the world map as an independent country.

On the other hand, Baluchistan is also facing problems due to ethnic rise as their demands are poorly addressed by the center. Some Pakistani leaders and scholars put the scenario of East Pakistan and Baluchistan under the same realm. They think that Baluchistan will separate from Pakistan likewise East Pakistan did in 1971 as the demands for a separate homeland are heard too. A majority of insurgent groups and some political parties of Baluchistan are not ready to live with Pakistan in any case because of many grievances.

The researchers compared the factors responsible for emergence of ethno nationalism in East Pakistan and Baluchistan in order to find out that whether they are same or not. They also analyze the history of both the provinces before reaching the conclusion.
Analysis of the circumstances in East Pakistan clearly illustrated the reasons and factors that gave rise to ethno nationalism in the state. The elitist policies played a crucial role in the upsurge of ethno nationalism. Pakistan was in a distinct geographical position having no geographical contiguity between East and West Pakistan. There was a parliamentary system but this system was not working properly in Pakistan, the political institutions of Pakistan had been at a developing stage and the political leadership had no experience in managing the affairs of the state. This caused the politicians to lose control over political matters thud giving a chance to the bureaucracy who placed themselves in the politics of Pakistan. There were no general elections during the phase1947- 1958. The involvement of bureaucracy in political matters and the effect of the policies of the politicians enhanced the reservations in East Pakistan as their representation was low in bureaucracy. Due to this the demands and hopes were not respected by the power elite thus giving rise to ethno nationalism. Along with this a language movement in East Pakistan, economic inequality among East and West Pakistan and intense centralized system arose a sense of deprivation and frustration among Bengalis. Due to the legacy of the past and bad planning of elite class East Pakistan was far behind from West Pakistan on the economic sphere. This economic gap widened between the two wings in 1947-48.According to the Government of India act 1935 article 92 A central governments had the power to dismiss the provincial government and impose direct central rule on the provinces. This power was used in 1954 when elected provincial government of United Front in East Pakistan was dismissed by the Governor General. This caused great resentment among Bengalis as in United Front all parties were regional and belonged to East Pakistan. Now, the entire situation turned into worst case scenario giving rise to ethno nationalism in East Pakistan.

When Ayub Khan in 1958 came into power, he declared martial law. He set up councils of national integration in both regions, instituted inter wing scholarships, ordered compulsory inter wing postings of civil officers and made arrangement for the exchange of cultural and students delegations. 8He also incorporated a term in 1962 constitution for the elimination of inequalities between the two regions. Ayub Khan adopted many options in order to promote national integration and laid stress on Islam as a united force. These policies of Ayub Khan that were industrialization, modernization or economic development gave rise to another group i.e. industrialists in which Bengalis had again less representation. This thing further widened the gap between the East and West Pakistan. The six points of Mujeeb also came in his era. In the era of Yahya khan disunity between the two regions were at the top. The martial law which was imposed was considered as an effort to deprive the Bengalis from their rights. Yahya said that the general elections are held as early as possible. After elections, only three political figures i.e Yahya Khan, the Awami league led by Sheikh Mujeebur Rehman and Pakistan People’s Party led by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto were left. They had different opinions and views regarding power making consensus among them really difficult. 9Awami league emerged as a leading party in the elections. The decision of Yahya khan to postpone the National Assembly session made the situation out of control in East Pakistan. To control the situation in East Pakistan Yahya khan ordered a military operation in East Pakistan which making the situation more badly resulting in the separation of East Pakistan.

Since many years in Pakistan and unfortunately in Baluchistan as well, the wave of ethno nationalism is operating. Baluchistan is the biggest but the least populated province of Pakistan. Since inception of Pakistan, the relations between Baluchis and the center were problematic. One of the reasons was less representation of Baluchistan in the mainstream politics. Baluchis were of the view that the central government is not at all concerned about them and are only concerned about the natural resources in their province. These perceptions gave rise to ethno nationalism in Baluchistan. Baluchistan from 1947-70 was a federation and was directly administered from the center. In 1955, Muhammad Ali Bogra combined the provinces of western wing as one unit in order to counter the superiority of Bengalis. But the one unit policy did not get popularity in Baluchistan and Khan of Kalat Mir Muhammad Yar Khan showed serious reservations on this policy. With the help of tribal leaders, the Khan of Kalat demonstrated against this scheme. Just one day before the imposition of martial law a military operation was launched in order to counter these demonstrations. Mir Ahmed Yar Khan was arrested resulting in more worsened situation in Baluchistan. Army justified their operation in Baluchistan on the grounds that Agha Abdul Karim who was the brother of Khan of Kalat and was involved with Afghanistan in assembling an eighty thousand tribal force for rebellion against the central government. However these charges were denied by the Khan of Kalat. 10After gaining the status of province and the election of first representative government in Baluchistan it was the perception of Baluchis that now their problems and worries will come to an end.

In 1970, National Awami party (NAP) formed a coalition government with Jamait Ulema-e- Islam (JUI) in Baluchistan but it was dismissed by the central government. This dismissal of the elected government along with the arrest of its leaders resulted in third insurgency and then another military operation in Baluchistan deteriorated the situation further. The insurgency came to an end when General Zia ul Haq over throw the Bhutto’s government. The situation of Baluchistan was under control and the level of ethno nationalism remained static in Zia’s era and in civilian era but their concerns was also not addressed properly.

Another shock in political system was faced by Pakistan when martial law was imposed in 1999 by Musharraf .After coming into power the situation in Baluchistan became more volatile due to the policies adopted by him. From the very beginning Baloch Sardars were against the mega projects which were initiated in Baluchistan. In this regard Mengal said “In the name of gigantic projects is a plan under way to settle the Punjabis in Baluchistan,” 11Musharraf was of the view that Sardars opposed the development projects because they thought that with the development in their region their influence will be reduced however Sardars said that they are not against the development but are against the deprivation of Baluch people in the name of development and modernization. 12In this regard in Chagai district a project with the name of Saindak was initiated. It was only the metallurgy project in Pakistan. The project started operations in 1995 but after the trail production it was closed down as the government did not have enough money. Then in 2002, Musharraf gave this project to a Chinese company on lease for ten years. The distribution of profits is according to a formula that is unintelligible i.e. The Chinese company takes 50%, the Federal Government 48% and only 2% of Baluchistan. 13

Along with this, another glaring example of injustice with the Baluchis is Gawadar port. Gawadar port holds a strategic and economic value. It is designed as a regional hub for transit and transshipment of goods for Afghanistan, Central Asia and the Middle East. When this agreement was signed in 2002 between Pakistan and China there was no representative of the provincial government. In Musharraf era, another military operation was ordered resulting in death of Akbar Khan Bugti giving rise to an unending insurgency inside Baluchistan. Baluchistan is the least developed province of Pakistan having lowest human development index and high rate of human rights violation.

Ethnic Factors
A comparative analysis is done by the researchers in order to test out the relevance of the factors which promoted ethno nationalism in both provinces. Factors which promote the ethno nationalism in both provinces are as follows.
 Culture
 Inequalities in different areas
 Less representation of Bengalis and Baluchis on Influential positions
 Elitist Policies
 Scarcity of resources
 Centralized System
 Role of military and military operations
 Underdevelopment
 Role of foreign powers
 Human rights violations

First factor that gave rise to ethno nationalism among ethnic group is culture. Culture constitutes an important place in any ethnic group. It constitutes the way of living, language and traditions of any group. The role of language in erupting the conflict between the East Pakistan and the center needs no introduction. The first bone of contention between East Pakistan and the center was on the language issue when it was announced that Urdu would be sole official language of Pakistan. Bengalis were not ready to accept this as they were of the view that they are in majority so Bengali should be the national language. The philosophy behind the declaration of one language Urdu as national language was to promote national integration. But it was very difficult to suppress the voice of that ethnic group which was in majority. In 1954 this movement came to an end when the constituent assembly accepted Bengali as one of the state languages. This language movement was a start of the sub nationalism among Bengalis on one hand and but on the other hand the strong retaliation was not seen in Baluchistan when Urdu language was declared as an official national language.
Even at that point in time Baluchistan did’t get the status of a province but it doesn’t mean that in Baluchis were not concerned to their culture but the level of intensity especially in matter of language was not seen in Baluchistan. Culturally Baluchis were conscious enough as when the first government was installed in Baluchistan they did a lot of projects for the initiation of their culture. Dehi Muhafiz (rural police) was formed. They formed their own press and established a national council of arts in Quetta under the leadership of Lal Baksh Rind. This council was established to promote Baloch literature and culture. When the central government asked the provincial government to introduce Arabic script for Baluchis language they opposed it. They wanted to introduce roman script for the Baluchis language as they thought it is more close to Baluchis culture. But this language movement didn’t get so much popularity as the provincial government of Baluchistan declared Urdu as its official language. It is also observed that in East Pakistan, majority of population were living there having common culture and language whereas Baluchistan is least populated province of Pakistan and at a same time comprises of many ethnic groups, it is not culturally homogenous so the role of language and culture in erupting ethno nationalism in Baluchistan is less than East Pakistan.

Second factor were inequalities in different sectors like power, prestige, development and economic matters which gave impetus to the ethnic conflicts in East Pakistan and Baluchistan. After the analysis, it can be concluded that the economic grievances in both the provinces played a vital role in the outbreak of ethno nationalism. In order to overcome these disparities provinces asked for provincial autonomy so they could manage their issues themselves but it was not given.
The seizing of rights of both, Bengalis and Baluchis by the central government resulted in frustration among them. Moreover, the unequal distribution of income between East and West Pakistan i.e. in West Pakistan from Rs.330 in 1949-50 to Rs.373 in 59-60; whereas in East Pakistan it declined from Rs.305 to Rs.28814 created hatred in the hearts of Bengalis thus strengthening their wish for a separate homeland. When Ayub Khan came into power he acknowledged that there was a disparity in East and West Pakistan especially in economic sector. In Ayub Khan’s era there was an increase in public sector allocations to East Pakistan but in private sector they were left behind. A study reveals that from 1963-68 only twenty two percent of the total private investment took place in East Pakistan as compared to seventy eight percent in West Pakistan. Like others Ayub Khan also failed to fill this gap between East Pakistan and West Pakistan. On the other side condition of Baluchistan is also the same.
Despite the fact it is rich in natural resources and minerals economically Baluchistan is far behind the other provinces of Pakistan. One of the interesting facts is that Baluchis people were exploited economically by different central governments. They were not given due share and were not included in the mega projects which were initiated in their own province. Baluchistan receives a 12.4 per cent royalty from its natural gas revenues but that royalty is based on a well head price that is far lower than that of other provinces e.g. in Baluchistan, the well head price for natural gas is $0.38 per thousand cubic feet; some sites in Punjab and Sindh get $3 and $2 respectively. 15 Both provinces faced disparities in different sectors and this resulted in ethnic issues in them.

Third factor was role of the people on influential position played an important role especially in the state of Pakistan where apart from politicians, the role of bureaucracy and army holds importance in managing the affairs of the state. The problem was that some ethnic groups were over represented in bureaucracy and military resulting in underrepresentation and threat to the existence and interests of other ethnic groups. Notwithstanding, the majority population of Pakistan, the Bengalis had very minor representation in army and bureaucracy and those who joined army and civil services were not on superior positions. Same is the case with the people of Baluchistan; they have less representation too in civil and military services, but unlike East Pakistan they are in minority. In army, the number of Baluchis is very low and this scenario made the Baluchis leaders call the army as Punjabi army. The policies adopted, less representation on influential positions created resentment among both the ethnic groups further aggravating the situation.

Fourth factor are the elitist policies which provided a fertile ground for the outbreak of ethno nationalism. The ill planned policies adopted by several leaders overtime badly affected the national integration of Pakistan. The highly centralized system, no devolution of power and the unawareness of leaders at the center about the conditions and aspirations of different ethnic groups created resentment in the ethnic groups i.e. Baluchis and Bengalis. In Ayub era, one unit policy (1955) harm the national integration of Pakistan to the limit especially in East Pakistan where the majority of Pakistanis were living were not given power to manage their own affairs. The policy of integration through economic development started in Ayub’s era in Pakistan, but the implementation of policies resulted in economic disparity among both regions. Distributive system of resources and power were not based on merit. Same is the case with Baluchistan. The province acquired the status of a province after the debacle of Pakistan. The elites didn’t learn anything from the past and again advocating the policies that showed dictatorial regime. In 1973 the decision of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto to dissolve the elected government in Baluchistan is the glaring example of that mindset. After this, the decision to initiate a military operation in Baluchistan was the biggest mistake.

Furthermore, in Musharraf era, the decisions to build cantonments in Baluchistan, starting of military operation in Baluchistan that resulted in the death of Nawab Akbar Bugti, inauguration of different development projects and not recruiting Baluchis in it deteriorated the situation even further. Between all these polices nationalist parties in both the regions start flourishing as people were fully convinced that the elite in center has nothing to do with their development and interest. So one can conclude that in East Pakistan and Baluchistan, polices of elites is the prominent factor in the emergence of the ethno nationalism. This scenario developed insecurity among Baluchis and Bengalis. This insecurity gave rise to other issues like war of natural resources among different provinces.

Fifth factor is the scarcity of resources .In any developing state scarcity of resource create problems as there are number of groups which are striving to fulfill their needs like in Pakistan. All the groups are in a competition to acquire more and more resources for a better standard of living. The same issue is evident in East Pakistan and Baluchistan scenario where the resources of both provinces were used by other ethnic groups creating tensions between the ethnic groups. The issue of Sui Gas is a very prominent example where the gas was provided to almost all parts of the country but not in Baluchistan where the Sui Gas was first found. Along with this the gas royalty paid to the Baluchis is also not enough. Senator Dr Abdul Malik Baluch, President National Party (Baluchistan) said: “The Baluchistan economy is based on agriculture, minerals, gas and fisheries. You know the history of the gas. It was discovered in 1952 and its supply to other parts of the country began in 1955. It reached Lahore, Faisalabad, Multan and every corner of Punjab but never reached Baluchistan completely. Saindak, which is one of the biggest cooper projects, 50 per cent share is going to the Chinese, 45 per cent to the federal government while the Baluchis are getting only 2 per cent from it. As for agriculture, Baluchistan is 46 per cent of the land of Pakistan is not getting the due share of the Indus water”16. In order to have a control over resources Baluchistan was continuously asking for provincial autonomy which was given after 18th amendment but was not fully implemented. East Pakistan had the same issue where jute was produced enormously but the Bengalis always complained of not getting their sufficient share instead West Pakistan was given more for development purposes. This war of resources converted into a war for a separate homeland where the Bengalis could use their resources for their betterment.

Sixth factor is the centralized system of the country. After the emergence of Pakistan, the mindset of the ruling elite of Pakistan was that national integration was only acquired through centralized system which created ethnic rivalry. The ruling elites were of the opinion that a system where provinces have autonomy cannot give rise to national integration. But after the application of centralized system in Pakistan there was no national integration rather than different ethnic groups called for provincial autonomy. Provinces or ethnic groups were not satisfied with the policies of ruling elites. The constitution of 1956 and 1962 also called for the strong center rather than the provincial autonomy. Bengalis were always in favor of provincial autonomy because they wanted to manage the affairs of their province and wanted to control their resources, but this demand was never addressed and deteriorating the situation to the full. After the separation of East Pakistan when Baluchistan became a province the policies of center towards Baluchistan were to force them to ask for autonomy.

Meanwhile, when Zulfikar Ali Bhutto dissolved the first elected government of Baluchistan the Baluchis considered it as an authoritarian policy of center in which no weight-age was given to the aspirations of provinces. During the tenure of other governments, the Baluchis were not satisfied with the conduct of central government and their policies. Also in Musharraf era many development projects were initiated in Baluchistan but they opposed all, they said that it was not acceptable to them to start any project without taking into confidence the local people of Baluchistan. They think that their natural resources were used for the development of the country except Baluchistan. In short centralized policies by the elite as well as army paved a way for the emergence of ethno nationalism in East Pakistan and Baluchistan.

Seventh factor is the role of army and military operations in the eruption of ethno nationalism. Army is a powerful institution of Pakistan since its inception. The country has been run by army many a times. Army men had run the affairs of the state starting from Ayub Khan to Pervez Musharraf. Unfortunately the role of the military in emergence of ethnic conflict is very important to analyze. As in the past, the policies adopted by army especially in the form of military operations in these provinces resulted in the outbreak of ethno nationalism. The policies pursued by Ayub Khan in the form of economic development resulted in unequal development which creating great resentment among the masses of East Pakistan as they were economically exploited. In one unit there was no provincial autonomy, all the provinces had to obey central government. Taking in account both of the provinces and their conditions, the military operation was also conducted in East Pakistan but the circumstances in which military operation was conducted in East Pakistan and Baluchistan were different. The effect of military operation in East Pakistan started many debates saying that if Pakistan forces didn’t do military operation in East Pakistan, Pakistan would have been saved. Others said that India was openly supporting the Mukti Bahini that whether operation was conducted or not the result would have been the same.
However in Baluchistan the circumstances were different. In Baluchistan forces were used in 1948, 1958, 1973 and in 2006 and till today. The continuity of military operations in Baluchistan worsened the situation instead not even one of them pacified the situation The decision to use force in East Pakistan can be defended on these grounds that at that time India openly intervened in the domestic affairs of Pakistan but in Baluchistan whenever military operation was launched it could have been avoided. Instead negotiation as a tool could have used. Whenever there was resentment among Baluchis against the central government on their policies, the option to use force was implied which further aggravating the condition. Kachkool Ali Baluch, Leader of the Opposition, Baluchistan Assembly made a statement on such condition that “The people of Pakistan did not get a nation – the Pakistan army got a state.” 17 To quote Mir Khuda Bakhsh, a clan elder of the Marri tribe in Kohlu, “The motive of the military action is to capture oil and gas resources of the area”. 18 On the basis of such notions some nationalist parties of Baluchistan that started their demand with provincial autonomy now demanded separation from Pakistan.

Eighth factor is development political, economic and social. There is a perception of certain ethnic group that the government is not interested in their development and is not concerned about their demands usually gives rise to ethno nationalism as apparent in Baluchistan case, where the people think that the central government is only interested in their resources. No gas availability, lowest human development index, illiteracy, food insecurity and unemployment clearly show the unconcerned behavior of the government. Mir Khuda Bakhsh told to newsmen that “the local people ask what benefits the exploitation of power resources in Dera Bugti has brought to their lives in the past 50 years? They still burn wood for fuel purpose and live like nomad. Then, how would the exploitation of mineral riches from Kohlu benefit the local population in the future? Whereas the Sui gas brought an industrial revolution in Pakistan, Baluchistan still lacks an industrial base which is the single biggest cause of unemployment in the province.” 19
It is worth noting that not even single project changed the life of Baluchis they remain poor and underdeveloped as compare to other ethnic groups. The effect of so called development in Baluchistan didn’t change the conditions of Baluchistan and the minors funds which were allocated to Baluchistan failed to reach the people of province as they were not properly planned. The Social Policy Development Centre 2005 report discovered, that the percentage of the population living in a high degree of deprivation is the highest in Baluchistan as compared to the other provinces. To be exact it is 88 percent in Baluchistan, 51 percent in the KPK, 49 percent in Sindh and 25 percent in Punjab. 20. The same issue was with the East Pakistan. At that time one unit was prevailed in Pakistan and it divided Pakistan into two zones East Pakistan and West Pakistan. Bengalis always complained that there was no balance between the East Pakistan and West Pakistan in context of development. Despite the fact that majority population was living in East Pakistan; West Pakistan consumed more resources and money. All these factors invited the foreign elements to intervene and use the situation in their own interest.

Ninth factor is role of foreign hand in worsen the ethnic situation. Taking advantage from the state of affairs the foreign powers got the fertile grounds to use this situation in their interest. It may not be right to say that foreign intervention is the primary source of ethnic conflict but in the long run foreign powers have their role in the separation of East Pakistan and also in upsurge of ethno nationalism in Baluchistan. The role of foreign hand in the deteriorating the ethnic conflict further in East Pakistan and Baluchistan is quite evident. When Pakistan came into being its territory was divided into two regions. The distance between the two regions were thousand miles and in between India was situated.
It is observed that from the very beginning India had its role in worsening the situation in East Pakistan. They openly supported the Bengalis against the Pakistan forces, trained them and provided them with weapons. It was due to the Indian support that Bengalis became successful in attaining the separate homeland for them. In case of Baluchistan the role of foreign countries cannot be denied. Government of Pakistan said so many times that they have clues that India is involved in building up volatile situation in Baluchistan. Pakistani intelligence agencies are convinced that Indian consulates in Kandahar, bordering on Baluchistan, and the city of Jalalabad, bordering on KPK, provide funds arms to the Baluchistan Liberation Army and the Baluchistan Liberation Front. 21. So in Baluchistan and East Pakistan the role of foreign country in destabilizing the situation is quite evident.

Tenth factor is situation of Human Rights. Along with other tensions and conflicting situations there is probability of the emergence of human rights violation when there is a wave of ethno nationalism in any province. In East Pakistan and Baluchistan the issues of human rights violation are there. The issue of ethno nationalism in both provinces flared up because of Human rights violations. It largely depends on the government how they respond to the aspirations of ethnic groups. In case government adopted the measure of force, it further aggravated the situation. Military operation conducted in East Pakistan to defend the boundaries of Pakistan also gave rise to human rights violation. It is absolutely true that when there is a use of force despite the fact it’s justified it will result in the suffering of people. Too many military operations in Baluchistan were also conducted .In the era of Musharraf many people lost their lives or were displaced from their homes. Apart from that many other issues which are now prevailing in Baluchistan. i.e. target killing; missing person issue further worsening the situation.

The factors/causes of ethno nationalism in East Pakistan and Baluchistan as mentioned above are many which put country at the brink of destruction at one point in time and the other. It is observed that in one province one factor is dominant and in other province other factors are dominant. Some factors are also common in both provinces. On these grounds many people start claiming that as some factors are common in both provinces, result will be the same which will result in breakup of Baluchistan from Pakistan like East Pakistan .Some people said that despite the fact that some reasons were common in both provinces the probability of breaking up of Pakistan like 1971 is not possible because the conditions of Baluchistan and East Pakistan are different. Selig Harrison says that the reasons for the ethnic conflict in both provinces are same like economic grievances, less representation in army and bureaucracy etc but there are also some important differences between the both which making them different from one other. 22
Geographical contiguity in any federation is very important and plays a great role in the integration of the state. After the establishment of Pakistan, it didn’t have many resources to tackle East Pakistan which was far away from the rest of the state thus creating problems. This physical separation invited external power to intervene in East Pakistan more openly as compared to Baluchistan. In case of Baluchistan there is no physical separation. So the central government can defend Baluchistan well.

Secondly, East Pakistan was in majority unlike Baluchistan and it was hard to ignore the majority and their demands as compared to minority. Minority can be suppressed by central government but to suppress the demand of majority of population is not easy. Not paying attention to the demands of Bengalis resulted in an upsurge of ethnic movement resulting in appearance of Bangladesh. Moreover, East Pakistan was homogenous population unlike Baluchistan. In Baluchistan apart from Baluchis many ethnic groups are also residing. So like East Pakistan Baluchistan has a heterogeneous population. In the words of former president of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf “the situation in Baluchistan had no resemblance with that of East Pakistan and asserted that the province would remain an integral part of Pakistan”. He said that some tribal chiefs of Baluchistan were trying to give a perception that situation in the province was similar to that of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) which was far from reality. He added that the dynamics and situation of East Pakistan were very different from that of Baluchistan as the former was home to 52 percent population of Pakistan which unanimously stood to get separation and Baluchistan formed only 4 percent population of the total Pakistan and majority of them do not want separation except some of the Baloch Sardars whose supporters were less than 0.5 percent.” 23

Thirdly, in accordance with Selig Harrison Baloch nationalism has not yet acquired the cohesion and momentum that Bengali nationalism had in 1971. 24In Baluchistan the leaders which are driving secessionist movement are not living in Baluchistan rather they express their program from outside that they are not ready to live with Pakistan. At the same time all the tribal leaders do not agree for a separate homeland and just want their rights to be fulfilled. Whereas in East Pakistan the way Mujib Ur Rehman mobilized the masses is quite different from the Baloch leaders. He was leading a homogeneous society. There is a lack of consensus among the leaders of Baluchistan. If some tribal leaders are driving the secessionist movement then some tribal leaders are in government as well. So there are bleak chances that on the demand of few tribal leaders Baluchistan will separate from Pakistan.

In this connection the leader of Baluchistan’s political party, Akhtar’s Mengal presented his six points and declared it same as the six points of Mujib. There was a huge hue and cry all over and it was said that Balochistan is experiencing and demanding the same as once demanded by Bengalis in 1966. After analysis of these points many differences can be seen. Mujib’s six points covered constitutional, political, economic and strategic aspects. It was maximalist positions to secure a fair deal for East Pakistan where as Mengal’s six point do not go beyond demanding ordinary rights enjoyed by citizen elsewhere in the country. 25 According to the Najam Sethi “Sheikh Mujib’s plan all but demanded independence from Pakistan. But for Akhtar Mengal, “a soft or hard divorce” is still dependent on the outcome of the dialogue and reconciliation process.” 26

Fourthly, the circumstances in which Pakistan was made were not very buoyant. There were lesser resources and it was not in a strong position to defend itself especially in that case when there was a physical separation too. Pakistan had less army, fewer weapons and possessed no nuclear power. But now the scenario is totally different as it has huge army, sophisticated weapons and at the same time is a nuclear power. In case of foreign intervention in Baluchistan like East Pakistan, Pakistan will defend it effectively. It was also said that if in 1971 Pakistan had nuclear power India didn’t dare to intervene in Pakistan so openly. It was after the separation of East Pakistan that Pakistan started its policy of building up nuclear power for its defense because they felt that in 1971 they failed to defend its boundaries.

Above are the points and issues that describe that despite the common factors in Baluchistan and East Pakistan in the eruption of ethno nationalism there are many imperative differences in both provinces which showed that separation of Baluchistan is not as easy as in the case of East Pakistan. But it doesn’t mean that things should be allowed to get worsen in Baluchistan. Efforts should be made to fulfill the demands of Baluchis and their grievances should be fully addressed. It is the responsibility of government to address the problems of Baluchis. After scrutinizing various factors of ethnic tensions and ethno nationalism in Pakistan following recommendations are given in order to counter the ethno nationalism in Baluchistan.

