The Baluchistan Issue II

Posted by sepoy on January 24, 2006 · 2 mins read

Via Watandost, I learned that Carnegie Papers just released a report on Baluchistan called Pakistan: The Resurgence of Baluch Nationalism [pdf] by Frederic Grare. It is worth reading for a number of reasons. It strongly suggests that Baluch marginalization and dispossession are major factors in the uprising. The projects of Gwadar or Sui have not materialized as beneficial entities to the local population who feel without a voice or participatory role. That the fruits of such programs are being siphoned off by the tribal chiefs is not addressed, though. It also clarifies that only three out of twenty-eight tribal chiefs - Bugti, Mengal and Murri - are in open revolt against the center which belies Islamabad's claim that this is an insurgency fueled by tribal chiefs for their benefit and points that the revolt has spread to Makran. Lastly, there are some worthwhile observations on foreign involvements - US, Iran or India.

Of course, the real danger of a nationalist uprising is the fear of secession. To that end, Grare writes:

If Pakistan is divided at some time in the future, an independent Baluchistan would become in all probability a new zone of instability in the region. Its instability would affect the interests of all the regional players. Yet, unless Pakistan changes its policy toward Baluchistan dramatically, the possibility of Baluchistan eventually gaining its independence cannot be ruled out.

And the policy that Pakistan is pursuing right now is hellbent on achieving secession: consider these reports of summary executions and civilian bombings. I hope it isn't too futile to point to The General that the lessons of 1971 need revisiting.

related: The Baluchistan Issue.


Sluggish Slug | January 25, 2006

If one will recall the unrest of 1960s and 70s, secession in Balochistan is highly unlikely. Here are my reasons: The critical mass and the organization for outright rebellion are absent; the Sardars are rather prone to bickering and can be easily "divided and conquered" (Bugti actually helped break the earlier rebellion by switching sides); and finally, a good portion of the province is now populated by Pushtoons. I hate to despair but I don't think the General Sahib will glance at history, nor will the Baloch Sardars get off their horses. The accounts of the earlier Baloch rebellion make for horrific reading, and I certainly hope things won't degenerate to poisoning village water wells and gassing livestock herds on which Baloch nomads depend for a living.

Concerned Baloch | January 25, 2006

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has once and for all settled the debate whether Musharraf and his cronies (Musharraf, Inc.) or the Baloch Sardars are telling the truth about the Genocide of Baloch. It is now confirmed that the Pakistani military used fighter jets, gunship helicopters, heavy artillery, and ground troops to oppress and massacre the Baloch who are demanding: 1. Equitable distribution of resources; 2. End to building new military cantonment within Balochistan; 3. Stopping the marginalizing of indigenous Baloch areas with settlers; 4. Skills development of Baloch to participate in infrastructure development; and 5. Induction of Baloch in various provincial and federal government institutions. But, according to Musharraf, Inc., the Baloch with aspirations are "miscreants" and "India" is to be blamed for it. Why can't he and his company grow up and accept responsibility for neglecting Balochistan since March 1948 when Balochistan was forcibly annexed with Pakistan? If the Muslims of India were able to break "Mother India" to create Pakistan, what is stopping the Baloch to break from the federation to form their own independent Balochistan? In all fairness to how the Baloch are treated over these past 57 years of occupation by the Pakistani government, it should not surprise anyone if we, the Baloch, demand total autonomy. Perhaps Grare's words may eventually come true: "...the possibility of Baluchistan eventually gaining its independence cannot be ruled out."

emullah | January 25, 2006

Baluchistan has the lowest literacy rate in the country and Education is provincial matter. Just ask who is keeping its masses illiterate? Who takes loans and grants from Federal Govt and where do they go? Why the trickle down effect is not working? Why Sardars dont allow schools in their area? Where do they spend all the royalty? On Guns or Butter? Here are some interesting facts I just claculated from 2004-2005 economic survey in Millions of Pak Rupees, Population in Million The tax revenue is what these provinces recieve as their share out of the total revenue by the Fed Govt it is not what is collected from these provinces. If you look at Balochistan the actual Tax Revenue collected from the province will be much less. I talked to a Balochi Professor last year who was visiting US for a post Doc. He admits that there is marginalization but he believes that these Sardars are the real cause behind it how spend all the grant on arming their tribes to teeth rather then spending money on their people. Don't you think Punjabis are just as holes.

