Story of illegal Annexation of Baluchistan by Pakistan


Tihar Jail
Oct 2, 2009
Anti-Baloch clique? — I —Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

The Khan affirmed his intention to build Balochistan as a prosperous sovereign country in which the Baloch could retain their identity and live in accordance with their traditions and establish relations through treaties of friendship with neighbouring states

The secret, if it ever was, is eventually out that there is in fact an anti-Baloch clique with its own agenda and powerful enough to threaten even the highest office of the land. No, this not the surmise of a pro-Baloch columnist but comes direct from the horse's mouth, well at least a horse lover's mouth: yes, the president himself.

At the ground breaking ceremony of the Winder Dam project he said that espousal of the rights of Balochistan by him had angered "certain elements" and they were now out to remove him; some journalists termed these elements as the 'anti Baloch clique'. He said, "The Aghaz-e-Huqooq-i-Balochistan package is the right of the people of Balochistan and we have to implement it. But they do not want this to happen. Therefore, they want to remove me." So now we know that this powerful clique does not even tolerate an ineffective and largely useless Balochistan package.

The president, as constrained and curbed as his authority and movement may be, still has the entire resources of the state at his disposal to learn and be informed about matters that common citizens or for that matter out-of-power politicians do not even get a whiff of. With his wherewithal he certainly knows that this anti-Baloch clique has the clout to threaten his tenure if he is overtly pro-Baloch or even seems to be patronising them.

This clique definitely has to be anti-democratic and paranoid as who else would remove an elected head of state simply for perceived misdeeds; because certainly the president has done nothing to curb the injustices against the Baloch or redress their grievances in the nearly two years that his party has been in power. Empty apologies do nothing to heal grievous wounds.

This clique certainly has not come into being all of a sudden or only after Zardari became the president. It must have existed long before and must be having a few achievements to its credit. It must also have the power to even threaten someone who has the entire — maybe minus that certain clique — state machinery at his disposal. Presumably this 'clique' is as powerful as the rest of the state apparatus. Little wonder that people keep disappearing without a trace and some turning up dead as the Baloch leaders did in Turbat.

Let us dispassionately examine the evidence if there really exists an anti-Baloch clique or it is just a figment of the imagination of a beleaguered president. To do this we will have to go way back to 1947.

In June 1947, the British government announced plans for the partition of India. The fate of British Afghanistan and the Baloch Tribal Areas, which included the Marri-Bugti, Khetran and Baloch Tribal Areas of Dera Ghazi Khan, was to be decided by a referendum. It was decided to hold a jirga on June 30th but was deviously held on the 29th without informing all the members. With this referendum as its basis, British Balochistan, including the leased and tribal areas that were constitutionally part of the Khanate were quite illegally acceded to Pakistan on August 15, 1947.

It is interesting to note that after partition the chiefs of Derajat were given the choice to relinquish their privileges by joining Balochistan or retain them by joining Punjab. This British Administered Baloch area of DG Khan was misappropriated by Punjab in 1950. The Tumandars signed the agreement under threat of forsaking their large land holdings if they did not opt for Punjab. A monument to that injustice stands at Fort Munro, 6,470 feet above sea level.

On August 4, 1947, a tripartite agreement was signed between Pakistan, the British and Balochistan, called The Standstill Agreement, in which the sovereign status of Balochistan was accepted. The Khan declared Balochistan independent on August 11, 1947, three days before the independence of Pakistan. The Khan affirmed his intention to build Balochistan as a prosperous sovereign country in which the Baloch could retain their identity, live in accordance with their traditions and establish relations through treaties of friendship with the neighbouring states of Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan as well as with India and the outside world.

Soon after independence, elections were held to the Diwan, Balochistan's bi-cameral legislature, and a period of tranquillity and peace was ensured in the country. The Assembly held sessions in September and December 1947 and most favoured alliance and not accession with Pakistan. On December 14, 1947, Ghaus Baksh Bizenjo made a landmark speech and it is still considered as a valid argument for the independence of Balochistan.

He said, "We have a distinct civilisation and a separate culture like that of Iran and Afghanistan. We are Muslims but it is not necessary that by virtue of being Muslims we should lose our freedom and merge with others. If the mere fact that we are Muslims requires us to join Pakistan, then Afghanistan and Iran, both Muslim countries, should also amalgamate with Pakistan.

"We were never a part of India before the British rule. Pakistan's unpleasant and loathsome desire that our national homeland, Balochistan should merge with it is impossible to consider. We are ready to have friendship with that country on the basis of sovereign equality but by no means ready to merge with Pakistan. We can survive without Pakistan. But the question is, what would Pakistan be without us?

"I do not propose to create hurdles for the newly created Pakistan in the matters of defence and external communication. But we want an honourable relationship, not a humiliating one. If Pakistan wants to treat us as a sovereign people, we are ready to extend the hand of friendship and cooperation. If Pakistan does not agree to do so, flying in the face of democratic principles, such an attitude will be totally unacceptable to us, and if we are forced to accept this fate then every Baloch son will sacrifice his life in defence of his national freedom."

His speech moved the Baloch and strengthened their desire for independence and their will to maintain their new-found independence. But in the meantime Pakistan began to pressurise the newly independent Kalat state to join Pakistan and an uneasy calm appeared in relations between Kalat and Pakistan. Talks between Pakistan and Kalat dragged on. Pakistan continued to harass the Khan and Baloch state machinery on various pretexts and was engaged in conspiracies and underhand tactics to compel the Khan to join Pakistan.

When Pakistan was convinced that the Khan would not accede, separate instruments of accession by the states of Lasbela and Kharan, which were feudatories of the Khan, and of Makran, which was never more than a district of the state of Kalat, were announced on March 18. Accession of Makran, Kharan and Lasbela robbed Kalat of more than half its territory and its access to the sea.

The following day the Khan of Kalat issued a statement refusing to believe that Pakistan as a champion of Muslim rights in the world would infringe upon the rights of small Muslim neighbours, pointing out that Makran as a district of Kalat had no separate status and that the foreign policy of Lasbela and Kharan was placed under Kalat by the Standstill Agreement.

On March 26, 1948, the Pakistan Army was ordered to move into the Baloch coastal region of Pasni, Jiwani and Turbat. This was the first act of aggression prior to the march on Kalat by a Pakistani military detachment on April 1, 1948. The Khan capitulated on March 27 after the army moved into the coastal region and it was announced in Karachi that the Khan of Kalat has agreed to merge his state with Pakistan. Under the Constitution of Kalat, the Khan was not authorised to take such a basic decision. The Balochistan Assembly had already rejected any suggestion of forfeiting the independence of Balochistan on any pretext. The sovereign Baloch state after British withdrawal from India lasted only 227 days.

The evidence certainly leads one to conclude that this clique has had the influence and power to thwart the Baloch people's rightful struggle to be independent as they were for 227 days after partition and use their resources without even partly sharing with them.


Tihar Jail
Oct 2, 2009
Anti-Baloch clique? — II —Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

The Kalat state's forced merger with Pakistan ended 300 years of independent and semi-independent Baloch state. The sovereignty and will of the people of Balochistan was temporarily subverted. It was an epoch making event in the history of the Baloch people. Colonialism, be it of Iran, Afghanistan, Britain or Pakistan, has played the most important role in moulding the national consciousness that had been present in formative shape all through their history but had remained latent. This consciousness acquired at a bitter price is now becoming the determining factor in their struggle to be the masters of their destiny.

Not willing to allow the Baloch a chance to recuperate and reorganise the second equally unjust and illegal assault on Kalat was carried out on October 6, 1958, once again on false pretences and premises. Nawab Nauroz Khan Zarakzai, a septuagenarian, took up arms and led the Baloch resistance. As in 1948, a wave of repression and reign of terror was let loose all over Balochistan. Political leaders and activists were incarcerated in the notorious 'Kulli camps' in the Quetta cantonment. The suppression of rights by force created abiding antagonism and animosity.

On May 19, 1959, Nawab Nauroz Khan along with his fighters surrendered near Anari Mountain after the authorities promised acceptance of their demands on the Quran. Instead they were shifted to the Quetta cantonment and tried by a special military court and sentenced on July 7, 1960. The death sentences were carried out simultaneously on the July 15, 1960, at Sukkur and Hyderabad Central Jails.

For the Baloch, Nawab Nauroz Khan and the seven martyrs symbolise the determination to not to bow to unjust and brutal assaults on their freedom and to resist regardless of the price that has to be paid for this honourable path. Emulating them is the dream of every politically conscious Baloch.

The 60s decade saw sporadic Baloch resistance led by Mir Sher Mohammad Marri, Ali Mohammad Mengal and others. The dissolution of One-Unit and 1970 elections gave a glimmer of hope that the Baloch would get a chance of restricted self-rule. But the subsequent illegal and unjust dismissal of Ataullah Mengal's government in February 1973 and the incarceration of Baloch leaders by ZA Bhutto-led PPP government shattered those hopes.

This injustice naturally led to a resistance by the Baloch and large-scale military operations against them were launched on May 21, 1973, with Mawand in Marri area being occupied. The 1973-77 conflict resulted in enormous sufferings of the Baloch population in the province; forcing thousands of Marris and other Baloch to seek shelter in Afghanistan. It was during this period that the steel of the Baloch mettle was really tempered and for the first time they felt confident that they could take on the might of the state and survive to fight another day. This struggle blazed a path for the future generations and without it probably the flame of the Baloch struggle may have been extinguished forever.

During the musical chairs democracy period the main players were too busy undermining each other and the Baloch were left alone. Then Musharraf unleashed a war of terror against the Baloch, which resulted in the death of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, Nawabzada Balach Khan Marri and hundreds of other innocent people. The plague of missing persons visited once again with a vengeance. Recently mass unmarked graves of victims of Indian atrocities were discovered in Kashmir. One wonders if ever such graves, for they certainly exist, will be found here. His era was the era of pseudo mega-projects, brutal mega-operations and super mega sufferings for the Baloch people. The present irreconcilable antagonisms are the result of the protracted and indiscriminate use of force against the Baloch.

The PPP government has been long on promises and short on positive action. The much-trumpeted Balochistan package was rightly termed as a 'band-aid on a bullet wound' by Alia Amirali Sahiba, a student activist of QAU. The three-day joint session of parliament was expected to discuss the formulated proposals with expectations of opening a new chapter in the post-independence history of Balochistan. But the keenness or lack of it shown by the parliamentarians in this supposedly important and historic package belies the claims that this government or the state is or will ever be sincere in solving the problems faced by the Baloch people.

A report released by Pildat said that out of total 438 MPs — 338 in the National Assembly and 100 in Senate — only 38 (nine percent) members spoke during this joint session. This pathetic indifference itself speaks volume about the interest that the government and parliament take in solving the problems. Unsurprisingly the 20 months of PPP rule have been as barren for the Baloch as were the nine years of Musharraf.

The president cannot have the right to claim of serving the Baloch if the Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah does not even know who ordered the Rangers' action against the Baloch of Lyari. And yet they tire not of posing as the champions of Baloch problems. So much so that the president claims that he is under threat from the anti-Baloch clique, which would be committing an unpardonable blunder if it punished him for an act he is not even remotely guilty of.

The rulers should understand that lip service does not soothe the wounds caused by decades of injuries and injustices. Difficult decisions are needed to solve the problems and win the hearts of the justifiably alienated Baloch. Obviously, no political party or individual has the will to take these decisions because they can only do so at the greatest risk to their own existence and none here would be willing to go to that extreme for the children of lesser gods.

The establishment's anti-Baloch policy is too entrenched, too consolidated and too committed to allow far-reaching measures to be endorsed and implemented; measures that may bring some relief for the people. Because those who have been calling the shots here — call them the anti-Baloch clique or the establishment — will not consent to even the most basic justified demands of the return of missing people, stopping construction of cantonments, military airports and naval ports, withdrawal of the army, a halt to military operations, rights over resources and the reining in of the FC because their financial, commercial and imaginary strategic interests will be surely hurt by any such roll back in Balochistan.

You do not have to be a rocket scientist to understand that the establishment, guided by its self-preservation instinct, had to be anti-Baloch, anti-Sindhi anti-Pashtun and anti-Bengali since partition because without erasing the historical national consciousness and identities they could not hope to impose their ideology of Pakistaniat. However, they overlooked the fact that millenniums old consciousness and identities cannot be easily obliterated and replaced; little wonder that they have miserably failed to either forge or impose a new identity. Certainly the Baloch resistance has played a pivotal role in thwarting their designs.



Senior Member
Feb 23, 2009

I think this story very important, a must read for all of you willing to counter-compete the claim of Balochistan's annexation vis-a-vis Kashmir.

The similarities are no small ones, mitigated only by Balochistan's far scarcer population: more than 6,000 have been killed by official count alone. Baloch sources claim that figure to be closer to 10,000. And simmering discontent, the exploitation of natural resources, a state of prolonged inadequate infrastructure, with abysmal levels of education, health and economic opportunities, festered with a large military occupation conducting operations via helicopter raids or air-bombings have all contributed to exacerbate the situation.

The territory comprises more than 40% of Pakistan's total land mass. It is not something you want to lose.