 General amnesty should be given to all Baluchis and practical implementation should be done by taking them on the negotiating table instead of using force. Moreover, they should be included in the main stream politics so that they do not feel alienated anymore.

 Military operation is not a solution of any problem. To curb ethnic conflict through weapons is a bad option. History shows that whenever a military operation was conducted to curb the ethnic movement it resulted in further bad conditions. In order to avoid ethnic conflict in Baluchistan all kinds of military operation should be ceased.

 Education gives awareness to the masses and enables a person to make his/her life better. If people of a specific ethnic group are well off or contented they will not indulge themselves in any kind of anti-state activities. Low literacy rate could be regarded as one of the reasons of ethno nationalism in Baluchistan. If the youth in Baluchistan get the opportunity to get education they will use their capacity to make their living standard better and in constructive activities.

 The emergence of Human Rights Violations badly affects the internal environment of the state and also the image of the country at international level. When ethnic conflict exists there emerges the human rights violation as well which then ultimately makes situations more volatile. In Baluchistan, there exists a huge number of Human Rights Violation where the issue of missing person and killing and dumping policy is of the greatest concern. Army and the intelligence agencies are alleged for being involved in extra judicial killings but the army denies it. In order to put an end to the ethnic conflict in Baluchistan, law and order inside the province should be maintained.

 In case of East Pakistan and Baluchistan, both provinces faced the same problem i.e. unequal distribution of resources. The elite policies regarding resource distribution resulted in more marginalization and alienation from the center. In order to curb the ethno nationalism in any Baluchistani it is the responsibility of the government to make an effective distributive system so that the needs and demands of Baluchis are addressed properly.

 For a heterogeneous state to prosper and function properly it is important that it gives equal representation to all of the ethnic groups so that feeling of hatred does not arises for other ethnic groups residing inside the country. Baluchis have less representation in the main stream politics and civil and military services. Due to this underrepresentation, the people who are at the helm of affairs are unaware of the problems of Baluch which made them go against the central government thus giving rise to ethnic conflict. In order to calm down the wave of ethno nationalism it is important for the government to introduce such mechanism in which all ethnic groups have representation so the interests of every ethnic group could be protected.

 In Pakistan, the role of foreign powers in aggravating the ethno nationalism is noteworthy.

 Constitution is a medium that determines the magnitude of independence of a province in managing its affairs. It is also an observation that if province has less powers or regional autonomy or centralized system is operating it gives rise to friction among center government and provincial government. All the constitutions of Pakistan called for less autonomy for the provinces which created great resentment among the provinces. East Pakistan and Baluchistan are clear illustration of these. After the 18th amendment many powers are given to the provinces. In order to avoid ethnic conflict constitution should be implemented in true letter and spirit.

 Pakistan is a heterogeneous state where different ethnic groups reside. The main objective of the state is to develop unity among the diverse ethnic groups by initiating inter province programs where different ethnic groups could share their ideas, culture and views to enhance understanding about each other and to end hatred. Moreover, inter province games and student exchange programs should also be initiated in order to create inter province harmony.

 Sardari system is the trademark of Baluchistan society. To abolish it completely would be impossible. The government should sit on the negotiating table with the Sardars and mutually work for the development of Baluchistan. The Sardars are influential enough to develop Baluchistan and Baluchis so that they can be the part of integrative force of the country.

1. Micheal Brown and Sumit Ganguly (eds), “Government Policy and Ethnic relations in Asia and Pacific”, (Cambridge, M.A: MIT Press,1970) ,p.8
2. Michaeal E.Brown,(ed), “The International Dimension of Internal Conflicts,” (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press 1996),p.571
3. Adeel Khan, Politics of Identity, Ethnic Nationalism and the State in Pakistan (London: Sage Publications, 2005), p.23
4. ibid
5. Veena Kukreja, Contemporary Pakistan, Political Processes, Conflicts and Crises (London: Sage publications, 2003), p.45
6. ibid
7. Tahir Amin, Ethno National Movements of Pakistan Domestic and international factors (Islamabad: Institute of Policy Studies, 1988) p.32
8. Safdar Mehmood, Pakistan divided (Lahore: Feroz Sons limited, 1984), p.28
9. Rounaq Jahan, Pakistan: Failure in National Integration (New York: Columbia University Press, 1972).p.192
10. Ibid., p.287
11. ibid
12. ibid
13. Ibid
14 ibid. p.34
15. Ibid
16. Dr. Noor-ul-Haq Balochistan Facts and Fiction: Islamabad Policy Research Institute. Viewed on 3rd March 2012
17. Pakistan: A forgotten conflict in Baluchistan, viewed on 15 may 2013,
18. Ibid
19. Syed Fazal-e-Haidar,Higher Poverty in Balochistan,
20. Zulfikar Shah, “Balochistan on the brink,” Dawn, February 8, 2008
21. Daily Times, Lahore, 13 February, 2006.
22. Selig S.Harrison, “Ethnicity and Political Stalemate in Pakistan”, in the State Religion and Ethnic Politics,ed Ali Banuazizi and Myron Weiner (United States: Library of Congress,1986),p277
23. Understanding Baluchistan by Musharaff, understanding-Baluchistan
24. Selig S.Harrison, “Ethnicity and Political Stalemate in Pakistan”, in the State Religion and Ethnic Politics, ed Ali Banuazizi and Myron Weiner (United States: Library of Congress, 1986), p277
25. Dr.Pervaiz Tahir, “6 Points: Now and Then,” Jahangir’s World Times, Nov 2012
Courtesy . Berkeley Journal of Social Sciences
Vol. 4, Fall 2014

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Posted by on December 18, 2015 in Research Papers on Political Issues


A New Society In Pakistani Balochistan 

By: Zofia Mroczek
Rural Development Consultant


Zofia Mroczek

The western province of Pakistan, Balochistan, has been torn by separatist insurgencies since its annexation into the new born Muslim state in 1948. As the current conflict, which exploded in 2005, has now become less intensive, military actions have also changed their character.There is no open war in the traditional sense but there are new problems, like enforced disappearances, kill and dump operations, death squads, extrajudicial and target killing, which strike Balochistan. A famous phrase of the former president Pervez Musharraf addressed to the militants: “you won’t even know what hit you” (Pakistan: the Worsening Conflict in Balochistan, International Crisis Group, Asia Report no 119) has got a disturbingly literal interpretation.

Who are Baloch nationalists?
According to the government, only 7% of the province is actually troubled,
and that is due to the terror imposed on the population by some backward
sardars1 protecting their own privileges2. On the contrary, the unrest is definitely much more than Islamabad claims. “It is not just the tribes but all Baloch people are fighting [for their rights], and most of them are ordinary Baloch” Abdul Rauf Mengal, a parliamentarian from the Balochistan National Party, says3.
However, not the whole of Baloch society, and not all to the same extent, adhere to the nationalist movement and reach for weapons. There is an entire myriad of more or less radical groups: parties demanding autonomy, militants struggling for national liberation and ordinary people searching for justice and a decent life.
Baloch nationalism has a dual basis. On one hand, it developed as a tribal identity repressed by a force perceived as foreign. Specific character of a tribal society is reflected in the strong reaction to the attacks on the collective identity. The individual is not at the center, it is the community that counts. So when threatened in its integrity, a tribal society is threatened also in its raison d’etre, and reacts with a major compactness: the nationalism4.
However, divisions among the tribes are deep and they do not have a tradition of their own sovereign state5. “[Unlike] the Awami League, which led a Bengali nationalist movement cutting across all the classes, the NAP [National Awami Party] in Balochistan is a mere assortment of Baloch and Brohi tribal leaders. On the lingual basis Brohis have as much in common with the Balochis as Tamils have with Pashtuns”, Feroz Ahmad commented in 19996.
On the other hand, a new Baloch nationalism has emerged with the emancipation of the Baloch middle class and intelligentsia7. These people were often educated outside the province, where they acquired modern ideas but also developed a sense of belonging to the homeland. They wanted to bring these ideas back home but found themselves excluded from high positions in administration or in the army, which they deserved due to their education.
Gradually, the relatively unified middle class took command over the nationalist movement in what is considered a process of its ‘detribalization’. One of the better known leaders of the movement, Dr. Allah Nazar Baloch, says: “I agree that tribal system has lost its significance in today’s world. The current tribal system is not the one our ancestors practiced”8. The middle-class is also much less prone to make separate agreements with the government (as it would happen frequently with the sardars).
Traditionally restless tribal areas in the North-East of the province were heavily struck at the beginning of the conflict so that the flashpoints moved towards the urban centers in the South-West, where the middle classes were ready to embrace insurgent ideas9. The profile of the militant has changed as well: he has become modern, tribal-free and younger: the majority is probably under 30. They come from the cities like Kech, Panjgur, Gwadar, Quetta, Khuzdar, Turbat, Kharan, Lasbela or even
Karachi. This is where the Frontier Corps concentrate their forces10.
Islamabad, by targeting the middle class and the youth, destroys human potential which is vital for the development of the Baloch society and the province as a whole. Young educated people are not only marginalized by the federal policies but also heavily radicalized and may spend their best years in mountains with kalashnikovs.

Toward radicalization?
Motivation and goals have changed as well. People are desperate and have lost confidence in the sense of political solutions. Continuing disappointments, such as lacking power devolution, extractive policy, military pressure and all kinds of abuse, lead to statements like: “When nobody wants to hear our voice, we’re forced to make them hear it through violence” or “the young people have taken up the arms; they are fighting for their rights. They think they can’t get through a political struggle. If this still continues, if we can’t get our rights through political means, we too will take up the gun […] we are now tired. This is our last struggle”11.
Some leaders set their sights on independence and have very precise political plans. A prominent political activist of the Baloch Republican Party’s Women’s Wing, Banuk Hooran Baloch, delineates exact borders of the desired state: “we demand independence for greater Balochistan which includes Rajanpur, Dera Ghazi Khan (currently in Punjab), Jaccobabad, Karachi (currently in Sindh) and Iranian occupied Balochistan and our struggle will continue until we free greater Balochistan”12.
Certainly, these are not the mainstreaming voices, but the fact that they appear in a public debate proves that there are serious radicalization flashpoints within society.
The escalation of the attacks against the pipelines and the episodes of violence can be observed since 2002. Initially, the armed group would organize attacks against everything that symbolized the ‘colonial’ state’s policy, like pipelines, railway, electricity network or military cantonment, provoking heavy retaliations13. The salient feature of these actions was that they were not causing many casualties, at least not among civilians. If the victims were usually Punjab, it could be explained by the ethnic composition of the military forces assigned to quell the insurrection.
However, with time and with the increase in turmoil, the militants started
to target also Punabi civilians: teachers, policemen, employees working on
pipelines or in Gwadar, and even Chinese engineers engaged in projects sponsored by China. For instance, in 2004 a car bomb killed three Chinese engineers and wounded 9 en route to Gwadar14.
Threatening and physically eliminating Punjabi employees, both from public administration or private companies, is supposed to have a symbolic meaning of fighting the Punjabi domination over the province. Instead, it has a critical impact on the Baloch society which is an indirect victim of this practice: Balochistan cannot provide its own staff for schools and other public structure and has to rely on better qualified specialists from Punjabi. Targeting Punjabis discourage them to come to work in Balochistan15. If that is a goal of the militants in order to counter migration from other provinces, it should be also considered that
encouraging ethnic hate may undermine social relations for decades.

Baloch come out of shadow
Islamabad has always tried to divert attention from the conflict and to stifle the stream of news from the province. The policy of misinformation caused within years a surprising unawareness of what was actually going on there. The government would downplay the scale of unrest, as an army spokesman said: “It is not an insurgency…The Baloch militants are employed people [mercenaries]. There is no [nationalist or other ideological] motivation”16. Thus, many Pakistanis, especially the left, were convinced by the official version promoted by Islamabad.
Gradually, this wall of silence started to erode and in spite of many risks, influx of information has been intensifying. Extremely poor conditions of the education and communication infrastructures have not impeded Baloch society to become very active even on international forums.
Nowadays, the situation in Balochistan can be relatively easily monitored but impartiality and plausibility of the information remain to be verified.
There are numerous websites and blogs, often run by a Baloch diaspora in different parts of the world, from Sweden to Canada. They have different view points but all declare to be impartial and to “raise awareness on an international level and report the atrocities against Baloch people[…]”17.
Initiatives on a bigger scale have been undertaken, too. Baloch would resort to the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization18 and the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. Appeals have been also made to the USA for interrupting its military assistance to Pakistan and for American intervention.

Laic nationalists
The completely secular character of this sites and initiatives is a salient feature. Defence of the human rights and democracy in a quite Western way is in the first place, often colorized by the nationalism, moderate or radical. The availability of the English version, the inspiration of the UN Declarations of Human Rights, the concept of nation and other values commonly shared in the Western world, are explicit. They lack references to the global jihad or any kind of anti-Western solidarity of the Muslim world. Even the radical site Baluch Sarmachar, with its war cry:
“Long live free and united Balochistan, Struggle and Victory”, invokes just freedom. If we type in its search engine words like ‘Allah’, the results refer to Dr. Allah Nazar Baloch, “most popular middle-class leader” and to Dera Allah Yar- area of Jaffarabad district. If we do the same thing with the word ‘jihad’ the first result is an article The enemies of civilized world
announced Jihad against Baloch Nation, and others in this vein19.
In the case of Balochistan, the religious factor does not count because the conflicting sides are both Sunni. If religion can be promoted to a national/ethnic unity factor even in traditionally tolerant societies, in Baloch case it is less probable because it is a persecutor, the state, who uses religion as a form of oppression. In a logical way, therefore, Baloch, whose culture was never particularly religious, do not feel like invoking Islam in their struggle.

Social mobilization
Another peculiarity is that the repression can indirectly encourage a social mobilization, a raise of awareness of the identity, and a new-gained confidence to defend one’s rights. Certainly, this could be a very tricky path since the collusion with extremist religious movements or xenophobic forms of the nationalism is easy. As mentioned before, the former is less probable given the alliance of conservative Islamist and the state. The latter, however, has already come true in many cases. An ethnic tincture that appears in some aspects of the militancy is a proof of this worrying process.
It is important to remember that probably not all the blogs written by the well-educated young people from London are read on regular basis by the poorly educated people in Baloch mud houses. Nonetheless, the injustice and violence affecting all Baloch every day, push them to search for solidarity within their community and to go on the streets. Consequently, information and ideas go around.
The parties like Baloch Republican Party, Baloch Youth Wing, Baloch National Movement and other new and traditional organizations, call for strikes, hunger strikes or demonstrations, and achieve actual results. They appeal in the first place for an end to abductions and extrajudicial killings, which are particularly painful for the community. They are addressed primarily to the UN, like the one organized by the Voice of Baloch Missing People on the Eid Day in Quetta (August 2013) with people carrying large photos of their abducted relatives20. During these events, clashes with the police take place frequently.

Women step up for their rights
The presence of women at demonstrations is another feature worth being raised. Since the first to be abducted or to be killed are men, the ones who mourn and protest are in the majority of cases mothers, wives, sisters. Although Baloch tradition is much less bounded by Islamic laws, it remains deeply patriarchal and gender restrictive. Baloch women have never had a decisive role in society and would spend most of their time at home looking after family. Nevertheless, the unrest, military operations and abductions have had a dramatic impact on the traditional social structure. Men ‘disappear’ and the trauma caused by this change the ingrained social code. Frequently, women are the only ones left to maintain broken families. By going to work and interacting with the authorities when trying to get information about the missing, they emancipate themselves. This is a common phenomenon for repressed and warring societies, as a World Bank study states: “Conflicts create households headed by widows who can be especially vulnerable to inter-generational poverty. Second-round impact can provide opportunities for women in work and politics triggered by the absence of men”21.
There are a lot of stories of women who have moved into action, like Zarina Baloch, who after the forced disappearance of her cousin, a political activist, and after finding him dead two years later, started to take part in rallies on a regular basis: “I was in Karachi when I heard the news that the mutilated body has been found in Turbat. I don’t have words. What can I do? I heard there is a protest by BHRO [Baloch Human Rights Organization] the next day, so I have to join that protest and I joined. I even spoke to many news channels and told them that my brother has been killed. I got his mutilated body”22.
Banuk Hooran Baloch is the organizer of the Women’s Wing of Baloch Republican Party. According to her, women are obliged to: “fight for liberation shoulder-to-shoulder with Baloch brothers because if we [the Baloch women] remain ignorant about the struggle and don’t play our role today then the history will never forgive us”23. Not only do women demonstrate holding photos of ‘Baloch martyrs’, but they even reach important positions. As Karima Baloch, about 30-years-old vice-chair of the Baloch Students Organization, says: “And that’s what’s so striking. In a region where women are for the most part neither seen nor heard, they are now not just silent supporters of the separatist movement: they’ve become its leaders”24. She is paying a high price though, since, having been tried in absentia for sedition and defiling Pakistani flag for three years, she has been living hiding. Banuk Hooran Baloch mentions 200 women abducted and detained, like Hanifa Bugti or Zarina Marri, a young school teacher, abducted in 2005 and allegedly kept in a Karachi cell, tortured and forced to work as sex slave25.
It is not ascertained whether there are women among the guerrillas in the mountains, but it does not seem as unimaginable as it could have some time ago in the segregated society of Balochistan. Dr. Allah Nazar Baloch, for instance, acknowledges and even wishes for women taking up arms: “I appeal to my sisters. If in Palestine, Leila Khaled can pick up arms then can’t my sisters do the same? […] They should play their role because this is a demand of the times. History is not written just for men. Both men and women make up the history of any nation”26. However, these seemingly ground breaking words raise concern that the women’s will to fight could be abused in order for them to become obedient kamikaze. We can only hope that these declarations may really trigger a change.
Certainly, it is difficult to see any positive aspects in protracting bloodshed, extreme poverty, everyday terror, broken families. Emancipation should not come at price of such suffering, but the sad fact is that sometimes it does. Women and girls are the most vulnerable in war’s terrifying consequences but it is also the war that, by striking society as a whole, transforms deeply its structure and rearranges roles. When men, fathers, husbands, leaders go missing, who is left has to mobilize, both because of the desperation and rage, and because of a simple need to survive. Here’s why Naela Quadri, in exile in Afghanistan since 2010 where she heads the World Baloch Women’s Forum, says: “Here this grand involvement of women in nationalist movement means a lot. It means many chains of patriarchy, breaking many chains of slavery. It’s not just slavery from Pakistan. Slavery from patriarchal chains also”27. However, the way ahead is still long and tortuous.
The separation from Pakistan has been brought into public debate. The continuing violence and destruction of the social structures push people to harden their position28, without taking into account the realistic capacities and the actual will of Baloch to organize in the state of Balochistan. What people really want counts less and less, while events push them toward radicalization.

1 Tribal leaders
2 Pakistan: the Worsening Conflict in Balochistan, International Crisis Group, Asia Report no.119, 14 settembre 2006, p. 23
3 Ibidem, p. 10
4 M.I. LAIF – M.A. HAMZA, “Ethnic Nationalism in Pakistan: A Case Study of Baloch Nationalism during Musharraf Regime”, Journal of Pakistan Vision, vol. 1, no. 1, 2000, p. 68
5 F. GRARE, Balochistan. The state versus the Nation, The Carnegie Papers, South Asia, April 2013, p. 8
6 A. FEROZ, Ethnicity and Politics in Pakistan, London, Oxford University Press, 1999, p. 173
7 M.I. LAIF, M.A. HAMZA, (2000), p. 67
8, 12.09.2013
9 F. GRARE, (2013), p. 9
10 Ibidem
11 Pakistan: the Worsening…, cit, p. 12, 04.08.2012
13 M.I. LAIF – M.A. HAMZA, (2000), p. 74
14 J.R. MURTHA, The strategic Importance of Balochistan, thesis for the Naval Postgraduate School of Monterey, California, June 2011, p. 49
15 C.C. FAIR, Balochistan, US House of Representatives, Commitee on Foreign Affairs,Oversight and Investigations Subcommitee, 8 Febraury 2012, p. 8
16 R.G. WIRSING, Baloch nationalism and geopolitics of energy resources: the changing context of separatism in Pakistan, Strategic Studies Institute for the U. S. Government, April 2008, p. 32,1.html, 15.02.2013
19 sarmachar
20 Ibidem
21 M.BUVINIC – M. DAS GUPTA – U. CASABONNE – P. VERWIMP, Violent conflict
and Gender Inequality. An Overview, Policy Research Working Paper 6371, The World Bank, February 2013, abstract page, see also C. MULLER – M VOTHKNECHT, Group violence, Ethnic Diversity and Citizen Participation: Evidence from Indonesia, Aix Marseille School of Economics, February 2012 role-fightindependance-pakistan, 17.07.2013 struggle-for-thrliberation-of-my-nation-banuk-hooran-baloch/, 04.08.2012, 17.07.2013 struggle-for-thrliberation-of-my-nation-banuk-hooran-baloch/, 04.08.2012,, according to Asian Human Rights commission of Pakistan role-fightindependance-pakistan, 17.07.2013
27 Ibidem

Atarodi A., Insurgency in Balochistan and why it is of trategic importance, FOI Swedish Defence Researcg Agency, Defence Analysis, January 2011
Buvinic M., das Gupta M., Casabonne U., Verwimp P., Violent conflict and Gender Inequality. An Overview, Policy Research Working Paper 6371, The World Bank, February 2013, abstract page
Fair C.C., Balochistan, US House of Representatives, Commitee on Foreign Affairs, Oversight and Investigations Subcommitee, 8 February 2012
Fazl-e-Haider S., Gwadar: An emerging Centre of a New Great Game, Istituto per gli studi di Politica Internazionale, no. 162, October 2009
Feroz A., Ethnicity and Politics in Pakistan, London, Oxford University Press, 1999
Gall C., “In remote Pakistan, a civil war festers”, in The New York Times, 2 April 2006
Grare F., Balochistan. The state versus the Nation, The Carnegie Papers, South Asia, April 2013
Harrisson, S.S., “Nightmare in Balochistan”, Foreign Policy, no. 32, Autumn 1978
Hewitt V., Ethnic construction, provincial identity and nationalism in Pakistan: The caes of Balochistan, in S. K. Mitra and R. A. Levis (eds.), Substantional Movements in South Asia, Boulder, 1996
Hundergford, H.T., The Indian Borderland: 1880-1990, London, Methuen, 1909
Jamal H., Khan A. J. , Trends in Regional Human Development Indices, Social Policy and Development Centre, Research Report no. 73, July 2007
Khan Z.A., “Balochistan Factor in Pak-Iran Relations: Opportunities and
Costraints”, Journal of South Asian Studies, Vol. 27, no. 1, 1 June 2012
Laif M.I., Hamza M.A., “Ethnic Nationalism in Pakistan: A Case Study of Baloch Nationalism during Musharraf Regime”, Pakistan Vision, Vol. 1, no. 1, 2000
Mahsood A., Miankhel A.K., Baluchistan Insurgencyç Dynamics and Implications, Department of Political Science, Gomal University, Dera Ismail Khan, KPK,
Pakistan, Global Advanced Research Journal of Social Science, Vol. 2, no. 3,
March 2013
Muller C., Vothknecht M., Group violence, Ethnic Diversity and Citizen
Participation: Evidence from Indonesia, Aix Marseille School of Economics,February 2012
Murtha J.R., The strategic Importance of Balochistan, thesis for the Naval
Postgraduate School of Monterey, California, June 2011
Pakistan: the Worsening Conflit in Balochistan, International Crisis Group, Asia Report no. 119, 14 September 2006
Pipes, G.D. , The Baloch-Islamabad Tension: Problems of National Integration, thesis for the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, March 2010
Piacentini Fioriani V.F., Pakistan, le condizioni di sicurezza e gli scenari futuri Research of the Military Center of Strategic Studies, 2010
Rashid A., Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia, Italian edition, Serie Bianca Feltrinelli, Milano 2001
The state of sectarianism in Pakistan, International Crisis Group, Asia Report no. 95, 18 April 2005
Wirsing R.G., Baloch nationalism and geopolitics of energy resources: the changing context of separatism in Pakistan, Strategic Studies Institute for the U. S. Government, April 2008
Yusuf H., Sectarian violence Pakistan’s greatest security threat?, Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Center, July 2012

Online sources (1998), 28.07.2011, Key to HDI countries and ranks, Human Development Report 2013,, T. Saeedi, ‘Pakistan: Unveiling the Mystery of Balochistan Insurgency’ Intellibrief, 01.03.2005, A. Naveed, Trouble in Pakistan’s Energy-rich Balochistan’ ISN Security Watch, 30.01.2006, 11.04.2012
endance-pakistan, 17.07.2013, 2013, B. Raman, Pakistan: Shia Anger Againsy Kayani, 24 29.04.2009, Turbat Fact Finding Report, 11.02.2013

Analysis No. 266, July 2014 ©ISPI2014

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Posted by on December 18, 2015 in Research Papers on Political Issues


The Baluch Role in the Persian Gulf during the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

By Prof Dr Beatrice Nicolini
Faculty of Political Sciences,
Catholic University of the Sacred Heart,

During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, evidence of the Baluch popula-tion could be found in the service of the Al Ya’rubi of Oman, mainly as mercenarytroops.’ Officers were called jam’darand soldiers sowar.2 To the Arabs of Oman, these Baluch corps constituted their military power (alshawkah) and their strength and were an indispensable tool in the conquest and maintaining of Omani tribal power. It was, however, with the Omani dynasty of the Al Bu Sa’id of Oman—starting around the first half of the nineteenth century—that the Baluch, and the coastal strip of Makran, the main region in south Central Asia of their origin, became an institutional part of the Omani governmental forces and major political leaders. Baluch tribes also settled in other Gulf areas beside Oman, and in separate villages, practicing their tribal customs and speaking their language.


