The Baluchistan Issue

Posted by sepoy on January 13, 2005 · 10 mins read

So, what is going on in Baluchistan? Baluchistan is one of the 4 states/provinces of Pakistan. It constitutes roughly 40-43% of the land mass with only 5%-7% share in the population. It has the richest mineral and natural resources in the country, yet, is the most improvished area of Pakistan with the lowest literacy, health and infrastructre indices. Two days ago, "tribals" or "nationalists" or "foreign interests" launched an attack on the largest natural gas production facility in Sui, Baluchistan. This has halted the supply of natural gas to most of the country resulting in material and economic losses. The escalation comes after on-going sporadic violence in the region against the Pakistani military forces. The General unequivocally warned the tribal/nationalist/foreign elements that his retaliation will be swift and that "they will not even know what hit them".

This has set the stage for a show-down between Pakistan military and what the Pak media is terming "terrorist organizations" like the Baluch Liberation Front and Baluch Liberation Army. At least Jang Daily expressed severe doubt in their editorial about the mere existence of these organization (which is the usual hint that India is behind it all). If they, uh, google'd it, they would know that not only do these organizations exist and have a fairly comprehensive web presence but that their greivances are long standing and, at least to this Punjabi/Kashmiri, fairly justified.

Let me start with a bit of history. The region was largely under Iranian kingly control and the autonomous principality of Kalat. The British wrested control away from the Khan of Kalat in the early 1840s and it became the staging ground for the various Afghan-British wars (the Great Game) in the later half of 19th century. The 1876 treaty between the Khan of Kalat and Robert Sandeman accepted the independence of the Kalat as an allied state with British military outposts in the region. After the 1878 Afghan War, the British established Baluchistan as a provinicial entity centered around the municipality of Quetta - Kalat, Makran, and Lasbella continuing to exist as princely realms. The British interest in the region was largely to use it as a land-mass bulwark against Central Asian encroachments. Besides a train track, the development and settlement of British holdings excluded most of the tribal population. The administrative and legislative reforms of late 19th and early 20th century India overlooked Baluchistan. Around the 1930s, Baluchi nationalist parties emerged to contest for freedom from British rule. They took the princely state of Kalat as the focal point of a free and united Baluchistan. Iqbal's vision of autonomous federation of Muslim state included Baluchistan but the Khan of Kalat never brought into the Punjabi nationalist paradigm, arguing that the Kalat had special treaty powers. Baglar Begi Khan declared the independence of Kalat on August 15, 1947. He assured the neo-state of Pakistan that Kalat will participate in the defense and infrastructure but will be autonomous. That didn't go over well at all and the Pakistani army entered the region to occupy the area immediately. On Mar 27, 1948, the Khan of Kalat gave in to the State of Pakistan and his old attorney M. A. Jinnah. His brother Abdul Karim Baloch refused to surrender and revolted until his arrest in 1950. Baluchistan was put under Governor General control and no elective body formed in Baluchistan until 1973.

After Partition, the threat of E. Pakistani - read Bengali - hegemony (55% of population at the time), forced the Punjabi military and civil elite (in 1947, Punjabis made up 77% of the army being only 25% of the population) to consitute W. Pakistan as One Unit in the 1956 Constitution. This was done presumably to guarantee equal representation for W. Pakistan but the measure was highly unpopular in Sindh, Baluchistan and NWFP because it meant rule of the Punjabi over their regional interests. Separatist, sub-national movements triumphing local languages and cultures and protesting Punjabi hegemony arose in all the three states. Especially in Baluchistan, the Khan of Kalat led a stringent opposition to the One Unit. But the wave of military dictatorships quashed all such designs. In 1970, Yayha Khan dissolved the One Unit to appease E. Pakistan but the horrific damage done by the army in soon-to-be-Bangladesh proved too much.

After 1971, the sub-nationalist movements in Sindh and Baluchistan demanded their fair share of the nationalist pie. With Bangladesh's independence, Punjab became the most populous and richest state in the country. It had 58% of the population while Baluchistan had 4%. Led by Bhutto's central populism, Baluchistan had its first elected body in 1972. The National Awami Party won the majority of the seats in Baluchistan and started making noises about state rights. In 1973, it was clear to the NAP that Baluchistan was the least developed province with the majority of civil and military bureaucracy coming from Punjab. They, quite correctly, saw this as a colonial exploitation. The discovery of natural gas reserves at Sui had made the area incredibly vital to Pakistan and Iran's developmental programs. The refusal by the Bhutto's central government to allow NAP internal autonomy escalated a tense situation into an outright revolt. Bhutto dismissed the Baluchistan assembly and re-instituted Governor's rule. The Baluchi nationalists launched an all-out military resistance.

From 1973-1978, roughly 60,000 Baluchi tribesmen and militia have faced off against the Pakistani army. Iran, eager to quell any similar uprising in its bordering area, has contributed airforce and personnel to the Pakistani efforts. They bombarbed Baluchi villages into submission. Bhutto's ouster, via Zia's military coup, forced a calm onto the situation as Zia launched into his One Pakistan Through Islam program. The Afghanistan war, the Iranian revolution and the Zia's policies made Baluchistan into an island of outsider activity. US/UN aid for Afghani refugees poured into the metropolitan areas. During the 90s, the Benazir/Nawaz Sharif governments did little for Baluchistan as the Baluchi nationalist parties floundered in exile.

After The General landed into power (get it?), he tried to foster new relationship with Baluchistan. Over the last three years, the Kachhi Canal, Mirani Dam, Gwadar 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 Baluchistan. Yet, all these things have failed to materialize from paper into concrete.

These latest incidents emerge from the same calls for Baluchistan's equal share in the national programs and right to self-administer. The catalyst seems to be the assault on a female doctor, Dr. Shazia Khalid, by a gang of employees of the PPL at Sui. The company management, along with the local police, tried to quash the issue while the central authorities ignored all pleas to intervene. This caused the initial attack on the Sui facility. Nawab Akbar Bugti, the leader of Democratic National Party Baluchistan, clearly stated that the attack was borne out of frustration on the lack of action against the employees who did the assault and was NOT a nationalist struggle for freedom by the tribals. The General, on the other hand, is going to play this as another internal/extrenal threat to Pakistan and seems determined to carry out a military response. His pointed reference to the 1973 uprising is meant to warn the Baluchi tribals that he will not negotiate on his terms.

Today's actions by the tribals and the military response in Baluchistan can be understood within the context of the acrimonious central-regional relationship in Pakistan. The rights of states, the rights of minorities, the rights of individuals are all negotiated within the vaccum of Islamabad military power-brokers. Having no access to that, the aggrieved parties find no alternative except violent struggle. The history of MQM, of Sindh, of Waziristan and, of Baluchistan provide ample attestation to that reality. I hate to say it again but here it goes: there is no way out except a democratically elected and constituted assembly that will re-imagine Pakistan as a federation with a secular and civil Constitution at the helm.

Also see, the Baloch Voice.

updated: Danial has more details on the rape case.


2 Frustrated in Pakistan | January 14, 2005

I feel for the Balochs. The only law is the law of the jungle. Its just quite frustrating to see our own being hurt, our own being deprived, our own being killed. Seriously, can we do anything at all? Yes? HOW?! NO? WHY?!