Tihar Jail
Oct 2, 2009
A brief history of Balochistan occupation by Pakistan on 27 March 1948. Free Balochistan is the ultimate demand of Baloch nation, nothing more nothing less.
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Tihar Jail
Oct 2, 2009
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Tihar Jail
Oct 2, 2009
Nawabzada Hyrbyar Marri - son of Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri, Head of the Baloch Marri tribe - makes the case for an independent Balochistan. (Marri and Bugti are the two largest tribes in Balochistan and are fighting for independence.) According to him: (a) Balochistan never agreed to be part of Pakistan and was forcibly annexed in 1948; (b) Punjabi-dominated army is maintaining an occupation of Balochistan and is engaged in gross human rights violations; (c) Punjabi-dominated Pak Establishment is only interested in exploiting Balochistan's mineral wealth; (d) Balochistan's development has been deliberately neglected by the country's ruling Punjabi elite; and (e) Marri and Bugti tribes are not interested in maximum provincial autonomy but only independence. This interview was conducted by Najam Sethi as part of Dunya TV program in July 2009.

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Tihar Jail
Oct 2, 2009
Inside Kalat

NOT two, rather three political units proclaimed independence in the middle of August 1947: Pakistan on August 14, India and the Khanate of Kalat on August 15. By virtue of Kalat's independence, Pakistan became a unique state in more ways than one.

Firstly, Pakistan's geographical discontiguity as expressed in the 1,000 mile separation of its two wings made the new state an aberration. Modern nation-states are defined by their territorial contiguity while Pakistan's geography was contrary to the established norm.

Secondly, the independence of Kalat meant that there was a state within a state in Pakistan. Both geographical facts presented important challenges. One eventually separated to form a state of its own (Bangladesh) while the other geographical unit (Kalat) saw the rise of an intense and radical nationalist movement which up to the present time has defied an amicable solution.

Why did a nationalist movement emerge in Balochistan and how did the Khanate of Kalat become the centre of nationalist activities? Theoretically, Axmann's understanding of nationalism is firmly rooted in a modernist framework which belies the argument that ethnic identities are innate.

Baloch nationalism was 'constructed' and 'created' by Baloch leaders, and it only took shape in the years 1915 till 1955 in response to political circumstances prevailing at the time. It was concretised as a result of the development of a political party, the Anjuman-i-Ittehad-i-Balochan-wa-Balochistan in 1930-31 led by two nationalist stalwarts, Mir Yusuf Ali Magsi and Abdul Aziz Kurd.

The Anjuman gained further credence in the agency and personality of Mir Ahmad Yar Khan who became the Khan of Kalat in 1933. With active support from the Khan, the Anjuman spread its activities and eventually transformed itself as the Kalat State National Party (KSNP) in 1937 which now included within its fold eminent personalities such as Ghous Bux Bizenjo and Mir Gul Khan Naseer. Interestingly, at the same time that the Khan was supportive of and sympathetic to Baloch nationalists, he was also cognizant of protecting and preserving his own power base leading him to a collision course with the nationalists. Mir Ahmad Yar declared the KSNP illegal in July 1939.

With high empirical research the author traces through primary documents, including Kalat's declaration of independence. This came about after a Standstill Agreement was signed between the future state of Pakistan, the British and the Khan of Kalat on August 4, 1947.

Axmann points out the anomaly of the Agreement with respect to Articles I and IV. While Article I attested to the fact that 'Kalat was an independent state, quite different in status from other states in India', Article IV contradictorily stated that 'Pakistan shall be the legal, constitutional and political successor of the British'. This meant that Pakistan never agreed to the independence of Kalat and as soon as the British left, Jinnah demanded that the Khanate be merged with Pakistan and annul its independent status.

It is indeed startling that Jinnah being the legal advisor to the Khan of Kalat had presented a case for Kalat's independence before the Cabinet Mission in 1946.

For the rest of Balochistan and the Marri and Bugti tribal areas, a referendum was held. The author is quite candid and agrees with the views of Baloch nationalists that a referendum never actually took place, rather the meeting of the Shahi Jirga broke up over disagreements and within the ensuing confusion it was suddenly announced that Balochistan had decided to join Pakistan.

Kalat's independence was ultimately revoked in March 1948 when the Khan signed the Instrument of Accession. The merger led to the germination of the first Baloch resistance in the post-colonial period led by Abdul Karim, younger sibling of the Khan of Kalat.

One theme which the author does not allude to in his analysis of Baloch nationalism is the fact that nationalism despite being a product of modernity is not necessarily and functionally dependent on it. Nationalism may erupt in the most, as well as, least modernised socio-political contexts. Balochistan is a classical example of the latter while Basques in Spain and Northern Ireland in the United Kingdom are striking examples of the former.

Although the author has tried to prove that Balochistan was affected by modernity leading the Baloch to clamour to nationalist identity as a basis of their politics, the analysis is at best faulty. Balochistan was unaffected by the currents of modernity proving that nationalism is best understood as an ideology and political movement rather than a functional pre-requisite of modernity, which political elites have instrumentalised in face of authoritarian political structures bent on denying them their identity and existence.

The book which is highly informative represents detailed research of primary documents. Its main strength lies in its empirical setting.

Moreover, Axmann places partisan Pakistani scholarship on Baloch nationalism and contrasts it with works by Baloch nationalists presenting an interesting and comparative analysis of how political developments are viewed by scholars on different sides of the divide.

The book is a must read for all those interested in understanding the rise of Baloch nationalism in the colonial and post-colonial period.

Back to the Future: The Khanate of Kalat and the genesis of Baloch nationalism (1915-1955)

By Martin Axmann
The Oxford University Press, Karachi
ISBN 0-19-547645-3
336pp. Rs495


Tihar Jail
Oct 2, 2009
'The Baluch' is a 25-minute documentary (3 parts) about the history of Balochistan, once a sovereign nation, now a troubled province of Pakistan. In late 2006, following the assassination of tribal leader Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, our team traveled to Balochistan where for 5 days we visited the towns of Quetta, Kalat and Wadh and interviewed political activists, teachers and tribal leaders.

For very high-res, full version, see:

For more information on the history of Balochistan, see

Direction and camera by Wendy Johnson and Annie Nocenti Produced by Albert Larew Edited by Albert Larew and Wendy Johnson Graphics by Albert Larew Interviews and Stills by Daisann McLane Script by Annie Nocenti
Music courtesy of Abdulrahman Surizehi

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Tihar Jail
Oct 2, 2009
**Must watch **
Naseem gets a thorough whooping from Baloch Students and resorts to "taking commercial breaks", especially from them women.
Baloch students with Naseem Zehra on Policy matters on AAJ TV
Policy Matters – 8th July 2009 39:32
Naseem Zehra beings a new episode of Policy Matters.
Duration: 39:32
Added: July 8, 2009
Views: 456
Added In: Policy Matters

In this video,
introduces himself as a student of Balochistan Univ of IT. That was on 8th July. Cut to 11th July and this guy (Qambar Chakar Baloch) has been abducted.
Excerpt from Link

Fresh reports suggest that this amazing Baloch activist has been whisked away by the personnel of the Frontier Corps and the intelligence agencies. They say Chakar, also an Economics student, had gone to attend classes at the City Campus of the BUITMS and latter on proceeded to the Takato Campus of the University to meet with the Vice Chancellor to speak about the issue of the district-based open merit admission policy. On his return from the college, Chakar, who was accompanied by five other friends of his hailing from the Baloch Action Committee, was stopped at Chaman Pattick area by a convey of security forces.

"They (personnel of the security forces) had come in eight vehicles and asked Qambar to get out of the Alto car," said one eyewitness, "once Qambar walked towards them, we saw them putting a hand grenade in Qambar's pocket." According to the eyewitness, the FC officials shouted at Qambar pointing at the hand grenade: "What the hell is this? You Baloch terrorist! We have to take you in custody." They slapped, manhandled Qambar and took him away to an unknown location while sparing his other colleagues.

Pakistan's most prominent newspaper, Jang, this morning reports, though very briefly, that a BSO activist has been arrested by the police while carrying a hand grenade.
excerpt from Daily Times
Another BSO leader whisked away in Quetta
By Malik Siraj Akbar {This journo has written the above article}
QUETTA: Another key leader of the Baloch Students' Organisation (BSO-Azad), a student at the Balochistan University of Information Technology and Management Sciences (BUITMS), was whisked away, allegedly by intelligence agencies, on Friday.
"Qambar Chakar, the deputy organiser of BSO-Azad Quetta zone, was picked up by a group of intelligence agencies' personnel who had rushed to the university in around eight vehicles," Salam Sabir, the BSO central information secretary, told Daily Times. The BSO spokesman threatened of strikes across the province. Qambar is the third prominent BSO-Azad leader to be picked up, the spokesman said. He said BSO Quetta Zone President Shahzaib Baloch had been 'disappeared' in April and remained missing for two months.
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Tihar Jail
Oct 2, 2009
An exclusive Interview of Baloch Guerilla leader Balach Marri from mountains of Balochistan.

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Tihar Jail
Oct 2, 2009
Balochistan – Cruces of History – Part I

By Maloy Krishna Dhar | August 6th, 2009 | Category: Opinion and Editorials | 1 Comment »

Most puzzling problems of history-the inscrutable cruces; are creatures of history, intertwined with political geography, which often transcend to the realms of geostrategic Gordian Knots. Balochistan is such a cruces of history, which lay in the main marching tract of human civilisation, spanning the east, west and central Asian ethnic and civilisational entities. Therefore, writing about present day Balochistan cannot be confined to a few skirmishes between the Pakistani Establishment and the glorious Baloch people and other ethnic and linguistic groups, which have merged edges with their Baloch brethren. The Baloch are an ancient people, perhaps contemporaneous to the inhabitants of Moenjodaro. Before entering into their heroic struggle against the myopic Pakistani leaders and Army Establishment we need to understand about this historic people that bridged various meridians of Asian civilisations.

Historians seek approximation of truth through disagreement, finally settling down on a common minimum parameter. The Baloch riddle is no exception.

Some historians guess that they inhabited the northern regions of Elburz and east of Caspian Sea. This tract is now inhabited by Ashkanis, who claim Aryan origin from trans-Caucasian people. This school believe that the Baloch and the Kurds are of Aryan origin, as are the Iranians and certain strains of Indians. Baloch language still treasures certain traits of Indo-Aryan-Iranian roots and applications, akin to Sanskrit. Some proto-Baloch speaking people still live in Turkmenistan and surrounding areas.

Some scholars attribute migration of the Baloch people to their present geographical location around 1200 B.C. Recognition of their existence even during the times of king Cyrus and Combyses have substantiated their route of migration from Caspian Sea region through northern Iran.

Some scholars assert that the Balochs are the indigenous people of Balochistan and they had created the first civilisation of the World around Mehergarh. Some Baloch nationalists prefer to support this theory. Other historians, with a view to support supposed Semitic origin of the Baloch, maintain that they came from Halab, Allepe, and are people of old Sumerian of Mesopotamian stock. The propagators of Pakistan being a saga of the Indus alone subscribe to this theory.

Whatever the pundits say the historical Baloch tract had witnessed admixture of the Scythians, Parthians, Ashkanis, Sakas, Kushans, Huns, Turks and Mongols. Most of the pundits agree that the Baloch have more in common with the Qurdish people and other peoples of Aryan stock and they have basic ethnic differences with the Punjabis, Sindhis and Pathans.

It is also borne out of the fact that the Brahuie Balochs (Kalatis) are ethnically different from the peoples of other provinces of Pakistan. The historians also debate the origin of the Brhuies fervently and agreement amongst them is as rare as conjunction of illuminated cosmic dust bowls. It is more or less agreed that the Brahuie Balochs of Balochistan and Sind are linked to the people who inhabited the Harappan and Moenjodaro civilisational tracts along the Sindhu and Saraswati (running through Gujarat and Sind).

Most pundits however, agree that 'the word 'Baloch' was derived from 'brza-vaciya, (brza-vak)', meaning a loud cry, in contrast to 'namra vak', polite way of talking. Some writers maintain that etymologically it is made of two Chandas (Vedic Sanskrit) words, 'Bal'> 'Och', meaning powerful and magnificent.

History had repeatedly reshaped the geographical boundaries of the Baloch people. Besides the Pakistani part of Balochistan eastern Iran- Sistan – has a vast tract inhabited by the peoples of Baloch stock. The Saka people inhabited Sistan or the land of the Sakas-Sakastana around 128 BC. Two important ethnic groups are Barahuie and Baloch, who speak Boloch tongue with an admixture of Barahuie and Persian languages inabit both Pakistani and Iranian Baloch tracts.

In modern times Anglo-Afghan relations waxed and waned between 1838 and 1919 constantly changing and margin-skirting of the British indian and Afghan territories. The Anglo-Afghan agreement of 1893 signed between Amir Abdur Rahman, and Sir Mortimer Durand, (British Indian government) demarcated a 'permanent border' between the two countries. It was supposed to be reviewed after 100 years in 1993. While Afghanistan insists on a review, Pakistan stoutly asserts that the border was finally signed and sealed. This dispute has not been resolved.