Persian Gulf

Being Baluch is a question of geographical and cultural identity; therefore their integra­tion in the Arab regions of the Gulf has been always assured and stable when closely related to their original corporate role of defense force. Consequently, the role of Baluch—espe­daily Makrani—in the Arab Gulf countries has been growing and modifying itself since the nineteenth century. During the twentieth century, Baluch cultural identity, and most of all the Baluch presence in numerical terms with respect to Arab Gulf nationals, did become a significant reality, and also a cultural reality. Today there are many integration problems between nationals and nonnationals in most of the Arab Gulf countries, and the Baluch con­tribution to the richness of Gulf culture and society could represent a significant step toward future cooperation and integration through reform governmental projects. Consequently, when talking about globalization, one should keep in mind that this concept is not new for this particular region. The society of the Gulf has in fact been a “globalized” community from time immemorial; nevertheless, each ethnic group composing this cosmopolitan world suc­ceeded in preserving its own cultural identity.
In the United Arab Emirates, for example, there are today 135,700 southern Baluch (7 percent of the population) as a part of a larger community of about S million.3 Starting in the late 195os, sudden wealth made this region one of the richest of the world. Here the Baluch found work as unskilled laborers, policemen, or fishermen. Other Baluch joined the military. Still others labored in the oil fields and on the farms of the wealthy Gulf states. Although the Baluch work extremely hard, they are much better off than they were in Baluchistan, one of the poorest areas of the world. One of the main causes of the Baluch “diaspora” to the other shores of the Arabian Sea largely results from their lands of origin, which I describe together with their society’s conditions and customs.
The Baluch reside mainly in Baluchistan, a dry, desolate region in the southeastern part of the Iranian plateau. It extends from the Ker­man desert to the east of Bam and the Besha­gard mountains and to the western borders of the Sind and Punjab provinces of today’s Paki­stan. During the second half of the nineteenth century, Baluchistan was divided by the British between Iran and Pakistan.’ These two states had a dispute concerning the border dividing the two parts of Baluchistan; it was resolved by an agreement signed in 1959.5
Iranian Baluchistan is a part of the Sistan and Baluchistan provinces.’ The barren land of Iranian Baluchistan, situated on the southeast­ern side of the country, is part of “Great Baluch­istan,” with the other half located in Pakistan.? The province is divided into four regions—Sar­hadi, Sarawan, Bampur, and Makran—based on their environmental differences.
One of the main characteristics of Balu­chistan is the variation in flora and fauna that exists because of the climatic differences. This multifeatured, inhospitable land has given rise to people of different ethnos. The ethnic diver­sity is such that one can find Baluch and Brohi Arabs, Jats and Kurds, and also blacks, whose ancestors had once been brought to this land as slaves from East Africa by the Omani Arabs.’

Historically it is believed that the Baluch moved to Makran from Kerman province to flee an expedition of the Seijuks during the eleventh century. At that time, the Baluch were nomads.’ They have never had a centralized govern­ment and live under a tribal system. Baluch is the name of several tribes, a small number of which live in Turkmenistan. They speak Balu­chi, believed to be a west Iranian language of the Indo-European family of languages and influenced by eastern Iranian dialects. There are two branches of northern (Sarhadi) and southern (Makrani) Baluch. The Iranian Ba­luch tribes are divided into a number of clans.'” The Iranian Baluch belong mostly to the Hanafi school of the Sunni faith of Islam. A few tribes in the Sistan area are also regarded as Baluch, but they speak a Sistani dialect, an abandoned Persian language.”
The Baluch are a people of about 6 mil­lion, scattered mainly across Pakistan (of which they occupy nearly a half), southeastern Iran, Afghanistan, and the United Arab Emirates, where they form a large immigrant community. They appear to have first occupied the center of Iran (Kerman), or perhaps even the north, before migrating toward the southeast.
Although the presence of Baluch nomadic tribes is documented before Muslim times, their current territory was populated in the past by a number of ethnic groups speaking various idioms, among which were the Dravidian lan­guages. Some would more or less consider the Baluch to be any nomadic tribe, and the latter would accept this identification, but this iden­tity was not enough for the Baluch to be able to identify themselves as an ethnically homoge­neous community.
From the end of the eighteenth century, and for all of the nineteenth century, it was these tribes of pillaging warriors who protected, hid, supported, and faithfully defended the Al Bu Sa’id of Oman. The tribal structure and clan-family relationships of their society, which was traditionally nomadic, could count on Makran, peninsular, and continental solidarity.
It was only in the eighteenth century that a Baluch national identity arose.12 It won over and brought together various tribes, essentially on the condition that they would speak the same language and share their culture. Proba­bly around that time, epic poetry was developed among the tribes, thus unifying all the groups and subgroups, whatever nuances there might have been, into an entity that today is called the Baluch people. Language is the essential factor in cultural cohesion, which is remarkable given the heterogeneous character of their society; music, too, by highlighting poetry, has been an important element in establishing cultural unity.
Baluchistan is the largest province of Paki­stan. It covers 44 percent of the land surface, an area of 347,190 square kilometers, but has a population of only 4.5 million (around 4 per­cent), making it the least populated province of the country. About half of this population lives around Quetta, the provincial capital of Paki­stani Baluchistan, located in the north, close to the border with Afghanistan. To its north and west, thousands of kilometers of barren desert and stark mountains form the borders with Iran and southern Afghanistan, while due east it is divided from the rest of Pakistan by the Kirthar and Sulaiman mountain ranges. Toward the south, along the Arabian Sea, stretch the sandy desert beaches of the Makran coast.
Most of Baluchistan lies outside the mon­soon system of weather; therefore the climate is extremely dry. The annual rainfall is about fifteen centimeters and is even less along the Makran coast. In terms of physical geography, Baluchistan has more in common with western Asia than with the Indian subcontinent. Its vis­tas of arid wastelands, great deserts, and formi­dable mountain ranges (dramatically contoured and twisted by the earth’s violent geological movements) make it a dramatic area. The dry climate combined with the natural geographi­cal features make it one of the most daunting environments for successful human habitation; thus it is sparsely populated. Many observers think that the region resembles the surface of the moon.
The most important tribes of Pakistani Baluchistan are the Brohi, Baluch, and Pathan, who speak Brohi, Baluchi, and Pushto, respec­tively. The northeast of this province receives rain and snowfall, a measurable precipitation that supports juniper forests, cultivated land, and orchards that produce apples, almonds, apricots, peaches, and grapes. Most of the peo­ple in central Baluchistan lead serninomadic lives herding sheep, goats, and camels, while others are subsistence farmers and laborers working in Punjab and Sind during the win­ter months. Some areas of the south, near the Makran coast, are famous for growing three hundred different varieties of dates!’
Covering an area of sixty-two thousand square kilometers, Makran forms the southern­most strip of Baluchistan province, with a coast­line of over six hundred kilometers. It is hard to envision the vast wilderness of this remote area, where miles of virgin beaches stretch along the sea in bright sunshine and blue skies during the winter months. Because there is hardly any rain, the few villages and settlements depend on spring water and wells. The coast has several tiny fishing villages, while main towns like Gwadar, Ormara, jiwani, and Pasni have small fishing harbors, where the fishermen can be seen com­ing in with their catch every morning and eve­ning.’ Makrani Baluch in the past traded with other maritime communities along the west­ern Indian Ocean; in fact, since ancient times Makran has held a historically strategic position as the most direct route between the Middle East and the riches of the Indian subcontinent.
Known to the ancients as Gedrosia, the Greeks were among the first recorded visitors to Makran. At the end of his conquest in 325 BC, Alexander the Great marched with his army through its harsh deserts, suffering heav­ily because of shortages of both food and water. Earlier, only Semiramis and Cyrus are known to have tried to traverse Makran’s wastelands with an army, but with devastating results.
According to the Greek historian Near­chos, Alexander did not take that route in ig­norance of its difficulties, but he chose it on learning that no one had yet traversed it with an army except Semiramis, who escaped with only twenty men of all his army, and even Cyrus, the son of Kambyses, escaped with only seven soldiers. When Alexander heard these accounts, he was seized with an ambition to outrival both Cyrus and Semiramis.15
The Greeks exerted more of a nominal influence over this region. In 305 BC Chandra Gupta defeated Alexander’s successor, Selecus Nicator, and the region fell under the control of the Mauryan empire. Later the area came under the Sassanian dynasty and remained under its control until the end of the sixth century. Raj Shah of Sind controlled the area for some time. The Arabs of Oman exercised their power over Makran from the seventh to the tenth century.
For the next seven centuries the region was under the loose control of many foreign dynas­ties, which followed one another in quick suc­cession, but their power was short lived.
Toward the beginning of the sixteenth century, the Portuguese found their way to India and captured several places along the Makran coast. They never penetrated inland and were unable to establish anything more than heav­ily defended military bases at various ports. In 1581 they destroyed Gwadar and Pasni by burn­ing the two trading and fishing villages to the ground. In the eighteenth century, Makran came under the nominal control of the khanate of Kalat, which was ruled by Nasir Khan I (the Great, 1749-95). The khanate of Kalat, which developed around the seventeenth century, was a refuge for waves of invaders coming from southwest Asia, directed to India; from the tenth to the fifteenth century Kalat and the border­ing provinces were subdued by foreign powers imposing tributes, often with the use of force; but it was not before the end of the seventeenth or the beginning of the eighteenth century that the khanate succeeded in affirming its power in Baluchistan. Once it subdued the sedentary ag­ricultural tribes and enforced tribal authority on the pastoral nomadic groups, the khanate began developing a centralized bureaucratic apparatus through territorial expansion, which included Makran.i6
It was not until the nineteenth century that the British became interested in this area, first during Napoleon’s menacing presence in Egypt and later during the time of the first Anglo­Afghan War in 1838. A British expedition was sent into the area to pave the way for the build­ing of the Indo-European telegraph line, which passed through Makran. On the line’s comple­tion in 1863, Major F. Goldsmid was posted to Gwadar as a British assistant political agent. In 1872 a firm boundary between Persia and Brit­ish Baluchistan was established.° During the twentieth century, after the creation of West Pakistan in 1947, it became a part of Pakistan itself. In 1953, Pakistan Petroleum Limited dis­covered natural gas in Sui, a town in eastern Baluchistan. For most of Pakistan, the discov­ery was a big boon: within ten years, residents in major cities were enjoying gas stoves and fur­naces. In Islamabad today, gas is cheaper than electricity. Only thirty years after discovery the gas was piped to Quetta; yet, to this day, resi­dents in Sui have no access to piped gas.

The Wastes of Creation:
Traveling to Baluchistan, one covers hundreds of kilometers of endless desert road through dust and sandstorms, where an eternal cloud of dust stands over the mountains and valleys overlooked by a sun covered in haze, an agitated atmosphere heavy with the presence of ever-existing dreadful, unexpected events. Were it not for the windswept tamarisk bushes by the road and the occasional tents set up here and there in the dust, or the bell sound­ing on a goat, the presence of humans would not be evident. It feels as if one is walking on an empty, forgotten planet in the burning heat of its blazing sand deserts and the illusive waves of the ever-existing mirages, haunted by all the devils and wicked ghosts of all time, the famous jinn.1B
“When the Lord created the universe, Ba­luchistan was formed out of its wastes.” Whether or not God created this land out of the wastes of the universe, as this Baluch proverb describes, Baluch people had been residing in some other land in the past and migrating to this land in search of shelter. Baluch people then living in the eastern region of the Caspian Sea were driven to the southern part of the country (Ker­man), from whence they were once more moved to the eastern parts and the dry deserts of Balu­chistan. Those who invaded this land forced the Baluch people to leave their green pastures and watersheds and move in tribes riding on the backs of camels and mules and carrying their hard, yet lightweight, accommodations on their saddles, leading their cattle toward this remote corner of the world in search of a refuge. The Baluch name in history is accompanied by de­scriptions of massacres and invasions. It was first mentioned in inscriptions and petroglyphs at­tributed to Darius the Great in Persepolis and Bistoun as the fourteenth province of the Achae­menian empire. It is the place Alexander turned to after his Indian conquest, in the sandy des­erts where half his weary army died. During the golden days of Islam, Arabs invaded and looted this land many times. The caliph’s commander, expressing his concern over being sent to Ba­luchistan, was quoted as saying, “You sent me to a land where her water is hidden under the ground, her dates are eaten up, and her warriors are brave. If the soldiers are few, they will be de­feated, otherwise, they shall starve to death.”19
After the Arabs came the Turkmens, Ghuzz, Mongols, and Timurids, who in turn in­vaded this land right up until the Qajar dynasty came into power in Persia in the nineteenth cen­tury, a period in which violation and oppression reached such a climax that the word Qajaris still synonymous with “stranger” and “invader.” Late in the nineteenth century, the British govern­ment of India penetrated the Persian territory, following its domination over the Sind region, under the pretext of extending telegraph lines from India to the “Oman Sea” and guarding the area. They finally succeeded in separating from Persia a part of Baluchistan, later known as Pakistan’s Baluchistan, in 1871.
In Persian Baluchistan, local khans and commanders rebelling against the central gov­ernment were thoroughly suppressed during the Pahlavi reign in the twentieth century, put­ting an end to tribal autonomy and local rulers. Since the second half of the twentieth century, the primitive lifestyle in which nature plays a decisive role, together with the background of historical invasion and confrontation with other tribes and the tax-gathering, forceful cen­tral government, has led to a call for a militant-tribal structure to defend against invaders and bring the tribes into harmony with one another and their superiority and thus win the challenge of power.2° Common people take refuge in the closed, internally consistent communities where their predetermined, ascribed socioeconomic status is guarded.

Ways of Subsistence:
Adaptation has become a necessity through generations because the Baluch live in a land of scarce water, unfavorable winds, untimely rains ending in floods, and a dry, barren soil. The sit­uation makes cattle raising more profitable than farming and migrating more suitable than set­tling. However, variations allow for oscillations between farming and cattle raising, the major economic activities in the area. Nevertheless, because of the unfavorable climate, contempo­rary migrations to other provinces and the Gulf sheikhdoms account for a supplementary source of income, together with drug smuggling and illegal imports.
Agricultural products in most regions suit­able for the purpose are as follows: date palms are planted in areas that have minimal access to water; paddy fields and nonirrigated wheat fields with a small yield can be seen near rivers; tobacco, corn, and broad bean are cultivated in the plains; and very small quantities of citrus products and tropical fruit are planted in areas with abundant water. Although farming in Balu­chistan is an ancient practice, it has never been greatly developed because of the water short­age, poor soil, lack of investment in the area to improve soil conditions (e.g., leveling steep hills located by rivers, where the soil is more suitable for agriculture), and the primitive tools and absence of advanced technology to counteract the floods and droughts. The problem of water shortage is replaced by the lack of agricultural land along the rivers. Where good soil is found, there is no water, and vice versa. Water scarcity, however, poses the main problem.21
In general, in droughts and years of fam­ine agriculture is a more reliable source of income compared with cattle raising, despite problems such as tribal rivalries and the very high taxes levied by local governments until the beginning of the twentieth century. Several fac­tors, namely, soil, water, labor, and tools, influ­ence agricultural production. In most areas the land is shared, and its potential value cannot be estimated. Landownership is accompanied by water rights, and one’s right to land where cultivation is possible is determined by one’s share in providing the water pumps or digging the qanat/kariz, a widespread system of com­plex underground networks for channeling the water present in the impervious strata at the foot of the mountains. These traditional and highly sophisticated systems are long channels dug out of the subsoil, which, by using the slight inclination of the mountain slopes, make it pos­sible to direct the water along the underground strata, channeling it toward potentially fertile terrain to make possible agricultural activity and the establishment of permanent human settlements. Obviously, the significance of these elaborate irrigation systems extends beyond the economic sphere into the social and political: ownership is linked not so much to space as to the water hours, provided according to the lunar cycle, that may be destined for irrigation of the fields.”
In an inherited water-well realm, land is not divided, nor does it have a particular value in and of itself. It is only during harvest time that one’s share of water is observed. The Per­sian Baluchistan land reform of 1961 absorbed the heads of many tribes into the central gov­ernment and thus contributed to strengthening their power. So the farmers working on their land who had a right to that land were deprived of their ownership in favor of these tribal heads who supported the government. After the Is­lamic revolution of 1979, the removal of local tribal chiefs (sardars) introduced some minor changes in landownership. Some of the people who migrated to the Arab Gulf states because of the droughts came back home and, with the money they had earned, bought the lands that had belonged to the distinguished men of the tribe. Purchase of these properties changed the face of ownership in the region to some extent. In the rural society of Baluchistan, as in other parts of Iran and Pakistan, different methods of production exist alongside one another, char­acterized mainly by historical variations of life reflecting a transitional period.

Animal Husbandry:
According to tribal beliefs and traditions, pas­tures belong to the whole tribe, but animals, such as goats, cows, and camels as well as poul­try and bees, belong to their immediate owners. There are two modes, of cattle raising in the re­gion. The first is the rural mode, in which each family keeps a limited herd in a corner of their living area, apart from their farming activities. The beasts roam in a restricted area during the day and are taken back home at night. The sec­ond is the tribal mode, in which the tribe moves with the herd to warmer areas during the cold months and returns to the cooler mountainous regions during the summer months. The tribe depends on grasslands for grazing the herd, but during the hard drought periods, after the in­fliction of sometimes heavy losses, the animals are fed with barley.
Another prevalent migration style is one in which families that own one hundred to two hundred heads of cattle move together in groups, holding three hundred to five hundred heads among them, toward pastures where they spend a few days to allow the beasts to graze on the few existing bushes and plants. Afterward, the families set off toward new grasslands. In the past, dairy products such as milk, butter, cheese, dried whey, sour milk, and yogurt, as well as wool and animal hair, were used mainly within the tribes. After a transition from a natu­ral, self-sufficient economy to a producing one, however, these products were also exchanged in the marketplace. The tribes would gain access to land, water, and pastures in the past by giv­ing a share of their crop to the khan. This pay­ment also usually included the government tax. Since the Qajar rule in the nineteenth century, the heads of the Persian Baluchistan tribes and clans have allocated one-tenth of the tribal in­come earned through cattle products to them­selves and have supplied a military force to aid the central government. The labor force among the tribes is based on the family unit and the wage-earning shepherd and is manipulated and maintained in a primitive order. Labor division among the tribes depends on age, gender (nat­urally divided tasks), and class. Women in the richest tribes have a slight role in production and daily tasks. Poorer women, by contrast, play a vital role in their families’ economy and are less restricted in their social lives.

A natural economy based on handmade articles ruled in Iranian Baluchistan before the land reform of 1961. Most products were consumed within the tribe, and raw materials and primitive tools were produced in the area. Animal skins, wool hair, hides, horns, and tree leaves mainly provided the raw materials needed for the tools used in farming, cattle raising, and maintain­ing the living requirements of the settled tribes, who formerly lived a migratory lifestyle. Tools needed to produce handicrafts either were im­proved by family members and relatives or were made to order by skilled craftsmen. In the latter case, an exchange of agricultural or dairy prod­ucts would pay for the tools.
Primitive tools were not exchanged, nor were they rented among the producing fami­lies; production organization was limited to one family or related families within a village. Labor division was natural and accompanied by a social division based on the individual’s status both in an assumed kinship system and in a real one. Products and the producing tools were for inside use and would not find their way into the market. After the land reform, some changes were introduced regarding the rules governing production, distribution, and exchange, result­ing in a greater production level for sales in the market. Consequently, handicrafts have been divided into two groups, the first related to in-ternal consumption goods, the second to prod­ucts for the market:2s
To decorate their houses, women sew coins and buttons on a piece of cloth and adorn the sleeves and the front parts of women’s cloth­ing with a kind of well-known needlework. This type of embroidery work has been common among Baluch tribes since old times and is used in the family and sent to the market for sale. Handicrafts sent to the market as well as those used within the tribe include the tegard (a type of mat used as a carpet); coins sewn on a piece of cloth for use as decoration; needle­work made to order, which is more or less ex­changed as in the past but can also be found occasionally in the market; rugs and carpets; and, to a limited extent, kilims, for which the government has provided some workshops. Pot­tery making has been done in Baluchistan since ancient times. Pottery discovered in the village of Damen in Iranshahr is now on display in the museum of anthropology in the city of Zahe­dan. Nowadays, pottery is made only in a small region, to a limited extent. Kalpuregan, a vil­lage about thirty-five kilometers to the south of Sarawan, is now famous as a pottery center in Iranian Baluchistan. Men provide the clay from the nearby hills and prepare it for production, and women make and paint the pots. The pots are made in a primitive style, without the aid of a potter’s wheel. They are dried in the sun and then painted with colorful, dotted patterns. These products are both for personal consump­tion and for sale in the market.

Living in the inhospitable natural conditions of Baluchistan and lacking the know-how to coun­teract the deficiencies of their surroundings, the Baluch take pleasure in the minor phenomena they find in nature. They founded a life that dates back to the dawn of civilization, when they subsisted on food provided by the fruit and plants they gathered from their parsimo­nious environment. Their diet has consisted of dates (either wild or cultivated), raw mountain grasses, onion juice, pepper juice, and bread.
Baluch make use of all that is found in na­ture. During the springtime famine, men even compete with beasts over grass. In the past few decades, keeping pace with the developing in­dustries in Iran and Pakistan, all kinds of con­sumer goods produced inside the country or abroad could be found in the remotest parts of Baluchistan. The exports consist chiefly of salted fish, fish maws, shark fins, raw wool, goat hair, hides, cotton, dates, and dwarf palm, while the imports include cotton piece goods, silk, sugar, wheat, rice, iron, and oiI.24 The rush of goods from the Gulf states, India, and Pakistan as well as those produced inside the country has had a great impact on families’ consumption, diet, clothing, and even taste and cultural val­ues. Through these various goods, such as man­made fabrics from China and great quantities of illegal alcohol from the Gulf, numerous Baluch families have become acquainted with different cultures and lifestyles and other world markets.

Plunder and Smuggling
As stated above, the land is so infertile and cul­tivation so close to impossible that despite palm plantations, cattle raising, and the recent devel­opment of irrigated farming, extra sources of income seem almost necessary. During the time when the Baluch were relatively independent and autonomous, they used to gain this income by raiding farms in nearby villages or robbing caravans traveling to or from India. Extra in­come was also supplied through smuggling and illegal imports and by selling their labor force in or out of the country, since the tribal military organization was abolished and they no longer disobeyed the law of the land. The vivid testi­monies of the Baluch plundering nature given by the nineteenth-century British explorers con­firmed the Baluch as great warriors and power­ful adversaries. They were described as capital marksmen and were notorious for their lawless habits such as the chupao (raid). Among the Nar-rhoi and the Yaramadzai, the looting was con­ducted on camels. They reached the villages at night and at dawn started the raids, using the fundamental element of surprise; captives were taken as slaves, and the route back was never the same. These raids were a permanent factor of blood revenge among Baluch tribes.25 Loot­ing brings honor to the tribal society, showing manliness, bravery, and merit and thus uniting the tribe. Smuggling plays the same role and is organized, as in the past, by warlike, militant, self-sacrificing men. It brings honor as well as solidarity to the tribe because it requires de­tailed planning and cooperation among the tribe members involved.

Let’s travel to Dubai together, as it’s senseless without you.

—From a Baluch song
Migration is very common among the Baluch, for numerous reasons. Some migrate to the re­gion’s ports and cities or go abroad in search of food and shelter, and others to escape from the law, at the risk of losing everything. Sometimes it is simply a test of manhood, of going out into the world, or an attempt to escape the prevailing restrictive tribal system or to save some money for marriage or a new, better life. Youth tend to migrate in order to enter the labor force and fill the income gap; older people, by contrast, rarely migrate unless they no longer possess anything to guard. Pakistan, where the other half of the homeland that was divided by political games but never recognized by the Baluch is located, promises a refuge. Historical connections, to­gether with the racial, lingual, religious, and cul­tural unities as well as the similar lifestyle, family ties (most Baluch have relatives in Pakistan), and economic relations, give most Pakistani Baluch the right to ancestral land and water in Iran, and vice versa, and are considered to be the main reasons for this migration pattern.
Other factors include geographic vicin­ity, the easy crossing to Pakistan, and the lower cost of living in that country. Most migrations to Pakistan involve the whole family, whereas the Gulf states draw only the youth and the poor, often single men by themselves because of the dangers involved. In the latter cases, most mi­grants are deprived of a legal passport and cross the border through organized illegal bands that demand much money for the task.

In this rough land only the Baluch, the goat, the palm, and the camel can survive. The common poverty motivated by the lack of production and the consequent malnutrition, accompanied by the consumption of nonessential products such as tea, tobacco, and drugs, accelerate the suscep­tibility to all kinds of diseases among children and adults alike. Bread is the main food people subsist on. Contaminated drinking water plays a great role in inducing diseases. Other sources of water such as rain, rivers, springs, and Banat/ kariz are used both for drinking and for wash­ing. Rainwater in some places is collected in pools and ponds and is contaminated with par­asites and microbes. A polluted environment, together with lack of bathing and changing of clothes (especially among the cattle raisers, and not the farmers), an absence of toilets, and so on, add to this dramatic problem.

Education: A Case Study:
The individual is first educated within the fam­ily and then inside the tribe. The education re­ceived is mainly automatic and behavioral and results in socialized stereotypes. In the past, only the male offspring of the upper class would receive a formal education that would enable them to write and to read the Koran and other religious books. The modern education system that was started under the Pahlavi regime with the establishment of schools in Persian towns and cities and aimed at training children only to read and write did not succeed, because of the lack of possibilities for advanced education in small centers and the absence of educational structures. Despite the great incentives for edu-cation and the wish to save the children from poverty and tribal restrictions, and also the oc­casional governmental aid (there is even a uni­versity established in Zahedan, the center of the province), the highest percentage of literate people are among city dwellers and males. Sta­tistics related to literacy in cities show that the majority of literate people are the children of governmental officials and clerks. In Pakistani Baluchistan, the education of young females de­veloped thanks to an important element of the Rind tribe: Zobaida Jalal. Following the military coup d’etat in Pakistan on 12 October 1999 that installed the new government of General Pervez Musharraf, she was appointed general federal minister of education, women, development, social welfare, and special education. Zobaida started the first school for girls, gradually intro­ducing new cultural ideas, such as male teach­ers, and new social and political balances in the tribal local society. Zobaida fights for the eman­cipation of Islamic women through their edu­cation. She bears the typical features—round eyes, long nose, and fair complexion—of the Rind tribe, to which she belongs, and is the most famous and admired woman throughout Balu­chistan. Thanks to Zobaida’s generosity, it has been possible for me to study the Mand area, where she lives with her family, and to have the opportunity to enrich the dialogue among peo­ple, cultures, and religions.
Mand is situated in the northwestern part of Makran, close to the border with Iran. Significantly, it was in this area, where tribal traditions are deeper and more widespread, that Zobaida decided to found and direct the Zobaida Jalal Khan Primary Girls School. In the early 198os, only a few pupils attended the school, but thanks to Zobaida’s firmness and to the creation of special facilities, such as a trans­portation service and a boarding program for those girls whose families live far from Mand, she succeeded in her design. In addition to the main subjects, lessons in languages, including Baluchi, Urdu, English, Arab, and Persian, are taught; all of them are important in Pakistan, a state characterized by a multiethnic presence and a plurality of languages. The school was built and sponsored by Zobaida’s father, Jalal Khan, and today is financed by the government of Baluchistan, together with the association of many prestigious personalities throughout Paki­stan, including Bishop A. Lobo of Islamabad-Rawalpindi. The teachers are both Pakistani and European. In 1993 Zobaida’s care and de­termination overcame all obstacles to the intro­duction of a male teacher, the first in Pakistan’s women’s educational system. Zobaida’s commit­ment in the diffusion of cultural values among females of Islamic tribal societies represents a long and difficult task. This route will hopefully lead not only to better conditions for women but also to the acceptance of equal human rights for all. Zobaida represents a bright examplefor many women of this area: a Baluch woman who, having started from one of the most impover­ished and forgotten places in Pakistan, devoted her life to the people, but never forgot her own identity as an Islamic woman. Her commitment in spreading culture among women in Islamic tribal societies not only works toward female emancipation but also aims to acknowledge the values of human dignity. Hers is undoubtedly a strong testimony of the Baluch contribution to the Gulf’s development.