KO | January 14, 2005

You need to do some googling yourself. The Gwadar Port, Makran Coastal Highway, Saindak Copper Project all exist - the first two are complete, while the Saindak project is well on its way. I've seen them myself, and so I can say that for sure. While the govt. has much to answer for in Baluchistan, the tribal leaders have made sure that no progress takes place in Baluchistan. The Bugti tribe extracts a massive amount from the govt. for the Sui gas field, and not one rupee have they spent on their own people. Ayways, I'll make a long post later.

scattered | January 14, 2005

thanks for a very informative post. Although i take heed from KO about odious feudals--- Baluchi grievances are very real, and much of this gwadar development project is aimed at cashing in on land speculation-mania in Pakistan and creating a frontier yuppie cantonment. Last summer when i was in karachi i met up with an organizer in pakistan fisherfolk forum who were campaigning against the Rangers takeover of the fishing community along the sindh-gwadar coast. the rangers designated themselves protectors of the coast and they actually sold of lease for exclusive rights to buying fish from these villages. the fishing communities were forced to sell all of their produce to the licensed buyer... in the end the rangers made beacoup bucks and the community was stiffed with no options but to sell at whatever price the buyer would give them (which was much lower then market price they were selling) while sounding a bit naive... I wish that their was an element in Pakistani politics that could rally against the ghunda gardi of the Army without turning these outrages into a ethno-regional issues. the bugti's are not interested in bettering the lot of poor Baluchi's just like Punjabi dominated Army is not interested in the rights of Punjabi farmers in Okara.

samia | January 14, 2005

Well I can't say much about the so called "punjabi conspiracy" but I would like you to see Nawab Bugti in "aik din geo kay sath"(if you get hold of it).Literally he is a demigod to his people.Nobody can stand straight or turn back in his presence.You can feast your eyes on the lush greenery of the meticulously kept garden of his hawaili;while the area around his house is dry like a desert(indeed because of punjabis!!) Answering a question on frequent intertribal marriages between the elites of mazaris and bugtis even though hundreds have died in the ongoing conflict between the two tribes,he merely dismisses the whole issue:yeh sub to chalta hai. It is common knowledge that Bugti gets immense share out of Sui fields(which i think he has never denied).While he drools for more he is cleverly manipulating the whole situation to not only pressurize the government into giving in to his demands but also score a political point with his people.In the end would the masses get anything?That is anybody's guess.The resources belong to the Balochis,but posssibility of benefitting from them remains thin until they have sardars on their heads. In such situations you can never discern who is right and who is wrong but sardars are no less to blame.They exercise and maintain tight control over masses by keeping them illiterate,powerless and deprived.You just have to see Bugti in the interview.Watch his body langusge and that of the people around him.You'll get my point.

sepoy | January 14, 2005

KO & Samia: You erroneously assume that my call for fairer treatment of Balochi tribes is an endorsement of the tribal chieftans and their barbaric hold on the lives of the peasants.

Paladin | January 14, 2005

In this article you made a brief mention of Bangladesh and its struggle of independence. It would be nice if you put up a post about this. There are a lot of events and I could help you. You are welcome to visit my blog, We I would really appreciate some help too. I can also give more help on other Muslim topics.

BridalBeer | January 15, 2005

It is curious to see the link between poverty,lawlessness and mineral wealth. In India, the state of Bihar(now Jharkhand) is possibly the richest mineral area in the country. It is also home to the most unharnessed forces of corruption and violence. Is it naive to link this to the "State" and its interest in creating poverty, ensuring labor reservoirs? Is it because mines have to be licensed and these States attract the maximum bribery-related bloodshed? These are empty theories. I wonder...

sepoy | January 15, 2005

BridalBeer: The cheap labor markets in the US are not being filled by poor Americans but by poor Mexicans. I don't think that the State has any vested interest in keeping people poor. It does have an interest in keeping people ignorant. btw, you have an AMAZING blog.

Sultan | January 25, 2005

Chieftains criticise Akbar Bugti ISLAMABAD (January 21 2005): First cousin of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti Mir Ahmadan Rahija Bugti has said that Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti is against the development of Balochistan and wants to keep the people of the province backward. Talking to PTV, he said the Nawab has nothing to do with protecting the rights of Baloch people. "He is out to usurp them." "Nawab Akbar created all type of hurdles in development work of the province," he said, adding, "he (Akbar Bugti) is against development by not allowing opening of schools, building of roads, hospitals etc as they would bring change and take the people out of his influence." After becoming educated, the people of the area would refuse to live under his rule, he added. He said: "The people want development, progress and prosperity in the province but a few elements are working against it." To a question he said even his own tribesmen are suffering his wrath and a number of them have been ejected from their houses and are forced to live in his private prison. He said prominent among the prisoners is former member of Majlis-e-Shoora, Mir Ghulam Qadir Khan Bugti. Replying to another question about setting up of army cantonments in Balochistan, he said, "these are being built by Pakistani forces and not by the enemy forces." He said the development projects being carried out in the province will bring prosperity by giving them employment and alleviate poverty. He said: "The Nawab is against awareness among the masses, while his own children roam about in Pajeros and are educated." The chieftain of Kalpar tribe, Khan Mohammad Bugti, in his interview with PTV said that 16 Kalpar men, including his son and his son-in-law, were killed in the bombardment of Kalpar houses. He said their houses were demolished and the tribe was sent in exile by Nawab Mohammad Akbar Khan Bugti. He said, "the produce of Kalpar lands is being used by the Nawab." Ghulam Qadir Khan Bugti, chief of another clan of Bugtis, who is now being held in the personal prison of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, in an interview recorded before he was taken prisoner, termed the Sardari Nizam the main cause of backwardness of the Baloch people. He said the areas under chieftains had remained most backward. He said Nawab Mohammad Akbar Khan Bugti is against the development of the area. Ghulam Qadir said he had worked for the welfare of people by setting up schools and dams but the Nawab took it ill as it could bring development and awareness among the masses. He said Nawab Mohammad Akbar Khan Bugti forced the companies to pay him the royalty, which is not used for economic welfare of the people. Copyright Associated Press of Pakistan, 2005

Voice of a Baloch | January 31, 2005

My sincere thanks to all who have addressed the Baloch issue in this forum. However, Pakistanis are forgetting that through brute force, they occupied an independent country, Balochistan, on March 28, 1948; i.e. 7 months after Pakistan's independence from British rule! Unfortunately, the history books for the masses shroud the fact that Pakistan occupied Balochistan. But, in military and civil services schools across Pakistan, they probably teach every officer not to trust a Baloch (as apparent from their apathy towards Balochistan). The personnel of the armed forces and the bureaucracy know it very well that the Baloch nation will rise again and demand their freedom if their area was developed and their people were educated. Hence, throughout the period of its occupation of Balochistan, Pakistani governments (both civil and military) have treated it as an occupied territory and usurped its resources to benefit all of Pakistan (excluding Balochistan, of course). This ìRape of Balochistanî by Pakistan shall not last forever. Although we have been patient over the years about the plight of Baloch nation under the plundering Pakistani rule, the gang rape of our lady guest by members of the Pakistani rulers disregard all norms of decency in our Baloch culture. Therefore, it is our cultural norm to rise in unison against tyranny. The current political turmoil in Balochistan was a result of cultural clash, which has now escalated into a war for our freedom. The rule of governance in Balochistan may favor the Sardari Nizaam, which is suitable to our culture and have served our peopleís needs over centuries. To date, the ground reality is that we have not found any substitute to this governing method which resolves our peopleís grievances in an expeditious and equitable manner. If, at any time, we the Baloch people find the Sardari Nizaam obsolete, we shall practice a new method of governance of our choice. Although we have been defeated in the past and may be defeated again, but we will never stop dreaming about being ìfreeî. To restore our freedom, we, the Baloch, fought four (4) wars with Pakistan since the occupation of our country; and each time, due to lack of resources, we lost, but we have NOT surrendered yet. And, to remind all concerned, we have great hope to have our own country where we could practice political freedom and be considered first-class citizens again. So, any Baloch who has an iota of pride in his/her ethnicity will strive for the freedom of the Baloch nation, no matter how much blood is shed or how long it might take to achieve our goal.

Zainul huda | February 02, 2005

I am shocked again andagain at the apathy of my countrymen to answer probing questions or infact eventry to answer them. Take "Voice of a Baloch" for instance..he decides to offer a history lesson instead of answering a very thought provoking question..If Nawab Akbar Bugti is getting the moneyfrom Sui; then whereisthe development. Those who support the Nawab/sardari/Wadera.Jirga sytem should realize that the areas in Pakistn, where these systems are in vogue, are the most backward and barbaric areas of the world. The stories that come from these places are the ones that make the news in the West and its pretty hard defending my own country when confronted with such barbarism. We should take out Nawab Bugti, and every other Wadera, Sardar, and Chaudhry like we did with Nek Mohammed (could a name espouse such hypocrisy) and clean Pakistan's slate.