Over 300.000 ethnic Baloch people inhabit the Afghan part of Balochistan, though the Pakhtoons or Pushtuns (Pathan) heavily populate the tract. The Pathan people also inhabit large tracts in Pakistani Balochistan.

The Baloch people have followed a resilient secular attitude towards religion despite growth of religious fanaticism elsewhere in Pakistan. The majority of Baloch are Hanafi Sunnis, but there is a community of an estimated 500,000 to 700,000 Zikri Baloch, who live in the coastal Makran area and in Karachi. The Zikris believe in the Messiah Nur Pak, whose teachings supersede those of the Prophet Muhammad. Their beliefs, considered heretical, have led to intermittent Sunni repression of their community since founding of the sect in the fifteenth century. The Shia majority also often harasses the Iranian Balochs.

Of the total population of Balochistan the Balochs numerically dominate the south of the province. the Pushtuns are in majority in and around Quetta and the north. the Kalat region and other parts of the region are dominated by the Brahuie. In fact, the ruling family of Kalat represented Brahuie power in this region. Persian speaking Dehwars also live in the Kalat region and further west towards the border with Iran. The coastal Makran regions are inhabited by Meds and small groups of descendents of African slaves known as the Hubshi. In addition, 769,000 Afghan refugees can be found in the province including Pushtuns, Tajiks, and Hazaras. Sindhi farmers have also moved to the more arable lands in the east. A large number of Punjabis have occupied fertile land in the east and they are prominently present in industrial complexes in Sui gas project, Port Gwadar and Port Qasim facilities and other military installations. Majority of the professional workforce in the province oiriginate from Punjab and Sind.

The Baloch society follows strict hierarchical pattern characterized as feudal militarism. The hakims, are at the top of the system and his retinue consist of pastorals, agriculturists, tenant farmers and descendants of former slaves (hizmatkar). Sardar system is firmly embedded amongst the Bugti, Marri, Mengal, and Zarakzai, Achakzai etc tribes.

It would therefore, be seen that the Baloch people of Pakistan historically walked into the modern ages as an independent people-an admixture of Baloch, Brahuie, Pathan etc people. While the State of Kalat had emerged as the kernel of Baloch political evolution, smaller States like Makran, Kharan, and Las Bela also enjoyed considerable prosperity. They were not 'the people of the Indus' as claimed by certain Pakistani scholars. They belonged more to Persian, Afghan and Kurdish orbits.

The British, on the eve of departure, played a neat trick with the Baloch people. They prescribed the 3rd June Plan and proclaimed that the future of British Balochistan was to be determined by a voting college comprising the Shahi Jirga -excluding the representatives of the Balochistan States-and the elected members of the Quetta Municipality. The plan virtually limited the voting exercise to certain loyal clients of he British and the Muslim League.

The Khan of Kalat, Mir Ahmad Yar Khan, who dreamed of an independent Balochistan under his suzerainty, Ghaus Bakhsh Bizenjo, an emerging Baloch nationalist, and Abdus Samad Khan Achakzai, an avowed Gandhian and the leader of Indian National Congress, campaigned to prevent the voting college from opting for Pakistan. Their efforts failed on 29 June 1947 and the selected Electoral College, under pressure from the British Agents and Muslim League, voted in favour of Pakistan.

Concerned Sardars of major tribes protested against British manipulation of the sordid episode.
The British had assessed that a Pakistani Baloch province would stand them in good stead in their strategic bulwark against Iran, Afghanistan and not so distant Soviet Union. The Crown representatives persuaded the States of Kharan, Mekran and Las Bela to accede to Pakistan.

The British had declared in the Government of India Act, 1935, that Kalat was an Indian state. At the dawn of partition the Kalat ruler Mir Ahmed Yar Khan, asserted independence. He was pursuaded by his former legal advisor M. A. Jinnah and British officials to join Pakistan. A compact Balochistan political unit was formed in 1952. The States of Balochistan – Kalat, Makran, Kharan and Las Bela – were permitted to form 'The Balochistan States' Union'. In 1955, these States were made a part of the 'One Unit' or the single province of West Pakistan to facilitate the framing of a constitution on the basis of the principle of 'parity' between the two wings of the country. But by mid 1957 it became apparent that the political system established under the Constitution of 1956 was not likely to survive.

Formation of 'one unit' of Balochisatn came much later. The tract witnessed rebellion in 1948 itself. Prince Karim, brother of the Khan of Kalat, revolted against Pakistani rule. The genesis of Baloch resistance is normally traced from the rebellion of Prince Karim. It was not a mere revolt of a tribal leader. It represented the aspiration of a historical people to live as an independent entity. It is necessary to examine each phase of the important resistance wars fought by the Baloch people since their unfortunate relationship started with Pakistan, a 'promised land' of the Indian Muslims, created by the British. The process witnessed the emergence of another 'promised land' in the continent, the Land of Israel. History has supported the diagnosis–'promised lands' often turn cancerous.

Jinnah had coerced the State of Kalat through military pressure and deceit to join Pakistan. However, the Khan of Kalat ruled even after Jinnah's death as Pakistani government had very little control on the area. Anti-Pakistani rallies and meetings in certain areas of the Khanate had become an order of the day. Pakistan responded by enlarging its cantonments and deploying military in areas dominated by the Bugti, Marri and Mengal etc tribes. The Government of Pakistan decided to take complete control of the administration of the Khanate of Balochistan on April 15, 1948. Several political leaders including Mohammad Amin Khosa and Abdul Samad Achakzai were arrested. The pro-Congress (INC) Anjuman-i-Watan Party, headed by Samad Achakzai, was declared unlawful.

The first struggle for Baloch independence started soon after annexation of Kalat by Pakistan and refusal to concede internal autonomy. The Balochs interpreted the Pakistani move as unilateral violation of the Sandeman system (Baloch-British agreement that allowed autonomy to the Sardars). This re¬sulted in civil unrest. Prince Abdul Karim Khan, the younger brother of the Khan of Kalat, decided to lead a national liberation movement on April 16, 1948. He invited the leading Baloch nationalist members-the Kalat State National Party, the Baloch League, and the Baloch National Workers Party etc to join for creation of an independent 'Greater Balochistan.'

Prince Karim initially solicited Indian support. But New Delhi was not in position to extend logistics and political support in view of its involvement in Kashmir war and contrary advises from the British Governor General.

Karim decided to migrate to Afghanistan in June 1948. Prominent political leaders like Mohammed Hussein Anka, secretary of the Baloch League and editor of Weekly Bolan Mastung, Malik Saeed Dehwar, secretary of the Kalat State National Party, Qadir Bakhsh Nizamami, a member of the Baloch League, Maulvi Mohd Afzal, a member of Jamiat-Ulema-e-Balochistan) accompanied him. Some members of Sind-Balochistan branch of the Communist Party also joined him. Pakistan alleged that India had incited the Prince through Hindu Balochs (about 19% that time) and some Communist leaders of Sind, who maintained steady relationship with Indian Communists. It tried to depict the Baloch nationalist leaders as pro-Moscow.

The entourage encamped at Sarlath, Kandahar. Karim contacted Mir Ghulam Faruq (Rudini tribe), Sardar Mehrab Khan, Sardar Mir Jumma and Mir Wazir Khan Sanjrani of Chagai district (nuclear testing range), and several other chiefs. He also contacted the Afghan and the USSR emissaries for help.
Besides spreading the news of Baloch nationalism and religious tolerance Karim organized the Baloch Mujahideen, a liberation force consisting of former soldiers and officers of the Khanate's army. The Baloch liberation army had separate wings, Jannisar (devotee), Janbaz (darer), and fidayeen (suicide) squads. His GHQ was known as Bab-i-Aali (secret war office). However, the first Baloch liberation army did not have an impressive strength.

Prince Karim's efforts were hindered by Afghanistan and the Soviet Union's unwillingness to offer assistance. Prince Karim appointed Malik Saeed and Qadir Bakhsh Nizamani as emis¬saries to contact the Afghan government and other embassies. The Afghan authorities refused to provide help but allowed Karim to remain in Kandahar as political refugees. Kabul was not inclined to allow Karim to operate from its soil, as it was apprehensive of its own Baloch and Pushtun population. Ahmed Shah Abdali had treated Balochistan as a subordinate territory. Only after Baloch-Afghan war of 1758 the Afghans and Balochs signed an agreement of 'non-interference.' Afghan rulers Shuja Shah and Abdur Rahman Khan later demanded incorporation of the Indian Baloch territory. In fact, on the eve of partition, the Afghan government kicked up the issue of creation of 'Pashtunistan', a region stretching from Chitral and Gilgit to the Baloch coast in the Arabian Sea. Kabul described it as 'South Pashtunistan.' With such susceptibilities in mind Kabul decided to play safe.

The Iranians were apprehensive of similar movement by their own Baloch nationality. The Soviets under Stalin had not yet developed a policy towards the changing situation in the Indian subcontinent and in Afghan territory. Stalin was focussed on East Europe and Central Asian territories. He did not want to antagonise the British and Afghan powers.
India was in no position to support the rebel Prince. Nehru was struggling for power within the Congress party, Pakistan's Kashmir invasion and he was yet to determine where he belonged, to the West, East or the nowhere-Non-aligned realm.

Pakistan pressurised the Kalat ruler in May 1948 to declare his brother a rebel. Pakistan moved its army to the military posts of Punjab, Chaman, Chashma, and Rastri near the Afghan border with a view to cut off Karim from Baloch support. The first Army action in Balochstan had taken a toll of 65 Baloch lives. In the process two armed clashes ensued. However Karim's movement was split from within. Anqa and Malik Saeed favored armed struggle in the form of guerrilla war, while Mir Ghous Bux Bizenjo and other prominent leaders wished to resolve all issues by negotiation.

The Khan of Kalat later persuaded Karim to return to Balochistan. He was, however, not yet ready to surrender. He organised a rebellion against Pakistan in the Jalawan area and received assistance from Mir Gohar Khan Zahrri, an influential tribal leader of the Zarakzai clan. Major General Akbar Khan, (Kashmir famous General Tariq) Commander of Pakistani army's Seventh Regiment mounted counter attack and arrested Karim with his followers. General Akbar Khan, in an article published in the daily Dawn, August 14, 1960, (Early Reminiscences Of A Soldier) stated that there was a plan to invade the Khanate. He narrated the clashes between Pakistan army and Karim's forces. Akbar claimed that under Jinnah's instruction this news was withheld from media.

Balochistan witnessed a second resistance movement in 1958. The Khan of Kalat organized a rebellion to secede from Pakistan. President Iskandar Mirza directed Pakistan Army to take control of the Kalat Palace and arrest the Khan on charges of sedition. Informed circles asserted that Iskandar Mirza had played up the dormant dreams of the Khan, encouraged him to raise a banner of revolt with a view to justify imposition of martial law, which he did on 7 October 1958. His hope of hegemony was exterminated when on 27 October 1958, the Chief Martial Law Administrator, General Mohammad Ayub Khan, removed Mirza and assumed full authority.

Arrest of the Khan of Kalat witnessed spontaneous disturbances in most parts of Balochistan that continued for about a year. It was during these disturbances that Nawroz Khan alias Babu Nowroz raised banner of revolt. His revolt was not serious in nature but it symbolised the Baloch psyche. Babu Nowroz, head of the Zarakzai tribe started an armed struggle against Pakistan. His band of fighters numbering about 150 fought valiantly and offered serious battles to the army headed by Lt. Col. Tikka Khan (later General of the Pakistani army, Butcher of Bangladesh). There are reports to support the allegations that Tikka Khan had obtained surrender of Nowroz Khan through the mechanism of 'etbar'- or oath on the Holy Quran. He and his followers, including his sons and nephews, were taken to Hyderabad Jail, where his sons and nephews were executed for armed rebellion against the state. Nowroz was held in prison where he died at the age of 90. The Khan of Kalat was subsequently forgiven and freed.

Tikka followed up the surrender of Nowroz with widespread depredations on Zarakzai, Achakzai, Marri and Bugti territories. According to Baloch chroniclers over 1000 Baloch civilians lost lives. Ironically, Tikka had the privilege of meting out more atrocities on the defenceless Bengalis of East Pakistan. Tikka Khan has earned his place in Pakistan's history as the 'butcher general.'

The third Baloch uprising was much more serious in nature. The Marri tribe initially triggered off this phase of Baloch resistance in 1962. The Marris objected to rapid incursion by the Punjabis, attempted curtailment of privileges of the Sardars and denial of development instruments to the area. Frontier Guards and the Inter Services Intelligence as usual, suppressed this.

However, inglorious defeat of India in 1962 war and political somersaults by feuding factions in Afghanistan had encouraged Z. A. Bhutto to impose a façade of peace in the Baloch area. With a quiet Baloch front at home he planned an invasion of India in 1965. The inglorious history of Pakistan between 1965-71 was characterised by certain idiosyncratic personalities and regional convulsions. While ailing Ayub Khan was preparing to fade into oblivion, General Yahya Khan, Z. A. Bhutto and Mujibur Rahman (in East Pakistan) were locked in an intractable war that resulted in the creation of Bangladesh. Inglorious defeat of the Pakistan Army had not dampened Bhutto, who was happy to rule over a truncated Pakistan. After all, he had plotted the balkanisation of Pakistan.