Owing to geographic variations and differ­ent lifestyles, accommodations in Baluchistan are varied, as are other aspects of Baluch life. Houses in towns and cities have arched roofs and earthen walls. Those made of cement are either governmental offices or accommodations for government officials. Traditional houses made of palm and wild palm leaves can be observed along the desert border. Apart from the old castles, whose remnants are still visible in some regions, and the two-story buildings belonging to local tribal chiefs (sardar), accommodations in Baluchistan consist mainly of semicircular or elliptical structures made of palm leaves. They have dome-shaped roofs, which when seen from the inside are rectangular. Another type of ac­commodation has large earthen rooms with high ceilings and a fireplace, showing perfect settlement and the good status of the owner. There are no other facilities such as toilets, bath­rooms, storerooms, and so on. Still another type of accommodation belongs to the cattle-raising tribes in Baluchistan. It is woven of goat’s hair and is easy to set up and to move; twelve people can do it. A number of sticks are used to form a frame, which is then covered with a goat’s hair mat woven by the women of the tribe.

As the smallest social units, families in Baluch­istan are often extended. In cattle-raising cul­tures, women’s labor plays a greater role in the economy than it does in towns and villages. In such systems, women’s role in the division of work is quite remarkable; they are considered to be men’s equal in production. This role does not exist in towns and villages because of the differences between the cattle-raising lifestyle and the sedentary one and also because of the existence of new jobs that symbolize men as the only effective labor force in economic produc­tion. Women automatically enjoy the rights and respect due to their class, which is not an indi­cator of their role in production. In fact, they take no part in production and have darzada, or servants (in the past they had slaves), at their service. The number of women who belong to the richest tribes in towns and villages is very small. Some of these women never leave their houses. A man in Chahbahar was proud that one of the women in his family had not left her house in the past eighty years, even though so many historical events had taken place in this country. These rich women are normally seen only by their husbands and close relatives.
Despite the fact that the tribal system in migratory and sedentary groups prevents women from marrying outside their class, the development of villages and towns, new jobs, formal education, and moving out in search of money, as well as the reduced power of local tribal chiefs, has introduced some changes in local society. This has also caused changes in wealth allocation among families, leading to new cultural and economic possibilities in Ba­luch life. These changes have influenced in­tertribal marriages to some extent. Although most marriages are still arranged within tribes, polygamy is common among the rich tribes. In the majority of cases, monogamy persists as a result of the prevailing poverty. Marriages are arranged in the poor tribes for socioeconomic reasons, whereas in the rich groups the incen­tive is to strengthen political and kinship ties.

Wives are selected from among the young girls belonging to the same tribe as the mother of the boy to be married, and it is the boy’s mother who makes the selection. The fathers are then informed of the decision. In the past, girls and boys of the same tribe would be engaged to each other at birth. The endogamous practice, how­ever, was the most widespread. The father would inform the family and the old respected men of the decision, and on approval, they would go to visit the girl’s family. After a few visits, the girl’s father would declare his consent to the boy’s fam­ily or to the elder man who acted as mediator.
The girl and the boy who are to be mar­ried have no right to express their personal views, and at times they are not even told about the matter until before the wedding ceremony; it is their parents who declare their own wish. The marriage age for boys is between fifteen and eighteen, and for girls between twelve and fifteen. In a ceremony arranged prior to the wedding, an elder man acting as a mediator in­forms the boy’s father of the conditions set out by the father of the girl.
After mutual agreement, the bride’s fa­ther receives cash from the boy’s father in ex­change for the dowry of furniture and house­hold items such as bedding and utensils. If the bride is from a rich tribe, servants (and in the past slaves) and a few palm trees are also added to these articles. The engagement ceremony is festive, with singing and dancing. A woman from the groom’s side, perhaps his sister or his elder sister-in-law, carries a suitcase containing the groom’s gifts on her head and sings aloud some songs accompanied by the other women. The wedding may follow immediately after the engagement, or it may take place a few years later, after the groom’s return from a journey during which he has saved enough money to pay for the wedding ceremony. The ceremony can last as long as fifteen days for the rich tribe, but only a day or two for the poor people.
The relatives take part in the ceremony by presenting what they can afford in cash or as gifts. In the past, a few days and nights were spent dancing, singing, and reciting Baluch epic poems and listening to the poet and the music player until daybreak. When the wedding is over, the groom is taken to the bride’s house in a brand new Toyota, which has replaced the adorned camel of the past. A woman carrying a Koran and perfumed oil welcomes the groom at his arrival. He is a stranger in a familiar land.

Baluch Cultural Identity:
Among the many migrating groups, it is inter­esting to note the numerous African elements, mostly of slave origin, that contributed to the Baluch cultural identity. Within comparative slave history, the “Oriental” slave route was not a mild or peaceful process; the slave trade from the main ports of Sub-Saharan East Africa to the markets of Central Asia was not characterized by either small quantities or lack of violence. The historiographical debate about these issues is very intense. While much attention and research have been devoted to the history of the Atlan­tic slave trade, studies of the Asian slave trade routes have been at the center of numerous in­ternational conferences and workshops. Many publications have debated the issues concerning migration patterns of Africans in Asia and the role of the African elements in the numerous Arabian and Asian cultures and societies.”
“Negroes of Pakistan are called Makrani.”‘ Makrani is a term often used to identify black people of south Central Asia. The slave trade routes spread Africans through the Muscat port by sea and through Persia by land to Las Bela, Kharan, Kalat, and Karachi. Abyssinian origins were assumed because of the occasional traces of woolly hair and inverted lips. The African pres­ence in Baluchistan was due both to absorption and the substratum of black people: settlements of healers and sorcerers of East African origins, traced since the eighth and ninth centuries from Gujarat, possibly moved west, and succeed­ing waves of migration patterns developed from • the monsoon routes of the South Seas. Con­sequently, identity absorption has been a long and often painful process within the Baluch concept of cultural identity, potentially through African migrations to the coast of Makran and subjugation by stronger Baluch tribes by direct slave importation. Other Africans were brought to Makrani Baluchistan as captives after fights with Persia and Afghanistan. During the eight­eenth century, there were many recorded slaves in the Kharan district. Slaves were exchanged for indigo madder (a plant whose root is used as a source of dye), hides, and cotton by the tribes of Makran and Las Bela. They were also captured by the rulers of Kharan in battles with Persia and Afghanistan, especially during the eighteenth century, and others were brought to Karachi from pilgrimages to Mecca. As is well known, despite abolition in 1843, slavery flour­ished throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in the western Indian Ocean. Since the beginning of the twentieth century, Africans have found their freedom and become part of a new society: a multicultural and a multireligious society composed of Sunni Muslims, Shia, and Zikris. At the beginning of the twentieth cen­tury, most of the Makranis were skilled or un­skilled laborers, craftsmen, fishermen, owners of small restaurants, schoolteachers, or drivers. After the partition, and in recent times as well, the diffusion of crime, drug and illicit alcohol smuggling, and illiteracy resulted from new il­legal routes, including human trafficking.
Most of the Baluch are very fond of music and dance, and here the African element be­comes a distinctive feature of the Baluch cul­tural identity. The drum beater, with his drums, sits in the center, and other participants dance around him. This dance—lewa—is claimed to be of African origin, and during the singing that accompanies the performance, Baluch use a combination of Arabic, African, and Asian languages. The still-complex situation of Baluchistan and its historical, institutional, and po­litical marginal position represents a challenge that appeals to ethnic and cultural identities, with the aim of shaping a better future both for this region and for the Baluch presence in the Gulf region.28
According to F. Barth’s observations, the Baluch even once settled on Arabian shores of the Gulf, attired in their dress, the females with wide and flowing sleeves and a loose bodice, in contrast to the Arabs’ more close-fitting and swung-waisted dress.29 The pantaloons are wide at the top and very narrow at the calf, whereas those of the Arabs are more straight. The em­broideries of both dress and trousers are beauti­fully colored, full of sexual and cultural symbols and significances. Baluch marry in the summer season, and Arabs avoid the summer. The Ba­luch groom buys gold for his bride, while the Arab groom gives a bride-price to his father-in-law; virginity for Baluch remains a private mat­ter, while Arabs give public proofs. The Baluch nuptial but is constructed in the bride’s home, whereas Arabs place it in the groom’s home. Baluch homes in Arabia showed a cultural vital­ity in colors that Arabs houses did not.
Baluch cultural identity is preserved in many Gulf countries, especially in the Sultanate of Oman. Here Baluch people represent the sec­ond largest cultural group after the Omani from Zanzibar. There are approximately 405,400 people of Baluch origin living in Oman.” This amounts to i g percent of the country’s popu­lation. Despite the loose contacts with their homeland, the Baluch in Oman have main­tained their ethnic and linguistic distinctions. The various Baluch groups speak different lan­guages, each with distinctive traits. Like other ethnic groups, they have attained the ranks of management. Although further research is needed on this issue, Al Ismaily and McKiernan provide information about the role of Baluch in this country and their cultural influences on managerial styles. Baluch culture in Oman suggests a more autocratic management style. Moreover, the majority of managers exposed  to the Baluch culture recognize that their management is influenced by their military service. These observations confirm the strong military tradition among the Baluch people.

The Gulf’s history and its pivotal role in world politics have attracted the interest of many scholars since ancient times. The strategic role of the Gulf region has always represented a cross-cultural articulation of broad diversities, where culture and society play today a significant mean also of conflict resolution. The role of the Baluch in the Gulf was well defined during the nineteenth century as mainly a human source for the recruitment of mercenary troops especially for the sultans of Oman, and still today the sultan of Oman’s bodyguards and the Bahrain police are composed of Baluch.
Since the beginning of the twentieth century, the well-characterized identity of Baluch culture was widespread in the Gulf, with its strong Asian and African elements. The gradual process throughout two centuries of the intermingling of two main elements—military strength and cultural and political identity—contributed to an unquestionable presence and deep influ­ence of the Baluch in the Gulf’s society.
As most agree, terrorism today represents one of the major plagues to be defeated through­out the world. Within this broad and complex subject, when trying to analyze social, economic, and cultural differences like those of the Bal­uch in the Gulf region, one should tend toward a more analytical and empathic approach, in order to use it as a methodological key for re­reading and understanding what could be de­fined as one of the contemporary world’s major crises. Only by also understanding the Baluch’s main motivations for their presence in the Gulf today (my starting hypothesis) could one try to identify that kaleidoscopic character of the so-called globalized Gulf region, which as I have said is a fascinating and unique example of all the different cultures in the whole world.

1. S. B. Miles, The Countries and Tribes of the Persian Gulf, 2 vols. (Glasgow: Garnet, 1994), 201-63; W. Floor, The Persian Gulf: A Political and Economic History of Five Port Cities, 1500-7730 (Washington, DC: Mage, 2000,347-51.

2.  Much of the content of my essay is the result of several sea­sons of fieldwork in Pakistani Baluchistan. The term jam’clor seems to correspond to “master of the gate” or “head consta­ble”; it has been transliterated in various ways by British sources mainly on a phonetic basis as farnadari orjemadari.

3. Joshua Project: Pakistan, PK (accessed 18 April 2007).

4.  On this subject, see, e.g., V. F. Piacentini,”Notes on the Definition of the Western Borders of British India in Sistan and Baluchistan in the Nineteenth Century,” in Yad-Nama: In memoria di Alessandro Bausani (Yad­Nama: In Memory of Alessandro Bausani), 2 vols., ed. Scarcia Amoretti and B. Rostagno (Rome: Bardi, 1991), 189-203; F. Goldsmid, “Exploration from Kurrachi to Gwadur, along the Mekran Coast,” Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society of London 7, no. 3 0874: 91-95; and P.J. Brobst, “Sir Frederick Goldsmid and the Containment of Persia, 1863-73,” Middle Eastern Studies 33, no. 2 (1997): 197-215.

5. T. M. Breseeg, Baloch Nationalism: Its Origin and Development (Karachi: Royal Book, 2004).

6. Its main towns are Zahedan, Zabol, Iranshahr, Sar­swan, and Chahbahar.

7. Its area equals 273,661 square kilometers and sus­tains a population of about 2,388,000. It is bounded on the north to Sistan and Kerman provinces, on the south to the Gulf of Oman, on the east to Kalat, and on the west to Roudbar-e-Bashagard.

8. B.Nicolini, Makran, Oman, and Zanzibar: Three-Terminal Cultural Corridor in the Western Indian Ocean (7799-7856) (Leiden: Brill Academic, 2004).

9. See the extensive collection by J. G. Lorimer, Gaz­etteer of the Persian Gulf Oman, and Central Arabia, 8 (Calcutta: Superintendent of Government Print­ing, 1908-15).

10. The most important tribes, variously transliter­ated by British explorers during the nineteenth cen­tury, were the Baveri, Balideh, Bozorgzadeh, Riggi, Sardaar, Zaie, Shahbakhsh, Lashari, Mobaraki, Mir Morad Zaie, Narroi, Nousherwani, Brohi, Baram-Zehi, and Shir-Khanzal.

11. The notable Persian dialects were Sarbandi, Shah­raki, Sargazi, Zamlr-Farsyoon, Mir-Arab, and Sanja­rani.

12. R. Redaelli, The Father’s Bow: The Khanate of Kalat and British India (Nineteenth—Twentieth Century) (Fi­renze: Manent,1997).

13. A British explorer of the nineteenth century de­scribed the date palms and their abundance in Balu­chistan. See R. Leech, “Notes Taken on a Tour through Part of Baloochistan in 1838 and 1839 by Haji Abdun Nubee of Kabul, Arranged and Translated by Major Robert Leech,”Journal of the Asiatic Society 69 (1844): 667-706.

14. Gwadar was an enclave of the Sultanate of Oman from the second half of the nineteenth century up to 8 September 1958, when West Pakistan bought it back from Oman for f3 million. Gwadar is today a town of 80,000 people. The building of the first five-star hotel, the Pearl Continental, is almost complete, but just 20 percent of people in Baluchistan have ac­cess to safe drinking water. Pakistan and China had signed a comprehensive agreement on 16 March 2002 in Beijing undertaking the task of construct­ing Gwadar’s deep sea port according to universal standards. Islamabad expects that a fully function­ing port at Gwadar will create thousands of jobs and improve peoples’ livelihoods and thus erode tribal bonds and make the sardars (local chiefs) obsolete. Of the $250 million needed for the first phase of con-struction, Beijing provided $200 million. Six hundred engineers moved to Gwadar. The construction labor force is totally Chinese, and the exclusion of Baluchis led to a massive car-bombing in Gwadar in May 2.004 that killed three Chinese engineers. The Chinese naval presence in the Indian Ocean and the access to the Middle East markets are obviously only a part of the geostrategic relations between China and the United States in the Gulf. B. Nicolini, “Historical and Political Links between Gwadar and Muscat from Nineteenth-Century Testimonies,” in Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies, vol. 32 (London: Brepols, 2002), 281-86; Nicolini, “Gwadar: A Place to Live or a Place to Hunt?” Quaderni Asiatic’ 50 (1999): 5-13:See also Gwardar News, www.gwadarnews .com/gwadar.asp.

15. Bivar, “Gil Achemenidi e i Macedon’: Stability e turbolenza” (“The Achaemenids and the Macedo­nians: Stability and Turbulence in Central Asia”), in Asia Centrale, ed. G. Hambly (Milan: Storia Universale Feltrinelli, 1970), 30 (originally published in Zentral­asien, no.16 [Frankfurt: Fisher,1966]); M. Sordi, Ales­sandro Magno try Storia e Mito (Alexander the Great between History and Myth) (Milan: Jaca Book, 1984); J. A. Saldanha, Precis of Makran Affairs (Calcutta: Su­perintendent of Government Printing,1905).

16. Nicolini and R. Readelli, “Quetta: History and Archives; Notes of a Survey of the Archives of Quetta,” Nuova Rivista Storica 78, no. 2 (1994): 401-14.

17. See the report of the British commissioner for the joint Anglo-Persian Boundary Commission: F. Gold­smid, Eastern Persia: An Account of the Journey of the Persian Boundary Commission, 1870-1890 (London: Royal Geographical Society,1876).

18. During, ‘African Winds and Muslim Djinns: Trance, Healing, and Devotion in Baluchistan,” Year­book for Traditional Music 29 (1997): 39-56.

19. F. Piacentin i, “Traces of Early Muslim Presence in Makran,” Islamic Studies 35 (1996): 122-34.

2o. See P. Titus and C. Jahani, “Knights, Not Pawns: Ethno-Nationalism and Regional Dynamics in Post-colonial Balochistan,” international Journal of Middle East Studies 32 (2000): 47-69.

21. F. Van Steenbergen, “Water Rights as Social Con-tracts,” In Baluchistan: Terra incognita; A New Meth­odological Approach Combining Archaeological, His­torical, Anthropological, and Architectural Studies, ed. V_ Piacentini and R. Redaelli (London: British Archaeo­logical Reports, 2003).4959.

22. R. Redaelli, The Father’s Bow, 30-32.

23. S. M. al Ameeri, “The Baloch in the Arabian Gulf States,” in The Baloch and Their Neighbours: Ethnic and Linguistic Contact in Balochistan in Historical and Modern Times, ed. Carina Jahani and Agnes Korn (Wi­esbaden: Reichert Verlag, 2003), 23745.

24. R. Hughes-Buller, Imperial Gazetteer of India: Provincial Series, Baluchistan (Lahore: Sang-e-Meel, 1984), 51-53.

25. H. Potti nger, Travels in Beloochistan and Sinde (London: Langman, Reese, Orte, and Brown, 7816); C. Masson, Narrative of Various Journeys in Balochistan, Afghanistan, the Panjab, and Kalat, 4 vols. (1844; Ka­rachi: Oxford University Press0977),4:349.

26. Within the so-called diaspora studies, see, for example, W. G. Clarence-Smith, The Economics of the Indian Ocean Slave Trade in the Nineteenth Century (London: Routledge,1989); Clarence-Smith, Islam and the Abolition of Slavery (London: C. Hurst, 2006); G. Campbell, Structure of Slavery in Indian Ocean Africa and Asia (London: Routledge, 2003); E. Alpers, Ivory and Slaves in East Central Africa: Changing Patterns of international Trade to the Late Nineteenth Century (London: Heinemann, 1975); R. L. Powells, Horn and Crescent: Cultural Change and Traditional Islam on the East African Coast, 800-1900 (Cambridge: Cam-bridge University Press,1987); J. Glassman, Feasts and Riot: Revelry, Rebellion and Popular Consciousness on the Swahili Coast, 1856-1888 (London: James Currey, 1995); Glassman, “The Bondsman’s New Clothes: The Contradictory Consciousness of Slave Resistance on the Swahili Coast,”Journal of African History 32 (1991): 277-312; J. Middleton, The World of the Swahili: An African Mercantile Civilization (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992); M. Horton and J. Middleton, The Swahili: The Social Landscape of a Mercantile So­ciety  (Oxford: Blackwell, 2000); and P. Caplan and F. Topa n, eds., Swahili Modernities: Culture, Politics and Identity on the East Coast of Africa (Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2004). See also the collection of essays dedicated to these complex issues in “The African Di­aspora in Asia—Historical Gleanings,” special issue, African and Asian Studies 5, nos. 3-4 (2006).

27. J. B. Edlefsen, K. Shah, and M. Farooq, “Makranis, the Negroes of West Pakistan,” Phylon 21 (1960): u-3

28. Titus and Jahani, “Knights, Not Pawns,” 47-69.

29. F. Barth, Sohar: Culture and Society in Omani Town (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1983),107; A. Melamid, “Batinah Coast of Oman,” Ge­ographical Review 80 0990); 431-33•

3o. S. B. Nasser Al Ismaily and P. McKiernan, inside the Omani Corporate Culture: ,4 Research in Manage-ment Styles (Muscat: Oman Economic Review, 2007),
Comparative Studies of  South Asia, Africa and the Middle East
Vol 27, No 2, 2007
DOI 10. 1215/108920X-2007-012 @ 2007 by Duck University Press

















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Posted by on December 16, 2015 in Balochistan


Balochistan: The Forgotten Frontier

Mahrukh Khan
Research Fellow
Institute of Strategic Studies
Islamabad, Pakistan

“Also from Pahlav and Pars and Koch o Baloch, From the warriors of Gilan and Dasht-e-Soroch” (Shahname III: 42, Dastan-e Siyavas 616)1

Today the term ‗Balochistan‘ means more than geography the term. Balochistan refers to the Baloch culture and the people‘s social concepts and traditions; the land is considered to be the cradle of the Baloch ethno linguistic identity.2
Balochistan is the largest province of Pakistan, comprising 44 per cent of the total land mass. It has a coastline which stretches 770 km, and shares borders with Iran and Afghanistan. The province is sparsely populated, the enormity of its size contrasts remarkably with its low population. Economically, Balochistan offers some of the best assets for development.  The province is immensely rich with minerals of diversity, gas deposits as well as a gifted geography. The geostrategic importance of Balochistan is irrefutable. Its enduring importance lies in the fact that it offers easy access routes to land-locked Afghanistan and Central Asia, has an entrée to the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, the Middle East and South Asia.
Balochistan has always been at the centre-stage of conflict. Its geography influences its security environment. There is a growing sense of frustration among the Baloch who believe that Balochistan is part of the federation but only on paper and is at the mercy of the State, which continues to exploit its natural wealth3. Current Baloch resistance has been building up for quite some time, especially since the federal authorities in Pakistan started developing Gwadar Port and road and rail links to it as part of an ambitious project to provide a surface trade link with Central Asia through Chaman, Kandahar across Afghanistan into Central Asia, akin to the Silk Route.4.
The tension between the centre and Balochistan can be traced back to the early years of Pakistan‘s independence. Many believe that the current tension between the people of Balochistan and the rest of Pakistan is caused by growing socio-economic insecurities and by the systemic discrimination and oppression of the local people by the centre dominated by the country‘s most populous province.5

Desert scene, Balochistan

Desert scene, Balochistan

Origin, rise and geography of the Baloch race
The historical record of the origin of the Baloch race is vague. It is uncertain whether they were native to their land or they arrived during one of the many waves of migration that swept the ancient Middle East.6 The word ‗Balochistan‘ in its very literal sense means the land of the Baloch. There exist diverging opinions and historical accounts about the origin and evolution of the Baloch race; however, none is conclusive.
The earliest extant source (Šahristānīhā ī Ērān-šahr, a Pahlavi) text written in the 2nd/8th century, though probably representing a pre-Islamic compilation; lists the Balōč as one of seven autonomous mountain communities (kōfyār). Arabic writers in the 3rd/9th and 4th/10th centuries (especially Ebn Kordādbeh, Mas‗ūdī, Estakrī, Moqaddasī) mention them, usually as Balūc, in association with other tribal populations in the area between Kermān, Khorasan, Sīstān, and Makrān.7
Historical evidence, although spasmodic and scanty, does also suggest that the original homeland of Baloch had been the regions of ancient Nenwah and Babylon on river Tigris stretching eastward to Susa and Fars province up to Kirman hills.8 Many of other historical records state the earliest known mention of part of Balochistan is in the Avesta, the Vara Pishin-anha which undoubtedly is identifiable with the valley of Pishin. The Shahnama also contains scant records of the conquest of Makran by Kai Khusru (Cyrus), and the Achaemenian Empire which reached its farthest limits under Darius Hystaspes included the whole of the country.9
Breseeg in his book describes the evolution and origin of Baloch in two competing theories: the first states that the Baloch are native people who have been described as the Oritans, the Jatts, the Medes, etc., in ancient records; the second states that the Baloch migrated into the area some 2000 years ago.10. On the other hand, Justice Mir Khuda Bakhsh Bijrani explains about the arrival of the Baloch race in the Subcontinent; by arguing that the Baloch first entered the region during the Mongol invasion of the 13th century.11
The history of settlement in Balochistan is reflected in its topography. Place names fall into three categories: names that are of Baloch origin, or have been ‗Baluchized‘, are used for most minor natural features like rivers, streams, rocks, mountains; old settlements and major natural features tend to have pre-Baluch names; and new settlements, dating from the middle of the 19th century in Iran, and the middle of the 20th century in Pakistan generally have Persian or Urdu names.12
The territory of Balochistan has been divided historically into a number of areas, among which Makrān (in the south), Sarhadd (in the northwest), and the area known earlier as Tūrān that includes the modern towns of Kalat and Khuzdar (Qosdār/Qozdār; in the east), have been the most significant, Iranian and Indian political centres to the west, north, and east (particularly, Kermān, Sīstān, Qandahār, Delhi, Karachi), and even the sultan of Oman to the south.13

A typical village in Dhrun National Park, Balochistan

A typical village in Dhrun National Park, Balochistan

A troubled history
Balochistan‘s geography influences the power politics of the regional and world powers, their spheres of influence, efforts at territorial expansion, and propagation of ideologies, military intervention, coercion, and application of economic aid to create dependency, confusion and instability,14. From 1839 till the independence of Pakistan, the greater part of Balchistan was—formally or informally—under the British Empire, whose interest was essentially in securing and protecting its North-West Frontier Province from both Afghanistan and Iran. At a particular stage in this endeavour, the British negotiated formal international borders through the territories of Baloch tribes with both Iran and Afghanistan, roughly according to the effective sphere of influence of the khan of Kalat, but with some attention to the interests of local leaders.15.
Balochistan came to the attention of British Indian Empire after the first Anglo-Afghan War 16 when the British got defeated. It was then that the British Empire realized the strategic importance of Balochistan and saw it as an entry point for Russia in the Indian Subcontinent; thereafter, Balochistan was considered an important strategic ground for the British army. In 1838, the British anticipated to establish relations with the state of Kalat in Balochistan. Since Balochistan provided easy access to Qandahar and Herat, developments in Afghanistan and Central Asia shaped the British policy towards Balochistan.17 As a result, in 1839, an agreement was signed between the British and the Khan of Kalat, Mehrab Khan, which allowed British-Indian forces to pass through Balochistan without any obstruction.
In 1871, the Gold Smith line was drawn and demarcated in 1896 which gave western Balochistan to Persia while retaining the larger eastern part for the British. The Durand Line, drawn by the British in 1984, further divided Balochistan between British Balochistan and Afghanistan.18
Later, in 1870 the British Empire came to an understanding with Iran to demarcate Balochistan; under the agreement, many of the villages under Khan‘s control were given to Iran. In 1896 and again in 1905, Anglo-Persian Joint Boundary Commissions were appointed to divide Balochistan between Iran and Britain.19. Learning from the first and second Anglo-Afghan wars, the British and Russia entered into an understanding to mutually demarcate boundary of Afghanistan. As a result, the ‗Durand Line‘ was drawn under a treaty signed in 1893.
Balochistan was divided into British Balochistan, and the leased areas under British control, and the Khanate of Kalat, de jure being ruled under the control of the Khan21. The rulers of Kalat were never fully independent. There was always a paramount power to which they were subject.22. Balochistan under the British was divided into three parts: British Balochistan, Balochistan states – Kalat, Kharan Makran and Lasbela – and the tribal areas.23
In the beginning of the nineteenth century, the British Empire came up with two core policies framework for Balochistan; firstly, ‗close border policy‘ and; second, ‗forward policy‘. These policies were primarily framed to establish strong foothold in the areas joining Afghanistan and Iran, starting from the North West Frontier to Balochistan.

