Modern-Day 'Great Game' Plays Out In Baluchistan

Discussion in 'Balochistan - Freedom Struggle' started by ajtr, Oct 15, 2010.

  1. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Modern-Day 'Great Game' Plays Out In Baluchistan​

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    Almost since Pakistan's birth, its government has been battling a low-level insurgency in the southwest region of Baluchistan.

    The region accounts for nearly half of Pakistan's territory. Its strategic position and natural resources are attracting the involvement of foreign powers, which are making the insurgency worse.

    Baluchistan is mostly a no-go zone for foreign journalists. But many Baluch nationalists escape the dangers and poverty of their homeland and travel to the port of Karachi to conduct business.

    Many ordinary Baluchis in search of opportunity come to Baluch Para, a neighborhood of roughly 1,000 people in Karachi. Nationalist graffiti and posters of martyred and missing Baluch rebel leaders plaster the area's dusty walls.

    A student activist says many young Baluchis see no hope in negotiating with a government that has ignored them for so long.

    "Baluchistan has been with Pakistan for 62 or 63 years. What they got?" he asks indignantly. "They got nothing. They have no school, colleges, etc. After the experience of 62 or 63 years, you think the political process can solve the Baluchistan issue?"

    The activist was concerned for his safety, so he spoke on the condition that he be identified only by his last name, Baluch. That's pretty good cover, since many Baluchis use that surname out of national pride.

    Different Players, Same Game

    Baluchistan is Pakistan's largest and most sparsely populated province. It borders on Iran and Afghanistan, where some Baluchis also live. Many Baluchis look physically different — their features are more Middle Eastern than South Asian — from other Pakistanis. Ethnically, the Baluch are related to the Kurds of Iraq and Turkey.

    Islamabad has never established thorough control over Baluchistan. Its independent tribes have resisted invaders from Alexander the Great to the present day, much like the Pashtun who straddle the border with Afghanistan further north.

    Baluch nationalist and former senator Tahir Bizenjo hears in all of this historical echoes of the days when the British and Russian empires once fought proxy wars and vied for spheres of influence in Baluchistan.

    "To me, the 19th-century 'Great Game' has started in this region again," he observes, "but in different forms and with different players."

    The most conspicuous player in Baluchistan right now is China. A government-owned firm is mining gold and copper at Saindak. But Baluchistan National Party Secretary-General Jehanzeb Baluch says the Baluch have been shut out of the profits.

    "Every nation has a right to pursue its interest," he concedes. "But the means should be fair. They should make sure that their interests do not collide with the local people's interest."

    Baluch nationalists say the Chinese employ few Baluchis in the mines, and the precious metals are taken back to China to be refined.

    "Baluchis feel helpless that they are being sandwiched in all these powers and this great game," Jehanzeb Baluch continues. "The Chinese are interested in getting to the Straits of Hormuz, the energy corridor. The main gate of this corridor is Gwadar, Baluchistan."

    The Chinese have helped build and run the port of Gwadar, which is located on the Arabian Sea, just 180 nautical miles from the entrance to the Persian Gulf.

    A Counterweight To India

    China's aim is to bring Middle Eastern oil into Gwadar, through Pakistan and into the adjoining Chinese territory of Xinjiang. This could be done by trucking the oil up the Karakorum highway, which connects the two countries, or by a yet-to-be-constructed rail link. This would bypass India and a strategic choke point at the Straits of Malacca.

    University of Karachi international relations expert Farhan Siddiqui explains that China's strategy is to "establish good ties with Pakistan so that Pakistan can be used as a counterweight against India, in the same sense that the Americans are using, or utilizing, India as a counterweight to China."

    One of the biggest complaints among the Baluch about foreign intervention in their region is that while the U.S. arms Pakistan's army to fight the Taliban, Islamabad uses U.S. weapons to kill the Baluch, says former senator Bizenjo.

    "Washington has been the supporter of human rights violators, especially in Pakistan," he says. "No sensitive American citizen, if he is familiar with the politics of Pakistan, can deny it."

    Baluch nationalists say more than a thousand of their people remain missing, many of them probably killed by Pakistani authorities. Many Baluchis believe the military killed Nawab Akhbar Bugti, the former governor of Baluchistan and a powerful sardar, or tribal leader.

    Pakistan Wants 'Baluchistan, Not The Baluch'

    Pakistan's federal government has promised to address the issue of the disappearances as part of a comprehensive deal on the Baluch issue. But nationalist leaders say the real power in Pakistan — the military — has no interest in compromising with the Baluch.

    Jehanzeb Baluch, of the Baluchistan National Party, is especially pessimistic about Islamabad's intentions.

    "They just want Baluchistan, not the Baluch," he says bitterly. "And any Baluch, according to Islamabad, who is a good Baluch is a dead Baluch."

    Siddiqui, of the University of Karachi, says it is doubtful that Baluchistan could ever become independent, because the Baluch are deeply divided between seeking outright independence and seeking autonomy within Pakistan.

    But many observers do see hope for autonomy in Baluchistan. They are particularly encouraged by the development of Baluch society. The rule of the sardars, who nationalists say have always been aligned with the central government, and their harsh tribal codes are fading. A well-educated Baluch middle class, meanwhile, is emerging and demanding its political rights.
     
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  3. maomao

    maomao Veteran Hunter of Maleecha Senior Member

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    Balochistan should become an Independent Country, and Chinese should be sent back to their huts. Its clear in near future, US will realize the Chinese ill-intentions of loot and plunder with its new found partner in crime the greedy Pakistan army, and will support BLA and other like minded powers to get Balochistan its much deserved Independence from ruthless bigoted Pakistani Mercenary army!
     
  4. sesha_maruthi27

    sesha_maruthi27 Senior Member Senior Member

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    Great people have faced Great fall. This has happent in the past, will happen in the present and future too. Who knows, may be there shall come a day when something special may happen on the EARTH. On that day all the great planning done by the great people may be crushed or burned down to ashes. Advanced technology means the fastest way of destroying or getting destroyed. What ever any country is doing, it is only to get or to reach for the distant resources which are available on the EARTH. Recently everybody came to know that there are abundunt resources of rare earth metals in AFGHANISTAN and PAKISTAN. So, everybody are interested to getting there. U.S. is the first to go to Afghan and they are the first to claim the resources in Afghan.
     
  5. Tshering22

    Tshering22 Sikkimese Saber Senior Member

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    What nonsense gasbag talk is this? The present sort of tribal arrangement of Baloch people wasn't there until the arrival of Islam in the sub-continent. Alexander's first war was with Porus who was the ruler of present day Pakistan and a Punjabi. Alexander's last generals' conflict was when the Mauryan Empire was at its peak that saw the battle between General Seleucus and Chandragupta Maurya himself, who happened to be a Bihari (Magadha their empire's capital was where Bihar is today). From where did Balochi tribes "resist" Alexander?

    Wrong knowledge is worse than zero knowledge. That idiot of a reporter needs some serious history lessons.
     
  6. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    you need to look into Balochis resistance of greeks in to detail.Alexander lost half of his army while travelling back through the deserts of balochistan in battles with balochi tribes.


    http://www.answers.com/topic/gedrosia
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  7. anoop_mig25

    anoop_mig25 Senior Member Senior Member

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    my first question if there was really any good mineral wealth in Baluchistan then why did n`t western company ran to milk it . its china only doing that job for shake of getting access to oil of middle east by passing india and paying very less to pakistan
     

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