The secession of Bangladesh influenced Baloch nationalists to demand 'greater autonomy'. The bitter Bangladesh lesson had not mellowed down Bhutto. He turned down Baloch requests for better shares in Pakistan resources and 'more autonomy'. The Baloch leaders were provoked by Yahya Khan's action of abolishing the 'one unit' formula for Pakistan and creating an integrated province of Balochistan on 1 July 1970, which comprised former Balochistan States and directly governed Balochistan territory. The Baloch Sardars and traditional rulers smelt a rat. Against expectations of the military junta the National Awami Party (NAP) and the Jamait-ul-Ulema-Islami secured majority in the general elections of 1970. Bhutto's and Punjabi intransigence had frustrated all efforts to allow the Awami League majority to assume power in Islamabad and Dhaka. Similarly the Punjabi elite and Bhutto delayed devolution of power to the elected parties in Balochistan.

A drifting Pakistan encouraged NAP and JUI leaders like Ataullah Mengal and Khan Wali Khan to demand larger say in the affairs of the province. President Bhutto, however, refused to negotiate with chief minister Ataullah Mengal and Mufti Mahmud. His arrogance propelled the Baloch tribes to think in terms of struggle. The Baloch rebellion on the heels of rebellion by the East Pakistanis took a serious turn and Bhuttto sacked two provincial governments within six months, arrested two chief ministers, two governors and forty-four MNAs and MPAs. He managed to obtain a Supreme Court order banning the NAP and ordered trial of all the leading members for high trason.

The civil disobedience movement launched by the Marri, Mengal, Bugti, Zarakzai etc tribes and 'Pakhtoons' very fast turned to armed struggle. Mir Hazar Khan Marri led the Baloch liberation movement under the banner of Balochistan Peoples Liberation Front (BPLF). The BPLF was forced to move to Afghanistan along with thousands of its supporters. From the original BPLF the Baloch people, in recent times, have branched into organisations like BLA, BLM, BLO, etc. There exist a Balochistan Government in Exile in the USA with braches in Europe.

Pakistan alleged clandestine Indian and Afghan assistance to the rebels. Bhutto sent in the army in 1973 and the airforce was inducted to fight about 20,000 Baloch insurgents. Iran, fearing similar uprising by their own Baloch groups, assisted Pakistan with helicopter gunships and pilots. It is alleged that the Reza Shah Pehalvi was motivated by US pleading to come to the rescue of friend Bhutto, who had established a bridgehead between Washington and Beijing. Washigton was also worried about India staging another 'Bangladesh' coup in Balochistan. In short, the movement was mercilessly suppressed by Pakistan Army, Air Force and the ISI inflicting an estimated casualty of 15, 000 Baloch people.

Transition from Bhutto to General Zia did not bring any breather. Zia appointed Gerneral Rahimuddin Khan as martial law administrator and governor of Balochistan. An Uttar Pradesh born strict disciplinarian and married to a niece of Dr. Zaqir Hussian, former President of India, Rahimuddin ruled over Balochistan with an iron hand, curtailed powers of the tribal Sardars, and brought about some developmental activities. Several hundred Baloch were incarcerated and thousands of Punjabis, Mohajirs and Sindhis were inducted to strengthen the presence of Pakistan. Census operations conducted by Rahimuddin drastically downgraded the Baloch headcount. It was an administrative pogrom by Pakistan.

General Zia declared a general amnesty to those willing to give up arms. Tired and terrified minor Sardars surrendered to the military machine of Pakistan. Feudal leaders such as Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti and Ataullah Mengal were isolated. A rutghless dictator, General Rahimuddin, however, was known for personal integrity.

The period of stability between 1973 and 1988 Balochistan witnessed large Punjabi, Mohajir and Pathan influx. Most professional work force belonged to other parts of Pakistan. In the eyes of Punjabi elite Balochs and 'Bangalis' carried same connotation-inferior country cousins.

In the meantime, Quetta, the hub of US, Saudi and Pakistani actions against the Afghan regime and Soviet Union, had witnessed influx of about 900,000 Afghan refugees. After the fall of Najibullah government and accession of a chaotic mujahideen junta at Kabul the Baloch leaders like Khair Bux Marri and Ataullah Khan Mengal returned to Pakistan in April 1992. With a roaring upheaval in next-door Afghanistan the tribal leaders had no option but to accept peace initiatives of Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif. However, tension between Pakistan Army, civilian government at Quetta continued as Islamabad failed to address the socio-economic and political grievances of the Baloch people.

The present phase of Baloch war of independence was propelled by socio-economic reasons. Baloch-Pakistan relationship did not rest on even keel even after Sui gas started flowing to Pakistani homes and industries in Punjab and Sind (some Baloch areas were connected much later), Port Qasim and Gwadar were being developed with Kuwaiti and Chinese assistance. New industrial infrastructures attracted professional and labour forces from Punjab, Sind and other areas of Pakistan.

President Musharraf's arrival did not improve the situation. Baloch demand for political autonomy, royalty from Sui gas, award of major work orders to Punjabis and Sindhis and induction of more Frontier Guards and regular army contingents increased the ambience of tension. Islamabad added to the tense situation by rehabilitating large number of ex-servicemen on denotified tribal land and inducting more NWFP Pushtoons to Quetta areas. Some minor Sardar's were either bought off or disinherited by affluent Punjabis and rich ex-army personnel. Islamabad even failed to negotiate an acceptable formula on gas, copper, silver, gold and coal royalty. The Baloch Sardars resented the fact that Islamabad had not considered it necessary to consult the provincial government before conducting nuclear tests at Chagai Hills.

Since 2000 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 Balochistan. These things have failed to materialize from paper into concrete. Along with the development programmes came in the Punjabis, Pushtuns, Sindhis and Chinese work forces. The Baloch people suffering from economic distress developed clash of economic interests with the Chinese and other Pakistanis. Examination of economic indices of this period brings out the facts of glaring disparity between Balochistan and Punjab and Sind. The Balochs, like the Bengalis were treated as raw material suppliers.

Some sources allege that the fourth phase of Baloch insurgency was triggered off by sexual assault on a female doctor, Dr. Shazia Khalid, by a gang of Punjabi employees of the PPL at Sui. Islamabad handled the matter in a cavalier fashion. Accumulated anger incensed the people and they mounted attack on the Sui facility. Nawab Akbar Bugti, the leader of Jamhoori Watan Party of Balochistan, stated that the attack was a manifestation of anger of the people and had nothing to do with nationalist struggle for freedom by the tribals. General Musharraf retaliated by ordering the ISI and the Army to mount operations against rebel Baloch forces headed by Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti. Bugti's critics alleged that he had rebelled demanding higher royalty payment for Sui gas. These charges have not been proved.

Before proceeding further on the present phase of Baloch struggle it must be pointed out that Pakistan has been facing innumerable problems from its multiple fault lines-toeing the USA line against war on terror, Taliban, Al Qaeda, MQM, and the Waziri tribal unrest. The Balawaristan Movement (Gilgit-Skardu-POK) can be added to this cart. Musharraf also faces tremendous pressure from the home grown jihadi tanzeems, which have intricate relationship with the Inter Services Intelligence and International Islamic Jihad Movement. His agenda is topped by the Kashmir pie, which Pakistan is trying to eat and keep since 1947. In the backdrop these problems growing Chinese, USA, Afghan and Indian interests in the Baloch tract have complicated the geostrategic dimension. We propose to discuss these in later paragraphs.

The Balochstan Liberation Army and factions like Balochistan Liberation Front are piloting the present phase of resistance movement. Balach Marri, the son of Nawab Khair Baksh Marri, heads the BLA. His force of about 300 is well armed with sophisticated weapons. These weapons are purchased from former Taliban elements in Pakistan and Afghanistan, Afghan militia members and international gunrunners. Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, before his assassination, headed another group of Baloch fighters in coalition with Balach Marri. After his death, Pakistani sources point out, his surviving grandson Brahmhdag Bugti is heading the liberation struggle.

There have been spates of attack on Sui gas installations, pipelines, powerhouses and several convoys of the armed forces in Quetta, Dera Ismail Khan, Kohlu, Dera Bugti etc places. On occasions Chinese workers were kidnapped and in a few cases they suffered fatal casualties. Islamabad retaliated by deploying over 25,000 troops and bombing and strafing rebel strongholds at Kohlu, Dera Bugti, Marri and Mengal tracts. It is not our intention to catalogue the incidents and count the body bags.

Carlotta Gall, New York Times correspondent visiting the area in April 2006 reported having witnessed deep bomb craters caused by MK-82 bombs. According to her, "Hundreds of political party members, students, doctors and tribal leaders have been detained by government security forces, many disappearing for months, even years, without trials in well-documented cases. Some have been tortured or have died in custody, say officials of Pakistan's Human Rights Commission."

She proceeds to comment, "In places like Dera Bugti and Kohlu, government forces have carried out reprisals against villagers, Baloch leaders and human rights officials say. In a case documented by the Human Rights Commission, the Frontier Corps killed 12 men from Pattar Nala on Jan 11 after a mine explosion near the village killed some of its soldiers. Two old men from the village who went to the base to collect the bodies were also killed. The next day, the 14 bodies were handed over to the women of the village. Local fighters say the Frontier Corps has carried out 42 such reprisal killings in the last three months, the latest involving six villagers during the week of March 6."

President Musharraf made several recent pronouncements expressing his intent to crush the movement and develop Balochistan. He impugned foreign interference; obviously direct indictment of Afghanistan, India and Russia. Speaking at Charsadda on February 12, 2006 Musharraf sternly warned the Baloch resistance forces and offered certain imaginary carrots. Again speaking at Lahore on March 24, 2006 Musharraf asserted, "These two or three Sardars who are fighting against their own people will be sorted out very soon. They are already on the run as they know they have lost support among their own people."

Musharraf again asserted on June 20 that Baloch revolt was crushed. However, Daily Times commented in an editorial on June 21, 2006, "The evidence for the pacification of Balochistan is not strong. The Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) has not ended its operations and the big sardars are still challenging the writ of the state through statements and disruptive action on the ground. Acts of sabotage against public projects have not stopped and those who are inclined to go against the "terrorists" are being picked off by the rebels. State employees who show enthusiasm in their work and thus displease the "liberation" movement walk in fear of the consequences of their "betrayal". Above all, the linkage of insurgency with Baloch nationalism is nowhere near being broken by the efforts made in Islamabad"¦ The rhetoric and sentiment of nationalism in Balochistan is economy-based because of the awareness of the people that Islamabad derives its major economic resources from the province. Almost in pattern with all such provinces in the world, nationalism has acquired the sharpness of separatism, which has an exaggerated effect on a centre that has been obsessed with unity in past history"¦ President Musharraf's opinion that the insurgency has ended in Balochistan must spring from the awareness that his "action" in Balochistan has not been the quick surgical strike the world thought it would be. The longer it takes to decide the discord in the province the more difficult it will become to pacify it."

Military dictators like Musharraf are not generally propelled by newspaper editorials realistic ground tremors. They act for self-preservation. The Pakistani dictator is confident that force alone can cow down the Balochs. Finally, he got better of the most well known face of Baloch resistance. Nawab Akbar Bugti, leader of the Bugti tribe, president of the Jamhoori Watan Party and the driving force behind the anti-government rebellion in Balochistan. Bugti was killed in a massive military operation in the Bhambore Hills, an area between the cities of Kohlu and Dera Bugti. Balach Marri, commander of the BLA was also reportedly killed along with 80 close family members and followers of the Nawab. Pakistan army claimed that the cave in which Bugti was hiding had caved under heavy bombardment. Reliable sources indicate that ISI operators trapped the Nawab and he was killed in cold blood after a close-quarter encounter.

Earlier the federal government exercised its powers under Section 11(b) of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997 and declared the BLA a terrorist outfit.

After Nawab Bugti's death president Mussaraf claimed that the stray terrorist incidents in Balochistan was eradicated. Claimers and disclaimers from a military dictator do not reflect the real state of affair in a country. A Bugti, Marri and Mazari might be assassinated. Millions of Bengalis and Balochs might be consigned to flames but as Historian Suret Khan Marri tells, "The movement is there. Sometimes it is crushed. Now it is the fifth insurgency, and it has spread all across the Baloch area."

Suret Khan's statement is supported by events that followed the dearth of Nawab Bugti. Balochistan has been 'tackled' by the Islamabad junta but the Baloch people have not been won over for the causes of a Unified Pakistan. The fault line is widening rapidly.

The Balochs' homeland is strategically important to Pakistan. Bangladesh was not a strategic outpost of Pakistan. It was a raw material extraction tract for the Punjabi and assorted money-market controllers of Pakistan. It was an extension of the fallacious Two-Nation theory that still recognise the centrality of religion in the making of a nation. Punjabistan, which is erroneously projected as Pakistan, has miserably failed to assimilate the ethnic, linguistic, cultural and regional economic interests of the people of Sind, Balochistan, NWFP and other regions.

Besides the Chagai nuclear testing range, Balochistan is the main base for space programme and rocket experimentation facilities of Pakistan. Baloch copper fields at Saindok are being exploited with assistance of Chinese company MRDL. Saindok has assumed importance after gold and silver were struck. Sharig is a coal-mining town in which Chinese presence is significant. Recently huge deposit of gas was confirmed from Sharig exploration sites.