Close border policy
Under the close border policy, the British government in India exercised direct control over the tribesmen of the province. The policy led to a complete failure in terms of administration in the province and resulted in absolute resistance and four armed revolts by the Baloch. The policy was later eased because it could not produce a proper balance in the province. As a result, Balochistan was theoretically divided into two parts for better management by the British Indian Empire; as ‗Area A‘ and ‗Area B‘.
The British implemented a concept of collective responsibility in which entire tribes would be punished for the actions of its individuals in an effort to force the tribes to control their members. This technique included the blockading of passes, rounding up and imprisoning of tribesmen, selling off their cattle and forcing the tribes to pay for British losses and damages.24 The close border policy consisted of not letting any military power rise in Balochistan which could counter British interest.25

Forward policy
The forward policy was established by the British Indian Empire in order to pursue its larger strategic goals in the region. Its basic goal was to push forward and expand the frontiers of British India. After the first Anglo-Afghan war, Balochistan was considered as a major buffer zone and its geostrategic location became known. The policy initially aimed at subjugation of the Baloch and other native tribes to the British will. For this purpose, they established a string of garrisons deep in Baloch and Pathan territories.26
As a result, a major infrastructure build-up started to take shape; resulting in some of the major strategic railway lines and roads for the purpose of military logistics at that time. The apprehension of the advancing Czarist influence from the north compelled British policymakers to formulate and implement the ‗Forward Policy‘ aimed at checking the inflow of Russian influence into India from the north.27 Later, this policy was established as the ‗Sandeman System‘.
The first regular census in the province of Balochistan was carried out in 1901. In the midst of British rule in early 1920s, a movement started to take shape which united all the loose confederacies and tribal areas of Balochistan and the idea of ‗Greater Balochistan‘ emerged. The movement was shortly established as the Anjuman-e-Ittehad-e-Balochistan and later, to give it a more political motive along with an ideological background, its name was changed to Kalat State National Party. In the middle of 1933, the first map of Greater Balochistan was introduced by Mir Abdul Aziz Khan28 as his opposition to the political division of Balochistan by the British Empire. The opposition came against the violation of the treaty that the British had signed with the Khan of Balochistan in 1934 which granted the Baloch the right to defend their territories against any foreign invasion from Central Asia as well as Iran.

Independence of Pakistan and Balochistan
“Balochistan is the land of brave independent people and to you; therefore, national freedom, honour, and strength should have a special meaning. These whispering of „mulki‟ and „non-mulki‟ are neither profitable for the land nor worthy of it. We are now all Pakistanis – not Baluchis, Pathans, Sindhis, Bengalis, and Punjabis and so on and as Pakistanis we must feel, behave and act and we should be proud to be known as Pakistanis and nothing else.”
Quaid-e-Azam‘s speech in reply to the Civic Address presented by the Quetta Municipality29
Mir Ahmed Yar Khan Baluch, in his autobiography30 recalls that in August 1947, a Round Table Conference was held in which Quaid-e-Azam, Liaquat Ali Khan, Lord Mountbatten, Sir Sultan Ahmed and other important position holders of the State of Kalat participated. As a result, an agreement was agreed which stated that August 5th of 1947 will be declared as an independent day for the state of Kalat; it will act as an independent country with cordial relations with its neighbours. It was agreed that Kalat will enjoy the status it had in 1838 which allowed it to exercise its right to self-determination and to choose what is best for its country and its people. After the independence of Pakistan, the state of Kalat also announced its independence.
Baloch nationalism turned militant soon after that. During the movement against the One Unit of west Pakistan ―it almost appeared as if Balochistan had seceded de facto if not de jure so far as could be judged by the open defiance of authority which prevailed there‖.31

Military Operations in Balochistan
Pakistan launched its first military operation in the state of Kalat in April 1948; the elected Baloch parliament was dissolved, and the Khan of Kalat was arrested. On May 16, 1948, Prince Karim, the younger brother of Khan of Kalat, resisted the occupation and seizing of Balochistan and started the first Baloch national resistance movement. He was later arrested with his 142 followers and sent to prison.
In 1955, the One Unit Plan was introduced by the then government. Under this scheme, the four provinces of Pakistan; Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan and N.W.F.P [now known as Khyber Pakhtoon Khwa] were amalgamated into one unit.32 The idea badly backfired and was strongly condemned and thrown away by the Baloch leaders and was considered as a breach into the Baloch nation. The One Unit system and the Parity formula invoked a sharp reaction among the Baloch, and the demand for its dissolution took a violent turn in Balochistan.33
The second Baloch resistance took place in the early years of Ayub Khan‘s regime. Nawab Nowroz Khan led the second Baloch national resistance. He was arrested when he came for negotiations with Pakistan‘s Army, who assured him that he will not be harmed and that the Baloch issues and problems will be addressed. Nawab Nowroz, along with his sons and a nephew, were arrested and later executed. From this point onwards, Baloch ethnicity became the major driving force in the nationalist fight.
Pakistani Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto dissolved the elected Baloch Nationalist Government of Ghous Bux Bizenjo, Sardar Attaullah Mengal, Khair Bux Marri and Nawab Akbar khan Bugti in Balochistan and launched the longest and massive military operation in Balochistan, which lasted for five years. Khair Bakhsh Marri formed the Balochistan People‘s Liberation Front which led large numbers of Marri and Mengal tribesmen into guerrilla warfare against the central government.

 Evolution of issue and challenges
The nature of the Balochistan problem is essentially linked with two vital factors34:
1. The absence of democracy in Pakistan; and
2. Inherent and growing economic disparity in the country.
The problem of Balochistan for long has been a low simmering conflict. Under the rule of President Musharraf, military operations continued in Balochistan and the issue of Balochistan rose to its utmost height. Dera Bugti and Kohlu were considered to be the main hotbeds of Baloch insurgency. Military operations were carried out to overcome and destroy insurgency; however, they backfired and resulted in more grave consequences for the country.

Akbar Bugti killing case
For Baloch nationalists, the death of Akbar Bugti became the rallying point in their cause. Nawab Bugti‘s killing, however, was relatively a late entrant to the Baloch cause. Nevertheless, that resulted in making him the pantheon of Baloch heroes that provided sustenance to political identity that produces rebellion with remarkable regularity.35 The Chief Justice of Pakistan has termed Nawab Akbar Bugti‘s killing ―the biggest mistake‖ and said that there could be no peace until the Dera Bugti matter was resolved.36 Akbar Bugti‘s son, after his assassination, filed an FIR against the then President Pervez Musharraf, the then Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, the then Balochistan Governor Owais Ghani, the then interior minister Aftab Sherpao, the then Balochistan chief minister Jam Yousuf and the then provincial home minister Shoaib Nausherwan.37

Missing persons
The issue of missing persons in Balochistan is among the most alarming challenges in the province. The subject is becoming a major irritant in resolving the crisis in the country and in the province. According to the Government of Balochistan, there have been 103 missing persons reported in the Supreme Court cases.38 However, the figures vary from report to report; Baloch nationalists claim that the figure in reality is much more then what the government data shows. Forced disappearances and kidnapping is a common norm in the province either by the security officials or by the nationalist groups in the province.
In May 2010, the Supreme Court formed the Commission of Inquiry for Missing Persons, with a mandate to investigate enforced disappearances and provide recommendations for eliminating this practice. A new Commission of Inquiry for Missing Persons was established by the federal Ministry of Interior on March 1, 2011.39

Human rights violations
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have documented a rising number of abuses by the Pakistani security forces in Balochistan. Amnesty International describes the use of ―kill and dump‖ tactics, under which activists, teachers, journalists and lawyers, even teenagers, have been detained and their bullet-ridden bodies dumped on roadsides at a rate of about 20 a month in the recent past.40
Human Rights Watch says hundreds of people have disappeared since 2005 in Balochistan, and it has documented 45 cases of enforced disappearances and torture by Pakistani security forces in the province in 2009 and 2010. It has also reported a growing trend of retaliation by armed rebels on non-Baloch settlers, including the targeted killing of 22 teachers.41
The insurgency evidently continues to simmer and result in constant attacks on gas pipelines, railway lines, bridges, communication network areas, power stations as well as military areas and military check-post. The new act of terrorism introduced is the use of hand grenades in various terrorist attacks in Quetta and other cities of the province.

Annual Fatalities in Balochistan, 2006-2011
Years /   Civilians /  SF Personnel /   Militants /   Total
2006  /     226          /  82                      /   142            /   450
2007  /     124         /    27                      /    94            /   245
2008  /     130         /    111                     /    107          /    348
2009  /     152         /    88                      /    37           /     277
2010  /      274       /     59                      /     14          /     347
2011*/       542      /      122                    /      47        /     711 
 SATP, Data till December 31, 201142

Main actors and nationalist political parties of Balochistan

Three main actors:
1. Bugti Tribe, formerly led by Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti.
2. Marri Tribe, led by Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri.
3. Mengal Tribe, led by Sardar Attaullah Mengal.

The main nationalist political parties of the Balochistan are as follows:
1. Jamhoori Watan Party (JWP): it was formed in 1990 and was headed by [Late] Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti. Although the party had a political motivation, it, to a very large extent, supported the Bugti Tribe.
2. Baloch Haq Talwar (BHT): Baloch Haq Talwar is headed by Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri.  Its main objective is to condemn military rule.
3. National Party (NP): it is headed by Dr. Abdul Hayee.  It opposes governmental projects like the Gwadar Port and demands Baloch rights to control their own province.
4. Baloch Students Organization (BSO): it represents the Baloch middleclass students who oppose military rule and demands jobs for the youth of Balochistan. BSO, formerly known as Baloch Educational Student Organisation, was formed in 1965.
5. Pushtun-Khwa-Mili-Awami Party (PKMAP): it was formed by the Pushtuns of Balochistan and N.W.F.P. They favour democratic parliamentary system.

Government-claimed insurgent organisations in Balochistan
1. Baloch Liberation Army [BLA]: it is headed by Harbiyar Marri; its main areas of influence include Kohlu, Jafarabad, and Nasirabad in Balochistan. Harbiyar Marri is in exile in London and operates from there. The main demand of the group is independence from Pakistan. It is the most extensive party of the Baloch resistance organisation with its influence not only in Balochistan but also in parts of Afghanistan, Iran and other parts of the world.
2. Baloch Republican Army [BRA]: it is headed Braham Dagh Bugti; its areas of influence include Dera Bugti, Kohlu, Barkhan. Currently, the leader of the group is residing in Switzerland and demands independence.
3. Baloch Liberation United Front [BLUF]: it is headed by Dr. Allah Nazar Baloch. His area of influence is in South Balochistan, mainly the cities of Mastung, Turbat, and Kharan.
4. Baloch Liberation National Front [BLNF]: it is largely headed by Baloch students in Quetta city and parts of Southern Balochistan. BLNF is believed to be actively involved in killings of Punjabi settlers in Balochistan.
5. Balochistan National Party (BNP): formed by Sardar Attaullah Mengal, it was the result of the merger of Mengal‘s Balochistan National Movement and Ghous Baksh Bizenjo‘s Pakistan National Party. Its basic demands are of provincial autonomy, limiting federal government authority to defence, foreign affairs, currency and communications.43

War on terror and security situation in Balochistan
The new growing religious group calling itself Tehrik-e-Taliban Balochistan (TTB), similar to Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan in Waziristan, is an emerging threat in Balochistan.  There has been no substantive data to determine whether this group is working under Baithullah Mehsud or it is an independent organization. The self-proclaimed spokes-person Engineer Asad of TTB disassociates TTB from Baithullah Mehsud‘s Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP); describes suicide bombing as un-Islamic and rules out any vendetta with the Sherani faction, led by Maulana Sherani of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI). The TTP members are almost all Paktuns, but it is possible that it would also have some Baloch activists.44
The TTB is believed to be an active arm of the Quetta Shura; it recruits its manpower from the different madrassas located in the surrounding areas of Quetta. It consists of indigenous fighting units, facilitators and foreign fighters.45 However, the more important ones with the major Afghan / Pushtun composition come from madrassas in Chaman, Pishin and Qila Abdullah. They are believed to be Afghan refugees as also Pakistanis.
These recruits are thoroughly trained as Taliban fighters and to believe in the war against the West and eventually die a martyr‘s death. In the Soviet Afghan war, the madrassas in Chaman contributed to the Mujahedeen movement. Several Afghans who were studying in these camps participated in the war in 1980s. There is considerable concern among people in the Zhob-Qilla Saifullah region following the influx of militants and media reports that the drones may target locations in Balochistan as well.46
It is believed that the Taliban militants plan to establish a regional alliance in Balochistan with Iranian Jundullah organization, an insurgent Sunni Islamic organization which has support in both the Pakistani Balochistan and Iranian Balochistan. It was reported that there is a linkage between Pakistani Baloch and Jundullah and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. The general impression is that this cooperation will lay the foundation for joint regional operations in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and India.
Taliban and al-Qaeda had suspected Jundullah working under U.S. and Pakistani intelligence agencies to dismantle Iran. Following Abdul Malik Rigi meetings with al-Qaeda‘s agents, it has been established that these two organizations will go hand in glove to spread terrorism and carry operations in the border region of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran. But U.S. officials acknowledge they know relatively little about the remote and arid Pakistani border region, have no capacity to strike there, and have few windows into the turbulent mix of Pashtun tribal and religious politics that has turned the area into a sanctuary for the Taliban leaders, who are known collectively as the Quetta Shura.47
If the TTB problem is not addressed, Balochistan will separately be marred by Islamist extremism. According to a report by internal-displacement monitor 2008, ―Most of the violence in Balochistan is, however, ‘nationalist’ and there is no cooperation between pre-dominantly Pushtun Islamist militants in the North and the Baloch nationalist insurgents.‖ Baloch insurgents have always kept a distance from religious ideology mixing in with their nationalist motive and getting in way of their struggle with Islamabad. However, according to a claim made by TTB spokesman, Engineer Asad, the organisation is against fighting the Pakistani security forces, law-enforcement agencies and turning Pakistan into a battlefield.48
The new Taliban phenomenon in Balochistan in general is believed to be a cover for U.S. to carry out overt operations to dismantle the ongoing projects of Gwadar, to counter China‘s access to the Indian Ocean and also to secure the energy route to Central Asia. It is believed that if China is able to get access to the warm waters, it might eventually raise a threat to U.S. military bases in the Gulf. Similarly, it is also said that American intelligence agency – CIA – is funding the TTB along with the Sipah-e-Sahaba and Lashker-e-Jhangvi in Balochistan. Pakistan has time and again proposed to fence the Turkhum- Shorawak border to stop Taliban infiltration, but the offer has been turned down by Washington and Kabul.   The likelihood of Baloch militant leaders joining a Pushtun organization is very remote. Both of the groups have different set of ideals and different war objectives. The Baloch nationalists are waging a struggle against the ruling government of Pakistan, whereas, TTB wants no foreign boot on its soil just like its propaganda in Waziristan and other Northern areas. If Islamabad remains ignorant to it, Al-Qaeda and Taliban operatives will surely use Baloch as a hub to ‗regroup and rearm‘. Recently, there were reports of rift between the Taliban leader Jalaluddin Haqqani and Mullah Omar. Later, Sarajuddin – son of Jalaluddin Haqqani – a member of the Taliban‘s leadership Council, has called for a change in the Quetta Shura leadership, arguing that lack of leadership has led to the killing of some of the Taliban‘s most senior commanders.
Pakistan‘s collaboration with the U.S. in its war on terror has placed the country in a situation where its internal security dynamics are being regularly challenged by the internal militants on its western borders adjoining Afghanistan both in FATA and in Balochistan. Ignoring these security challenges in Balochistan is only magnifying their volume and intensity. The province which had for long faced a burning nationalist insurgency has started to become the next big target for the United States.  The New York Times reported that, ―the support for the Taliban and other militant group is Pakistan‘s spy service, the Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence. The Taliban‘s widening campaign in southern Afghanistan is made possible in part by direct support from operatives in Pakistan‘s military intelligence agency.49.|The support to the Taliban U.S. believe is not just in monetary form but also in the form of weapons and military supply as well as planning and guidance towards its targets. However, Pakistan time and again has denied any such relations with Taliban or any other militant organisation.
America believes that virtually all of the Afghan Taliban’s strategic decisions are made by the Quetta Shura; decisions flow from the Shura to Taliban field commanders, who in turn make tactical decisions that support the Shura’s strategic direction,50 hence, believing that fighting the Quetta Shura will raise chances to engage more moderate Taliban and al Qaeda operatives into talks, but the Pakistani and U.S. authorities fail to understand that Taliban are not going to fight according to American principles of war and tactics. Together, U.S. and Pakistani authorities should realize that it is first and foremost essential to bargain with the nationalist leaders and other influential parties in Balochistan and take them on board if they wish to fight Taliban. Talibanisation of Balochistan will not only jeopardize the integrity of the federation, but also cause unrest in the entire region.
There is little probability of established relations between Baloch separatists and the Taliban movement. That is because the Baloch and the Pakhtoon (the Taliban movement is essentially a Pakhtoon-led movement) have their own ethnic conflicts in Balochistan, and it is a pressing internal issue that threatens to boil over. The Baloch are of the view that Pakhtoon living in Balochistan are exploiting their resources and the quotas that the federal government has allocated for the province, as well other business opportunities. The Baloch stance is that while they fight with corresponding forces for the province‘s rights, the Pakhtoon in Balochistan take advantage of the shares given to the province by the Federal government. According to the Baloch, the presence of Taliban and other sectarian groups of religious parties are only likely to sabotage their insurgency. The Baloch maintain that they are fighting for a greater cause.

Aghaz-e-Haqooq Balochistan
Balochistan, Pakistan‘s largest but least populated province with a troubled history is currently in the news for all the wrong reasons. Target killings, kidnappings, separatist movements, terrorism, ethnic violence, human rights violations, and a general sense of unrest have become perennial issues that are increasingly highlighted in the national media. However, there is always a disclaimer attached, i.e., Balochistan is a province with tremendous untapped economic potential, especially from mineral resources, that needs to be harnessed and utilized for the good of the people.
It has almost become rhetorical to point out the mineral and natural richness and of the profits, which if availed, could turn the country into an economically viable and self-reliant entity. Pakistan is regarded to be an agricultural country, and hence, historically, the rather barren Balochistan remained neglected. The irony now is that the mineral riches of the province and its strategic coast and trade routes make it a potential saviour.
It is important to understand hurdles to their immediate or potential success and in order to carry out a realistic assessment of their long-term progress. Thus, the Gwadar port, the Reko Diq mines, the Sui gas pipelines and some dam-based energy projects will be examined as we seek to point out the challenges and opportunities from a disgruntled region. Ironically, one primary reason for indignation is this very use of resources since the justified claim is that they have not been used to benefit the very region they come from – the natural gas from Sui being a major case in point.
In order to understand the importance of these separate projects that can in no way be de-linked from the overall progress in Balochistan, it is necessary to see the economic situation overall in context of the recent National Financial Commission award, and the earlier much maligned Aghaz-e-Haqooq-eBalochistan (AHB) package. The package aims, among other things, to delegate a range of powers to the Balochistan government, and requires federal authorities to obtain provincial government‘s consent with respect to major projects.51
While some recognize it as a folly to simply seek solutions from a purely economic perspective, it is clear that economic incentives are part of the problem. It is thus the NFC award that together with other ‗incentives‘ provides a legal, sustained and organized framework for the province‘s long-term growth. And hence, we need to point out its importance, deficiencies and the opportunities emanating from its implementation.
The province will receive Rs12 billion in arrears, after acceptance by the federal government of its demands to raise with retrospective effect the well-head price of gas and the gas development surcharge. Federal grants on account of the NFC award and the Aghaz-i-Haqooq Balochistan (AHB) package were estimated at Rs12 billion, also regulate service of 11,500 police and Levies personnel and 8,500 new jobs.52
The AHB package has been largely derided, with one prominent Baloch leader calling it a ‗joke‘.53 Out of 61 modest recommendations and points made in the AHB package, only 15 have been implemented so far. However, the government has claimed again and again that it will implement all points in 2013. Nevertheless, the execution of the package is nowhere in sight.
One thing remains clear. That the economic, political and social rights of the province have been, at best, compromised since independence, and in essence, the process now starts. But, while recognition is an important first step, implementation is another matter altogether. Moreover, it is a policy mistake to simply assume that giving economic rights is the only matter of concern; when rectifying measures are meant only to foster economic integration, they miss the point of the crisis of Balochistan.54 Non-implementation of the Balochistan package has simply highlighted the rights the people of the province do not have. The operation of the security agencies against the ‗terrorists‘ is of no use if no measures are taken to improve the lives of those people who are in a state of rebellion.55
Scores of protest in Balochistan have been due to zero achievement of the PPP government‘s promises. The AHB package is stagnant and its progress in terms of resolving the crisis in Balochistan is negligible. The main challenge to Balochistan‘s development comes from the institutions, social structure, political fragmentation and short-sighted policies. The government over the years has failed to produce any development, social or economic, in the region. The economic development of Balochistan has been a great challenge. It is a multidimensional process involving major changes in social structure, popular attitudes and national institutions. It has a limited labour generation, limited agriculture land, water scarcity, limited industrial development and, above all, a constant security challenge.

U.S. bill on Balochistan
On February 9, 2012, the oversight and investigations subcommittee of the United States House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs convened a hearing on Balochistan; a resolution was passed in the U.S. Congress which specifically dealt with the situation in Balochistan, recommending that the province becomes a separate nation independent of Pakistan. The bill was tabled by Congressman Dana Rohrabacher and it stirred the security as well as political calculus in Pakistan.
In his opening remarks, Rep Rohrabacher said that Balochistan is a turbulent land marked by human rights violations ―by regimes that are against U.S. values.‖56 America officially views the conflict in Balochistan as an internal matter of Pakistan. However, the continuance of violence and growing instability in the province and widespread presence of Taliban raises concerns for the U.S. and makes it worthy of their attention.
The issue of Balochistan has been burning in Pakistan for decades, but in the past few years it has reached a more serious edge. The international community, unwary of Pakistan largest province, has now started to take interest in the region, especially due to its geostrategic importance.
Apart from the concerns over the U.S. bill raised by the Foreign Office of Pakistan, Pakistan‘s Ambassador to U.S. has also raised serious concerns in U.S. regarding the issue as it will affect the already strained relations between America and Pakistan. However, in turn, U.S. State Department distanced itself from the proceedings and the Congressional hearing on Balochistan commenting that the problems of Balochistan should be resolved through peaceful and political means. At a news briefing in Washington, the department‘s spokesperson, Victoria Nuland, said that the U.S. administration has not changed its policy and continues to see Balochistan as part of Pakistan.57
The bill on can be interpreted through two competing theories. Firstly, the time period in which the bill was circulated was when Pakistan had choked the NATO supply lines to Afghanistan in retaliation to the Salala incident.58 This move can be construed as an attempt by U.S. to embarrass Islamabad and also to put pressure on Pakistan.
Secondly, in the backdrop to the Colonel Ralph Peter‘s map which was published in the Armed Forces Journal in June of 200659? Although the map doesn‘t reflect the policies and strategies planned by the Pentagon, it has been a topic of discussion on many occasions by different political figures in U.S.
According to Colonel Ralph Peter‘s article, the boundaries projected in the map redress the wrongs suffered by the most significant ―cheated‖ population groups, such as the Kurds, Baloch and Arab Shia, but still fails to account adequately for Middle Eastern Christians, Bahais, Ismailis, Naqshbandis and many another numerically lesser minorities.

Objected and criticised by the government of Pakistan, the bill was welcomed by many Baloch nationalist leaders and was seen as a way out of the misery they are facing.

Three main key developing strategies which can be applied in the long term in order to systematically develop Balochistan are as under:
 Generating social awareness and services.
 Generating growth development which means reforms in the existing economic structure and policies at the provincial level in Pakistan. In the need to do so, a careful scrutiny is required to understand the resources whether mineral, industrial or agricultural in Balochistan to develop them in a way which is more favourable for the people of the province.
 Private sector should be encouraged to invest in the province. Currently the contribution of the private sector is close to nonexistent. The investments can be in infrastructure development, crop and fruit farming as well as livestock.

