Balochistan boiling over

Published: March 5, 2012

The writer is author of The Gun Tree: One Woman’s War (Oxford University Press, 2001) and lives in Bhurban

As Balochistan edges ever closer to open, rather than covert, revolt against a country that some say it never actually wanted to be a part of in the first place. And, as it does, that our supposed allies in the all but failed ‘war on terror’ have joined India in supporting the insurgents in their call for independence which, given the current volatile situation throughout the region, should give pause for thought.

Ever since the creation of Pakistan, successive governments have meted out some unforgivably dreadful treatment to the people of a province bursting at the seams with mineral wealth and, for many years, both the military and the paramilitary have violated the human rights of the Baloch at each and every given and ‘created’ opportunity. Yet, everyone — except the unfairly persecuted Baloch themselves — raises their eyebrows in astonishment at Baloch nationalist attempts at asserting their indisputable right to live on equal terms with the rest of Pakistan’s inhabitants.

Balochistan, the largest and least developed province, is continually exploited in one way or another and the plight of its people, the majority of them struggling to survive against odds stacked high against them, is totally ignored or temporarily assuaged with a battery of empty governmental promises which, not surprisingly, are no longer accepted with even the proverbial pinch of salt. That India, despite repeated denials to the contrary, has long given active support to the separatist movement present there is no secret.

America’s timing on publicly poking the Baloch fire, as it did by tabling a Senate bill calling for resolution on the province’s problems recently, is alarming if it is examined, as it should be, in conjunction with the current stand-off with Iran, the despicable mess it has created in Afghanistan and its ever-increasing interference in Pakistan itself. The restive province of Balochistan, sitting as it does slap bang in the middle, so to speak, of its ‘problematic’ neighbours, could very well be the hinge on which long-term regional stability hangs and oiling rusty hinges for personal gain is a skill in which, quite wrongly as it turns out, America arrogantly thinks it excels.

The idea of an All-Parties Conference (APC) on Balochistan, as mooted by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, has done nothing more than raise the hackles of everyone, including Baloch leaders. In the unlikely event of the APC actually taking place, it is liable to raise far more questions than it can conceivably answer. Therefore, it may serve to increase the belligerent animosity it intended to solve, which would be to play right into the hands of those under the impression that they will gain by pushing for, first the independence of Balochistan and then, according to some analysts, the dismemberment of Pakistan as currently designated on the global map.

If, or more likely when, the people of Balochistan combine to take decisive revolutionary action against their ‘oppressors’, the resultant bloody outcome has the potential to spark a civil war. The only way to prevent any such conflagration from erupting is for the government of Pakistan to resolve all Baloch issues on an emergency basis and this time, with deeds rather than hollow words.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 6th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (20)

  • Babloo
    Mar 6, 2012 - 1:38AM

    So just as Bangladesh problem was made by India , so this Baluchistan revolt is built in India too. Good analysis. You seem to be a very independent and honest reporter and not paid for by establishment to do mindless, farcical propoganda.

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  • Cynical
    Mar 6, 2012 - 5:11AM

    Let the Balochs have their independence.In no time they will understand how miserable life is, without and beyond Pakistan, as Bangladesh has learned at their own peril.
    Pakistan is a nuclear power and an influential player in the world stage.US,UK,EU,China and even India, cannot ignore us anymore and all are vying among themselves to have a friendly tie with us.Who cares for Bangladesh?

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  • MarkH
    Mar 6, 2012 - 8:00AM

    @Cynical:
    You’re not seen as a major influential player due to your nukes by those countries. You’re more like global warming.

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  • LMAO
    Mar 6, 2012 - 10:04AM

    @cynical – are you a full time or a partime comedian?

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  • Harry Stone
    Mar 6, 2012 - 10:05AM

    @Cynical:

    You must be on drugs… Just where does PAK have any influence? All PAK can do is export terror to its surrounding neighbors.

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  • Californian
    Mar 6, 2012 - 10:46AM

    @cynical: What have you been smoking?

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  • wonderer
    Mar 6, 2012 - 12:12PM

    @Cynical:

    What would your advice to Balochs be if Pakistan had no nukes?

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  • Baloch
    Mar 6, 2012 - 12:15PM

    @cynical

    Do you know Bangladeshi Takka is stronger than Pak Ruppe at this moment? What are you chatting about?