Voice of a Baloch | February 03, 2005

In response to Zainul Hudaís post, I agree with him regarding the apathy of the Pakistani people and their government. I would like to offer two simple solutions: First, the Pakistani government should arrest and punish the rapists of the lady doctor to calm the present crisis between the Baloch nation and Pakistan. Second, they should return occupied Balochistan to the Balochis so they can enjoy political, economic, linguistic and cultural freedom in their own independent country. As far as ìhistory lessonsî are concerned, it would be naÔve to think that the answer to the current crisis does not lie in the past; all great nations learn from their history so they can chart their future. Furthermore, those who are ignorant or choose to remain ignorant of the ground realities in Balochistan should visit remote areas of this vast land to fathom the deprivation inflicted by the tyrannical Pakistani government on the Baloch nation for more than 57 years. The so-called ìthought provoking questionî about the remuneration to Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti is: the amount is pittance compared to the financial plundering of Balochistan by the Pakistani government. Nawab sahib has openly declared his financial records for the public to view, and various media have already published it. In my opinion, itís frivolous to even bring such an argument to this discussion. The international media may condemn Balochistan to be Barbaric, but it is our way of life and we accept responsibility for how we behave in our cultural context. The correlation between Barbarism and Sardari Nizaam is just heresy since there were no sociological research done to prove it. The truth of the matter is that the Pakistani government abstained from developing Balochistan since its occupation. Hence, the Sardari Nizaam remains, until the Baloch public decides that itís obsolete. Someone who has not lived in Balochistan may not understand the intricacies of the Sardari Nizaam, and therefore, are not knowledgeable enough to argue. (By the way, Iím not from any tribal chieftainís family.) To ìclean Pakistanís slateî is just a statement that lacks workable solutions on how to resolve it. But, Iím least concerned what happens to Pakistan. My main concern is to clean Balochistanís slate. We need to be FREE again from the clutches of the Pakistani Raj. We are an oppressed nation just like the Palestinians, Kurds, Achaeans, Kashmiris, and Chechens, who dream of one day living in their own country, and therefore, they are fighting for their freedom. We, the Baloch nation, have chosen the path of being free than being slaves of Pakistan. Tipu Sultan once said: ìA day in the life of a lion is better than thousand days in the life of a foxî.

Hani Aga Ibrahim | February 03, 2005

Actually Government in Pakistan is run by Punjabis,let me tell you something all the major project which are taking place in Baluchistan that is only for the Pakistani government I means to say the people of Punjab, who will si in the port office after the completion of Gwader Port Punjabis only,where this shipment will go to definately to Punjab .In our homeland we are jobless but outsider are enjoying the job facilities .And the Pakistani Government says there is no job for Baluch because they are uneducated, who is the reponsible for that, ordinary peoples or the government, its not that Baluch people dont like education, they love education hey also want to be doctors ,pilots,engineers and politicians like punjabis are but they dont have schools,colleges and Universities, where they will go, Who will answer this ?

Zainul huda | February 07, 2005

In response to "voice of a Baloch"; though it is a tragedy I do not see why the rape of a woman should act as a catalyst for such barbaric violence and attacks on government installations, officials and civilians. It is an unfortunate fact that women are treated like dirt in our country; more so in the backward tribal areas, especially the areas ruled by our Nawabs, Waderas and Chaudhrys (In all four provinces). Women are raped almost everyday in Pakistan. This is just an excuse, one that is unacceptable because violence against civilians is unacceptable! No matter what the reason! By all means Balochistan, as well as the other four provinces (I think we should bring the Northern areas out of limbo now), should enjoy complete autonomy. The way to obtain that is not through violence but political struggle. Yes, we must look to history to learn from our mistakes and if you do so you will realize that none of the conflicts of the past century have been resolved with violence. Palestine, Kashmir, the Phillipines, Northern Ireland, Kurdistan..the list goes on. Before you quote the example of Bangladesh to me, remember that if not for Indian interference and geographical separation that too would have been a failed cause for the Bengalis. In today's world, mischief makers like the BLA or Tigers of Balochistan are not likely to get any support from any country. If anything they are going to be cast in the light of fundamentalists and terrorists. Once again I must insist on making it clear to you that I agree with the fact that Balochistan got the short end of the stick in resource and revenue distribution, but the answer is not violence. We must give the provinces autonomy. The ends have to be achieved politically. If we can criticize the U.S for invading Iraq and Afghanistan and causing thousands of people to die just so it could meet its objectives then how is this any different? When it comes to hypocrisy, Muslims are masters of the art. What is absurd is your claim about Nawab Akbar Bugti declaring his assets. How you can be that gullible is beyond comprehension. Declaration of their assets periodically has become an art among Pakistani politicians. Every one of them claims to be poorer than the other while they drive around in Land Cruisers, have several expensive houses and an army of servants and guards. Please, if any thing, spare us from defending your Nawab on the basis of his "asset declaration". Perhaps there is no sociological research indicating the relationship between the backwardness of societies and the Sardar/nawab/ Wadera system, but the sheer statistics of how backward all of these areas ruled by the above mentioned are (and I mean in all four provinces), establishes a very strong relationship between the two. You may not be related to any chieftain but your support reeks of a subject arguing on behalf of his Monarch. A title does not make you infallible. It is also human to point the finger of blame anywhere except at yourself. While the Government of Pakistan is to be blamed for a lot of Balochistan's misfortune (and donít forget that the rest of the country is not paradise either) you must also realize the responsibility the Sardars have for this situation. Living in the past never got anyone anywhere. And to quote one of my favorite lines from the silver screen; " Sharif Ali!! So long as the Arab tribes continue fighting amongst each other, they will be a foolish people, a silly people; barbaric and weak!! ì I think I got it almost right. :-) Have not seen Lawrence of Arabia in a while.

Voice of a Baloch | February 10, 2005

Zainul Hudaís post is interesting read, and it clearly shows that he has a hard time accepting the fact that Balochistan is NOT a province of Pakistan, but an occupied territory. For the last 56 years, we have tried our best to clarify the status of Balochistan, but just like Zain, the Pakistani Raj doesnít accept the fact that Balochistan is an independent country that was occupied through brute force. However, I will try to address his concerns below from a Balochi perspective and hope that he will honor our wish to be free from Pakistan without sprinkling salt on our wounds by referring us as a province: 1. Zain is perplexed that since ìwomen are raped almost everyday in Pakistanî, why the Baloch have taken the rape of a woman in Balochistan by an official of the Pakistani government out of context and used it as a ìcatalyst for barbaric violence and attacks on government installations, officials and civiliansî. The reason for such a harsh reaction from the Baloch is that we belong to the Middle Eastern culture, not the South Asian culture to which most Pakistanis belong. Rape in the Baloch culture is considered one of the most despicable acts and not taken lightly; therefore, it becomes a matter of pride for us to make sure that the rapist is punished. Unfortunately, the Pakistani government has yet to arrest the main culprits to the crime! The apathy of the Pakistani government to tackle this issue is the ìcatalystî of the present crisis, not the respected lady doctorís rape. 2. I agree with Zain regarding the complete political, economic, cultural, military, linguistic autonomy for Balochistan. Since we are not a part of Pakistan and are only an occupied territory, it is understandable that the Pakistani government has given us the ìshort end of the stick in resource and revenue distributionî. However, I certainly disagree with him that such autonomy should be obtained through political struggle rather than through violence. We have, in the past, tried the political struggle route, but to no avail; our political leaders were jailed and many were executed for resorting to political struggle. So, we are now compelled by the Pakistani government to use violence to get our point across. 3. Baloch freedom fighters are not ìmischief-makersî; they are Baloch soldiers who have committed to sacrifice their lives to free the Baloch nation. We are at war with Pakistan, and we are fighting to reclaim the freedom of our people and our motherland. But, since we only have a rag-tag army, we are not in a position to enter into a head-on collision with the well-equipped Pakistani military force. Hence, we are fighting a guerrilla war until we succeed in gaining our freedom. We really donít care if we ìare going to be cast in the light of fundamentalists and terroristsî. We know that we are struggling for our Freedom, and we believe that truth will prevail. 4. Zain may be correct in his analysis of Pakistani politicians (I would include bureaucrats and businessmen too) making an art of false declaration of their assets. Personally, I have not audited Nawab Akbar Bugtiís financial account, but I could say that Pakistani governmentís claim that it has compensated 6 to 12 crore rupees to Nawab sahib is definitely pittance compared to the amount usurped from extracting natural gas from Sui area. 5. Sardari Nizaam in a tribal context is not the reason for the backwardness of societies. The Sheiks of various Emirates of UAE govern in a similar fashion as the Sardars of Balochistan. Are these Emirates backward because they are being ruled by their version of Sardars? Of course not. The correlation between backwardness and Sardari Nizaam is simply an oddity, and it doesnít ìestablish a very strong relationshipî. Could corruption by Pakistani government officials be the reason for underdevelopment? Numerous studies were done worldwide which prove that the level of corruption is proportional to underdevelopment. 6. My support for the Sardari Nizaam is support for our way of life in Balochistan. If a foreigner like Zain considers such support for being subject to a Monarch, so be it. But, when Balochistan is finally free from the tyrannical clutches of the Pakistani Raj, then we, the Baloch, have a choice to either continue with the Sardari Nizaam or chose another system of governance. I dream that one day, Balochistan will be free. Mir Chakar Khan Rindís portrait will be on our currency note. Our red, green, blue flag with star will mast on every government building. We will practice a form of government that will suit the Baloch culture. Khan of Kalat will be our Monarch (just like the Queen of England). We will have a Baloch police force as well as our own military forces. We will have a seat at the United Nations and have diplomatic relations with governments of foreign countries, including Israel. We will have a secular government and no one will persecute our Zikri Baloch brothers for being non-Muslims. We will establish close relations with our kins in Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iran, Kurdistan, Kuwait, Oman, Turkmenistan, and UAE. Balochi will be our official language and our schools will teach history of the Baloch to our children. Revenue from our natural resources, taxes and strategic business development will sustain our country. I hope that my dream comes true with minimal loss of Baloch lives at the hand of the ruthless Pakistani Raj.