The following steps, on the other hand, need to be taken on a priority basis:
1. Addressing human right issue: Failure to overcome the human rights issue can in future make way for direct foreign intervention in the province. As a result, the province which already is under the cloud of isolation may drift away from the federation, accepting a foreign intervention.
2. Setting the house in order: Ensuring immediate and effective measures to overcome hostilities in the province. It is imperative to set up a shortterm strategy which immediately deals with the growing frustration in the province. The initial short-term strategy can be later diversified into a long-term sustainable plan for the province.
3. Addressing provincial inequality: It is this provincial inequality that has fiercely triggered the sense of deprivation among Baloch masses. Even the provincial governments have been severely inhibited in their efforts to improve conditions because of the fact that Islamabad takes direct decisions over policies governing the province.60
4. Improvement of law and order situation: The higher judiciary may entrust the subordinate courts to actively pursue cases of violence. The judiciary should also be more assertive in ensuring compliance with orders.61

It is high time to address the economic concerns of the province with the purpose of one, understanding grievances and looking at the way they have been addressed, and two, looking at the oft-quoted potential of the province through its large energy and mineral based projects. Years of ill-conceived development policies and priorities, military operations, and poor governance have resulted in Balochistan‘s being the most backward province. What Balochistan needs is a good and efficient government with a review of its policies on Afghanistan as well as its status on war on terror so that it can help them resolve their differences and misperceptions that have resulted in the conflict scenario now.62
There is an immediate need to rethink the national policy and identify the loopholes that are resulting in the crisis scenario. Playing the trio blames game among the tribal lord, dictatorship and democracy is not what is required. The issue, if not handled carefully, will end up putting the entire nation in grave danger. There is no doubt that Pakistan has given a lot in America‘s War on Terror and gained little. Conversely, Kabul and Western governments believe that Islamabad has contacts with the Taliban leadership and it has been ignoring their activities in its territory.63
Throughout the period since the partition, the Baloch have had an uncomfortable relationship with the central government of Pakistan.64 What is now important to stabilize this growing situation is to look again at the mistakes that were made in the past by the government. The period after the election and formation of the outgoing democratic government has, on the other hand, proved to be one of positive signals. Suicide bombings have become less frequent. The military is at the same time also being evacuated from many of the tribal areas.
For many analysts in Pakistan, the international community is now reflecting on the possibility of an independent Balochistan which is being sold as a complete package to the strategic community, primarily to the U.S.65 The need of the hour is unity and not division. It is required for Balochistan as a province to prosper and for greater interest of Pakistan regionally and globally. Balochistan is a gold mine for Pakistan, but if the current crisis is carried on, it would definitely change into a ticking time-bomb. It is in Pakistan‘s interest to understand and recover the situation, make way for possibilities and have a much more flexible approach in its policy.
The Taliban and al Qaeda have never been anyone‘s friend, and their strings are certainly not pulled in Islamabad. The dynamics in Balochistan are absolutely different and have been overlooked. Balochistan is already the victim of lowintensity conflict and recurrent insurgencies, pairing it with war in North and South Waziristan will be more catastrophic and troublesome to handle. Sooner or later, it will emerge as a fault line conflict along with an international theatre of war where bounties would be placed to hunt Taliban or al Qaeda. A tactful approach is required to fight the menace of terrorism rather than opting for abrupt moves.
To conclude, Pakistan‘s internal security challenges not only undermine its own national interests but also hinder the smooth drive of regional and international actors to achieve their objectives in this part of the world. Hence, it is a pre-requisite that the Pakistan should recognize that a stable Balochistan is essential for economically empowering Pakistan and for stabilizing the volatile security situation in the country at large.

Notes & References  
1―The Baloch and Their Neighbours; Ethnic and Linguistic Contact in Baluchistan in Historical and Modern Times‖, edited by Carina Jahani, Agnes Korn, and Gunilla Gren-Eklund, ‗Towards the Interpretation of the Term Baloc in the Sahname,‘ Vahe Boyajian, Reichert Verlag Wiesbaden, 2003, Germany, 2―Taj Mohammad Breseeg, Baloch Nationalism; its Origin and Development,  (Lahore: Royal Book Company, 2004), p. 59.
3―Hafiz-u r-Rehman, “Aghaze-Haqooq-e-Baluchistan”, IPRI Journal, XII: 1, January. 2010, p.10
4―Blochis of Pakistan: On the Margins of History‖, Foreign Policy Centre, November 2008,
5―Sanaullah Baloch, ―Baluchistan – The only way forward‖, The Express Tribune (Islamabad), February 11, 2012.
6―Breseeg, op. cit, p. 115.
7―Baluchistan 1 Geography, History and ethnography‖, Encyclopedia Iranica,
8―Justice Mir Khuda Bakhsh Bijrani Marri Baloch, ―Search Lights on Baloches and Baluchistan‖, Gosha-e-Adab, 1977, p. 3.
9―Mr. R. Huges-Buller, I.C.S, ―Imperial Gazetteer of India Provincial Series; Baluchistan‖, Sang-e-Meel Publications, 2002, p. 11.
10―Breseeg, op. cit., p. 116.
11―Justice Mir Khuda Bakhsh Bijrani Marri Baloch, Search Lights on Baloches and Baluchistan, (Gosha-e-Adab), 1977, p. 7.
12―Baluchistan 1. Geography, History and ethnography‖, Encyclopedia Iranica,
13―Baluchistan 1. Geography, History and ethnography‖, Encyclopedia Iranica,
14―Iqbal Ahmed, Baluchistan: Its Strategic Importance, (Lahore: Royal Book Company, 1992), p. xvii.
16―The first Anglo-Afghan war also known as the Auckland Folly was fought between the British-India Empire and Afghanistan. The cause of the war was primarily rooted to gain more strategic ground by British in the Subcontinent and to deny Russia entrance through Afghanistan into the British ruled Subcontinent. The war started in 1839 and ended in 1842 resulting in major casualties on both sides. This was also considered by many historians as the first war which made way for the ‗Great Game‘ in the region.
17―Javed Haider Syed, ―The British Advent in Baluchistan‖, Pakistan Journal of History and Culture, vol. XVIII, No.2, 2007, National Institute of Historical and Cultural Research,
18―Breseeg, op. cit., p. 60.
19―Inayat Ullah Baloch, The Problems of Greater Baluchistan (Steiner Verlag Wiesbaden Gmbh, Stuttgart), 1987, p. 30.
20―J.G. Bartholomew, ―Baluchistan; Imperial Gazetteer of India‖, vol. 6,  Argon to Bardwan 1907-1909, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1908),  London: Digital South Asia Library,
21―Martin Axmann, ―Back to the Future; the Khanate of Kalat and the Genesis of Baloch Nationalism 1915-1955‖, (London: Oxford University Press, 2008), pg. 107.
22―The state of Kalat was never a completely independent state. Even in the early years of Mughal era and the British rule the state were although run by the tribal of stately chiefs but the authority of the matters remained with the British rulers of the subcontinent. For more details consult,  Huges-Buller, op. cit., p. 14.
23―Tahir Amin, ―Ethno-National Movements of Pakistan, (Islamabad: Institute of Policy Studies Islamabad, 1993), p. 64.
24―Justin S. Dunne, ―Crisis in Balochistan: a Historical Analysis of the Baloch Nationalist Movement in Pakistan‖, Monterrey: Naval Post Graduate School, California, June 2006, p. 34.
25―Martin Axmann, Back to the Future; the Khanate of Kalat and the Genesis of Baloch Nationalism 1915-1955, (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2008), p. 28.
26―Ahmed, op. cit., p. 97.
27―Justice (R) Mir Khuda Bakhsh Marri, Search Light on Balochis and Baluchistan, (Lahore: Gosha-e-Adab), p. 298.
28― ‗Balochis of Pakistan …‘, op. cit.
29―Jinnah; Speeches and Statements 1947-1948, The Millennium Series, (London: Oxford University Press).
30―To get the details of the agreement please refer to Mir Ahmed Yar Khan Baluch, Inside Baluchistan, a Political Autobiography of His Highness Baiglar Baigi; Khane-Azam-XIII‖, (Karachi: Royal Book Company, 1975), p. 147.
31―Herbert Feldman, From Crisis to Crisis: Pakistan 1962-1969, (London: Oxford University Press), 1972, p. 203.
32―Lawrence Ziring, Pakistan at the Cross Current of History, (Lahore: Vanguard Books Lahore), p. 71.
33―Breseeg, p. 301.
34―Ikram Azam, ―Pakistan: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow‖, Paper, Thoughts on the Balochistan Problem, August, 1974 to December 1975, pp. 135.
35―Haris Gazdar, ―Bugti and the Baloch Cause‖, Economic and Political Weekly, September 30, 2006,
36―Balochistan Crisis; CJ terms Akbar Bugti Killing ‗Biggest Mistake‘‖, The Express Tribune (Islamabad), September 04, 2012,
37―Akbar Bugti Case; BHC Extends Interim Bail of Jam Yousaf, Aftab Sherpao‖, September 03, 2012,
38―Details, names of the Missing Persons issued by the Government of Baluchistan to Supreme Court can be viewed at
39―We can Torture Kill or Keep You for Years; Enforced Disappearances by Pakistan Security Forces in Baluchistan ‖, Human Rights Watch, July 2011,
40―Carlotta Gall, ―Pakistan‘s Bitter, Little-Known Ethnic Rebellion‖, New York Times (New York), August 23, 2011, 24Baloch.html?pagewanted=2&ref=world
41―Carlotta Gall, ―Pakistan‘s Bitter, Little-Known Ethnic Rebellion‖, The New York Times (New York), August 23, 2011, 24Baloch.html?pagewanted=2&ref=world
42―Baluchistan Assessment – 2012, South Asia Terrorism Portal,
43―Proscribed Terrorist Organizations, ons/counter-terrorism/proscribed-terror-groups/proscribed-groups?view=Binary
44―Rahimullah Yususfzai, ―And now there is Tehrik-e-Taliban Baluchistan‖, The News (Islamabad), Wednesday, March 04, 2009.
45―Jeffery Dressler, ―Counterinsurgency in Helmand; Progress and Remaining Challenges‖, Afghanistan Report 8, Institute for Study of War, Washington D.C., January 2011, .pdf
46―Ilyas Khan, ―On the Trial of Taliban in Quetta‖, BBC News, 25 January, 2010,
47―Pamela Constable, ―U.S. Says Taliban Has a New Haven in Pakistan‖, Washington Post, Tuesday, September 29, 2009,
48―Rahimullah Yususfzai, ―And now there is Tehrik-e-Taliban Baluchistan‖, The News (Islamabad), March 4, 2009.
49―Mark Mezzetti and Eric Schmitt, ―Afghan Strikes by Taliban gets Pakistan‘s Help, U.S. Aides Say‖, March 5th, 2009, New York Times,
50―Pamela Constable, ―U.S. Says Taliban Has a New Haven in Pakistan‖, Washington Post, Tuesday, September 29, 2009,
51―We can Torture Kill or Keep You for Years; Enforced Disappearances by Pakistan Security Forces in Baluchistan ‖, Human Rights Watch, July 2011,
52―Nasir Jamal and Sale, ―Rs. 152 Billion Budget for Baluchistan‖,  Dawn (Islamabad), June 22, 2010
53―Attaullah Mengal Interview; Aghaz-e-Haqooq Package a Joke‖, The Express Triune (Islamabad), December 20, 2011,
54―Interview of Cyril Almeida at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad, 2012
55―PPP Failure in Baluchistan‖, Editorial, The Express Tribune (Islamabad), March 7, 2011,
56―Huma Imtiaz, ―Baluchistan Grievances heard by U.S. Committee‖, The Express Tribune (Islamabad), March 9, 2012
57―Anwar Iqbal, ―U.S. government distances itself from Baluchistan haring‖, Dawn (Islamabad), February 10, 2012
58―Salala incident, also known as Salala attack occurred on November 26, 2011. U.S. NATO forces targeted two check posts in the Pakistan Afghanistan border area which resulted in killing of twenty four Pakistani soldiers. In retaliation Pakistan blocked U.S supply line to Afghanistan. The supply lines were opened after an apology by U.S on July 3, 2012.
59―Lt. Col. (R) Ralph Peters, ―Blood borders: How a better Middle East would look‖, Armed Forces journal (AFJ), June 2006,
60―Salman Latif, ―The Problem with Baluchistan‖, The Express Tribune (Islamabad), July 22, 2010.
61―Balochistan, Blinkered Slide into Chaos‖, Report of an HRCP fact-finding Mission, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, June 2011
62―Sana Ullah Baloch, ―The Baluchistan Conflict towards a Lasting Peace‖, Seminar Paper, March 07, 2007,
63―Zafar Nawaz Jaspal, ―Pak-Afghan relations‖, Weekly Pulse (Islamabad), June 8-14 2007, pp.13
64―Breseeg, Op. Cit., p. 389.
65―This idea has been reflected by Unas Samad, professor at the University of Bradford, in his article in Express Tribune (Islamabad), March 7, 2012; in which he discusses that a small idea can develop into a movement, giving examples of South Sudan and East Timor.

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Posted by on December 15, 2015 in Research Papers on Political Issues


Strategic Carnage of Balochistan

By Hasan Yaser Malik
University of Karachi, Pakistan

Facets like geography and history have always imprinted the demographical mosaic of a civilisation. Vast and rocky Balochistan with Its coastal belt heralds the marches by Alexander’s army in 300 BC and its NE rocky ranges yielded of the ‘GandamakTreaty ‘ tabled in 1879. Being a gateway to the strategically important ‘Strait Of Hurmoz’ , Central Asia and bordering two Islamic Republics Balochistan has always been prominent for Regional Politics. Geography and courses of invaders have kept it a distant demography.


Strategic Map of Balochistan

Despite being sparsely dwelled, the religion and culture have kept the social bond in strength.  Makran Coast adds to cultural diversity. Demography and absence of much needed awareness carved the roots of feudalism. With diminishing authority, the feudal and politicians are exploiting the Balochi youth by installing a politically motivated sense of deprivation. The emergence of Gwadar Port as a vibrant regional economic hub has caused many regional and extra regional powers in conjunction with the sham nawabs and politicians to exploit Balochies. The media blitz is further compounding the precarious situation. The infra structural development to link with energy rich Central Asian Republics have added to cultural diversity of Balochistan. Indian involvement is to offset Kashmir.

Keywords: Carnage, deprivation, key players, media blitz and Port.

I. Introduction:
A strategically located as a gate way 34 km narrow; energy rich Hurmoz Strait the Balochistan Province of Pakistan has always been the source of centre piece for the regional, extra regional and local populace. The importance of the province lies in its location and mineral resources. Apart for providing an access to Central Asian and Caspian Resources for U.S, China, Europe and lndo-Pacific littoral states its vast cooper, gold, chromites and energy reserves have always kept the interests of all the key players; starting as a Great Game between  UK and USSR in nineteenth century to U.S and China in twenty first  century to. In the present scenario where U.S is involved in War on Terror in its neighbouring Afghanistan with a geographical border of 753 miles it is very difficult for Pakistan to quarantine Balochistan due to religious, cultural and economic needs across the border.  The emergence of Gwadar Port with the Chinese assistance has raised the concerns of all the key players including the sham politicians and diminishing feudal who are trying to exploit the innocent Balochies for their interests. India is also exploiting the situation to offset the Kashmir Issue. The immature media blitz is further enhancing the issue. Sincere efforts have already been made by high lighting this important facet at various national forums by sharing and expressing the true insight of this enigma to counterbalance the politically motivated aspects of the situation through national level periodicals.   This paper aims at stooping this carnage by high lighting the true social, cultural and political picture of the Balochistan to share the spot on facet at international forum with a view to draw the conclusions and formulate the recommendations for turning the Balochistan into a regional economic hub and remove the misconception of sense of deprivation among Balochies by empowering them with equality. The paper will be expanded as mentioned below:
1.2 Demography of Balochistan
1.3 Projected Uprisings
1.4 Strategic value of Balochistan
1.5 Conclusions
1.6 Recommendations
1.7 Conclusion

II. Demography of Balochistan:
Balochistan covers an area of 347,190 sq km; which is 43.3% of Pakistan [1]. Balochistan is bounded by Arabian Sea in south Sulaiman and Kirthar Mountains in east, Chagai and Toba Kakar Mountains in the west and north respectively bordering Afghanistan. The average height of mountains is 6,000- 11,000 ft. (1,830-3,335 m). Balochistan Plateau has an average altitude of 2,000 ft. (610 m) [2]. Only the Toba Kakar Range is speckled with Juniper, Tamarisk and Pistachio trees, rest all are barren and bleak. The mountains are carved off by numerous channels and hill torrents with rain water. Relatively more significant are Zhob, Bolan and Loralai Rivers, located in the north-eastern portion of Balochistan [3].  Balochistan is mosaic of rugged mountains, barren vast lands, deserts and coastal belt. The Makran Coast and northern mountains have served as a route for the invaders including Alexander the great and British Troops.
The total population is about ten million; which is divided among four major groups. North and east are Pushtun dominated areas; whereas east is Balochi, west is Brahvi and southern Coast is Makrani dominated belt. The Balochies are 40% and Brahvi are 20 % of the total population; including 769,000 Afghan Refugee including Pushtuns, Tajiks and Hazaras [4]. At present the Balochies are turning in to minority and Pushtun are emerging as majority. This demographic change is due to the influx of Afghan Refugees during Russo-Afghan War in 1980, emergence of Gwadar Port has caused shifting of many non Balochies for better opportunities and most of the Balochies are shifting to Karachi by selling away their properties to Pushtuns.

2.1Social Values of Balochies:
Baluchistan‟s society comprises of different ethnic groups, each with its own customs and peculiarities [5]. Pathans, Brahvi and Baloch are all governed by almost similar values and customs. Tribe, in all the cases is the basic identity of a man. The most important feature of Balochistan society is the ‘Sardari System’ [6]. The area has been a mountain walled bulwark, secure from foreign invasion, which fulfils requirements of a feudal and turbulent mode of existence. Difficult terrain and lack of communication have forced them to lead a life of isolation. In the beginning, Sardari was bestowed upon men of courage and integrity. In order to perpetuate their hold, the Sardars however, made this institution hereditary and thus process of degeneration set in. Individual status in the tribe is defined initially by position within the tribal genealogy. The entire land belongs to Sardar who, without any contribution and participation receives ‘Shiskak’ a tax from the tillers. A Sardar or Malik enjoys absolute power over the life and property of his tribesmen. The British rule further galvanized the Sardari and Malik system as the British gave full authority to all Sardars for their allegiance to the Crown. The British, however, were not as successful with the Pathans as they were with the Brahvi and Baloch Sardars. Sardari system thus entrenched deeper in the Baloch and Brahvi tribes and lesser in the Pathan society. The majority of the people are Muslim Sunnis. There are a small number of Ismailis and Zikris in Makran Division and sizeable Hazara population with Shia faith in Quetta. The rules of honour (mayar) which have prevailed among the people for generations still influence the actions of many although gradually giving way to regular law and order. It was incumbent on tribesmen:
 To avenge blood.
 To fight to the death for person who had taken refuge with him.
 To refrain from killing a woman, Hindu, Minstrel, a boy who had not taken to trousers or had entered the shrine of a noble, so long as he remained within its precincts, and also man who while fighting begged for quarter with grass in his mouth and putting down his arms.
 To cease fighting when a mullah, a noble, or a woman bearing the Quran (Holy Book) on his or her head, intervenes between the parties.
 To punish an adulterer with death.
 The custom of (Hal Ehwal) amongst the tribal‟s is that by which any tribesmen while travelling is asked for the latest news, which is exchanged for local information. This is in turn passed on, and thus all sorts of intelligence are quickly spread amongst the tribes. This system was effectively used by Marris in 1973-77 insurgencies.
 The majority of Balochies being un educated; living in east and west of Balochistan do not have the even the basic ideas about following:
 Religious Believes.
 Society beyond tribe.
 Country or a province.
 Comforts of life.

2.2 Economic Features:
Baluchistan‟s share of the national economy has historically ranged from 3.7% to 4.9%. Since 1972, its economy has improved to 2.8 times. The economy of the Balochistan is principally based on natural gas, coal and minerals… Limited farming in the east as well as fishing along the Arabian Sea coastline provides income and sustenance for the local populations. Tourism has reduced due to the war on terror being fought it its north and west.
One of the world’s largest copper deposits (and its matrix-associated residual gold) worth U.S $ 3.3 billion has been found at Reko Diq  in the Chagai District of Balochistan [7]. The mining license is held jointly by the Government of Balochistan (25%), Antofagasta Minerals (37.5%) and Barrick Gold (37.5%). BHP Billiton in cooperation with the Australian firm Tethyan has estimated copper production of 2.2 million tons.
The Gwadar Deep Sea Port is considered to be the hub of an energy and trade corridor to and from China and the Central Asian Republics (CARs) by. With a population of 227,984 having 12,637 sq km area, Gwadar Port has immense geo-strategic significance as a deep sea port [8]. The port will act as a gateway to the 34 km narrow Hurmoz Strait; from where 40 % world oil is transported. Gwadar Port is designed to bring an economic and social revolution in Balochistan and prosperity to the country.

2.3 Political Formation:
Since colonial times, Balochistan Affairs were entrusted to lower ranking agent to the Governor General. It was since 1970 that political activity started in the province. The recent 18th constitutional amendment 2010 has given long outstanding demand of provincial autonomy; Gwadar Development Authority is now directly under the Chief Minister; glimpsing a right of ownership. A package „Aghaz-e-Haqooq-e- Balochistan 2010‟ dealing with the social, economic and political facets has generally been welcomed, however due to vested and political interests of a few individuals the implementation remained slow. Major political parties besides other national level parties are Jamhoori Watan Party, Balochistan National Party, and Balochistan National Movement. Two political alliances Pakistan Oppressed Nation‟s Movement and Mutahida Majlis–e-Amal have emerged as main political players [9].

2.4 Projected Uprisings in Balochistan:
To share the advantages of Gwadar Port, many key players are trying to destabilise it by covert activities. International Media has tinted a few Indian clandestine activities to hinder its development by causing unrest in Balochistan to divert the global attention from Kashmir Issue.
Christine Fair, a leading American expert on South Asia said. “Having visited the Indian mission in Zahedan, Iran, I can assure you they are not issuing visas as the main activity. Moreover, India has run operations from its mission in Mazar and is likely doing so from the other consulates it has reopened in Jalalabad and Qandahar along the border” [10].
“Indian officials have told me privately that they are pumping money into Balochistan. Kabul has encouraged India to engage in provocative activities such as using the Border Roads Organisation to build sensitive parts of the Ring Road and use the Indo-Tibetan police force for security” [11].
“Their role in Afghanistan is a pincer movement designed to relieve the pressure in Kashmir. Whether it will work remains an open question. Meanwhile, I know that the Indians have mucked around in Sindh in retaliation for Pakistani involvement in the Punjab crisis”[ 12 ]. During the briefing given to Elected President of U.S.A Mr. Barak Hussain Obama on 6 November 2008 at Washington by Director of National Intelligence Mc Connell well known Indian aspirations were highlighted, that vacuum created once the USA leaves Afghanistan will be filled by India and Iran [13].

 III. Strategic Value of Balochistan:
Strategically Gwadar; Balochistan holds a dominant position in the Gulf Region as part of the „Great Game‟ [14]. It has enormous potentials to emerge as a regional hub and a future trans-shipment port. However the changed environments have a few concerns for the global key players to exploit its potentials to the fullest.

3.1 Chinese Interests :
Chinese naval presence at this critical choke point of Gulf can not only check the INDO-US domination of Indian Ocean[15]but can also strive to achieve its aim of being a naval power [16].  Apart from the utilisation of port an existing land link  can be of help to China in improving its ever expanding trade to Central Asia, Middle East and Africa, as it will reduce the sea distance to 2500 km instead of 10000 [17]. Gwadar offers China, a tactical position in the energy rich Caspian Region thus, affording a substitute trade route for the western Xinjiang province, thus utilising it as a trade route through Gwadar Deep Sea Port. Chinese‟s economy is expanding at the rate of about 9% every year with trade volume of U.S $1.76 trillion and GNP ranging up to 7.3%. China has foreign exchange reserves of U.S $ 600 billion. Having such a strong and a potent economic growth rate China is expected to be the world leading economy in year 2025.
China has provided an all-out assistance for the development of Gwadar Deep Sea Port to Pakistan thus, strengthening the vital geo-strategic ties with each other in an expanding global village. Numerous strategic and economic aspects of Chinese interest in this project are explained below:
 The Gwadar port is very prudent for the Chinese economy especially for the economic development of its south western Xinjiang Province; providing an economic opportunity for Uighurs, which can improve the relations of neighbouring Muslims from two countries.
The Gwadar Port can provide the Chinese with a listening post to observe the naval activities of USA in the Persian Gulf 460 km further west of Karachi and away from Indian Naval Bases of Gujrat and Mumbai.
 In military and strategic terms, Gwadar Port can help China to monitor the SLOCs from the Persian Gulf as about 60% of Chinese energy requirements come from the Persian Gulf and transit along this approach. Recently on 30 Jan Pakistan Government has allowed of concession accord about Gwadar Port to China from Port of Singapore Authority[18]; which has caused serious and immediate concerns for India [19].
 The Indian activities in the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Aden have always been an eye sour for the Chinese‟s. Zhao Nanqi, director of the General Staff Logistics Department of the Chinese Navy issued a top-secret memorandum explaining the People Liberation Army‟s strategic plans to enhance  control over Pacific and the Indian Ocean in accordance with the “high-sea defence” policy by pursuing its „string of pearl strategy‟. Zhao stated that “We can no longer accept the Indian Ocean as only an ocean of the Indians”.  A naval base; at the gate way to will help China in checking the Indian hegemonic designs in the region. Presence at Gwadar would help China to keep track of oil transportation in Persian Gulf. Gwadar Port is an alternate for China if the route through Malacca strait is denied to her for access to Asia, Europe and Africa.

3.2 Interests of CARs:
Central Asia and South Asia, encompassing Caspian Region, Central Asian Republics, Afghanistan, Iran and the energy-rich „lake‟ called the Caspian Sea; which has formed the region as a centre piece in the international arena. The CARs, besides their utter unwillingness are still dependant on Russia [20]. In order to shun away the effect of Russian influence; there are two routes available to reach warm waters, one passing through Iran (Chahbahar) neighbouring Balochistan and the other leading through Balochistan (Gwadar). Due to prevalent international environment, western countries are not in favour of the trade route through Iran; hence Gwadar emerges as a more viable alternate port for reasons mentioned below:
 The Caspian Region is in need of a suitable route for pipeline and Gwadar as a gateway to Strait of Hurmoz is the most suitably option.
 In order to bridge the geographical gap Turkey proposed to establish a railway link between Central and South Asia (India), the proposal failed because of the terrestrial limitations. In the present global circumstances and availability of Silk Route Pakistan appears to be the best option.
With the development of Gwadar port, all trade to and from CARs is definite to adopt the shortest available route via Gwadar and the trade benefits of Pakistan are expected to multiply. The proven CARS reserves and production will have following implications on Gwadar Port:

 Estimated production of dry cargo is more than liquid cargo, which entails requirement of larger ships and thus Gwadar Deep Sea Port will prove better.
 Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan will produce more dry cargo than other CARs and Gwadar will prove to be the shortest access to warm waters.
 Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan having more liquid cargo can export it through pipelines and can have an alternate routes to Mediterranean Sea through Caspian Region which is about 1800 km long route whereas through Balochistan will be only 1400 km long.
 The investment for liquid cargo passage through pipeline via Gwadar, Caspian Region and China will be 2 to 2.5 billion U.S $, 3.3 billion U.S $ and 35 billion U.S $ respectively.