Besides copper, oil and natural gas (Sui) large deposits of coal, silver, gold, platinum, aluminium appreciable deposits of Uranium have also been found in the Baloch tract. In fact, Balochistan is the only tract that promise extraction of Uranium to quench Pakistan's thirst for weapons grade fissile materials.

In addition to the strategically important Gwadar harbour nearing completion with Chinese collaboration, Pakistan and Kuwait have recently developed Port Qasim on Makran coast. The Jiwani peninsula near Iran border is being developed as a strategic airport and berthing facility for Naval ships. Jiwani and nearby areas are being explored for petroleum and some Chinese firms are aiming for offshore exploration for oil reserves.

The Makran coast has a secret port facility near Ormara, used by Pakistan's Hangor Class submarines. Knowledgeable circles in Pakistan allege that the secret port in between Gwadar and Karachi is being used to receive clandestine missile and weapons supplies from China and North Korea. Some secret weapons supplies by the CIA are also landed at Ormara facilty.

Recent information indicates that Adi and Damb on Sonmiani Bay are being developed as strategic ports. Pakistan is reportedly seeking US help to develop the Bay as a big naval base.

Important strategic airports in Balochistan are at Gwadar, Pasni, Turbat (also a mining complex), Juzzak and Robray. Situated near Iran and Afghanistan borders these airports are valued by the USA for strategic use against Iran, if such a situation arises in near future.

Quetta does not need any introduction. Pakistan's strategic road head to Kandahar in Afghanistan, Quetta witnessed massive mobilisation by Pakistan, USA, Saudi Arabia and other forces that had coalesced into a coalition to fight the Soviet forces in Afghanistan. Quetta had also housed the ISI operational forward base; besides being used by the Afghan mijahideens and the Arab mercenaries under command of Osama bin Laden. Even now Quetta is being used by Pakistan to clandestinely support the resurgent Taliban forces. Under no circumstances Pakistan would like the Afghan, Indian and other forces to have any toehold in the strategically important capital of Balochistan.
From Pakistani point of view Balochistan has assumed more importance as a number of Taliban elements and members of Gulbuddin Heckmatyar's Hizbe Islami have been settled by the ISI in the Pushtun majority areas of Balochistan and in areas around Quetta. Whatever president Musharraf may assert about Pakistan's war against Taliban and Al Qaeda, it is widely known in Pakistan that Balochistan bases are being used by the Taliban, Gulbuddin Hikmatyar and Osama bin Laden against Afghan, USA and NATO forces. Repeat showing of the Taliban forces in Afghanistan are being staged from Waziri and Baloch tracts of Pakistan. Musharraf wants to paint the resurgent Taliban movement with brush of 'people's war.' Pakistan watchers have confirmed reports of two live Taliban camps 120 km due south of Chaman in a hill valley and near Sheihk Manda, north of Quetta. The USA has the historic habit of behaving like the proverbial Ostrich when it comes to assessing real strategic value of its presumed allies. It is difficult to convince Washington that Pakistan and not Afghanistan is the fountainhead of Islamic jihad.

With so much of strategic, economic and geopolitical factors at stake Pakistan cannot afford to have a roaring insurgency in Balochistan. The Bugti fire has been apparently doused, but Balochs are preparing for renewed fight for their rights, though circumstances in Afghanistan and Iran are not conducive to their strategic preparations. The Bengali Pakistanis fought a single war of independence. The Balochs have fought four so far. Baloch leaders say they are ready to fight another four to achieve their goals.

The Chinese have a big stake in Balochistan. Besides collaboration with Pakistan in nuclear and missile technology, developing mining facilities and modernising the Gwadar port, China is interested in joint operation with Iran and Pakistan for laying oil and gas pipelines from Makran coast through Baloch territory, part of Sind, Punjab, and POK to destinations in Xinjiang province of China. This would facilitate China to curtail a longer sea route via the Straits of Malacca and areas of American naval presence in South East Asia. With the same objective in view China is exploring the possibility of laying a pipeline from Bangladesh to China via Myanmar.

The Daily Times of Pakistan reported on May 24,2006, that prime minister Shaukat Aziz was actively considering 'a feasibility study for an oil pipeline from Gwadar port to Western China to transport China's oil imports from the Gulf. The Gwadar and Karachi ports offer the shortest access to the Arabian Sea for Western China, as well as Central Asia, Aziz said at a seminar on 55 years of Pakistan-China relations, organised by the Institute of Strategic Studies. A major oil refinery at Gwadar would further facilitate China's oil imports. Pakistan is now in a position to exploit its strategic location at the crossroads of South Asia, Central Asia and West Asia to promote "corridors of cooperation."

The Chinese are also worried about presence of Uighur rebels in Taliban and Al Qaeda camps in Waziristan. There were unconfirmed reports that the BLA had taken helps from the Xinjiang rebels to procure weapons and to plan attacks on Chinese facilities in Balochistan.

Closely linked to Chinese interest in Balochistan are the aspects of up- gradation of the Karakoram Highway, communication between Gilgit-Skardu and connecting Kashgarh and Urumqui (Xinjiang) with Pakistan. Elaborate comments on these aspects deserve a separate treatise.

Innayatullah Baloch writes in his book, The Problem of Greater Balochistan, that the strategic importance of Balochistan has had a positive as well as a negative effect on Baloch nationalism. The Baloch people believe in the saying of the Prophet, 'salla Allahu 'alayhi wa salam'- Whoever fails to oppose a tyrant is guilty of tyranny. However, the USA does not appear to be appreciative of the noble spirit of the Baloch people. To Washington a Saddam is a tyrant and a Musharraf is a 'dictator of garden variety.' It allowed the Bengali Muslims to be butchered by Islamabad and in Balochstan Washington is repeating the same act. America's strategic consideration categorise Balochistan as a 'pivot of history.' The tract and its people have become pawns in the proverbial "Great Game" of Central Asia. Halford Mackinder, a former Director of the London School of Economics had long back described Balochistan as a gateway to the Central Asian heartland. This holds good even today.

The USA considers Pakistan as a key geostrategic ally for strengthening its Great Game against Iran, China, and burgeoning influence of Russia in the CAR countries. Afghanistan has become another quagmire for the USA and Pakistan knows well that Washington cannot but depend on its treacherous ally to fight the Taliban, Al Qaeda and to manipulate the Islamic jihadis of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Chechnya and Uighur rebels of western China. With a stand off situation with Iran, Venezuela, Peru, Columbia and Panama the USA has to depend more on Arab oil. The Russian authorities have entered the oil market in a bigger way and Washington is worried about re-emergence of the Kremlin as another Cold War superpower. It is keenly exploring the possibilities of tapping the oil rich CAR countries and piping down the oil from Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan etc countries through Afghan and Baloch territories of Pakistan. Balochistan has the potential to offer energy corridor to the Central Asian Republics. There exists a plan to construct a gas pipeline from Daulatabad to Gwadar through Afghan territory for onward export to the USA and South East Asia. For this purpose, under the US aegis, Pakistan, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan have already concluded an agreement.

About 30% of gas facilities Balochistan are being controlled by the USA. It is, like the Chinese, also engaged in on and offshore exploration of oil and gas in Baloch areas. Some reports indicate that the CIA and the ISI are collaborating to subvert some of the tribes like the Jamalis, Marris and Bugtis. Due to its common border with Afghanistan, the United States considers Balochistan territory as important for military operations against Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. In fact, the United States has military bases in Dalbandin and Pasni on the Balochistan coast. Strategic and economic interests often bring strange bedmates together. No wonder Pakistan, Afghanistan, China and USA are using the Baloch territory as a convenient strategic bed.

Pakistani media and political personalities aligned to the junta have often blamed India and Afghanistan for aiding the Baloch rebels. According to Daily Times of Pakistan (09.01.06) president Musharraf clearly blamed India for backing the Baloch militants, "There are lots of indications, yes indeed"¦ There is a lot of financial support, support in kind being given to those who are anti-government, anti-me and to those feudal people who are anti-national."
Musharraf told a visiting Indian CNN-IBN team said that he was "annoyed" and "disappointed" by Indian government statements and alleged actions in Balochistan. "It's a direct interference in our internal affairs."

Pakistani Foreign Office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam also responded by accusing India of "an unacceptable proclivity to interfere in the internal affairs of its neighbours"¦Such tendency is contrary to efforts aimed at building an environment of trust, peace and stability in South Asia." Federal Information Minister and the president's chief spokesperson Sheikh Rashid had said that good relations with neighbours had restrained Pakistan from making public evidence of the involvement of foreign countries in the Balochistan insurgency. Speaking to the Reuters, he commented in Peshawar, "We have evidence that foreign countries are involved"¦but we don't want to spoil the good relations we have with our neighbours."

Pakistan Muslim League Secretary General Mushahid Hussain in an interview to the Outlook India magazine said (16.04.2006), "RAW has established its training camps in Afghanistan in collaboration with the Northern Alliance remnants. Approximately 600 ferraris, or Baloch tribal dissidents, are getting specialised training to handle explosives, engineer bomb blasts, and use sophisticated weapons in these camps."
Similar allegations have been made against the Afghan government. Some Pakistani leaders went to the extent of alleging Russian proxy involvement through Karzai government. They forget that Karzai is a USA and not Russian surrogate.

It would be futile for an Indian to rebut Pakistani allegations. It is better to fall back on the US sources to contradict Pakistan. The US sources have refused to accept 'involvement of foreign hand' in Balochistan. Khalid Hassan, writing in the Daily Times on April 04, 2006 reported that The Karnegie Endowment for International Peace report authored by Frederic Grare concluded that, "Almost six decades of intermittent conflict have given rise to a deep feeling of mistrust towards the central government. The Baloch will not forget General Pervez Musharraf's recent promises and the insults hurled from time to time at certain nationalist leaders. The projects that were trumpeted as the means to Balochistan's development and integration have so far led only to the advance of the Pakistani military in the province, accompanied by the removal of the local population from their lands and by the intense speculation that benefits only the army and its henchmen."
The Grare report argued that Baloch nationalism was a "reality" that Islamabad could not pretend to ignore forever or co-opt by making promises of development that were rarely kept. "For the moment, with little certainty about the conclusion of an agreement between the central government and the nationalist leaders, the province is likely to enter a new phase of violence with long-term consequences that are difficult to predict. This conflict could be used in Pakistan and elsewhere as a weapon against the Pakistan government. Such a prospect would affect not only Pakistan but possibly all its neighbours. It is ultimately Islamabad that must decide whether Balochistan will become its Achilles' heel."

According to the Carnegie report, in the last 30 years the conflict in Balochistan resulted in 8,000 deaths, 3,000 of them from the army. The province seemed to be heading for another armed insurrection. The report identified three separate but linked issues that keep alive Baloch nationalism: Pakistan's strategic evaluation of Baloch territory, centrality of the role of Army and promotion of Islamism to recapture lost bases in Afghanistan. In the process, Pakistan has criminally neglected the genuine aspirations of the Baloch people.

The Carnegie Foundation report summed up the international reactions to Pakistan's criminal activities in Balochistan; "Today's crisis in Balochistan was provoked, ironically, by the central government's attempt to develop this backward area by undertaking a series of large projects. Instead of cheering these projects, the Baloch, faced with slowing population growth, responded with feat that they would be dispossessed of their land and resources and of their distinct identity. In addition, three fundamental issues are fuelling this crisis: expropriation, marginalisation and dispossession"¦. Since India reopened its consulates in Jalalabad and Kandahar, it has been suspected of wanting to forge an alliance with Afghanistan against Pakistan. At the least, it is thought to want to exert pressure on Pakistan's western border to force it to give up once and for all its "terrorist" activities in Kashmir, and, if possible, to bring the "composite dialogue" to an end on terms favouring India. India may also see the Chinese role in the development of the Gwadar port as a potential threat to its economic and strategic interests in the area. Pakistanis, Grare added, also suspected Iran of supporting Baloch activists to counter a Pak-US 'plot' to make Balochistan a rear base in a future offensive against Iran. Iran also wants its Chah Bahar port, renamed Bandar Beheshti, as an outlet for Central Asia at Pakistan's expense. The Carnegie Foundation report believes that Pakistanis, including the Baloch, see the US as a potential troublemaker."

The pains of the Baloch people cannot be diagnosed by brief narration of their heroic struggle and international strategic power play in the region. Something must be told about blatant Human Rights violations.

Wahid Baloch (31.01.2006) of Baloch Society Of North America, USA, drew attention to appalling human rights violation in Baloch territory. According to him 'Pakistani dictators have started the 5th military operation against the innocent Baloch people, using US gunship helicopters and F-16 jets, to crush their peaceful struggle against the occupation of their land and exploitation of their resources by Pakistan."

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan in a January 2006 report accused President Pervez Musharraf's military-led government of "gross human rights violations" in Balochistan. The HRCP rejected government claims that it was not using regular armed forces in a crackdown in the province launched last month after rocket attacks by tribal militants battling for greater autonomy and control of natural gas fields. The group said it had "received evidence that action by armed forces had led to deaths and injuries among civilians" and that "populations had also been subjected to indiscriminate bombing".