Zainulhuda | February 10, 2005

On the contrary I have to say that it is people like yourself who have a hard time coming to accept the ground realities about the fact that Balochistan is integrated into Pakistan and the majority of its people have no wishes or desires such as the ones you wax lyrical about. 1. I really do not see how you can justify violence of the sort that is being perpetrated by these thugs and their Nawab overlords on the basis of a rape. Their is NO justification for their act. Your implication that only the Baloch take the rape of a woman seriously is preposterous. You defend a tribal system that treats women like dirt and confines them Taliban style and yet you have the gall to claim that the heavens have fallen because a woman was raped. 2. Call a spade a spade. As you yourself mention that the ragtag band of mischief makers has no chance of standing up to the Pakistani army so they are going to continue to conduct guerrila style attacks. Wonderful. All they are doing is making the life of Balochis miserable by severing power and communication links. A recent news article talked of the farmers association in Balochistan pleading to these terrorists to stop their attacks since they are making life horrible for the very Balochis they claim to be fighting for. Yet you claim that this will win freedom. I must say that you should dig your head out of the hole you have it buried in. You claim that your political leaders were jailed and many were killed for political struggle. Please explain to me how on earth a violent struggle is not going to bring a worse response from the powers that be you claim delight in destroying the Baloch nation. 3. The truth will never prevail if this ragtag army is deemed a terrorist group by the international community. The pakistani government has already linked them to the Taliban and alqaeda and informed the U.S and other governments that 500 million rupees worth of weapons have been smuggled into Balochistan by terrorist groups linked to the above mentioned. The world has increasingly rejected the idea of violence as a means to an end and attacks on government installations and civillians will rightfully continue to be labeled as terrorism. 4. I am flabbergasted that someone who is quite obviously an educated person can support a monarchy. You talk of learning lessons from history. Surely you must realize that one or two good rulers does not mean that the whole line of kings is going to be as good as their predecessors. How many times have we seen in history that an empire built up by an emperor crumbled as those who came after him had neither his wisdom nor cared for the subjects they ruled. The monarchies in the Arab world are already being criticized. Saudi Arabia is holding its first national elections. The rule of Kings, Sultans, Nawabs, and Sardars should be relegate d to the dustbin of history where it belongs. My dream is that one day people will resolve issues through discourse rather violence in our country, and we will have a true sense of democracy. No system of government is perfect; but to have the choice to remove a government that does not fulfil its promises is a right everyone should have. Democracy for Pakistan and may all Pakistanis (Balochis included) adopt Buddhism, if need be, to learn the virtues of peaceful discourse.

M.Iqbal | February 10, 2005

It is no use ignoring history.But atleast have the honesty to get the facts right. 1.Pakistan never invaded Baluchistan.A police action took place in Kalat state only.And look into the reasons why the Khan did not get popular support against this action. 2.As far as education is concerned, it is not the the Punjabis who ask the teachers in the schools which exist to just draw their saliers and never attend to teach.This is a common wadera practise, as the sardar uses the school building for personal use. 3.More Baloch live in Punjab than in Balouchistan.Even Mir Chaker Khan is buried in Punjab.Are the Balouch discriminated against or surpressed in the Punjab? 4.If it was a question of justice (which it should be)then Sardar Bughti should be tried for chasing the Kelper out of his area after killings and occuping their land.That is why the Kelpers killed his favourate son Sallal in a revenge killing 5.If the Punjabi or fedreal govt was so anti balouch, then why did they send a C130 of the PAF to evacuate Sardar Marri (the murder of Justice Marri later on) from Kabul when his patrons had lost power in that country and the new regime was ready to illiminate him and his followers? Why is there no agitation to arrest the murders of Juctice Marri who have been conviced by the courts in Quetta? Because they are Sardar Marri.s sons. 6 This is the last kick of a rotten system. Some persons might convince themselves that their ambitions are not being fulfiled due to the fault of other persons(Punjabis for example)But noboby has stopped them struggling to get an education and a job.Most Pakistanis have to do this any ways.Just remember all these Sardars were educated in Lahore, yes Lahore. 7. Both Sardar Bughti and Mengal have been chief ministers of Baluchistan.Did they ever build a school or hospital in any place? A list would show zero.So please put the blame where it should be put. 8 Recruitment of balouchis is taking place to train them so they can run these projects.The Mirani Dam will irrigate lands exclusively of the Balouch and not Punjabis.And who will drink its water? The highway has already made a great differance to the life of the fishermen in Gawader.All you need to do isto make a visit and see for yourself.Both Bugti and Marri have no stake in Gawader in any way.It is just a cheap stunt to stop devalopment in their own areas which will weaken their control. Iqbal