3.3 Interests of Afghanistan:
Afghanistan has been gifted with a number of natural resources. These resources are not fully exploited and the process is unlikely in the near future too. On the other hand Afghanistan currently has few exports i.e. steel, agriculture, textiles, etc. It is most likely that the country will be dependent on the imports and the aid from the donor nations, for which it had to depend on a transit agreement with Pakistan [21]. Whatever the likely imports or the exports, Pakistan can benefit from them by providing a safe transit route through Gwadar. A few facets which will influence the significance of the Gwadar port for Afghanistan are as follows:
 Gwadar provides the shortest possible access for Afghanistan to the Indian Ocean and is most cost effective.
 The local Pushtuns have religious, cultural and economic linkages with Pakistan.
 For a developing and a landlocked country like Afghanistan, which is in need of immediate access to warm waters Gwadar appears to be a most suitable opportunity.
 The U.S would like that the Afghan trade should be routed through Pakistan and not through Iran.
 Afghanistan will get all the port related amenities, warehousing services, transit conveniences and import opportunities.

3.4 U.S and Indian Interests:
Since the end of World War-II U.S occupied a place of importance in the Afghanistan‟s economic and social development. Afghanistan believed that good and active relations with U.S were not only important for the economic and social development but also for the maintenance of their policy balance [22]. Presently due to U.S war against terror in the Afghanistan – Pakistan neighbouring areas; the U.S access to CARs is being delayed and CARs are also finding it difficult to access the warm waters of Indian Ocean.
The emerging power; China is an eye sour for U.S objectives in the energy transporting Indian Ocean. Chinese„ sting of pearls‟ strategy is further compounding the problems of Indian Ocean domination; for which is now mostly relying on India and thus allowing it to keep pricking Pakistan in Balochistan with help of Karzai Government in Afghanistan. India is constructing Chahbahar Port for Iran; 72km west to offset the Gwadar Port and is causing disturbance in Balochistan to hide the Kashmir Issue. U.S is poised to allow India to fill in the power vacuum in Afghanistan once it pulls out partially from Afghanistan.

3.5 European Interests:
Although the Western nations are not part of the region, but this port in Balochistan is strategically important for due to the following reasons:-
 The European monetary alliance also points at the Arabian Sea, passing through Afghanistan, on the coast of Balochistan.
 Afghanistan has the option of using the trade route through Iran, which is contrary to the U.S interest; hence route through Gwadar would be a more viable option.
 To counterbalance the Russian concerns on energy transportation through Caspian Region.

IV. Conclusions:
 The diminishing sardars and sham politicians are exploiting the innocent Balochies by inspiring a sense of deprivations which has been caused by them so as to put the blames on others. Few are indirectly cooperating with India and present Karzai Government of Afghanistan.
 India is taking part in covert activities against Pakistan to divert the global attention from the core issue of Kashmir between India and Pakistan and also to support the Iranian Chahbahar Port to counter balance the Gwadar Port.
 With the development of Chahbahar Port India is not only gaining the economic advantages but is also damaging Pakistan foreign policy versus Iran. The urgency on India‟s part was visible in foreign secretary Nirupama Rao‟s speech ahead of meeting.

“There is a need for accelerating our joint efforts to fully realize the potential of the Chahbahar port. This is a project that is in the common interest of not only India, Iran and Afghanistan, but also Central Asia23”.  As per International Media India is in endeavouring to create a freedom movement in Balochistan and is trying to highlight the same. India is projecting the Balochi aspirations of independence from Pakistan through a few of overseas Balochies, that too mostly non Muslims. The insurgency has no Islamic form; rather efforts are being made to lead it towards an ethnic divide. It is supporting various militant groups like Balochistan Liberation Army, Baloch Liberation Front and Baloch People‟s Liberation Front.
 Some disgruntled politicians like Shazan Bughti grandson Nawab Akbar Bughti are now in Kabul and are being patronized by Afghan Government. Such politicians who have lost their strength in ancestral areas are still being projected as truly influential leaders by the media.
 Only a small group of Balochi people are taking part into the anti development activities for their vested interests, so it will not be justified to blame all the Balochies, who have always sided by the Pakistan.
 Incidents of unrest in parts of Quetta and Khuzdar should not be pronounced or projected as source of unrest in complete Balochistan, which covers almost 44% of the Pakistan‟s area. There is quite unrest in Kashmir and North East of India too.
 Pakistani Media is highlight this facet merely what they listen from a few individuals at Islamabad, who talk for their vested interests.
 Baloch sardars with diminishing authority are being projected as god father and their views are being valued beyond limits. There is a definite loud whispering in the educated population against the Sardari system.
 Sincere and a dedicated motivation may it be political one coupled with better health and education standards will overcome many issues.
 The relations between Balochistan and the Centre will depend upon the sincerity of the Central Government.
 Respect of a Baloch is a centre piece and must always be truly valued and exercised.
 Pakistan can‟t close eyes to Indian Supported BLA‟s target killing, albeit small in quantity and quality. There is a need to launch a prudent and a pragmatic media campaign highlighting the Indian involvement in Balochistan.
 Awareness and education is need of the hour for the development of Balochistan. Pakistan Army is running various pragmatic education programmers. It is also settling the tribal disputes to start the mining of energy and other natural resources.
 Social and development activities like health care, provision of water, education, resolution of tribal conflicts and mining opportunities being provided by the Pakistan Army are now being welcomed by the Balochi Masses but such activities are not liked by the sardars and politicians; as they consider it a cause of their diminishing authority and in order to refrain from the army‟s involvement they wrongly project that Balochies do not like army.

V. Recommendations:
 Pakistan must not leave any stone unturned to highlight the Indian covert activities being carried out in Balochistan to create a situation of unrest.
 Pakistan must emphasis Afghanistan to stop supporting the Indian coercive activities along its 753 miles of borders with Balochistan in form of 11 consulates.
 Pakistan must improve it relations with neighbouring Muslim; Iran with whom it shares 568 miles of border. Although; presently because of the economic sanctions Iran is finding it difficult to sell its fuel resources but still Pakistan can make use of it to overcome its energy crisis through planned Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline. Pakistan has permitted a contract allowing Iran for constructing 785 km long Pakistan section of pipeline on 30 Jan 2013[24].
 China has constructed Gwadar Port in Balochistan; which being at the gate way energy rich Hurmoz Strait is the most important pearl of its „string of pearl‟ strategy. Pakistan must formulate the policy and evolve strategy by which it can share maximum with China and spend it for the social development of Balochistan for decade or so.
 The government must take a few additional and swift measures to improve the existing communication infrastructure; particularly linking eastern and western with southern Balochistan in an early phase, so as to get rid of the quarantines.
 The governmental plans to link southern and western Balochistan with Central Asia must include the eastern Balochistan at any cost.
 The government should change the ages old British Colonial Policy and must improve the administration system by posting the best bureaucrats, judges, police officials and mining experts.
 In order to improve the quality of life and to make use of mineral resources the government must establish a Research and Development Setups at District level under the frame work of an autonomous body.
 In order to make the facet of social and infrastructural development more pragmatic; the government must not allocate the money through greedy politicians and authority hungry sardars but must do it with direct involvement of masses. It is the time to stop pleasing the sardars and politicians by getting rid of one room school concept.
 Every development plan must be approved with direct choice and involvement of the masses; the existing Jirga System (council) can be made use of.
 There is a need improve and galvanize the existing Jirga System progressively; which provides speedy justice in accordance with the religious and traditional values.
 The government must form a media policy in accordance with the national objectives instead of the vested objectives. International Media both electronic and print must be used to highlight the true fact. The involvement of International Media will compel the nation media to project the truth.
 The Pakistani electronic media needs to act positively by highlighting the true facets based on the research and not just projecting whatever is being told by a few individuals sitting in Islamabad.
 CARs may be encouraged to participate in the development of this port by offering them joint ventures in the exploitation of our Exclusive Economic Zone. The government is already doing the needful in this regard but efforts should be made to neutralize the Iranian or Turkish moves in this regard.
 In order to effectively guard the SLOCs responsible for our ninety percent of Pakistan‟s sea trade it must have a modern navy having commensurate strength to power ratio with India. This will not only give security to its EEZ but also Gwadar Port itself.
 Future prospects of Gwadar Port are directly related with stability in Afghanistan. All the road links from CARs and Gwadar have to pass through Afghanistan, therefore till the time there is peace in the country and writ of the government is established, no worthwhile economic activity can be generated. Pakistan although is doing much, yet more efforts is required to be made in collaboration with international community by exerting their influence to bring peace and stability in the region. Islamabad is keen to establish trust and cooperation with Kabul, however, confidence of Pakhtoon belt has to be restored. Involving Pashtoons is the only way that benefits of Gwadar Port can be shared by both Pakistan and Afghanistan as envisaged by the policy makers.
 Instead of getting into rivalry or competition, government should work in tandem with other neighbouring ports especially, Chahbahar and Dubai. It should give them a feeling that they will be helped in facilitating the world trade through Gwadar Port, and it will not affect their business. Visits, conferences and seminars will help in this regard.
 The U.S definitely is seeing this project with a lot of apprehensions, as they see it as China‟s effort to elicit influence in the Arabian Sea. Efforts need to be made in order to make sure that at least if one does not get U.S support for the project, one should ensure they do not oppose it.
 Growing Indian influence in Iran will provide substantial leverage to India to exploit Pakistan‟s internal security and economic interests. Pakistan should forge better relations with Iran not just on the basis of Muslim brotherhood but also keeping in mind drastically changing geo-economic and geo-political needs of Iran. Pakistan should also try and assure Iran that Gwadar Port is not being developed as a counter weight of Iranian Chahbahar Port.
 Pakistan should involve Beijing as much as it can because anchoring Beijing in Gwadar would enhance the prospects of its success. Nonetheless, too much reliance on China or for that matter any other country may not be in Pakistan‟s interest. While involving the Chinese navy into the area may be sensible in the shortterm, but there is obvious need for Pakistan to develop its own naval strength. Similarly, in terms of the upkeep of the port and trade facilities and the rest of the operation, there is a need to bring in more than one country on board.
 Pakistan should exploit the present U.S interest in the region by providing them the facilities at the Gwadar port for the safe transportation of oil, trans-shipment and storage facilities until its naval segments is improved to counter Indian navy.
 God has indeed gifted Balochistan with one of the finest natural features ranging including rugged mountains, vast deserts, high plateaus and the deep sea with beautiful coastline. With a pragmatic patronage it can become a regional tourism centre as well as an international centre for water sports and other related events.
 Although, Gwadar is comparatively free from the tribal influence, yet people of the area have two major concerns. First, the influx of population from rest of the country may turn them in minority. Second, the local Balochi Population lacks in education and other skills and as such they have a fear that major share of economic opportunities may be grabbed by the people from other parts of the country. Some elements with vested interests are out to blow the issue out of proportions. There is an immediate need to win the confidence of the local population by giving them examples of Dubai and Sharjah or even for that matter of the Europe and U.S.
 National Highways Authority has planned construction of Gwadar – Ratodero and Gwadar – Turbat – Panjgur – Chaman highways. In addition, linking of railway lines between Gwadar and Quetta extending up to Chaman and Taftan and further Havelian to Khunjerab are still in embryonic stage in and linking Balochistan. Progress on these projects is slow which needs to be expedited for timely access to Afghanistan, CARs and China.
 Electronic and print media are playing their important role of making positive opinion of the people towards the state and its intentions to ensure development and prosperity of Balochistan. However, coordinated efforts are required to gear up the campaign. It can also publicise the examples of prosperity of individuals or community as a result of government projects through dedicated television programmes. Continuous effective tenure of present government will improve the image of Pakistan at the international level for being moderate, progressive and investment friendly country. Gwadar being a mega project require to be highlighted at every level using international channels like BBC, CNN, Discovery and National Geographic etc. Taking advantage of Pakistan‟s present role against terrorism, the aspect of maritime security and presence of Pakistan Naval Force at the Gateway to Persian Gulf may be highlighted through documentaries. An effort should be made through media and diplomatic channels to assure CARs that Gwadar is the only secure port for them to reach to the warm waters.
 Bureaucratic snags have been involved in development process of this most backward province. There is a need to revamp the existing administrative system to let the process of economic development continue in a sustainable pattern. At present, the province of Balochistan has no say in bureaucratic circles in Islamabad. Government must ensure due representation of the province and increase job quota from 3.5 to 5.5 percent in central superior services for next decade.
 Poverty is the mother of all weaknesses that can be easily exploited by external and internal anti state elements. Introduction of poverty reduction programmes in the shape of encouragement to small scale industries, loans for small and medium size businesses, technical skill training, professional and technical consultancy, assistance in agricultural techniques etc will improve the lives of poor Balochies and reduce the chances of their exploitation by nefarious elements.
 The existing industries along the coastline revolve around fishing and ice manufacturing. A lot of business linked industries are possible to establish which offer sizeable profits for the investors in Gwadar like:
o Fish, prawn, crab and shrimp processing and farming plants.
o Cold storages facilities and Ice factories.
o Seawater Desalination Plants.
o Marine and automobile repair workshops.
o Hotels, Restaurants and Resorts.
o Boat building and naval architecture institute.
 The local population of Balochistan province, which was initially very enthusiastic about the project, is now voicing their concerns over the project. On January 21, 2006, a bomb blast at Gwadar, directed against the Chinese engineers is also considered part of the same malicious agenda. If the local population is not supportive of the project it will certainly disturb the economic growth and the security conditions in the area, which is not a good omen. Some of the main concerns yielding for special attention which can be exploited by regional and extra regional key players are:
o Balochies are being made to think that the project is another attempt to grab the mineral and natural resources of Balochistan province after the Sui Gas Project.
o The Baloch Nationalists believe that the USA would use the project for military purposes.
o Balochies Politicians with the Indian assistance are projecting that the Government is planning to settle 30,000 people from the other provinces with a view to enhance the projected and politically motivated sense of deprivation.
o The contractors have been hired from Karachi and Islamabad, so they are bringing employees and labour force from the same areas and are not employing the local populace.
 Pakistan is considered as the back bone of Islamic world due to its military potency, missile programme and nuclear capability. Pakistan must endeavour to adopt a leading role within the Islamic world so as to bring all the Muslims on one platform.  From this medium, the impression of so called “terrorism” clung to the Islamic World in general and Pakistan in particular, must be shunned. An effort should be made to bring the Muslim Ummah in cooperation and coordination with Europe, U.S, Russia and China.

VI. Conclusion:
The Balochistan is one of the very important parts of Pakistan and Balochies have always proved to more loyal than any one. Presently due to Gwadar Port, abundance of mineral resources and route Caspian Rejoin Balochistan has become valuable for all the regional and extras regional powers. Every country is trying to share maximum out of and is ready to do anything to serve its interests.  A few Pakistani politicians are siding along the powers to suit their wellbeing. Projected uprising are clearly indicate that a few regional countries are doing their best to work for the independence of Balochistan with an aim to de-stablise Pakistan. It is prudent for the government to understand the international inspirations and act timely and wisely. Considering the America‟s virtual control of Afghanistan, the Indo-US nexus, the Chinese presence in Gwadar, unrest in Balochistan, emerging role of SCO as Eastern NATO, trans-regional gas pipeline project and big powers‟ quest for energy security are all developments indicative of a new „Great Game‟ in the offing it will be imperative for Pakistan to adopt a four pronged strategy.
Firstly; Pakistan Government must improve its own house in order by motivating and improving the quality of life of not more than 5 million Balochies out of 170 million Pakistanis in an early time frame. Secondly; strictly dealing with dozen of sham politicians and sardars who working against Pakistan by joining hands with its enemies. Thirdly; ensuring that electronic and print media only highlight the true and research based information and do not act over a mere hear say. Lastly; Pakistan should adopt a pragmatic and a deliberate policy by improving its relations with China and India to reduce the U.S pressure that is unlikely to welcome the mere possibility of Chinese naval presence at the critical choke point of Persian Gulf.  Pakistan should therefore expect long-term and determined resistance from both U.S and India in the event of allowing China‟s naval power to use Gwadar in Balochistan.
Balochies and Balochistan are the most significant part of Pakistan and without these Pakistan is in complete. It is not only the responsibility of the government to ease the situation but as part of the nation and society each Pakistani is responsible to understand the real issues of Balochies and accommodate them and sacrifice their share for the social development of quarantined Balochies. However government must do its best through diplomatic level and world powers must play their role to stop the Strategic Carnage of Balochistan.

[1] on 30 Oct 2011).
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[5] Chas.E. Yate, Colonel and Mir Muhmud Khan, the gazetteer of Balochistan (Quetta: Gosha-e-Adab Printers,1906, 1st Published, 2nd Edition 1986) 23.
[6] Chas.E. Yate, Colonel and Mir Muhmud Khan, the gazetteer of Balochistan (Quetta: Gosha-e-Adab Printers, 1906, 1st Published, 2nd Edition 1986) 201.
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[8]  Yaser Hasan, Strategic Significance of Gwadar Deep Sea Port; Regional and Extra Regional Dimensions, University of Karachi, Karachi, Ph.D., 2011. (43).
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[10] Christine Fair, “Analysts say India Fanning unrest in Balochistan”Daily Times (Islamabad) Aug 18, 2011
[11] Christine Fair, “Analysts say India Fanning unrest in Balochistan”Daily Times (Islamabad) Aug 18, 2011
[12] Sumit Ganguly, “Analysts say India Fanning unrest in Balochistan”Daily Times (Islamabad) Aug 18, 2011
[13] Woodward Bob, Obama’s War (New York: Simon & Schuter, 2010) 8. [14] Bhonsle, Rahul K, the India security scope 2006: the new great game (New Delhi: India Gyan Publishing House, 2006) 123.
[15] Nixon Richard, seize the moment (New York , United States of America.:  Simon and Schuster, 1992) 63.
[16] Yeuh, Yun Leo Liu, China as a nuclear power in world politics. (London, United Kingdom: Macmillan Press Limited, 1972) 40.
[17] Khalid, Muhammad Mumtaz, history of Karakoram Highway, volumeII (Pakistan, Rawalpindi: Hamza Pervez Printers, 2009) 8.
[18] Khaleeq Kiani, “ Gwadar port to be transferred to Chinese firm; Cabinet ratifies Iran pipeline agreement   ”Daily Dawn (Lahore) Jan 3 1, 2013
[19] Rajeev Sharma, “Will China‟s takeover of Pak‟s Gwadar port be a game changer? “ FIRSTPOST INDIA (India) Feb 4, 2013
[18] Blank, Stephen J, Central Asian Security Trends Views From Europe and Russia (U.S.A: Carlisle, PA, Strategic Studies Institute, U.S Army War College, 2009) 2.
[19] Matinuddin Kamal, power struggle in Hindu Kush, Afghanistan (Pakistan, Lahore: WAJIDALIS PVT LTD, 1991) 308.
[20] Ghaus, Abdual Samad. The fall of Afghanistan, an insider’s account (Washington, U.S.A: Pergamon-Brassey‟s International Defense Publishers) 152.
[21] India keen to develop Iran‟s Chahbahar Port, “ (accessed on 30 Oct 2011).

Dr. Hasan Yaser Malik holds Masters Degrees in Warfare Studies, International Relations and Special Education; and has done Ph.D. in International Relations. He is also a Chartered Member of Institute of Logistics & Transportation, U.K. He has contributed in many eminent journals and has interest in Research, Flying and Deep Sea Diving.
Courtesy: IOSR Journal Of Humanities And Social Science (IOSR-JHSS) Volume 8, Issue 4 (Mar. – Apr. 2013), PP 68-77 e-ISSN: 2279-0837, p-ISSN: 2279-0845. http://www.Iosrjournals.Org

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Posted by on December 13, 2015 in Research Papers on Political Issues


Balochistan: A Key Factor in Global Politics

Prof. Dr. Umbreen Javaid
Director, Centre for South Asian Studies,
Chairperson, Department of Political Science,
University of the Punjab,
Lahore, Pakistan

Javeria Jahangir
PhD Scholar
Centre for South Asian Studies,
University of the Punjab,
Lahore, Pakistan

Balochistan is a land which has always been visited by different nations throughout the history. Despite of many phases of obscurity, this marvelous land never lost its geo political and geo-strategic importance. Being located close to Middle East, Central Asia, South Asia and Indian Ocean, Balochistan has always been serving as a passage for foreign historian, politicians and armies. The geographical location of Balochistan makes it a sensitive region not only for Pakistan but also plays the key role in determining the significance of this region on international level by developing historic interest of the global powers. Being the best possible marine passage in the Indian Ocean of the Eastern, Central, and Western divisions of Asia, Balochistan has attained highly significant position among international powers by developing great atmosphere of competition for securing and dominating its sea paths which are now essential for the enormous world trade and energy shipment. Unique and outstanding physical geography of Balochistan is taking on increased importance in regional political affairs.

Geopolitical Map Of Balochistan

Vast fields of natural gas reserves and other valuable minerals have become the centre for attraction and interest of foreign investors and developers which would provide an ideal profitable aim for global powers. The objectives of foreign states are to become economically more powerful to get global hegemony by controlling the major portion of world’s energy resources. so it is the biggest requirement of time to spread their influence over world energy resources, energy transit corridors, major land and maritime trade links and for this purpose, Balochistan has especially become the focus of global geopolitical exploitation.

Key Words:   Balochistan, Global Politics, Energy Resources, Super Powers, Geo Political Manipulation, Economic Interests.

The current land of Balochistan is divided into three parts, Northern Balochistan, Western Balochistan and Eastern Balochistan which are spread between three countries that are Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan by a differentiating border called Goldsmith Line. It was drawn by British General Goldsmith in 1870-1872. Balochistan became a part of Pakistan on August 14, 1947 and got the status of province in 1972. The location of Balochistan which connects Iranian Plateau with South East Asia and the Central Asian States to its long coastal line on the Arabian Sea provides it with a great significance in the terms of geography.
Balochistan is the largest province of Pakistan in size but smallest in population. The Province covers 34.7 million hectares, almost 44 percent of the country’s land area. According to 1998 Census, its population is about 6, 511,000.  Balochistan geographically is bounded by 60 52′ east longitudes to 24 54′ north latitude and 70 17’ east longitudes to 32 6’ north latitude. (Census Report Balochistan, 2001:58)
Balochistan is a mountainous desert area. It borders Iran, Afghanistan and its Southern Boundary is the Arabian Sea with strategically important port of Gwadar on the Makran Coast, commanding approach to the Strait of Hormuz. Balochistan shares 900 kilometer long border with Iran and 1,002 kilometer long border with Afghanistan (Sial and Basit, 2010:5). Historically, its western region was the southern part of Sistan o Baluchestan province in Iran. Eastern part was Pakistani Balochistan and in the northwest, the Helmand province of Afghanistan existed. The Gulf of Oman formed its southern border.  It has common borders with all the other three provinces in Pakistan, North West Frontier Province (NWFP) through Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA) in the north, Punjab in the extreme north east and Sindh in east.
The land of Balochistan has always been visited by different conquerors, travelers, settlers and traders throughout the history. Although Balochistan has witnessed many periods of obscurity, but this marvelous land never lost its geostrategic importance. Much importance lies in the fact that it is close to Middle East, Central Asia, South Asia and Indian Ocean. This region has been a passage for historian, politicians and large foreign armies like Persian, Greek, Arab, Mongol, Ghaznavids, Ghoris, Mughals and British has given Balochistan an added importance. (Imperial Gazetteer of India, 1908:274)
The geographical location of Balochistan, which makes it a sensitive region of Pakistan, plays the key role in determining the significance of this region both.  Any politico-military development in Afghanistan, Iran and the Gulf Region directly affects the security of Balochistan. (Khan. 1997:2) strategically, it is located in the Warm Water Belt, which has always been a region of historic interest for the super-powers.
Balochistan is located at the possible marine passage in the Indian Ocean of the Eastern, Central, and Western divisions of Asia and the Indian Ocean has already attained high significance in international powers by developing great competition for securing and dominating its sea paths which are now fundamental for the enormous world trade and energy shipment. Due to its location in the middle of the Central, Western Southern and South-western Asia, it is directly affected by global geo-politics. With the extreme proximity to the oil lanes of the Persian Gulf and a common border with Iran and Afghanistan, Balochistan covers almost the whole coast of Pakistan of about 470 miles of the Arabian Sea with a high value sea port, completed with Chinese support at Gwadar Balochistan. (Mazhar, Javaid and Goraya, 2012:117)  The region of Balochistan has got a special importance as a military route because it has proven to be at an important position for the quick and abrupt increase of influence and becoming more unbeaten deployment and supplying to the Central Asia, South Asia, Middle East, China and Russia. Stations of air force and navy at Gwadar are also useful for a keen observation on any military activity and foreign control over important international choke point in the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz, and the shipping trade through the Indian Ocean. (Ismail, 2014:184).
Because of a unique and outstanding physical geography and with the discovery of vast fields of natural gas reserves and other valuable minerals, Balochistan is taking on increased importance in regional affairs and is attracting interest of foreign investors and developers. The government of Pakistan have planned and launched many important projects for economic development in Balochistan with the support and cooperation of national and international actors. These mega projects are meant to facilitate the transportation of goods and services throughout the region more efficiently and rapidly. In addition, the overall environment of Balochistan makes it a major site for the development of roads, railroads and pipelines to connect the Middle East, Central Asian and South Asian regions, in addition, the construction of a deep-water port at Gwadar has the prospective of bringing globalization to the region.
Present Balochistan is also a territory of international strategic importance due to the political problem within Balochistan where the Baloch people are struggling for autonomy, better governance, and perhaps even independence from Pakistan. There are great impacts of this struggle on the security of not only Balochistan but also of surrounding regions. The current Baloch insurgency has high lightened the geo strategic significance of this region to the regional and international players and Balochistan has got the status of a common denominator to them. ‘In fact no policy of any of the countries competing for power in the region could be called comprehensive and practical unless it considers Balochistan in its defense plans. The conflicting interest of the Great Powers in the region-ranging from peripheral to central, converge in Balochistan, in a way that they subject to political pressures of varying degrees at various points of time and space”(Ahmad, 1992: 148)