Concerned Baloch | January 25, 2006

Emullah, Your comments are totally out of line. You have based your opinion on what you've read in the government-sponsored media. I'll address the weaknesses of your argument below: 1. Agreed that Balochistan has the lowest literacy rate. For your information, the government doesn't hand out funds to local Sardars to build schools; instead the government builds the schools, hires the staff, and then manages the operation. If Balochistan has the lowest literacy rate, it's not because the Sardars "don't allow schools in their area"; instead it's due to government's own policies to neglect spreading education in the sparsely populated rural areas of Balochistan. So, it's the government that's keeping the "masses illiterate", not the Sardars. 2. Loans and grants are not handed out to the Sardars. The Pakistani government and the ISI provide these loans and grants only to their cronies, and not to nationalist Sardars. For verification purposes, please read the names off the list of a recent White Paper published by the government on loan defaulters. 3. The reason the trickle down effect is not working in Balochistan is because the majority of industrialist, businessmen, and government employees are from other provinces. Any profits or bribe-money they collect is sent to their home provinces, and not reinvested in Balochistan. 4. The royalty from natural resources of Balochistan is not given to the Sardars, but instead it goes into the provincial government's coffer. The Sardars have only leased their land to government at nominal rates (for constructing buildings and gas plant), and they are not paid anything for the gas produced. Furthermore, there is an inequitable distribution of royalty from natural gas produced in Balochistan, which is priced at less than half of what other provinces are getting for their gas. 5. It is the Pakistani armed forces that siphons over 80% of Pakistan's budget, so it can purchase "Guns", and of course, not "Butter". The Sardars are busy making sure that their respective tribes are making a livelihood. And, the nomadic lifestyle forces the Baloch to protect themselves, their family, and their assets. In order to do that, they have to arm themselves with guns. By presenting a chart with numbers (so called economic survey) doesn't prove anything. You expressed that the tax revenue is what these provinces receive from the Federal Government, but it's not the amount collected by these provinces on their own!!! So, what relevance does this argument have to do with the subject matter of this discussion? Quoting a Balochi professor doesn't really validate your comments. If he's the one who provided you with information that you so eloquently expressed in this forum, then I regret to inform you that your mentor lacked knowledge of the problems in Balochistan. Finally, the only thing I can say about you is that it's a shame that you didn't research the subject prior to writing about it. Unfortunately, you are not alone; most Pakistanis are in the same boat. They just listen to government propaganda and believe every word of it.

emullah | January 26, 2006

How much was paid to Khan of Kallat? How much was paid by the government of Pakistan to Oman? I know the government started building schools itself the reason was that the Oxford educated sardars wanted to keep their people nomad and subjugated. Therefore government stopped channeling money to them and strted spending it itself in Balochistan. The issue of distribution of funds whether it comes form economic survey or wroldbank reports has some truth in it. The percapita expenditure is highest in Balochistan. The Industries like Sandak or the new seaport are highly technical ventures which require lot of expertise. Given the literacy rate in Balochistan, which is very unfortunate off course, it became difficult for young Balochs to find employment. Naturally it make them feel that they are not benefitting from these projects. >You expressed that the tax revenue is what these provinces receive from the Federal Government, but it’s not the amount collected by these provinces on their own!!! So, what relevance does this argument have to do with the subject matter of this discussion? The total tax that is collected from the entire country is again distributed back to provinces to meet their expenditures. The figures given in that table are about the share each province recieves out of total federal tax revenue. I will find data (if available on net) about how much tax revenue is collected from each province. As far as I remember the biggest contributor was Sindh (This was when I was worked with National Tax Comission 10 years ago and situation has not changed much). I am not a government servant anyomre and I don't like Army' dominance either (I know how much truth is in data and how much truth Sardars and Wadaris tell). Social problems are always coupled with economic problems but the truth is that there is more than economic and social problem. The level of grants the powerful were recieving have reduced they want their share back not for people but for themselves. That is what the fight is all about. As far as the grviances of young Balochs are concerned they shaould ask their politicans where did all the money go when they were little kids. Why schools were not built in their area. If Sardars were really concerned about the welfare of their people they could have even built schools and universities out of their own pocket to show their sincerness. So that they can make people believe that they are the one who are not keeping their people slaves rather it is the government.

hoopoe | January 27, 2006

sepoy: any good sources on the history of baluch nationalism? i know there have been attempts to secede from Pakistan in the past but I cannot seem to recall the specifics at the point.

sepoy | January 27, 2006

hoopoe: there aren't any book-length studies but if you have access to JSTOR, you can find Ziring's article. If not, email me and I will send it to you.