Voice of a Baloch | February 11, 2005

Zainulhuda certainly seems perturbed by my last post. Once again, Iíll try to clarify my position item by item in hopes that I can get my point across. (Note: Iíll try to respond to M. Iqbalís post at a later juncture.) 1. Ground reality is that the Baloch are an oppressed nation and the oppressor is the Pakistani Raj; Balochistan was ìintegratedî into Pakistan by force and not through any friendly gestures or invitations. We, the Baloch nation are certainly ashamed that due to our own weakness, we allowed foreigners in the guise of Muslim brotherhood to occupy our motherland. As far as the current crisis in Balochistan is concerned, it is proof that many of my Baloch brothers and sisters have aspirations to be free. Is it a crime to dream about our freedom and then do something practical to achieve it? I think not. Great nations like the United States and India have ìearnedî their freedom through bloodshed and not through dialogue; the British didnít serve them their independence on a platter either. 2. I concur that violence is certainly not the answer to gain freedom for the Baloch nation. We have tried other peaceful means to achieve a resolution, but none have worked so far! Hence, we are compelled by the Pakistani Raj to fight for our right to freedom. 3. It was Zain who was confused about why the Baloch were making such a big deal about the rape of a woman when ìwomen are raped everyday in Pakistanî! In my argument, I tried to differentiate Balochistan from the rest of Pakistan by offering the Balochi cultural perspective to rape, and how the apathy of the Pakistani government inflamed the Baloch sentiments. Iím sure that there are other civilized cultures in the world that take the rape of a woman very seriously; unfortunately Zainís post of February 7 reeks of callousness towards the subject of rape. 4. My defense for the tribal system didnít say that it was a perfect system. I accept the shortcomings of such a system and believe that there is always room for improvement. However, from Zainís post I gather that he prefers to look at the world through the Western perspective who view the status of women in almost all Muslim countries (including places where they have tribal systems) as degrading, ranging from Taliban-style treatment of women where they are "treated like dirt and confined" to Turkish-style liberation of women where they are seldom permitted to enjoy pre-marital and extra-marital sex with consent of their family members. I wonder about the status of women in Pakistan and how itís viewed world over. 5. Zain has finally brought up a very good point that the ordinary Baloch are suffering due to war in Balochistan. In my opinion, one canít have a sanitized war; the reality is that war is dirty and full of sufferings. If the Baloch nation is not ready to suffer in the short term to earn their freedom for the long haul, then we should just tuck our tails between our legs and give up! But, the history of the Baloch nationalists who fought four (4) wars with Pakistan and are initiating the fifth one proves that we have not surrendered yet. Due to financial constraints, our rag-tag Baloch army can fight a guerrilla war against the well-equipped Pakistani military forces. We have learned from history that if there is a will, even a rag-tag army can create havoc for a modern state. 6. I would like to reiterate that the struggle of the Baloch is for freedom. The international community is not blind to reality. The world has evolved since the last genocide of the Baloch . . . itís not the 70ís and the Pakistani Raj canít hide its dirty laundry any longer. We believe the truth will prevail. It is pathetic that the Pakistani Raj runs to Uncle Sam to complain about the Baloch receiving weapons from Afghanistan. Linking the Baloch to the Taliban (a creation of ISI) or the Al-Qaida is preposterous; it is Pakistanís military that still supports these two groups. Are people around the world so naive to believe in the fabricated propaganda of the Pakistani Raj? I think Pakistan should learn from the Kargil fiasco: it was a military success for the Pakistani forces, but a public relations disaster. The world was aware that Pakistan was the aggressor not India. 7. The reason why I support Monarchy combined with a Sardari Nizaam for the time being is because in my humble opinion it suits our present system of governance in Balochistan. But, if at a later stage, the Baloch people decide to change their system, they are free to do so in an independent Balochistan. But, Zain should not be ìflabbergastedî about educated Balochis who support Monarchy because many highly educated people in developed countries also support such a system. He should do his homework and research the current monarchies in the Netherlands, Monaco, United Kingdom, Thailand, Malaysia, and so on. It will be interesting to find out why Canada and Australia still have Queen of England as their monarch. 8. By the way, I respect Zainís dream for Pakistan. Pakistanis should contain their military to be a ìChowkidarî instead of its current status of a ìDandaymaarî. Unfortunately, politicians in Pakistan are just shoe-polishers of their military bosses. Pakistan needs democracy ìto have the choice to remove a government that does not fulfill its promisesî. I fully support that the Mullahs in Pakistan should teach the Buddhist mantra of ìpeaceful discourseî. But first, Pakistan should disarm its nuclear arsenal.

Voice of a Baloch | February 11, 2005

In response to M. Iqbalís post, I would like to express my opinions from a Baloch perspective: 1. Pakistan used military action to attack and invade Balochistan. It was not a police action as stated by Iqbal; he should conduct further research in the history of Balochistan and get his facts right. The Baloch Sardars unanimously voted for an independent Balochistan, but when their short-lived freedom ended at the hands of the Pakistani Raj, the Baloch nation immediately revolted and were ruthlessly suppressed, and many were later executed. ìPopular supportî of the Baloch was crushed by the Pakistani military; not because there was no support for our monarch, the Khan of Kalat. 2. Some school buildings in Balochistan are probably occupied for personal use by the Baloch Sardars. I was informed that due to shortage of teaching staff, the Pakistani government closed certain schools (most educated Pakistanis donít want to teach in remote areas of Balochistan) that were later utilized by the Sardars. It was not the other way round as implied by Iqbal that the Sardars for their personal use forcibly closed the schools to take over the buildings. 3. In all my posts here, I have not once mentioned anything negative about Punjabis. I know that Baloch people populate the Seraiki belt of Punjab, and I also know that Mir Chakar Khan Rind is buried there. Discrimination by the Pakistani Raj is clearly evident from its step motherly treatment of Balochistan, which it considers as an occupied territory. Balochistan has incurred the wrath of four (4) military actions by the Pakistani military while the fifth one is brewing. To date, Pakistani military has butchered thousands of Baloch nationalists. But, as far as the Baloch of Punjab are concerned, I have no specific knowledge if they are being discriminated or not. 4. The dispute between the Kalpars and Nawab Akbar Bugti is a personal matter between the two warring tribes. In my opinion, they should mend their differences and unite in this difficult period for the entire Baloch nation. However, it is not clear who is in the right, but it is evident that the intelligence agencies (ISI) of the Pakistani Raj prefers to practice ìDivide and Ruleî policy in Balochistan. As long as the tribes are fighting amongst each other, they will stay clear of giving any trouble to the rulers. So, if there is any blood between the two warring tribes, the beneficiary is the Pakistani Raj, and not the tribes. One can safely conclude that the ISI was instrumental in creating rift between the two tribes. 5. The Pakistani government negotiated a peace deal with Nawab Khair Bux Marri and invited him back to his native land, Balochistan. But, over time, the Pakistani government reneged on its promises. When the senior Baloch leader openly expressed his dismay with the Pakistani rulers, the ISI framed him in the murder case of Justice Marri, who belongs to a different clan of the Marri tribe. Once again, the beneficiary of inter-tribal feud among the Marri tribe is the Pakistani Raj and not Nawab sahib. It would be naÔve to assume that ISI did not murder Justice Marri. 6. The Baloch in Punjab and Sind are more educated than Baloch in Balochistan. They are fortunate to have benefited from modern infrastructure, especially in education, provided to them outside of Balochistan. But, unfortunately the Baloch who live in Balochistan due to circumstance are the victim of Pakistani Rajís policies to keep Balochistan underdeveloped. Iqbal is wrong in blaming the Baloch to be inept and ambitionless to get an education. Just like any other ethnic group in the world, the Baloch also have aspirations to get a good education. No wonder some Baloch parents who can afford quality education send their children to Lahore or Oxford or Harvard. 7. Khan of Kalat, Bugti, Mengal, Jamali, and now Jam are all Baloch, and they all held the post of either Governors or Chief Ministers of Balochistan. But, during their tenure, they didnít even have powers to fire a chief secretary let alone build anything of any substance. The Pakistani Raj controlled the development budget for Balochistan, which is intentionally designed to keep Balochistan underdeveloped. I put the blame on the Pakistani Raj that has institutionalized the maltreatment of Balochistan and its people. 8. The Baloch who live in Mekran are the oneís who are complaining about the development in Gwadar. They saw their fishing village of Kalochi (now Karachi) usurped by non-Balochis and feel that the same fate awaits them in Gwadar. Just check the billboards in Lahore selling housing projects in Gwadar to the Lahories. I have yet to see such a billboard in Quetta. Military cronies are the oneís who are making huge profits at the expense of the local Baloch. Mekranis are after all Baloch and every Baloch has a vested interest in their welfare, including Nawab Khair Bux Marri and Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti. The simple solution to pacify the Baloch is for the Pakistani Raj to vacate Balochistan. We simply want to be FREE again! Our motherland was forcibly occupied and we want it back now. What is there not to understand? It shouldnít take a rocket scientist to figure it out: If you take something without permission, then you must return it to its rightful owner.