Political and Economic Interests of Foreign Nations in Balochistan
Balochistan has always been influential on local, national, and international politics. As Balochistan borders two very significant strategic countries Afghanistan and Iran, and having majority of Baloch residents in Afghan and Iranian areas, any type of unrest or violent insurgency in Pakistani Balochistan would disturb regional instability affecting the neighboring countries and consequently become a regional dispute. Baloch insurgency may create large problems in Iran and Afghanistan due to the strong demand for greater Balochistan which includes Baloch areas of Iran and Afghanistan. (Javaid, 2010:116). Being located in the middle of the Central, Western Southern and South-western Asia, Balochistan is always under the effects of global geo-politics. The maritime significance and potential of port Gwadar to connect the landlocked, Afghanistan and the Central Asian states to the Indian Ocean as an international trade route and an energy transit corridor, and mineral resources have heightened geo-political competition among global powers, in the Eurasian region Balochistan provides an ideal profitable aim for global powers.. Plenty of energy resources, trade routes and maritime choke points,  Balochistan has attained not only its national interest but can be more important than on international level too. This unique and valuable situation provides golden opportunity to the global powers to instigate their regional play. The world is increasingly moving towards multi-polarity and economic and military powers are growing in the Asian regions. United States has been at a powerful position exclusively since the disintegration of the Soviet Union. The objectives of Asian states like China and India are to become economically more powerful to get global hegemony by controlling the major portion of world’s energy resources.
Demand for energy supply of China, India, and other Asian countries is quickly increasing, so it is the biggest requirement of time to spread their influence over world energy resources, energy transit corridors, major land and maritime trade links. For this purpose, Balochistan has become the focus of global geopolitical manipulation in this region. The resettlement of borders in the name of Greater Balochistan would definitely affect the economic development of China, Iran, India and Pakistan. United States have many times highlighted the geostrategic and geo-political significance of Balochistan and they have presented and supported the idea of free Balochistan which could serve best to secure US geopolitical and geo strategic benefits.
In order to counter Iran, the land of Balochistan is of much importance for America. The natural resources of China and oil of the Arab world are going to eliminate in coming 30 to 40 years (Mazhar, et al.  2012: 120) and then the US will have to rely upon Central Asia, Iran and Afghanistan; and for this purpose, US would have to cross Balochistan and its Coast, due to the interference of China in Balochistan, it would not be possible for US to attain an influential position. America would not be able to extend its economic hegemony for a long time, it will be substituted by China which is going to be influential over Gwadar Port and coastal line of Balochistan. That is the main reason behind US displeasure with the construction of Gwadar Port in collaboration with China.
When the Taliban administration ended in Kabul and rebellious groups of Taliban crossed the Pak-Afghan border to enter into Balochistan and organized revolutionary struggle against the aliened forces in Afghanistan. Moreover, the re emergence of the Baloch nationalist insurgency also complicated the internal situation of Pakistan’s security; Balochistan obtained a new geo-strategic significance and became focus of US as a Trans border energy route.
The Baloch insurgency was recharged with the development of Gwadar sea port and their demand to share the benefits of Gwadar Project attracted strong US interest in Balochistan because it has the capacity to convert Balochistan in a main corridor of energy transportation from Central Asia and Iran to other parts of the region in minimum time. The US has to maintain a crucial and essential role in the new great game of resource development in Balochistan and in other parts of Asia.  Therefore, all the three prominent factors; the Taliban militancy, Baloch insurgency and future significance of Balochistan as an energy transit route, played a very strong role in attaining and developing serious attention of US to Balochistan. (Aazar, 2010:164) Prior to that, Balochistan due to its defensive proximity with Afghanistan had a significant hand in the early triumph of US war on terror post 9/11.  Pakistan provided US the access to airspace and airfields in Balochistan for US aerial bombing on Kabul to destroy the Taliban regime and their network in Afghanistan. (Aazar, 2010:165) Balochistan has been playing a central role in the geo strategic development of South and West Asia long before the US war on terror post 9/11 but during war, Balochistan’s territorial proximity to Afghanistan was a great strategic advantage which was fully exploited by US forces.
American involvement in Balochistan is somehow blamed for supporting Baloch insurgents in order to deal with the Chinese influence in Balochistan. It is believed that CIA agents in Afghanistan provide financial support to the Baloch insurgents. (Bansal, 2008, pp.182–200) it is discovered that the US spy agency CIA is involved in recruitment of local agents in Balochistan to locate the members of Quetta based Taliban Shura. The Quetta Shura is a term used by the Americans for the Mullah Omar-led Taliban commanders. (Waheed,  2011, Apr.27) The incident of the arrest of a CIA Spy Raymond Davis in a murder case of two Pakistani in January 2011 increased the tension in Pakistan-US relationship and also exposed the CIA immoral activities in Balochistan. Above all, CIA’s activities in Balochistan are clear sign of US growing interest in this region. In fact, Creation of “Greater Balochistan” is the top most agenda of US, India and Israel cooperation. (Hassan, 2011, May.04) Apparently, US propagate her concerns for the stabilization of Pakistan, but at the same time, she does have a deep interest in delaying projects that would enable China to be strategically present in this region and establish herself as an emerging economic power particularly at the Port of Gwadar. Americans are also interested in increasing their influence in Gwadar and other parts of Balochistan. Therefore, the any harm caused to China-Pakistan joint venture of development of Gwadar port is one of the main US interest in Balochistan. Thus, any type of violence in Balochistan protects US interests in the region because it is helpful in delaying the development projects between China and Pakistan.
The basic objective is to control the increasing Chinese existence in Balochistan. China is an economic rival to US and its presence in Balochistan is not beneficial for the strategic and economic future of US. The Gwadar port can serve as the marine base for Chinese forces which is a matter of great anxiety for US. The Indian Ocean, near the Strait of Hormuz, a route for the export of oil from the Gulf States, will definitely come under the observation and influence of China will create serious problems for US in maintaining its monopoly in the region. The divergence of interests of various powers is also worsening the situation in Balochistan. Under the unstable and insecure circumstances in Balochistan, China will not move forward to provide any further technical or financial assistance to Pakistan for the development and progress of any economic project. (Mazari, 2005, Feb.2)
The clear objectives of US are to deteriorate Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan to establish a strong hold in Central Asian Region and harming Chinese economic interests in African and Middle East through creating obstacles in the Gwadar project. This can be possible only by supporting Balochistan Nationalist Movement to disturb the situation and creating unfavorable environment for any economic investment by China. ‘’CIA supported elements are using America, United Kingdom, India and Afghanistan as their platforms for organizing, planning and operational bases for execution of the plan of Independent Balochistan. Moreover, some militarily supported political lobbies of America and UK are facilitating anti Pakistan elements to carryout nefarious activities against Pakistan’’. (Hassan, 2011, May.04) US interests are also intended to counter Iran, The United Sates is not happy with the expansion of Chinese energy and military assets, particularly so close to Iran and the Gulf region. An instable Balochistan is far more preferable to US than a stable and economically flourishing Balochistan. Any disturbance in Balochistan reduces the possibility of development of the IranPakistan oil pipeline. The US has openly shown her discomfort with the proposed pipeline project. (Bansal, 2008:182).
The US is not only interested in Balochistan, but also has strong concerns about the massive resources of Central Asian States and Balochistan is the most convenient available path to these resources. US is much anxious to get control over the whole region for their future security plans and eliminate the influence of their only rival and competitor China. US interest in Balochistan highlights two long term objectives, firstly,  US has to create a secure and reliable route to all the energy resources of Central Asia to USA, and secondly  to contain China. Balochistan provides the shortest passage between the Indian Ocean and Central Asia outside of the Gulf. Therefore any unrest in Balochistan directly affects and effectively discourages Trans-Afghan pipeline project that is planned for transferring Central Asian resources to South Asia as the control of economically strong and established states of South Asia over this region will not allow US to flourish economic hegemony.
US and Russia have always focused their interest on Balochistan to exploit the land as a tool to make Pakistan a weaker state.  Russia has encouraged the “Secessionist Movement of Sindhu Desh, Pakhtonistan or (Independent) or Greater Balochistan” (Najmuddin, 1984: 60). With the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in 1979, it was predicted that the Soviet would try to take possession of deep-sea-water port on the Indian Ocean, and the Baloch insurgents and their rebellious activities would be significantly helpful to Soviet attempt. (Harrison, 1981:173)
Having controlled Afghanistan, Russia tried hard to convince the Baloch to revolt against central government of Pakistan and the Baloch insurgents were assured by Russia that they would be given autonomy over Balochistan after the Soviet completely conquers Afghanistan. (Ismail, 2014:184) The Russian strategy was to establish full control in Kabul as their base and to raise the issues of Pakhtunistan and Greater Balochistan from the land of Kabul, and try to separate and disconnect Balochistan from Pakistan and to either merge it with Afghanistan or to create a new independent country that should be under full control of Moscow. “Whether Russian loose their interest in Afghanistan, yet in Balochistan and Indian Ocean its interest would not die down” (Ahmad, 1992: 253).
Russia also needs a suitable corridor to the warm waters of the Indian Oceans. Like USA, Russia also wants to preserve its monopoly over all the energy resources of Central Asia. At present all the Central Asian States (CAS) are entirely dependent on Russia for export of their energy projects. Soviet Interests in Balochistan have various aspects which are not much different than that of US. Russia wants to control the Gulf oil, which constitute almost 60 percent of world’s known reserves. Any trouble in Balochistan gives Russia a hope to discourage Trans-Afhgan pipeline or any other similar projects.
A Russian influenced Balochistan would bring the natural resources of the Indian Ocean and Antarctica under direct control and pressure of Russia. Fish catch from Indian Ocean and particularly from Arabian Sea, which constitutes almost 1/3rd of total fish catch, will be transported to Central Asia Republics over lands, without any trouble, in less time, thus will be more economical. (Ahmad,1992: 256) Balochistan will provide Russia the shortest route to the world’s largest untapped mineral resources which are located at Antarctica. (Mazhar et al. 2012:119). All these future probabilities which can provide economical stability to Russia are related to Balochistan.
Balochistan is the only Province of Pakistan which shares direct border with Iran. The geographical location of Balochistan plays a very significant role in shaping the relations between Pakistan and Iran in the socio-cultural and economic perspectives. Balochistan is the only factor which can directly influence Pak-Iran relations both negatively and positively.  Unfortunately, there are certain disappointing and inadequate factors which are creating confusions, doubts and stress and making Balochistan a weakening factor in Pak-Iran relations. Balochistan plays a key role in Pak-Iran economic and social integration. The close relation between the people of both countries on the basis of many religious and cultural similarities significantly increases the economic, cultural and social communication between the people of Iran and Pakistan. Infrastructure projects of roads and railways networks can make possible easy trade within the region and cross border. The proposed venture of oil refinery in Hub will do a lot for the promotion and betterment of economic cooperation between Pakistan and Iran,
which has been going through a tensed situation in the past few years because of political misunderstanding over Afghanistan issue.  (Khan, 2012:137)
The project will provide an economic momentum to this least developed province Balochistan and will help to meet the increasing demand of high speed diesel. It will also make possible the exploration of oil and gas in Baloch region. The construction of gas pipeline between Iran-Pakistan is the most positive aspect of economic relationship. The proposed gas pipeline project would bring economic and political profit to both the countries equally.
The ongoing insurgency in Balochistan has badly affected the friendly relations of the two countries as the Iranian government blame Pakistan’s involvement in the Balochistan based Jandullah Organization which is a group of Baloch nationalist militants which is also creating political disturbances in Iranian areas with the active support and cooperation of USA. (Khan, 2012:137)  Moreover, the growing competition between the Pakistani sea port at Gwadar and the Iranian Port Chabahar, and strong rivalry between India, China and Pakistan to increase their influence in Central Asia through these ports, have already disturbed economic and political relations of Iran and Pakistan.
Chabahar seaport is situated at about 70 kilometer distance from Pakistani seaport of Gwadar, developed with Chinese assistance. Both these ports are great competitors as both are constructed with the same objectives in a same region. The difference between the two lies in the fact that Gwadar port is facing many issues like the bad security situation in Balochistan and lack of proper infrastructure of connecting links to main highways. The project is not making progress due to slow and process of development. While there is no such situation at Chabahar which is being developed rapidly and also has gained attention and interest of China successfully. Not only China but also Iran, Afghanistan and India are equally emphasizing at Chabahar Port ahead of Gwadar as regional trade and commerce center.
The Chabahar seaport is located outside the Strait of Hormuz, in Iran‘s Free Economic and Industrial Zone. This port is away from the passage of heavy seatraffic in the Persian Gulf waters and provides more easy entrance to ships besides connecting it to Afghanistan and Central Asia. A road and rail communication system is also being constructed between Chabahar and Herat to connect with Central Asian States. India is seriously interested in the development of this seaport just to avoid Pakistani route to Iran, Afghanistan and Central Asian States. (Hussain, 2015:146)
Chabahar is somehow is an Indian financed Port and a part of the Indian plan to develop another mean of transportation in eastern Iran to counter and reduce the emerging influence of Pakistani port of Gwadar. India intends to connect Chabahar port with Central Asian countries through roads and railway to avoid Pakistan, and to reduce the dependency of Central Asian countries on the port of Gwadar.  (Khan, 2012:135)  As Gwadar port is expected to improve not only Pakistan’s but also Chinese influence in Central Asia and beyond. Gwadar can be a potential trade route for the landlocked Central Asian States and this new trade route would have tremendous economic impetus to Pakistan in the form of new and great investments as the CARs will rely upon Pakistan for their trade and commerce.
Chabahar is providing India with an easy access to Afghanistan through the Indian Ocean. An agreement between India, Iran and Afghanistan has been signed according to that, Central Asia and Afghanistan are bound to give special preference and tariff reduction to Indian trade goods. (Khan, 2012:135) Therefore, Gwadar port is a threatening factor to Indian trade through Indian Ocean. Being so close to the Straits of Hormuz, Gwadar would create negative impact on India’s commercial interest by enabling Pakistan to implement vast control over entire energy routes. Gwadar will also enable China to observe and examine Indian naval activity in the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea and any future maritime cooperation between India and Iran will be easily monitored by China. Similarly, Iran has clear apprehensions about the use of Gwadar port by the United States as a base to monitor activities inside Iran. (Asia Times, 2005,April.29).
India also is trying to secure energy routes to counter the growing Chinese influence in the Arabian Sea, Persian Gulf, and the Indian Ocean. So India chose Iran as her economic and strategic ally. India has spent huge amount on the construction and development of Iranian Port of Chahbahar. Iran is already working on Chahbahar port in sistan Baluchistan, which will facilitate Indian trade activities to Afghanistan and Central Asia through roads and rail links. The Chinese involvement in Pakistani Gwadar and Indian influence on Iranian Chahbahar has resulted not only in economic competition and strategic rivalry between India, Pakistan and China but also has increased risk of controversy for the economic and natural resources of Central Asia.
The growing competition between China and India has an unfavorable impact on the Pak-Iran relations. Gwadar and Chahbahar are the main causes of geostrategic and economic competition. China is largely alarmed by the growing Indian growth in the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea. Moreover, the progress and warmth in Indo-US relations since the conclusion of US-India civilian nuclear cooperation and mutual aid between India and Iran in Afghanistan and Central Asia became a matter of serious concern for China’s long-standing strategic and economic objectives in the region. (Khan, 2013: 79-80)
India is establishing good relations with Pakistani neighbors; Iran and Afghanistan just to contain Pakistan and to counterbalance Chinese emerging power, because China is the only power which is quite capable of competing and suppress Indian hegemony and supremacy in the region. As Indian navy is greater than that of Pakistan, therefore to surpass India, Pakistan needs Chinese support and cooperation in the Port of Gwadar which is in the best welfare of both China and Pakistan. Through the Gwadar, China can keep a strict watch on Indian approach and emergence in the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Sea, and Persian Gulf. (Khan, 2013: 79-80).
So far as Afghanistan is concerned, she has historically been remained a dispute between major powers. Mostly, Afghanistan remains in state of war and process of nation building, so there is no functional type of economy in Afghanistan and mostly depends on limited agriculture which is not meeting the basic food requirements of Afghans and they have to depend upon foreign donated food for survival.  (Shah, 2007:65) The Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-Iran (TAPI) pipeline project is a big hope to help restore the Afghan economy as the project could bring in over 300 million dollars royalty to the country and other foreign investments in the project may do a lot to stabilize and revive Afghan economy with the renovation of other infrastructure. Afghan transit trade was earlier handled through the Karachi port, but now the Gwadar port will serve this purpose well. Afghanistan has admitted the significance of Gwadar as a gateway to wealth for Afghanistan and also has offered support for the development of the Gwadar port.  (The Dawn, 2003, Aug.5)

Global Political Players and Current Baloch Insurgency
There has always been a belief among government of Pakistan that an outside hand is playing a role in the Baloch insurgency. Pakistan has always been claiming that the Baloch insurgents possess highly refined artillery and modern military training which may be a clear sign of the possibility of foreign support and intervention in the province. (The News, February 2, 2005.). A major example took place in 1973, during Bhutto regime; when Pakistan government found an ammunition store at Iraqi embassy in Islamabad.  Weapons including about three hundred submachine guns and forty eight thousand 48,000 rounds of ammunition were located by Pakistanis officials.  Akbar Bugti was the only Baloch Sardar at that time that fully supported central government in dismissal of NAP government in Balochistan and got the designation of Governor of Balochistan as a reward. ( 13 April, 2015) He is the one who supervised the worst military operation against the Baloch insurgents during 1973-77 revolt. The government claimed that the Iraqi weapons were being sent to help out the Baloch insurgents.
India developed interest in Afghanistan in the mid-1970s in the postBangladesh era and simultaneously, India started its efforts to put Balochistan in the same condition through encouraging an insurgency in Balochistan. For this purpose, India exploited the enmity between the state and the rebellious Baloch Sardars. The aims of India were to keep away Pakistan from the energy resources to turn Pakistan into an economically weak state. This kind of economic and political instability would damage the strength of Pakistan to survive as an independent state.
The Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) occurred during the era of 1970s as the most active insurgent group with a strong leaning towards Soviet Union. It is believed that BLA received arms from the Soviet Union found many insurgents were secretly trained and educated there. The Baloch leaders have openly listed India among their sponsors. Grand son of Akbar Bugti, and a BLA leader, Brahamdagh Bugti, had accepted assistance from India and Afghanistan to defend the Baloch nationalist cause. ( accessed on 14 April, 2015) “We love our Indian friends and want them to help and rescue us from tyranny and oppression. In fact, India is the only country which has shown concern over the Baloch plight. We want India to take Balochistan’s issue to every international forum, the same way Pakistan has done to raise the so-called Kashmiri issue. We want India to openly support our just cause and provide us with all moral, financial, military and diplomatic support.” ( balochistan.html 14 April, 2015
The selection of targets and use of modern weapons clearly shows the fact that the Baloch rebels have been trained by military experts. These large scaled insurgencies cannot last without large funding as the insurgents cannot rise on their own. According to an estimate the financial expenditure of BLA alone is about 50-90 million rupees per month. Supposedly, considerable cash is flowing into their hands from Afghanistan through US. ( 14 April, 2015).
It is said that US has been encouraging Baloch separatist movements for a long time through the help of India. United States had been encouraging India to strengthen its spy network in Afghanistan by helping it open consulates along the Afghan border with Pakistan. These Indian consulates were used as bases of Indian intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and the Baloch rebels are receiving financial and other assistance through these Indian centers. In 2004, the chief minister of Balochistan Jam Muhammad Yusuf openly declared that the Indian secret services were maintaining forty terrorist camps all over Baloch territory. (The News, February 2, 2005). The Pakistani officials have been continuously referring to Indian involvement but they also have expressed their doubt about Iranian and even US involvement.
India has established nine training camps along the Afghan border to provide military training to the members of the Baloch Liberation Army. India and the UAE are also alleged for providing armed and economic assistance to Baloch rebels. The aim is to create hurdles in the construction of the Gwadar port. Russian government has been directly involved in supporting the Baloch insurgents. Former president Pervez Musharraf had also raised the point with US officials in September 2007 and he asked the US to get involved on issue of attempt from Afghanistan and India to destabilize Balochistan. General Musharraf stated that ‘’Pakistan had proof that India and Afghanistan were involved in efforts to provide weapons, training and funding for Baloch extremists through Brahamdagh Bugti and Baloch Marri, two Baloch nationalists, who were living in Kabul.” (The Express Tribune, 2012, Dec 3) The former Governor of Balochistan, Owais Ahmed Ghani stated “India is not only helping annoyed people with weapons, but is training them as well, India is financing the insurgency and Afghan warlords and drug barons of arming the militants’’ ( 9041535146 on 16 April, 2015).
Afghanistan has also played role in supporting Baloch separatist movements. It is believed that during the first three insurgencies, the Baloch militant insurgents were provided with political and logistic support by Afghanistan. The first insurgency in 1948 led by Abdul Karim, was initiated during his stay in Afghanistan. (Harrison, 1981:26) and he was seeking support from both Soviet Union and Afghanistan. Although, Karim received significant support from Afghanistan but Baloch nationalists never admitted it openly. (Harrison,1981:26). When Karim instigated the second Baloch insurgency in 1958, again Karim had appealed Afghanistan for support of the insurgency. (Harrison, 1981:28).
During the third insurgency of 1962, Afghanistan directly and openly supported Baloch rebels. The prime minister of Afghanistan, Mohammad Daud granted permission to Baloch insurgents; the Pararis; to establish their camps along the Afghan-Pakistan border. (Harrison, 1981:39) These camps were initially established to provide refuge to the Baloch migrants but in fact, these refugee camps were largely utilized as Baloch insurgent headquarters. that’s why, when General Zia ul Haq extended amnesty to the Baloch rebels, he also included Baloch  living in Afghanistan and allowed them to return to Pakistan. (Harrison, 1981:40)
The government of Pakistan also suspects Iran of supporting Baloch militants. Iran is of the opinion that Pakistan; in collaboration with US; is planning to make Balochistan a front base in a future offensive against Iran. (Daily Times, January 29, 2005)  because Iran is ambitiously trying to become the preferred passage to the sea for Central Asia at Pakistan’s expense, and for this purpose, has built its own port at Chahbahar with Indian assistance to counter Pakistani Gwadar Port. But Iranian government never admitted any involvement in the troubles in Balochistan, claiming that it Iran has no intentions to harm the Gwadar project by helping Baloch Militants. (Daily Times, February 7, 2005).
However, Iran does not need to get involved in the Baloch insurgency directly as Iran probably would not be able to openly oppose Pakistan because Iran and Pakistan have a common interest in exporting Iranian gas to India, and an revolution in Balochistan would only harm the chances of building a gas pipeline through the province and consequently, it would be a big economic loss to both the countries. (Daily Times, February 5, 2005.) The only concern of Iran regarding Baloch insurgency is the unrest caused by Iranian Baloch, living within the territory of Iran and supporting their Pakistani Baloch companions for the liberation of Baloch regions located in Iran. It was for this reason that Iran assisted Pakistan during the insurgency of 1973 to help it put down the Baloch rebellion.
The government of Pakistan has doubts about the role of United States as a probable troublemaker. It is believed that US would like to use Balochistan as a front base for an attack on Iran and would also like to get China out of the region by supporting Baloch insurgents.  (Daily Times, January 30, 2005). The US has been asking Pakistan to allow it to open a consulate in Quetta and deploy CIA to keep an eye on the Taliban based Quetta Shura. However, the government of Pakistan did not allow the US to open a consulate in Quetta. ( April 14, 2015).
But the US intentions are never clearly explained by Pakistan,  it is difficult to understand whether US is opposing the Baloch nationalists because they are supported by Iran or whether US is supporting the Baloch because they are aggressive to the China. On the other hand, the Baloch nationalists put blame on government of Pakistan for conspiring with the US to crush down the Baloch fight for freedom.

The geographical location and huge mineral and energy resources of Balochistan, make this land extraordinarily important for almost all the world and specially a mark of special interest among regional and international political actors such as the US, India, former Soviet Union, UAE and Afghanistan. All these countries have one common interest in this region and an independent Balochistan is in high favor of their geo-strategic and geo political interests.
The Gwadar port is estimated to be the focal point of an energy and trade passage to and from China and the Central Asian Republics. China has got legal right on Gwadar as it has invested a lot in this project financially and technically. China has also invested in a coastal highway to link Gwadar with Karachi. China is also involved in the Saindak gold and copper mining project in Balochistan. China and India have been engaged in several trade plans for their joint benefits but there has always been a sense of rivalry and an economic competition between the two countries So, India may not desire to see the development of Gwadar port as profitable for China as well as for Pakistan. The US involvement is also seen as a part of the “Great Power game” which is being played by global powers in Central Asia since the disintegration of the Soviet Union. It is widely believed that the US wants to compete China and Iran through controlling the oil supply lines from the Middle East and Central Asian States and to achieve its goal, US is using its Greater Middle East plan to take apart the major Muslim states and redesign borders in the region according to its own political and economic desires and benefits.  It is beleived that the US and British intelligence agencies are supporting the Baloch militants to destabilize the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project and weaken the Gwadar port from becoming functional due to Chinese involvement which would definitely be a major threat to US oil and naval interests in the Gulf region.
A constant insurgency in Balochistan is becoming a great threat to the image and development of Pakistan as it would split the nation in different ethnic groups as it has gained the status of a separatist movement.  The Baloch demand and armed struggle and separatist movement for an independent Balochistan have strategic impacts not only on Afghanistan, India and United States but also it has economic impacts on Iran, UAE, China and Central Asia. This situation would bring dramatic changes in the economic, political, and strategic landscape of South and Southwest Asia. Furthermore, international pressure from India, Iran, China, Afghanistan, and Central Asia is complicating and weakening Pakistan’s position on international level. These countries have strategic energy and economic interests tied up in Balochistan by means of pipelines, ports, and roads.

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Courtesy: South Asian Studies
A Research Journal of South Asian Studies Vol. 30, No.2, July – December 2015, pp. 91 – 105.

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Posted by on December 13, 2015 in Research Papers on Political Issues

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