The Precarious Situation in Balochistan

There are some analysts who claim that the annexation of the Province of Balochistan to Pakistan was the result of a coercive approach rather than a willful and voluntary one. This assertion is unfounded in the perspective and the perception so propagated for achieving certain ends is dubious. The fact is that the Balochistan of the British era had annexed to Pakistan with free will and without any pressure whatsoever. The tribal elders and members of the traditional Jirga of that time had approved the annexation with a handsome majority with their free will and choice. By that time the whole of the State of Kalat was composed of three states viz ; Lasbela , Kharan and Makran. Balochi was the local language of these three states while in the rest of the areas of Kalat comprising Jhawlan and Sarwan the dialect used locally was Brohi. The first important personality who announced annexation of his state to Pakistan was Jam Ghulam Qadir Khan of Lasbela. This patriotic but pragmatic man soon felt disquietude and he turned dismayed when he noted things not coming up to expectations, consonant and veritable to a new born country. Though the menace of corruption and other sins and rancor had not cropped up to the dangerous point like the current misdemeanors, even then the Khan used to express his disappointment on the affairs of the newly born country. Later on the state of Kharan and Makran were also annexed to Pakistan but the State Assembly of Kalat refused to join Pakistan against the wishes of the Khan of Kalat who wished the other way round. According to one story the Khan of Kalat had the good luck of seeing the Prophet (pbuh) in dream, who had asked him (the Khan) to join the country which is taking birth in his (Prophet’s) name. Thereafter, the Khan of Kalat announced on the 30th of March 1948, in Karachi that he had joined Pakistan with his own free choice. Most of the Baloch population had welcomed the idea of joining Pakistan out of their patriotism and free will.

According to the official figures of 1998 census, the population of Balochistan is 6.6 millions comprising of 55 % Baloch, 40 % Pashtoon and 5% other ethnicities. It may be noted that there are reservations about these figures and doubt is expressed about their authenticity. The population may be exceeding Ten millions if carefully estimated. Balochistan has become a burning issue of the day particularly in the backdrop of the bill presented in the US congress demanding independence of Balochistan. It is true that excesses have been committed in case of Balochistan and the track record of governance has been not to the acceptable mark in that province since the start of our national history. The first Army operation was carried out in Balochistan even by the time the Quaid-e-Azam was living but was not feeling well due to rapidly declining health. He was kept in dark of this development. The British officers were mostly responsible for this operation as they were still controlling the Pak Army. Prince Abdul Karim, a brother of the Khan of Kalat revolted against this operation and he escaped to the mountains along with his fighting contingent. He launched full scale armed resistance against the army. Anyway, he was brought to negotiating table with a solemn pledge on the Quran for peace talks with the army. To bad luck the pledge was breached by the government and Prince Karim was arrested when he surrendered in accordance with the peace accord. He was kept behind the bars till 1955, in blatant violation of the agreement.

Despite all this, Abdul Karim, after release, never hinted on separation of Balochistan but demanded provincial autonomy within the parameters of the country’s solidarity. The same blunder was repeated when another military operation was launched on 16th of October 1958. It was the elderly Baloch Sardar. Ameer Nauroz 90, by that time who started resistance from the hideouts in the mountains. He was also tamed again with a solemn declaration, again on the holy Quran and he surrendered. He was not only arrested but his two sons were sent to the gallows. The third operation was carried out in 1961, against the Mari tribe, headed by Sher Muhammad Mari, alias Sheroaf. He was nicknamed so because he was very much impressed from the Communist ideology. There was again a military operation in 1973, this time under the civilian government of Z.A.Bhutto, the so-called Quaid-e-Awam. Bhutto had played a drama of announcing a conspiracy to have been done in London against Pakistan by the leaders of Balochistan. It was alleged that the conspirators wanted to separate Balochistan from Pakistan. It was announced through the print media that a heavy cache of arms and ammunition has been recovered from the Iraqi embassy in Islamabad meant for the armed struggle for the liberation of Balochistan. All this was done just to dislodge the Ataullah Mangal’s provincial government. Later on the fraud so concocted was unveiled to be a fraudulent event. It was a very heavy armed operation which was carried out in the time of an Awami Government of Bhutto. Governor Raj was imposed in the province and Akbar Bhugti (slain in Musharraf time) was appointed as the governor of Balochistan. Great atrocities were afflicted to the Baloch people by that time. As a result of these developments in Baloch province, Maulana Mufti Mehmood had the honor to reign as the Chief Minister of the then NWFP, in protest against the operation in Balochistan. After 1973, Balochistan was comparatively better and situation came to normalcy. The credit goes to the late General Ziaul Haq when he announced general amnesty for the people of Balochistan and practically implemented the idea. This gave very positive results and a great deal of emancipation was achieved in case of the hitherto hard-hit people of the province. A healthier and friendly environment prevailed till 2006, when the military dictator Musharraf committed the worst blunder by declaring, “The Baloch should understand that it is not the 1973 situation. They will be taken aback by getting hit from a position they will never know”. This sort of statement, an abusive language, on the part of the head of the state was not less than a bitter ridicule for the Baloch people.

One can see from the few events summarized above that the people of Balochistan have not been treated properly and their grievances are understandable. There is a dire need that their injured feelings and passions must be healed by adopting a policy of reconciliation and sympathy keeping all the factors responsible for making things so much unfavorable. The precarious situation of Balochistan requires an immediate remedial measures other wise it will be too late then for every body.