Sluggish Slug | January 27, 2006

I know of a publication that pre-dates the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and sounds remarkably like the one above. I think it is called: "In Afghanistan's shadow : Baluch nationalism and Soviet temptations" by some Harrison guy. If I recall correctly it is also published by Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. It is by far the only one I know that goes in considerable depth. Apart from that anecdotes can be found in Naipul and Ahmad Rashid. Also, by some accounts Bugti does not appreciate "Baluch" spelling, he likes "Baloch" better. I just thought to let you know in case you ever would want to send him a birthday card or something.

emullah | January 27, 2006

Those who study the fight for Balochistan should take into account these facts as well. 1. After independence Khan of Qallat was paid for the state of Qallat. 2. Gawadar and adjacent areas were bought from the State of Oman 3. The entire Nation paid for it. A claim to control the resources by Baluchistan's few landlords is also injustice. So are the extra judicial killings. The life of an ordinary amry man who is serving the army so that he can make living for his family is as precious as the life of a tribesman living in that area. So launching gernades and mortars on those who are trying to protect installations just because they have orders to stand there all night is also injustice. Can we talk about what happens to those army personnel who are captured by the tribesmen. In sardar's word "they will not go back alive" I support my troops but I don't support their involvement in politics. I support the people of my nation and willing to sacrifice but I am not willing to yield to extremism of any kind (The table in my earlier post shows that other provinces are making sacrifices as well). However, one should keep in mind anywhere in the world where people take up arms against their own people rules are broken by both sides. So the best thing is to sit down and negotiate. Human life is more sacred than piece of land. What North and South learned in their fight in America should be learned by Pakistanis as well. If we bury our hatchets we will be a prosperous nation. The way for dialogue is always open. The young people of our nation want to do the dialogue and I urge all to bring them forward. Don't listen to those politicans who are serving at the cost of our blood, listen to your mind and work for peace.

hoopoe | January 27, 2006

yes i have access to jstor kind sir. :-)

teeam | February 12, 2006

Baluchistan issue is only the issue of some upper people of Baluchistan who want their own state like UAE states. i have the opertunity in to serve as medical doctor in these areas only doctors and engineers from out side work there not local people who like to work in Quetta or Karachi. The sardars treat their people like slaves and not only become angry if they go to hospital less to go to schools.Only few ex students but mostly paid persons giving the trouble like firing rockets and laying landmines. Now the main cause of uprising is due to development in Baluchistan. Sardards want money to be handed over to them personally and even today convince people the roads are to enslave the local population. The govenment has a weak policy otherwise a army operation of wazistan would eliminate the problem within 1 month.It is now the time and perhaps God has given the chance that foolish sardars have given the opertunity to free the people of Maari and Bugti areas. We should learn from living nations like UK and USA how they react whenever the trouble comes to the recogniztion of the state. Nobody is above the state. Some foolish sardars think that they would blackmail th government or can make their district free like Banladesh have never saw the map nor have seen the calender. It is not 1000 miles away a area but encircled inside heart of Pakistan. Noone even a bird cannot even escape from it. They cannot even stand against the only two semi army units of FC what to talk about army. In 70s only one brigade of army has capture thousands of men and secured the area.Some sardars and their employs think that India can rescue them havent seen feww years back when about half million indian army stayed for 15 months on red alert on Pakistan border but didnot have the courage to cross the border. The only solution of Baluchistan is to free the people from Sardars. It is very good time which sardars have themselves have provided.

Awais | February 17, 2006

This problem occurs only bcz of lack of education,they follow,wht their sardars says,as far as govt is concernd ,it never treats them as a part of pakistan,being a student wht i have observed,baloch people always have been deprived of everything altough they r hard worker,their feudals r making this issue more noticable to others by let their people feel that they r being wrongly treated. this problem can easily solved by dailogues.

VK | April 23, 2006

Balochistan independance is possible. A guerilla army can overcome a superior force. Balochis need to publicise their cause in the western media. My advice focus on the European/British media, here people are interested in the US supporting the dictator Mushasaraf against an ethnic minority. At the moment Mushasaraf has a nice image as a moderate who want democracy. If he is seen as a dictator crushing an ethnic minority then he will be seen like Saddam Hussein. Western nation are also interested in oil/gas contracts. Baluch indepedance maybe good for business.

mohammad balcoh | May 12, 2007

WHAT VER IS WRITTEN IS TRUE BUT I THINK U SHOUL GATHER INFORMATION ABOUT BSO AND THE AIM OF BSO bcoz BSO is struggling for the students and for the beeter educantion of baloch people we do not want any thing but our basic rights

Hair Uddin Baloch | December 26, 2009

what is the real issue of Balochistan ? what is the reality of sepritest movement in Balochistan today ?