    The day Balochsitan gets free its gas and mineral reserve revenues will put this place in the top 20 nations in terms for GDP based for its mere population. Look at the examples of Qatar and Oman.

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  • unbeliever
    Mar 6, 2012 - 12:41PM

    @Cynical:

    bangladeshis may not be the most developed species, yet they are forging ahead. what about you.

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  • zalim singh
    Mar 6, 2012 - 1:15PM

    @ cynical, we cannot ignore cancer also.

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  • Asad Baloch
    Mar 6, 2012 - 1:21PM

    @cynical: 200% agreed with you.

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  • sadhu
    Mar 6, 2012 - 2:33PM

    @Cynical:
    Tell your governement to expedite the process and throw Balochs out of Pak.

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  • sadhu
    Mar 6, 2012 - 2:36PM

    Pakistan doesnot seem to be capable of doing anything. Poor thing! USA is unnecessarlily accusing it of propping up terrorists. It cant create even a small probelm for itself like that in Baluchistan. It needs help of India, USA etc. for this also.

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  • ukmuslim
    Mar 6, 2012 - 4:21PM

    @cynical
    if it is satire, i am with you.

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  • Cynical
    Mar 6, 2012 - 5:09PM

    @Californian

    I don’t smoke at all.I don’t drink either ( it’s a pre-emptive measure, in case next time you accuse me of drinking.)

    @ All and sundry

    Make fun of my opinion,mock to your heart’s content (if that makes you feel better and superior) but just wait until the US,NATO leaves Afghanista.
    Then you will see the real power and influence of Pakistan in full force, and hopefully stop commenting on Pakistan in such condescending manner.

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  • Anonymous
    Mar 6, 2012 - 5:11PM

    As it usually happens when Pakistanis get to discuss Balochistan, the comments have drifted way off the track.

    Apparently, this kind of attitude is representative of Pakistani attitude towards addressing Balochistan issue i.e. non-serious !!!Recommend

  • SoundofFury
    Mar 6, 2012 - 6:41PM

    @Cynical:
    Is that a joke? Pakistan was not an influential player in the world even before 9/11 (I do no think anyone of friends even heard of the place), when NATO was not in Afghanistan. The only reason it is in the news today is in the context of the war on terror. Seriously no one really gives a rip about a bunch of tribal people in AfPak.

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  • Mar 6, 2012 - 8:19PM

    @Anonymous:
    “Apparently, this kind of attitude is representative of Pakistani attitude towards addressing Balochistan issue i.e. non-serious !!!”

    Not just Balochistan.

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  • Tahir Ali
    Mar 7, 2012 - 1:41AM

    Merely focusing on the internal factors alone may not lead us to a permanent solution of Balochistan issue. Besides having abundance of mineral / energy resources, Balochistan, today, has gained a centre stage as a corridor for pursuance of USA’s ‘containment of China’ and ‘Asia-Pacific’ strategies and for exploiting the energy resources of Central Asia. To achieve these objectives, USA and its allies, including India are working on two options; (1) To pursue creation of Greater Balochistan for securing the required corridor. It is, however, an option fraught with grave ramifications as involves Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Moreover, the envisaged independent Balochistan may become ungovernable, as Afghanistan, and a safe-haven for extremist groups (2) As such, the more viable option being pursued is to secure a corridor by cutting the Pakistan’s Western Balochistan along the Iranian border to be known as ‘International strategic corridor’ for serving the interests of USA and its allies. A leadership in Pakistan, made pliable through incentives or coercion, may agree to provide such a corridor or the same would be achieved by creating environment for intervention through inciting internal strife, for which few dissident Baloch leaders are already on board.
    As such, besides addressing the internal issues, peace in Balochistan is also contingent upon how the Pakistani leadership tackles the multifarious external challenges emanating from conflicting interests of foreign powers, especially the USA and its allies.

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  • Zulaikha
    Mar 7, 2012 - 1:48AM

    @Cynical:

    Eat Nuclear, Sleep Nuclear and Keep Nuclear. We are in search of humanity not made in China Nuclear bombs. I am assure the bomb itself will not work as Eeman of 90 thousand soldiers didnt worked in Bangladesh.

    Baloch are very weak people but dont forget Balochistan is super-powerful – this time you are confronted with Balochistan as a land not with malnourished Baloch people.

    Very miscalculated the scenario…its behind you and your bosses comprehension.

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