M.Iqbal | February 13, 2005

In reply I will say that being a Balouch myself I respect the right of Balouch Voice to his opinions.What I object to his claim he is speaking for all Balouch.A potted history of Balouchistan is not enough to convince anybody. The tragdy is not that Punjabis are not teaching in remote areas of Balouchistan (the few who were were kicked out by the NAP government when it came into power)but people like Balouch voice are just trying to confuse the issue to people who have no knowledge about Balouchistan. It is not a question of 10 or 12 crores to Nawab Bughti and billions to outsiders.The question is that what he did for Dera Bughti with the money when he had the power.I can assure you if you have ever been there you will see nothing what so ever has been done, not even when he was the Chief Minister.There was not even a clinic or school built there. The question is not of the disputes between tribes but the question of law enforcement.Should the tribal areas be B areas where no laws are enfoced except the will of the tribal sardar? Or are the balouch who disagree with him personally to be allowed to live peacefully in their homes.To day we see the Kelpers living misrable lives in Punjab on the pain of death if they want to return.How can you blame the ISI etc for this? If Nawab Bughti conciders Kelpers as balouch then why ruthlessly uproot them from their area.The murder of Justice Marri can not be justified on the grounds that he belonged to a differant clan of Marri, as if differant clans of Marri have no rights what so ever.Sardar Marri's sons were convicted by a court in Quetta not else where. The problem has arrisen because the present Government of Pakistan has decided to make all of Balouchistan into an A area where no one is above the law. Facts are facts.Closing our eyes to the truth will only harm the progress of the balouch just as the earlier "nationalists" were misslead in beliveing in a maxist revolution.My fear is our people will miss the bus to progress by being diverted in to false ideas.What is gained by destroying infrastructure in Balcuchitan? These negative acts have no future for our race.The truth is that we should fight for our rights but in a political way and now that inverstment is comming into the province, then we should support it and not oppose it.Bycots of any discussions with the federal government is not going to get us there. If anyone does not want to sell his land to any one else in Gawader, he is free to do so.Let us not make up their minds for them.The sales are advertised every where not just in Lahore.The biggest benificaries have been those persons (locals) who have had state lands alloted to them on ownership bases and then promptly sold it on at many hundred times than what it was worth before.There is nothing wrong with that.So some balouch have benifted personally but not the province. Balouch voice can not grudge the balouch of Gawader their new liink to the Karachi market, I'm sure.Or is he proposing that the bridges on it be blown up? The unfortunate floods these last few days will illustrate the usefulness of this road just as the number of dams under threat/bust shows what devalopment had taken place. Iqbal

Voice of a Baloch | February 14, 2005

Waaja Iqbal, I express the sentiments of ìonlyî those Baloch who have suffered great losses at the hands of the Pakistani Raj, and not every Baloch such as yourself who may have benefited from the crumbs showered on Balochistan by its occupiers. I currently live in Balochistan, and visited every corner of this vast land and know the condition of my people . . . its pathetic. I have personally suffered at the hands of the Pakistani government and morn the rape of my motherland; and I empathize with Baloch nationalists and their desire to gain the freedom of the Baloch nation. My writing in this forum clarifies the position of the Baloch nationalists since many readers want to hear the viewpoint of the other side, not just government propaganda. However, I agree with you that most of Balochistan is under extreme underdevelopment stage. Unfortunately, our Baloch leaders like Mazari, Leghari and Jamali held the highest offices of President and Prime Minister of Pakistan, while Bugti, Mengal, Khan of Kalat, Jam, Jamali, and Magsi held offices of Governor and Chief Minister of Balochistan. And, to top it all, Zardari was the husband of a Prime Minister of Pakistan. Did any of these people do anything to improve the living conditions of the ordinary Baloch people? I think not. These leaders were just figureheads and didnít have the power to even suspend a government clerk, let alone build a school. The Pakistani military holds the real power to determine who gets the funds; and whether you believe it or not, the Pakistani Raj has institutionalized the underdevelopment of Balochistan to safeguard its occupation of our motherland. As far as the workings of ISI are concerned, I can assure you that they are following in the footsteps of their predecessor - the British Raj - in applying the ìDivide and Ruleî policy. So, if there is enmity between Kalpars and Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti or murder of Justice Marri, the first thing a good detective does is to research and find out who benefits from such actions. In my opinion, the Pakistani Raj is the true beneficiary of such tribal feuds. It is naive of you to believe that the ISI did ìnotî influence the outcome of the court verdicts in Quetta against Nawab Khair Bux Marri and his sons. Your suggestion that Baloch should resolve their grievances through political dialogue may work in a democratic country. But, Pakistan is a military dictatorship occasionally camouflaged as a civilian democracy. So, do you think that the Baloch are going to be heard or treated fairly? For your information, during the past 56 years, Balochistan was avoided like a plague in the corridors of GHQ Rawalpindi or Islamabad. Every colonizer makes investment in occupied territory for their personal gain, not for the natives of the land. Sui gas field is a prime example of my contention. Just go inside the boundaries of the staff housing areas of the gas company and you will notice the stark difference in the living conditions of the locals and the foreigners. I need not elaborate on it any further. Zionist groups bought large tracts of land from the poor Palestinians prior to the creation of Israel as a modern state. The Palestinians didnít have any rights to claim those lands since they sold it to the Jews. But, for the last 56 years, the Palestinians fought against the Israelites for the freedom of their motherland. Similarly, the poor Baloch of Gwadar are selling their land so they can raise their living conditions. But, the land still belongs to the Balochistan and its people. We donít want any foreigners taking over our land and turning us into a minority in our own backyard. Balochistanís potential of generating revenue is far greater than what it currently receives from the Pakistani Raj. In my opinion, Balochistan could easily generate in excess of $2 billion ($2,000,000,000) in revenue per year from activities such as: Trading Transit fees; Income taxes; Remittance from Baloch working in the Middle East; Iran-India Pipelineís Transit fee; Gas and Petroleum exports; Mineral exports; Fresh and Dry Fruit exports; etc. etc. The development projects that are currently underway will not help Balochistan nor the poor Baloch, but it is meant for ìotherî areas of Pakistan. However, my heart bleeds for those Baloch who have recently died due to the failure of the so-called development projects in Balochistan by the Pakistani Raj. How can three (3) dams break in succession? This just shows the high level of apathy and neglect Balochistan has experienced during its occupation. If the Baloch were at the helm of development projects, they would make sure the dams were strong enough to protect their families. There is no doubt in my mind that the Baloch should be free to rule Balochistan. I believe that,inshallah, the day will come when we every Baloch will celebrate ìJashn-e-Azaadiî of our beloved Balochistan.

M.Iqbal | February 15, 2005

Well all I can say to Voice of a Balouch that he may have personal griviances which colour his views but that does not mean everyone differing with him is living off Pakistani crums.To say that Zardari could not even appoint a clerk is having real blinkers on.Every one to his own thinking.Inshallah Balouchistan will devalop and the balouch will have a decent standard of living.But not through misformed ideas imposed on them.You can have the oppertunity to try to establish the Kingdom of Kalat, with the Khan as King but he is not going to be my king.So let us just disagree and go our ways.May the balouch people win.Thats what counts.Not envy. By the way you dont need to go just to sui to see how the staff lives.Go to Dharan in Saudi Arabia and see how the amercans lived.This is the result of social inequities which no one can support.But blaming whole races is a misguided thing to do.You can envy and hate anyone but not look to the reality of the situation.The dams in Baluchitan have bust because of a natural disaster, not a race or government.Most of the flood deaths have occured not due to the dam busting but to an Act of God, flooding. All the persons named by you ( Zardari, Jamali, etc) were powerless to do any thing but they did very well for them selves thankyou.That much power they did have.If you want to ignore this thats your right.You can even try to convince other of this point of view.But please dont not try to say you represent the unconvinced persons.And calling them names if they dont agree with you wont change the matter either Iqbal

Voice of Baloch | February 15, 2005

Waja Iqbal, our goal is the same: a developed Balochistan and a higher standard of living for the Baloch nation. Though we both have differing viewpoints, but our wish is to bring positive change for our people. You are of the opinion that we can achieve our goal by joining hands with the Pakistani Raj. But, Iím of the opinion that if the Pakistani Raj has not helped Balochistan to progress during the last 56 years, then nothing is going to change for the next 56 years; therefore, we should take control of our own future and liberate our motherland from continually getting raped by the Pakistani Raj. As far as grievances are concerned, I feel most (not all as you seem to have none) of the people of Balochistan have a bone to grind with the occupiers. I sympathize with all the Baloch nationalists who are considered ìtraitorsî by the Pakistani Raj and their cronies, but ìfreedom fightersî by the Baloch nation. My heart bleeds for my Baloch brothers and sisters who have no opportunity to improve their standard of living under the current political and economic climate. My soul cries for a parched Balochistan whose natural resources are being usurped by foreigners to build ìmotorwaysî. So, if we bring about a positive change by liberating Balochistan, then we have the opportunity to correct some the wrongs done to our motherland. Yes, Iím looking through coloured glasses at an independent Balochistan that will prosper. Unfortunately, the natural calamities of recent have taken their toll on the people of Balochistan. It is inexcusable for the Pakistani authorities to have allowed shoddy construction of infrastructure whose purpose was to help the people, not to kill them. Throughout Balochistan you will find such an abundance of low quality infrastructure constructed by the Pakistani Raj (except structures built by the British Raj). They siphon most of the amount allocated for such development projects. Actually, they donít have a vested interest in the development of an occupied territory. I sincerely agree with you that ìsomeî but not all of the Baloch figureheads of the Pakistani Raj were corrupt. Even at this time of need to be united, many Baloch are serving their masters, the Pakistani Raj. Just follow the recent statements by Jam of Jamote; he certainly is not a friend of the Baloch nation, but a crony. If we are successful in securing the freedom of Balochistan, then we shall decide what form of government suits our culture. If we feel that we should have a western style democracy, or a taliban style autocracy, or a Pakistani style military dictatorship, or monarchy supplemented by Sardari Nizaam, then we shall vote for such a system. Not all the people of Balochistan will agree in unison. So, if you donít like to have a monarch, then you can vote for a system that you find fit for Balochistan. But, remember . . . majority rules!