The first and foremost thing to be done is a declaration for general amnesty to be acted upon sincerely and with the real spirit of the term. There is no denying the fact that Balochistan is a part of Pakistan. However, the Baloch people should have full assurance and confidence that they have the prior and foremost right of access to the natural resources of their province. Just look at the matter that Sui Gas being a natural resource of Balochistan came later in Quetta than it came in Lahore. The target killing in Balochistan also started due to the wrong policies of the respective governments. The situation was created when the killing of the non locals was started by some miscreants in Balochistan. It was a crime of course. But a question can be asked as to why such conditions were created which harbored target killers and gave birth to liberation armies etc. The right approach would have been to find and apprehend the killer and bring him to the court of law and let the law take its own course. There was no need of lifting any Baloch and dump him in the torture cells and then throwing their mutilated bodies somewhere in the desert. This is gross violation of the norms of justice and no civilized society will accept such a harsh treatment of human beings. There is no law which permits somebody to revenge a robber by conducting a robbery assault on his house. Such robbers have to be apprehended and punished through courts under the proper procedural laws.

Due to our wrong and confrontational policies we have been providing opportunities to alien powers to interfere in our internal affairs. The recent unfortunate incidence regarding US Congressional resolution about Balochistan is the result of our wrong policies regarding Balochistan affairs. The US sub committee on the foreign affairs has given hearing to a resolution in which it has been alleged that Pakistan is treating the Baloch people with atrocities. It means that Pakistan is being pressurized by external powers. They have gone to the extent that they have started talking of the independence of Balochistan. Why these Americans have turned a blind eye to the atrocities in Kashmir? Don’t they see the killing and missing of the thousand of the Kashmiri youth through the last couple of years? Why these champions of human and women right are not able to see the molestation of the sanctity of the Kashmiri woman at the hands of the Indian armed forces?

America cannot speak anything against India on this subject since India has a free foreign policy. She has a self-sufficient economy and there are very little internal infightings in India. America is playing with us on Balochistan since we are week economically and our rulers are much more subservient to the American lords. America has failed utterly in Afghanistan and it is losing hope of leaving behind some military basis after its drawdown from Afghanistan. She has now felt that it will not be possible for her to carry out her conceived project in Afghanistan. She has the hegemonic aspiration of having her foot in one way or the other in the region and as such it has now its eyes on Balochistan. It is why she is taking advantage of our national disarray and bad ruling and wrong internal and external policies. America sees more attraction in Balochistan than in Afghanistan. She has an eye on the strategy of containing Iran and cutting the connection of China with the external world via Balochistan. Moreover, American economy is at fast declining and hence she wants to find and grab the natural resources of the more vulnerable and fragile nations.

Therefore she has dug her hopes in Balochistan. It is evident from the events that America has planned to detach Balochistan from Pakistan and then establish there a government on the pattern of Afghanistan. However, the Baloch leadership does have the sagacity of understanding that Americans can never be their sympathizers and well wishers and they do understand that the US is seeking her own vested interests at the cost of the Baloch nation. Such apprehensions have been expressed by the Baloch leader Ataullah Mingal recently. The whole game in Balochistan is being plotted and played by the troika of America, Israel and India since long. Why the sister and niece of Barahmdagh Bugti were assassinated in Karachi is a big question to be pondered! The fact is that our enemies understand that the basic cause of insurgency in the province of Balochistan is the merciless killing of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti. To kill some one else of the same family will add fuel to the fire. Such heinous acts are definitely done by those secret foreign agents who have found safe hidings in Pakistan for sabotage and killing, with the help of the elements working against the country’s interests. Such covert agents and saboteurs have this golden opportunity at their hand to infuriate the Baloch masses by committing such crimes. The lack of national solidarity, the worst economic conditions prevailing in the country and the infighting are the factors, interalia which have lead us to this unfortunate position.

The problems of Balochistan need an immediate effective and sincere effort on the part of the government. The government has to establish there the rule of law, justice and reconciliation. Serious consideration is to be given to the situation which is going on the same semblance as it was in the East Pakistan before it was broken away from its main body. The issue should be taken up without delay on the political, economic and social level. The rights of the province in her natural resources must be recognized, respected and fully restored to the local people. A policy of clemency be adopted and the aggrieved elements must be brought to the negotiating tables to work out a feasible solution acceptable to the Baloch nation. However, the real solution to the whole lot of our national problems lies in reverting to our real destination of establishing the system of justice for which this country had been achieved. We should now leave the politics of bargain and horse trading and exhaustion of the national exchequer on the Senate Elections and playing foul with the nation. The federating units of the Federation have all different cultures, different languages, different way of life and different racial backgrounds. The only binding force and binding material between these units is Islam on the basis of which we had struggled for the creation of the new country. If you remove the cementing material from in between the bricks they will fall apart. Until we as a nation, and our rulers as the elite class, do not recognize this fact and we do not struggle to revert back to the ideology and establish the system of justice based on the Quranic principles, we are likely to suffer and no coherence and solidarity in the national fabric can be ensured. The so-called enlightened and the secular element both from public and the ruling and political elite have to recognize the reality of the genesis of Pakistan that it cannot overcome its problems and cannot remain united without establishing the just system of Islam to ensure easy justice to individuals, societies, the federating units and all and sundries.