The HRCP report said that up to 85 percent of the 22,000-26,000 inhabitants of Dera Bugti had fled their homes after paramilitary forces shelling repeatedly hit the town. "There were alarming accounts of summary executions, some allegedly carried out by paramilitary forces. The HRCP received credible evidence that showed such killings had taken place"¦Across Balochistan, the HRCP team found widespread instances of 'disappearance', of torture inflicted on people held in custody, and on those fleeing from their houses,"

Asma Jahangir, Chairperson of HRCP said, "I have a very different view. It is not a matter of Indian government or Pakistan government. My view is that human rights issues are universal"¦And I think when our government takes out the issue of the massacres that took place in the Indian Gujarat, not only our government but all governments of the world should make India accountable for what they did"¦And therefore, it is just right that when systematic human rights violations are taking place as they took place in Gujarat and what is taking place in 'Baluchistan', that the world community does pay attention to it. India is part of the world community and India is part of the region and I hope that not only India but other countries do pay attention"¦so what is happening in 'Baluchistan' is grave enough to take notice of."

The Baloch fault line is wider than the East Pakistan tectonic gap was. No amount of scholarly research can sum up the pains of the Baloch people, no strategic consideration can heal the wounds and no amount of Armed attack on the Baloch people can subdue them. Mr. Najam Shethi has spoken the sanest words in his Daily Times editorial on 04.10.2006. I quote him, " In short, one can say that Pakistan itself emerged from a separatist nationalism that could have subsided had the All India Congress handled it well. But after becoming a state Pakistan quickly developed further separatist symptoms, which point to a future of many mini-states in the region. Let us accept that all sub-nationalisms aspire to a national state but are thereafter incapable of applying closure to the process of fragmentation"¦

Balochistan must stay inside Pakistan and the federation must learn to mould itself to the need of the federal units to be as autonomous as possible without actually destroying the state. There were times when we thought that Awami National Party's (sic) Six Points were not negotiable; today hardly anyone will disagree that they could have been accommodated. These days, states do not come to an end easily. In fact many states in the recent past reached the "black hole" status and stayed like that without changing their morphology. There are many "failed states" in our world, which are on the map because the international system doesn't allow annexations any more"¦

Pakistan was the result of Muslim separatism. It runs the risk of splintering under the weight of the regional demands for autonomy. To prevent the emergence of mini-states in place of the federation, it must nurture its provinces into mini-states by consent. Balochistan has to stay within Pakistan to become autonomous. Once outside, it will succumb to further fragmentation and chaos."

To a conscious Indian a question pops up: Has Delhi worked on any Baloch strategy? The pundits and trusted friends of the Establishment might answer gorgeously. A common man's view is: Delhi has very little time beyond daily political survival angst.


Tihar Jail
Oct 2, 2009
Balochistan: Cruces of History- Part II

Posted by: Maloy Krishna Dhar on Monday, August 10th, 2009
I had written a 16 pages long dissertation on Baloch problem with the banner: Balochistan: Cruces of History. Readers may like to read the same in this website. That piece was well appreciated by most intellectuals, my Baloch friends and even a few sensible Pakistani literati.

The recent attempt of Pakistan to internationalize its domestic failure all over the country, especially in FATA, NWFP and Balochistan has come as a shocker to many international Pakistani watchers. While the FATA and NWFP were vastly affected by the Taliban movement, growing influence of Al Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Lashkar al Zill etc Islamist militant outfits, the Baloch territory, barring certain pockets near Quetta remained free from Islamist, jihadist and Salafist aggrandizement. This goes to prove that in spite of efforts of Pakistan to turn Balochistan to Punjabistan by implanting huge Punjabi population, the legendary Baloch Sardars of Bugti and Marri and Mengel tribes and other aboriginal Baloch people remained steadfastly secular. Even the Hindu populations of Hingol (Hinglaz famous) have never felt persecuted. Minorities in other parts of Pakistan are under threat from Sunni aggrandizement. The recent incident of killing of several Christians in Punjab is a pointer. The Sindhi Hindus are treated as slaves by the Sindhi land and warlords. Contrary to this the Baloch people has maintained appreciable secular cool.
Baloch rebellion against Pakistan is as old as the contrived birth of the artificial homeland of Indian Muslims. These points have been explained in Part I of the series on Balochistan. Musharraf did the most disservice by killing Nawab Akbar Bugti on 26th August 2006 at a place near Kohlu. Though initially it was given out that his grandson Brahamdagh and Aali also died in the hands of Pakistan army, he survived and is now piloting the Baloch resistance from outside Pakistan; possibly from Afghan soil.
In 2006, 20-year-old Aali took shelter in the mountains along with his grandfather Akbar Bugti after a military operation was launched against them on December 17, 2005. Aali went into exile after his grandfather was killed in the military operation on August 26, 2006. He, along with his younger brother Talha Bugti, returned to Sui and was given a warm welcome. Later, a Bugti tribe jirga decided to choose Aali as the Bugtis' new chief. According to the Bugti tribe's tradition, the lords of the six branches of the tribe will preside over the ceremony (dastar bandi). Aali received his basic education from Karachi and then went to London for higher education. He married in the Nawab of Kallat's family in London last year. Aali has been taking part in Balochistan's politics for the last two years as president of the Jamhoori Watan Party.
Aali, younger to Brahamdagh, is the titular head of the Bugti tribes but the rebel Baloch forces working under the banner of Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) and the Balochistan Republican Army (BRA) is being directed by Brahamdagh and few other Marri and Mengel leaders.
It is necessary to understand that the BLA is not another Jihadi organisation. It represents the spirit of independence of the Baloch people in Pakistani Balochistan, which never wanted to be a part of Pakistan. This spirit has infected the Iranian Baloch people as well and the entire Baloch people dispersed in Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan to dream of a Greater Balochistan.
It is necessary to understand what the BLA is and what it stands for. First surfaced in 2000 the Balochistan Liberation Army, an armed militant Baloch nationalist group wants freedom for their territory both from Pakistan and Iran. The UK had declared the BLA as a terrorist organisation in 2006. The USA is yet to react on British queue.
Balach Marri son of Nawab Khair Baksh Marri of the Marri tribe is said to have initially organized the BLA. Some researchers give the credit to Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti of Dera Bugti. Balach was killed by Pakistan Army in November 2007, while he was in custody. The calculated elimination of Balach Marri by Pakistan Army was condemned by late Benazir Bhutto, and Pakistan Human Right Organisation. After Balach Marri's and Akbar Bugti's assassination the main leadership is now in the hands of Brahamdagh Bugti, and Marri brothers Harbyar, Ghazin and Zamran. The Bugti and Marri tribes were joined by the Mengel tribe in the liberation struggle. The minor tribes outside the Sardari system also follow the dictate of the BLA. Punjabis, however collaborate with the Pakistan authorities.

BLA Flag

BLA War Symbol

The BLA has an estimated strength of about 10000 active fighters, besides general tribal support to the esteemed Sardars of their respective tribes trying to establish an independent homeland. The fighting groups are organised into smaller guerrilla units of about 20-30, often organised in tribal lines and are deployed in the hill areas. They also operate in and around Quetta, Sui-Dera Bugti, Sui-Gwador, Qalat, Khazdar and Zhob etc areas. Armed with sophisticated weapons the BLA cadres are able to strike the Frontier Constabulary and Pakistan Army with precision and elements of surprise.

Trained Baloch Cadres. Source:

Pakistan alleges that initially the BLA was established in cooperation with the KGB and Indian RAW. It even alleges that RAW supports the BLA from Zahidan consulate in Iran and its consulates in Jalalabad and Mazar-e-Sharif. Debate with Pakistan on this issue would be infructuous. We would discuss this in later paragraphs. In fact, the BLA was started by Sardar Ataullah Khan Marri. After him Balach Marri had taken it over. However, the ISI assassinated him inside Afghanistan.
The Balochistan Republican Army (BRA) was started by Brahamdagh Bugti. Pakistan alleges that BRA was started by Indian RAW and it is now supported by Russia, Afghan government and India. The allegations have not been substantiated by Pakistan with any evidence. Recently the Karzai government has bunked all such wild allegations by Pakistan and denied existence of India training camp on Afghan soil. The USA and the NATO forces have also not substantiated such activities by the RAW against Pakistan from Afghan soil.
The Baloch cadres are given intensive military training and are exposed to sophisticated weapons and methodologies of Guerrilla warfare. Besides ideological orientation they are taught:
1.Baloch's right of independence,
2.The Concept of Greater Balochistan,
3.Sabotage as a tool for political struggle,
4.Tyranny of Punjab and plight of oppressed nations,
5.Media-friendly methods of mass protest.
I have explained in Part I of the series (see this link) How Pakistan has settled Punjabis and Sindhis in Balochistan and how the major opportunities of employment are grabbed by them. Sui Gas provides 35% of Pakistan's energy requirement. Even after prolonged negotiations Pakistan has failed to plough back the revenue from Sui Gas to the development works in Balochistan.
On the other hand, the ISI had in recent times encouraged the factions of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan to activate the Quetta urban areas and impose Sunni jingoism. Like Peshawar, Quetta was also heavily infected by the Talibanis under ISI guidance. Fortunately the ethnic Baloch had not fallen for the Taliban trap and remained steadfast in its anti-Punjabi and anti-Pakiistni exploitation campaign. The Baloch Grand Jirga had decided to resist the Talibanis and the Al Qaeda. But they were keen to pursue the agenda of independence. With such sentiments running high small cells of the BLA were established in the urban areas and incessant strikes against the Pakistani forces were carried out.
Following illustrative ad seriatim bullets only for 2008 would indicate the quantum of activities of the BLA and the BRA (Balochistan Republican Army):
-Baloch freedom fighters attacked Pakistani army convoy several killed and wounded 30.09.08
-Major operation in Dera Bugti, Zain koh, Naserabad and nearby areas, score's of innocent Baloch arrested and killed, BRA claim to killed more than 2 dozen Pakistani soldiers 28.09.08
-Another Baloch women martyred by Pakistani security forces in Quetta 27.09.08
-Rocket attack and blast damaged the under construction cantonment in Kohlu 26.09.08
-Baloch Freedom fighters gunned down two police constables in Quetta 20.08.09
-Rocket attacks in Quetta 18.09.08
-BSO and Blaoch women panel protested against police firing in New Kahan. 17.09.08
-One killed and 26 injured including women and children in New Kahan (Marri Camp) Quetta by Pakistani terrorist forces 16.09.08
-Trial and terror By Peter Tatchell 12.09.08
-Baloch National army BLA, BRA, BLF announced for the suspension of their activities for unassigned period 02.09.08
-Pakistan burns prisoners alive (The Guardian) by Peter Tatchell 30.08.08
-Several attacks on Pakistani occupying forces in Balochistan on 2nd anniversary of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti
-Several Pakistani tanks entered in Dera Bugti, BRP 26.08.08
-Balochvoice team strongly condemn the attack on peaceful rally of BNF by Pakistani security forces in occupied Balochistan 26.08.08
-Anjuman Itehad Marri announced shutter down strike and black day on 26 August 25.08.08
-10 Pakistani army soldiers were killed in Dera Bugt 24.08.08
-4 Pakistani army soldiers were killed by an IED attack in Chamaling 23.08.08
-Five Pakistani army informers shot dead in Chattar area of Naseerabad 20.08.08
-We are fighting for Balochistan's liberation, says Bramadagh Bugti 16.08.08
-Baloch national traitor Wadera Fazal Khan Bugti killed in Dera Bugti 15.08.08
-More Than 32 Attacks in 24 hours, Balochistan rocked during 14 august 15.08.08
-7 Pakistani army soldiers were killed in Kohistan Marri 14.08.08
-Three killed in Hub 14.08.08
-Scores of Pakistani army soldiers killed in Kohistan Marri and Dera Bugti, Gas pipeline blown up in Pirkoh 13.08.08
-18 Pakistani army soldiers killed and 30 injured in Dera Bugti 02.08.08
-Policeman killed in Quetta, bomb blasts in Gawadar 10.08.08
-Four Pro-government tribesmen were killed in Sibi, ISI informer killed in Turbat. 07.08.08
-Rocket attacks in Quetta was to deliver a message to Musharraf 06.07.08
-FC soldier gunned down in Quetta, Gas pipeline blown up in Dera Bugti 04.08.08
-A major gas pipeline blown up in Sui, FC soldiers injured in Khuzdar 03.08.08
-Two Policemen killed in Quetta, a major gas pipeline blown up in Sui 30.07.08
-Several attacks on occupying Pakistani forces by BLA 27.07.08
-Scores of Innocent Baloch were martyred during brutal bombardment by Pakistani Helicopters and fighter jets in Dera Bugti 27.07.08
-FC Commandant's vehicle targeted with remote controlled bomb in Khuzdar 26.07.08
-Mastung blast a reminder to CM, says BLA 26.07.08
-Complete shutter down strike observed in Balochistan 26.07.08
-Three Coal trucks were blown up in Chamaling, Rocket attack on Quetta cantt. 24.07.08
-Chief engineer of construction company shot dead in Khuzdar 24.07.08
-Shutter-down strike in Balochistan on Friday 24.07.08
-Baloch prefer Balochistan's sovereignty over Pakistan 23.07.08
-Clashes in various parts of Dera Bugti continue. Baloch freedom fighters shot down Pakistani army's gunship Helicopter in Zain koh 23.07.08
-I salute to the Martyred of Uch, Says Brahimdugh Bugti 21.07.08
-power pylons blown up in Kohlu 21.07.08
-8 Punjabi-Pakistani army soldiers killed and several others wounded in Dera Bugti 21.05.08
-50 Pakistani soldiers killed in Dera Bugti
-Seven Pakistani army soldiers were killed in Kahan 18.07.08
-Scores of Pakistani army soldiers were killed in Dera Bugti, Gas pipeline blown up in Sui 17.07.08
-MI office attacked in Wadh 16.07.08
-Baloch nation observed Martyred day 16.07.08
-A main gas pipeline blown up in Dera Bugti 08.07.08
-A policeman killed in Khuzdar 07.07.08
-Three policemen killed in Kohlu, Gas pipeline blown up in Nasirabad 06.07.08
-Gas pipelines, power pylon blown up in Sui and Barkahan 05.07.08
-Six Punjabi-Pakistani soldiers were killed and scores wounded in Dera Bugti areas
-Four ISI informers and one police man were killed in Quetta 03.07.08
-Power pylon blown up in Quetta 02.07.08
-Baloch separatist graffiti surfaces on Karachi walls 02.07.08 (Source
-The Baloch Republican Army (BRA) killed five abducted officials including a station house officer (SHO) on Monday, and threatened to kill the remaining abducted persons if their demands were not met within 24 hours. The BRA threw the bodies on Jathhar Kelji Road. Spokesman for the BRA Sarfraz Baloch – talking to a private TV channel by satellite telephone – claimed responsibility for killing the officials including Dera Murad Jamali SHO Ahsanullah Khosa. The spokesman threatened that if the government did not release arrested Baloch leaders within 24 hours, the BRA would kill the remaining officials and laborers in their custody.
The officials and laborers were working on government projects in different areas of Dera Murad Jamali when they were abducted. (Daily Times 04.08.09).
This illustrative account would indicate that though not globally publicized as events in Swat and Waziri areas Pakistan is engaged in constant military actions in Balochistan.
The Baloch activists and Asian Human Rights Organisation on the other hand allege that Baloch students and ordinary Baloch activists are routinely picked up and tortured and killed by the Pakistan Army and the Frontier Constabulary. The ISI contingents in Balochistan are reported to have established over a dozen torture chambers to treat and obtain confessions from the Baloch activists. It is alleged by the BLA and BRA sources that about 500 Baloch youth have disappeared between 2008 and till date after they were picked by the Pakistani security forces and the ISI.
According to Asian Human Rights (July 26, 2009) Pakistani army and other forces are excruciatingly torturing the Baloch youths on slightest suspicion. The HR body has given many instances, but a couple of these only can be quoted for lack of space:
"An activist of the Baloch Student Organisation-BSO (Azaad), Mr. Sami Baloch, was abducted at midnight of July 19 and 20. He was returning home from a tuition center near the Satellite Town of Quetta. He was abducted by Frontier Constabulary, a Para- military force of the Pakistani Army. Mr. Sami Baloch is a M.A. student in Geology in Balochistan University and a member of the organizing body of BSO (Azaad) Balochistan University unit. His whereabouts are still unknown and it is feared that he is undergoing brutal torture in a Pakistani army camp.