danial | February 15, 2005

Today once again I was watching George's Pakistan. In today's episode George reaches Lahore and talks to Mr. Rauf of geo. At one point mr. Rauf says that we discuss the problems of small provinces and their anger in our program 50 minutes. George said, "Yeah, I have seen this though I haven't been to Balochistan or interior Sindh but I have stayed in Karachi and Lahore seems a lot more well developed than karachi. The roads are better, parks are better and over all aura is much higher in this region." Pardon me now I don't think that George was a Baloch, Sindhi or Mohajir. If George can feel this injust why can't people of punjab feel it? Why can't army feel it? Why shokat aziz is so dumb about such a horrible thing? Shujat and his family are blind they are too corrupt! I think that the debate is going in wrong direction just like what we did in Bangladesh. Gentleman, the fact is that the people of Balochistan are poor and jobless. Government of Pakistan should work in this regard.

M.Iqbal | February 17, 2005

In reply to Voice of a Balouch, I will say that we both agree on the quetion the the balouch nation needs devalopment and progress.The question is how is this going to come about? It only going to come about by facing rhe facts and thus looking for the correct solutions.No government has any interest in keeping people under devaloped.That not to say they are interested in devalopment other than thier own. The Shadi Kaur Dam burst not be cause it was built to substandard specifications.This conclusion comes from a pessimestic mind and is not the correct conclusion. As we all know, there are no prenial rivers in Baluchistan.The rivers there therefore provide only for spate irrigation (i e when they flood in the rare rains).Dams have been built in ythe region since time immemorial to utalise this flood water.Being co-opertive entrprises, they required to be temporary structures so every one got a fair share of scrace water.The dams were breached according to custum to allow the water to pass to land further down stream after the upstream had been watered.This has been the normal practice. The Shadi Kaur Dam was built with simmilar ideas in mind (not as a temporary structure but but designed to pass any flood either).Funded in part by the Govrment of Muscut, it was an earth filled dam, that just blocked the path of the Shadi Kaur.It had no spilway or gates to pass any flood as none was expected to be passed over its crest.Who took this decision and on what basis is what has to be looked at.This togather with the historical rainfall data of the catchment area which will provide the basis of the decision.Several such small dams in the area also collapsed. But note that the Akhura Dam supplying Gawadar had a spillway and gates and passed 6" of flood water over the crest head safely.The floods all the way upto Jewni were not, repeat not caused just by the bursting of the Shadi Kaur Dam but had to do with unusal rains in Mekran.So to blame it all on just the bursting of this one dam is just trying to polticise a natural deaster. What is needed now is to rebuild all the demage and more, but with the technical lessons from these rains in mind.Just launching a witch hunt or trying to polticise the matter to score points is not the requirement at the moment.We have to think about the poor people who have no shelter, food or water.Let the Jamote of Las Bela work as hard as he can to procure these while the nationalists sit and criticse him.I dont see them lauching any apeal anywhere for funds/help as all they want to do is talk politics.The Sardars have not even visited the area to see for themselves what the situation is. Let all those people who are the real friends if the balouch stand up and help them especially in this time of their need. I dont see any sardar contributing or leading any appeal for help.All they can do to contribute is hateful words against others.I hope the voice of a baluch will not recomend that this is against balouch honour.It might be against tribal leaders pride and honour but proor people need help not words. Finally let me say I applaud the work being done by the Pakistan Armed Forces in Mekran to provide relief as well as that by Jam Yousaf from Quetta. We dont need to cut our noses to spite our faces.Pride has no place in the practical world.The people of Makran are not going to be more or less proud of their traditions by accepting this help.The more the better.And it should not stop there.After the immediate effects have been mitigated, I hope it will not stop there but other devalopment works will be speeded up to solve the many problems of the people in the area.I pray and hope this happens in our lifetime.Let us all work togather towards that and not be split with empty slogans and hot words which do not mean anything to the poor.The sardars and politicians can live and debate in their own world but the poor have to earn their living. If you really believe in democracy, parliament etc then bring these issues up in the parliament where the people have sent you to represent them.I have never seen any any motion put to debate on any issue which will bring about any improvement in the status of the poor people of Pakistan of any province.Only bycotts and other frivioulos things like that.Then they turn around and say we have no authority or power.On the contrary,in reality they have no idea or will to do anything except for themseves.We need reprasentirives who can change this situation and realy represent us rather than feed us dreams to fulfill their personal desires. Iqbal

Voice of a Baloch | February 17, 2005

Iqbalís arguments seem very familiar; I believe itís what Iíve been reading in government-supported/sponsored newspapers and propaganda. Furthermore, Iíve dealt with Baloch from all walks of life including those who are pro and anti Pakistani Raj; but I've never once met, even the oneís who live in NWFP, Punjab, or Sind, except now (M. Iqbal), who can express their opinion like a non-Baloch. (His sentiments for the Baloch sufferings is what gave him away.) By the way, there are very few non-Baloch who can empathize with our suffering at the hands of the Pakistani Raj. However, readers of this forum are intelligent enough to realise when a non-Baloch pretends to be a Baloch. My advice to M. Iqbal is to at least be truthful and not lie about his identity of being a Baloch. He should be proud of his ethnicity (whatever it is), and argue from that angle, not be a hypocrite who speaks for the Baloch. By the way, he should correct his spelling of "Baloch"; it is not spelled ìBalouchî (at least in the country where he is a loyal subject: Pakistan).

