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.
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.
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
II. Demography of Balochistan:
Balochistan covers an area of 347,190 sq km; which is 43.3% of Pakistan . 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) . 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 . 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 . 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 . 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’ . 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:
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 . 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 . 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 .
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” .
“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” .
“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 .
III. Strategic Value of Balochistan:
Strategically Gwadar; Balochistan holds a dominant position in the Gulf Region as part of the „Great Game‟ . 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 Oceanbut can also strive to achieve its aim of being a naval power . 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 . 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; which has caused serious and immediate concerns for India .
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 . 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 . 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 . 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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