In another case, Pakistani intelligence agencies allegedly abducted another Baloch resident. This occurred in front of the Huddah district jail in Quetta, the provincial capital, on the morning of July 16, 2009. According to information received from his family, Fazal Khan Marri, 25, went to visit one of his relatives in the Hudda jail. As he came out of the main gate of the prison, he was abducted by personnel from the Pakistani intelligence agencies in a jeep with no registration number. Fazal Khan Marri is a resident of New Kahan. He is a daily wage earner and the father of two children.

Mr.Fazal Baloch, 19, son of Sher Muhammad, a student at Bolan University in the Commerce Faculty was arrested on 3rd July 2009 by F.C from Luc Pas, Quetta. Fazal Baloch, a 19 year old resident of Proom village, Punjgur district, was traveling to Punjgur by bus. He also was a member of B.S.O Azaad. According to his father, after his son was arrested, he was tortured. His physical and mental condition remains very serious. After the torture he was admitted to the Civil Hospital for two days after which he was handed over to the Crime Branch of anti terrorist force (A.T.F.) from Quetta. This took place late at night. In the hospital he told to his relatives that he was forced to confess that India is funding Baloch Liberation Army (BLA).

Mr. Iqbal Baloch, 21, a student of Khuzdar College, Khuzdar district, was arrested by frontier constabulary (FC) on 18 July, 2009. His whereabouts are unknown. The district police are denying his arrest.

Nationalist groups and family members of the disappeared persons say that the Pakistani government is arresting students and young people with the aim to get confessions from them for alleged statements against India for its involvement in Balochistan's insurgency. Pakistan has started blaming foreign influences in Balochistan since December of last year."

According to Peter Tatchell (, a human rights activist, who keeps constant vigil on the Baloch situation, Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani had recently proclaimed that, "It has been decided that no army action will be carried out in the province until a strategy is formulated in consultation with representatives of the provincial government to deal with the issue of law and order in the province." In spite of his promise the Pakistan Army continue to operate in Balochistan with Tanks, APCs, Helicopter gunships and air to ground missiles.
In view of continued Army operation and attempt of the Punjabi dominated government and army to settle more Punjabis in Balochistan have generated a feeling in Baloch minds that Pakistan wants to 'introduce cultural change' in Balochistan by encouraging the Sunni fundamentalists to root in interior areas. In 2008 a Baloch grand jirga (assembly) decided to petition the International Court of Justice at The Hague, in a bid to get Pakistan to honour its autonomy commitments under the 1948 Instruments of Accession. Although their legal case is strong, realpolitik may deny the Baloch the justice they deserve.
The easiest and most handy scapegoat that Pakistan invents every time its domestic cancers haunt it is the demon Hindu nation India. Right from Swat, Waziristan troubles generated by Tehrik-e-Taliban, Pakistan and out Taliban outfits to Lahore attack on Sri Lankan cricket team Pakistan invented the ghost of India and accused that India had funded the Talibans and Indian commandos had carried out the Lahore attack. The International New and Nawi Waqat etc papers even accused India of attacking the Marriot hotel in Islamabad.
As far as Balochistan is concerned, if media reports and PM's statements are to be relied upon, the Pakistan PM had broached the Balochistan issue with the Indian PM and offered a dossier on RAW involvement with the Baloch rebels. Some Indian media columnists later picked up inspired leaks, probably by the rammed bureaucrats, that Manmohan Singh had asked his FS to incorporate the Balochistan issue in the Joint Statement. Indian foreign policy had taken the second suicidal jump at Sharm al Sheikh; the first one was taken at Bandung when Nehru had signed the now infamous Panchsheel agreement with Chow.
On May 19, 2009 the Advisor to Pakistani prime minister on Interior affairs, Rehman A. Malik informed the Upper House of the Parliament that India was backing the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) for fuelling insurgency in the province and creating unrest. Winding up debate on an adjournment motion, to discuss the Balochistan situation in the wake of a recent killing of three Baloch leaders in Turbat, Rehman Malik said "BLA was raised and funded by Russia during Soviet-Afghan war when Pakistan was supporting Afghans and now India is backing its activities."
"BLA remained dormant since the Afghan war ended, but it was reactivated after killing of Nawab Akbar Bugti, whose grandson Barhamdagh Bugti has openly sought Indian and American support for independence of Balochistan in a recent interview," he added. He said that Indian consulate in Iranian city of Zahidan, bordering Balochistan, was also involved in activities other than granting visa to people.
The BLA Chief Barhamdagh Bugti, in his recent interview to a Pakistani channel had openly sought Indian support for independence of Balochistan, he added. "Barhamdagh Bugti is residing in Kabul just five kilometer away from President Karzai's palace and Pakistan has continuously been asking the Afghan government for access to Barhamdagh," the Advisor asserted.
Later the Upper House of Pakistani Parliament decided to hold an in-camera session to discuss Balochistan situation on Thursday (today). The decision was made during the winding up speech of Advisor on Interior Rehman Malik when he was reading out some secret documents before the House to support allegation of Indian involvement in Balochistan. (Courtesy: Daily Times, Pakistan).
Besides Malik the Pakistan Army chief General Kiyani had conveyed to Obama administration during discussions that Pakistan would treat 'fight and terrorism' as linked to 'stopping of India's interference in Balochistan. Quoting Kiyani the New York Time reported that Richard Holbrook had already mentioned to India about Pakistan's concern about Indian interference in Balochistan. General Kiyani had even equated RAW with the ISI.
Pakistan had also tried to involve India with almost every act of terrorism in its territory A section of the media had alleged Indian involvement with Lashkar-e-Jhanghvi, the Sunni outfit that had attacked the Sri Lankan team. It seems impossible that India would back an obscurantist Sunni militant group known for its hatred towards India. In the March 30 attack on the Manawan police training academy Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Lahore Pervaiz Rathore had talked of Indian involvement, claiming that the perpetrators were pro-India Afghans. When his attention was drawn to Baitullah Mehsud claiming responsibility for the Manawan attack, the Lahore police chief had said: 'it is a well-known fact that Baitullah Mehsud is paid for terrorism and he can do anything for the sake of money.'
The Indian PM had specifically said that at Sharm al Sheikh Pakistani PM had not handed over any dossier of Balochistan. However, a fortnight from the Sharm-el-Sheikh meeting, well-informed sources in the Pakistani Foreign Office insisted that a detailed dossier containing evidence of Indian involvement in subversive activities in Balochistan, Swat and Waziristan regions was handed over by Gilani to Dr. Singh at Sharm-el-Sheikh. These sources claim the Indian prime minister had assured his counterpart of investigating the Pakistani claims and taking corrective action, if necessary.
They say the evidence of the Indian activities contained in the Pakistani dossier listed the safe houses that India's premier intelligence agency RAW (Research & Analysis Wing) has in Afghanistan, where terrorists are trained and launched for subversive missions in Pakistan. The lengthier part of the dossier dealt with Indian link with the insurgents in Balochistan, particularly Brahamdagh Bugti, the rebel grandson of the deceased Baloch nationalist leader Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti and his rebel commanders. The Pakistani dossier is said to contain documentary evidence of Brahamdagh and his comrades meeting RAW operatives deployed in Afghanistan.
The dossier claimed that the Indian consulates in Kandahar and Jalalabad and their embassy in Kabul assisted clandestine activities inside Pakistan in general and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) and Balochistan in particular. The sources say the dossier further mentioned a RAW-funded terrorist training camp in Kandahar, where insurgents belonging to the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), particularly those from the Bugti clan, are allegedly trained and provided arms and ammunition for carrying out terrorist activities in Balochistan.
Interior ministry sources in Islamabad say Pakistan had expressed concern over the activities of the Indian intelligence agency in Balochistan in the past, but this was for the first time (on July 16, at Sharm-el-Sheikh) that it was encapsulated in a dossier and handed over to India. In fact, while addressing an in-camera sitting of the Senate on April 23, 2009, Interior Minister Rehman Malik had accused India of backing the Balochistan Liberation Army, which is accused of fanning unrest in the province. The prime aim behind the in-camera session of the Upper House was to show members of Parliament that foreign agencies were involved in a concerted conspiracy against Pakistan — especially Balochistan.
In the game of diplomacy, statesmanship, geopolitical and geostrategic cat and mouse syndrome is proverbial. Allegations and counter allegations would continue unabated till India and Pakistan are able to streamline their own internal issues and rectify the fault lines. Like India, Pakistan has several fault lines and India is not the only nation to exploit those weaknesses. Besides Chinese interest in Balochistan (detailed in Part I) the US and NATO interests are also rooting in for the Balochistan Hotdog served with Mustard and Tabasco sauces. We would discuss the affairs of US rooting in Balochistan after we have dealt with the Pakistan-Iran imbroglio on Balochistan.
These crucial geostrategic and geopolitical aspects require detailed examination as Balochistan's aspiration for independence does not depend on Pakistan alone. Large Baloch inhabited areas are incorporated in Afghan and Iranian Sistan areas. Pakistani Balochistan consists of 44% of total Pakistani area. Besides being highly rich in gas, petroleum and other minerals the Chagai Hills, where Pakistan carried out nuclear tests, the entire Baloch tract is very important to Pakistan's existence. Shorn of the Baloch tract, which obviously would inspire Sind to secede too, Pakistan would be left with Punjab and some parts of Northern Area, and some areas of FATA. The future of NWFP is also uncertain. The Pakhtunistan movement is now dormant but not dead. The rise of the Taliban (mostly Pakhtuns) in the bordering areas indicates that the ultimate goal of the Talibains is to unite with the Afghan Pakhtuns and form a separate homeland. Since political dissent is not encouraged in Pakistan the NWFP Pakhtuns have opted for armed struggle.
Balochistan has also a large population of Afghan refugees and overflow of Pakistani Pakhtuns. Though the Baloch people resent their presence they are not overtly vocal as they require weapons flow from the Talibanis and other sources in Afghanistan. The Afghan regime is not reluctant in encouraging some Pakhtun elements to help out the Bloch freedom fighters. It appears to be a tricky game.
Besides India Pakistan and Iran are also at loggerheads over the Baloch issue. Iran is a Shia country. However, the Baloch people of Iranian Sistan are Sunnis and they want their homeland to unite with the main Baloch inhabited land in Pakistan and form a greater Balochistan.
Iran alleges that the ISI had raised a mixed Baloch militant outfit called Jundullah (Army of Allah) and resourced it to carry out terrorist activities in Iranian Sistan-Balochistan. During a recent visit of the Pakistani President to Iran to sign the Iran-Pakistan pipeline (originally IPI-India Pakistan Iran pipeline) agreement it was pointed out that the Jundullah was the creation of India RAW. Obviously, taking into consideration that India has no geostrategic interest in Iran to meddle with its internal affairs the Ahmednijad government has taken the Pakistani ploy as a Jackal's embarrassing smile. On the other hand, there are international reports that the CIA had encouraged the ISI to raise the Jundullah and partly financed it with a view to carry out sabotage and subversive activities in the territory of one of the Bush's 'arc of evil' countries-Iran. There is no evidence to prove that despite his Egypt address about US policy in the Middle East and Muslim countries in general the Obama administration has discarded the Bush policy of needling Iran by any means. So, the assessment that both the CIA and the ISI are behind the Jundullah can be accepted as a highly probable geopolitical foxy games. Iran is very sore about it and the Balochistan-Sistan issue may remain stuck as the herring bone in the throat of the two Islamic nations.
A little more elaboration on Jundullah is necessary as this movement is as potent as the BLA+BRA movements. The group is led by Abdul Malak Rigi, (25) Iranian Baloch It surfaced in 2003 and is known for bold attacks against high-profile targets, especially government and security officials. In a May telephone interview with Rooz, an Iranian online newspaper, Rigi defended Jundallah's use of violence as a just means to defend Baloch and Sunni Muslim interests in Iran and to draw attention to the plight of his people whom he describes as Iran's poorest and the victims of genocide. Rigi styles as an Iranian. He also claims not to harbor separatist aspirations. Instead, according to Rigi, Jundallah's goal is to improve the life of Iranian Baloch. (Courtesy:
In June 2005, Jundallah claimed responsibility for the abduction of a team of Iranian security and intelligence officers traveling in a convoy in Iranian Balochistan along the Pakistani and killed on of the officials. In mid-March incident the abduction and assassination of several Iranian security officials, including members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), and aid officials affiliated with the Islamic Red Crescent had rocked Iran. A similar operation in May claimed another 12 victims. The group has also been implicated in several strikes against infrastructure in Iranian Balochistan and outside of the province (Courtesy al-Jazeera, March 22, 2009).
The official website of the Balochistan People's Party (BPP), a movement advocating the federalization of Iran and what it describes as Baloch sovereignty within a democratic Iran, describes a recent Iranian military operation that allegedly commenced on May 15 as the "Islamic clerical regime's atrocities towards Sunni Baloch" and included helicopter gunships and airstrikes against civilian centers in Sistan-Balochistan. The website also includes visual evidence of what it claims are innocent victims of Tehran's crackdown and the recent killing of Sunni Baloch clerics by Iranian security forces. As stated earlier, the Jundullah still continues to be armed by the ISI and the CIA. Iran has to sort this out with Pakistan before the Pipeline agreement is enforced on the ground. The CIA has vested interest in thwarting this pipeline and may use the Jundullah and other Baloch rebels to sabotage it.
In an earlier paragraph I had stated about growing US presence in Balochistan. The US is basically engaged in a shadow war in Balochistan. The Pakistan Army and the ISI have intensified military operations and target assassination of important Baloch leaders in Israeli style. They are targeted in Karachi, Kabul and in western countries.
On the other hand Obama's Afghan surge in troops will soon be in position. A new, US mega-base in Helmand province, in southern Afghanistan, will be operational. The base happens to be a stone's throw from the Iran-Afghan border, and just across the border from Pakistani Balochistan. It's the ideal, strategic base for an extended three nation domination strategy as described by General David Petraeus.
Ultra-shadowy task forces, drone war, Hellfire missiles, privatization and "covertization" of war, by using local militia is likely to change the conflict scenario in Afghanistan, Iran and Balochistan. According to Muqaddar Iqbal: "The American's nefarious designs are proven by this one example that American think-tank prepared a world map showing Greater Balochistan while ignored the existence of Pakistan in 2015. In the context of existing geo-political situation, when Americans are sitting in Afghanistan and are threatening Iran, the importance of Balochistan is increased for Americans." (M. Iqbal is a Baloch journalist).
The American fleet Abraham Lincoln is harboring in international sea near Gwadar to cope with any emergency situation. Americans are also constructing a new air base in Ormara Creek, while another base is also being built at Bochik in the area of Chaghi from where the US security experts will be able to monitor the developments in nearby Iran, and Afghan Taliban and Al Qaeda. They will be able to stop trafficking of Taliban and Al Qaeda between Afghanistan and Iran and Iraq. In this area, America is supporting Jundullah armed group which is involved in subversive activities in Iranian areas. Americans have increased their military strength at Shamsi Air Base in Dalbadin in terms of personnel and fighter jets. Recently, the US increased its military strength at Khalid Airbase at Quetta. The military strength is as under here:
The US wants to launch military operation at a time on both side of Pak-Afghan border to crush Taliban and Al Qaeda. Pakistan's provincial capital Quetta and Chaman are under the threat of US operation. Although Taliban are silent in these areas but if military operation is launched here, its devastated results will come out. Taliban leadership is hiding here and all sort of planning for operations in Afghanistan are finalized in the camps and hideouts in these areas.
The Chinese are gradually increasing their presence in Gwador and SUI area and other development projects. They are supportive of Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline as the same line can later be extended to China. The USA is opposed to this 'Pipelinistan' connection between Iran-Pakistan and China. Obama administration is likely to use all diplomatic and military and finally dollar squeeze mechanism to prevent Pakistan from opening the Cruces of Civilization: Balochistan to China. America has its own energy interest in Balochistan.
So, my Baloch friends should realize that in the historical past their territory, which has more common with Iran and the Middle East than Pakistan was used by various civilizations and their armies to open up the horizon to Hind. Now also, as Islamabad alleges, Balochistan is not the only operations theatre of India. It is the play ground of China, USA, Iran, India, Afghanistan and even the Arab countries. The Russian bear appears to be silent. But in reality Moscow is equally interested in Balochistan, as it would not like stronger US bases to operate both from Afghanistan and Balochistan. Balochistan is not a mere 'Pipelinistan' conflict. It has assumed global importance in which India has a major role to play. By this I do not indicate that India is involved in dirty games to destabilise Pakistan. India has a strong geostrategic compulsion to be involved in Baloch affairs.
My friends in the BLA and BRA and the Baloch national Party may note that Pakistan is likely to intensify military operations, selected assassinations and fast 'Punjabisation' of the Baloch province. It may even allow the Pak Taliban and the Pakhtun population to resist the Baloch independence movement. The USA is also likely to help the Baloch separatists, as in the foreseeable future a greater independent Balochistan may be a stable US military base in the vitally important tri-junction: what I call the Cruces of History. My Baloch friends have to tread along international minefields and not merely the brutal Pakistani army and the ISI.
My friends and foes in the Indian ruling clique must be aware of these international intrigues in Balochistan; they should be, because they are paid by the nation to know. Under these circumstances was not the Shame at Sharm al Sheikh was a great blunder in Indian diplomacy and statesmanship?
I hope the readers would pass the final verdict.