M.Iqbal | February 22, 2005

Well done Voice of a Baloch.When some one does not agree with you call him a non Baloch.Have an open mind and allow other views to prevail.Here is a letter written by a baloch to a paper in Pakistan.I suppose you will sat this is another non Baloch. "Source : DAWN Agreements abound which detail how the Khan of Kalat, the Jams of Lasbela, the Bugti and Marri Tumandars and other sardars sold bits and pieces of Balochistan to the British. For instance, the agreement between the British government and Sardar Mehrullah Khan Marri executed on October 24, 1885 states: "I, Sardar Mehrullah Khan, son of Nur Muhammad Khan, Bahawalanzi Guzni Marri, do hereby, in consideration of receiving from the British government an allowance in the form of service to the amount of Rs.300 to be increased to Rs.500 per mensem... cede in perpetuity to the said government the exclusive right to all petroleum or other mineral oil whatsoever found or which may hereafter be found at Khatan or in any other part of the Marri country with full liberty for the said government to extract and remove such petroleum or other oil in any manner and by any way that it may seem fit." A telegraph Agreement with the Jam of Beyla, dated 21st December 1861 says: "Jam Meer Khan, Chief of Lus Beyla...for a sum of Rs.10,000 yearly paid by the Political Agent at Khelat" permitted setting up of telegraph lines, with the stipulation, that, "obstruction or injury to the line may cause revocation of this agreement on the part of government at any time". An agreement entered into by the Khan of Kalat Mir Khudadad Khan executed at the Dasht Plain on June 8, 1883 states: "Mir Khudadad Khan of Kelat on behalf of himself and his heirs and successors hereby makes over and entrusts the entire management of the Quetta District and Niabat absolutely and with all the rights and privileges as well as full revenue, civil and criminal jurisdiction...with effect from 1st April, 1883," for an annual payment of Rs 25,000. The British also paid an allowance of "Rs.5,520, to the Bugtis, who had behaved themselves". In 1947 the people of Balochistan wholeheartedly endorsed the vision of Pakistan. The message of independence was welcomed and brought the hope of emancipation from the sardari yolk. Significantly, no sardar was in the forefront of the Pakistan movement. Economic vibrancy, agricultural self-sufficiency and the peoples' penchant for education started to progressively transform the province. Later, every political party in the National Assembly voted in favour of the Constitution adopted in 1973 and the regionalist or factionalists (mistakenly referred to as nationalists) stood rejected. The hangman of an elected prime minister however reopened settled issues. General Zia feared retribution and his self-preservation instinct made him undermine the PPP and the entire political process. The interest of the generals and the state of Pakistan started to diverge. Pursuant to a depoliticization policy non-party elections were held. The people were encouraged to vote for ethnic and tribal considerations. In Balochistan this policy gave a boost to the sardari system that was dying a slow and natural death. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had directly come up against the intransigent ways of the Sardars in Balochistan when he wanted to build roads, schools and hospitals in areas where the sardar exercised influence. The sardar realized that development and education would result in the weakening of their control over the people. The National Assembly passed the System of Sardari (Abolition) Act in 1976 which prescribed punishment of three years imprisonment for anyone exercising any right of sardari, or being "in possession of, or derive any benefit from, any land belonging to a tribe". This law stated that sardari "is the worst remnant of the oppressive feudal and tribal system which, being derogatory to human dignity and freedom, is repugnant to the spirit of democracy and equality as enunciated by Islam and enshrined in the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and opposed to economic advancement of the people". The Marri and Mengal sardars raised the nature and scale of revolt; they never forgave Bhutto for trying to complete the pre-independence work of the Muslim League in liberating the people of Balochistan. Zia's coup was rapturously applauded by the sardars of Balochistan, and a partnership was forged between the generals and the sardars. The sardars were pampered and handed state largesse and provided unstinted support by the agencies. The generals effectively revived the sardari system by violating the law. The sardari clan draws deep into the resources of Balochistan and ensures that the people remain subjugated so that they cannot object. Balochistan has had the misfortune of a succession of sardars as its chief ministers, senior ministers and governors. The sardars of the Mengal, Bugti, Marri, Raisani and Jams of Lasbela; a kaleidoscope of Baloch and Brohi sardars have wielded power since Zia's days. When the Mengal sardar's government was dismissed in Balochistan the beneficiary was another sardar, Akbar Bugti. However, now Attaullah Mengal supports Akbar Bugti wholeheartedly. The sardari interest transcends any other. The 'unionized' bond of sardars never permits the mantle of power to slip from their hands. The province once again has a sardar in the chief minister's seat. The people of Balochistan are unlikely to see development as long as the preferred choice of the agencies for the post of chief minister remains the sardar. Of the development amount earmarked in the last budget for Balochistan only 30 per cent has been spent by the provincial government headed by a sardar, confirming that sardars do not want Balochistan to develop. With Zia's exit and the revival of the political process the sardari system again came under pressure. The sardars of the Mengal went to sojourn in London and of the Marri to Afghanistan. There were no longer any safe seats in elections. The larger Bijrani group of the Marri tribe openly rebelled against the Marri sardar. Shairoo Marri ('General Shroff') declared that the sardari system has brought nothing but misery to the Marri people and that henceforth no one be considered a sardar amongst the Marri. With the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan and the fall of Kabul the Marri sardar became a hostage to the Taliban, but not for long. Generals came forward again to resuscitate a sardar. A Pakistan Air Force plane was flown to retrieve the Marri sardar and bring him and his family safely back to Pakistan. On the return of the Marri sardar the ubiquitous agencies decided to put together a cache of money for the 'rehabilitation of the Marri' of which the common Marri did not see a single rupee. Generals have been emulating the British practice of purchasing sardars under the mistaken belief that they represent the tribe. The British documented purchased loyalties: their successors in uniform struck secret deals. Money is doled out to the sardars from 'secret funds'. No questions, no accountability, no transparency. This largesse helps the sardar in his weaponization programme. No sardar dares go into his own area without the security of his heavily armed lashkar. Bugtis also rebelled against the Tumandar of their tribe. From amongst them Mir Hamza had the audacity to stand against the nominee of the sardar in an election. Mir Hamza was murdered, but his father, the eccentric Khan Muhammad, promised to avenge his death. The murder of Salal Bugti followed. Akbar Bugti, with all his might, could not contain his own people. Khan Muhammad and his entire clan were removed to Multan and the Bugti Tumandar given a free hand by those whose duty is to uphold the law. Those convicted of Salal Bugti's murder filed an appeal in the Balochistan High Court. No local dared accept the brief and Advocate Talib Rizvi was flown in from Lahore, but he could not represent his clients as he was shot at the gate of the high court. The agencies are still working out who shot Talib Rizvi. Today, Suleman, the self-proclaimed Khan of Kalat, is waxing eloquent about the Balochistan Liberation Army. However, his uncle adorned General's Zia's federal cabinet. Suleman also forgets to enlighten us how he managed to beat the murder charge against him as an absconder. During the Marri sardar's absence the common Marri started to prosper. Mohammad Nawaz Marri, a local of Kohlu town in the Marri heartland, became a high court judge and was in line to become the chief justice of Balochistan. He would refer to the sardars of Balochistan as 'evergreens' and joked about their strong 'trade union'. To a sardar such a man is an anathema. He was mercilessly gunned down in the cantonment area of Quetta on his way to the high court - the first murder of a high court judge in the history of Pakistan and it happened during General Musharraf's time. The sardars, their fathers and their children, despite having never worked, have ample money; live princely lives, in a flurry of land cruisers and a retinue of armed guards, while their people are in utter poverty. Today there is no writ of the government in Balochistan. The sardars directly or impliedly admit blowing up telegraph and electricity lines, gas pipelines and railway tracks under the bogey of the Balochistan Liberation Army. Having removed all opposition from within their own tribes with the help of the generals and having been permitted to maintain their private lashkars, their 'trade union' is all set to renegotiate the wages of blackmail. The three members of the government who are going to resolve the 'Balochistan issue' hail from Punjab, had supported Gen Zia, and have displayed flexible loyalties. They have not so far met a single lawyer, teacher, doctor or businessman of the province. Before this trio gets busy tampering with the Constitution, again, they should ensure implementation of the existing laws such as the System of Sardari (Abolition) Act, and "private armies forbidden" (Article 256 of the Constitution). The people of Balochistan want disclosure of the amounts paid by the agencies to the sardars and seek justice for their slain. They want the federal and Balochistan governments to realize that the resources of Balochistan belong to its people, and not the sardars. " Iqbal

shaukat tareen | February 24, 2005

i think it necessry that in pakistan all nations should live at equal basis.It is also very necessry that has 50 persent population in province province so they should also consider equal

shahid Mahmood | February 27, 2005

Oh, dear, how can people like these as one behind this "voice of a Baloch" be so sentimental in negating the facts. Forget for a moment every other thing and just look at the fact, the sardari and jagirdari system is not existant in all those areas of punjab where you see a better standard of life, and all those areas in punjab like Bahawalpur, DG khan etc where it still exists to "some" level are underdeveloped. Sardari system, in Pakiatan if I may call it for my own beliving, har 3 levels, not so strong in above punjab areas, a little stronger in upper sindh, and very babaric and strong in Balochistan. The level of underdevelopement is strongly equated to these levels. I remember Mr. mumtaz Doltana a nawab and cm in west pakitan did not allow a middle school in Ludan (his town of 15.000 at that time), and the first school was only built after his death and when the lands were distributed and nawabi in the area was finished. Wake up boy I know you are not ignorant but emotional and trying to bite the truth to justify your false cause, which God forbid if could be realized, can only make it worse for all of you, as Sardars will even take the last piece of bread.

Dinesh Arora | March 02, 2005

Why do keep on deleting my commnets??? If you can't read the truth then why have this discussion board.

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