Tihar Jail
Oct 2, 2009
Khan of Kalat raises the stakes

QUETTA: The Khan of Kalat, Mir Suleman Dawood, announced on Tuesday formation of a council for 'independent Balochistan' and rejected any reconciliation with the government of Pakistan without the mediation of European Union and United Nations.

Addressing reporters from London on telephone, he said the council would ensure the creation of an independent state of Balochistan.

The Khan said Baloch separatist forces of Pakistan and Iran would have representation in the council.

He said the names of members of the council would be announced later.

He, however, said that Nawabzada Baramdagh Bugti will be a member of the council, adding that he was in touch with him and other forces which stood for an independent Balochistan.

Replying to a question, he said that recommendations adopted at the Kalat Jirga had not been shelved.

He said that a lot of progress had since been made and the issue of Balochistan had been raised at the international level. He said that some people had disassociated themselves from the recommendations.

He said he was enjoying the support of 'friendly' and 'like-minded' countries who had promised all help and cooperation.

The Khan of Kalat said the Baloch had observed their Independence Day on Tuesday because the British rulers had accepted independent and autonomous status of the Kalat state on August 11, 1947. They later announced independence of Pakistan and India on August 14 and 15.

He said the Qauid-i-Azam had negotiated Kalat's accession to Pakistan but it was rejected by the Kalat state assembly.

He said Kalat was merged into Pakistan in March 1948 and in reaction Prince Agha Abdul Karim mounted a revolt.

The Khan said the Baloch had lost trust in Pakistani rulers.

However, he said that if European Union and United Nations mediated then negotiations could be held with the government of Pakistan.

Meanwhile, the Khuzdar Engineering University was closed on Tuesday for an indefinite period.

According to sources, a group of students belonging to the Baloch Students Organisation-Azad entered the university campus and tried to hoist the flag of 'independent Balochistan' on the administration building.

Law-enforcement personnel did not allow them to remove the national flag and arrested a number of students.

After the incident, the administration announced the closure of the university


Tihar Jail
Oct 2, 2009
The Friday Times(subscription)

In a country where nationality is defined in terms of religion and religion alone, "the Baloch nation can hardly find a legitimate space, even as a term of reference. There is no notion in the minds of the powers-that-be of a nationality other than an exclusive and sweeping 'Pakistani'. History and political reality, however, informs us otherwise. The secession of East Pakistan, taught the hard lesson that national identities cannot be brushed aside and diversity cannot be suppressed by military might. This fundamental lesson of 1971 is still glossed over in what remains of Pakistan.

Perhaps the secession of East Pakistan is the reason, amongst others, that the subject of Baloch nationalism evokes a passionate response from the supporters of a single Pakistani nation. The ruling establishment of Pakistan denies the very existence of a Baloch national movement, calling it a product of external forces. They insist on one Pakistani nation – absolute and united. Baloch nationalists, in response, make no bones about marking their distinction from the rest of Pakistan. In order to demonstrate the persistence of a Baloch national identity from time immemorial, they raise this discourse to mythical proportions.

Martin Axmann in 'Back to the Future: The Khanate of Kalat and the Genesis of Baloch Nationalism 1915-1955' rejects both the absolute negation of Pakistani nationalists and the grandiose exaggeration of Baloch nationalists. On the other hand, he argues that nationhood is a product of modernity which disrupts the traditional balance of society and creates new constellations of shared interests through industrialization, print capitalism, mass education, and the proliferation of the modern territorial state. The genesis of Baloch nationalism, in this framework, lies precisely in the disruptive effects caused by modernity and, particularly, the replacement of the traditional elites in Baloch society. For Axmann, two events are of crucial importance in the formation of Baloch national identity: the inclusion of the Khanate of Kalat in the British Indian Empire during the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century; and the partition of India and the emergence of Pakistan on the map of the world in 1947.

The British interest in Balochistan began with the First Anglo-Afghan War (1839-42) and was motivated by the need for safe passage for troops and supplies. The Treaty of 1854 required the Khan to maintain better control over the Marri and Bugti areas that threatened neighbouring British Indian districts. The Treaty of 1876 that eventually came to govern the relationship between the Khanate and the British Empire affirmed the independence of Kalat and the sovereignty of the Khan.

Around the same time, British policy took a radical shift in a manner that would have a far reaching impact on the State of Kalat. Fearing Russian encroachment, the British administration decided to take an active interest in the internal affairs of Kalat to guard against instability. By implementing the Sandeman system (named after Major Robert Sandeman, the Agent to the Governor General in Balochistan), the British moved to support the local sardari concerns (by granting financial favours, titles, and administrative functions), introduced intertribal councils of elders (jirga) for dispute resolution, and put into practice a police and administrative machinery (levy system). Although Kalat was treated as an independent and sovereign state by the British administration, the Sandeman system opened the gates for British interference that gradually undermined the authority of the Khan of Kalat. In the words of a Baloch nationalist, the Sandeman system 'tamed and bribed the chiefs at the cost of the people'.

Time went by until Khan Ahmed Yar Khan became the Khan of Kalat in 1933 with the desire to restore the lost glory of his state and to reclaim his status as the Khan-e-Azam of the Baloch tribes. The Khan understood well that Kalat remained a sovereign state, at least on paper, unlike the other princely states of British India. He, therefore, wanted to reaffirm his sovereignty and independence. However, the dreams of the newly appointed Khan were shattered by the Government of India Act, 1935, which listed Kalat as an ordinary princely state of India represented in the federal government. The Khan did not let this act of unilateralism pass him by. The treaties of 1854 and 1876, he argued before the British authorities in various representations, conclusively determined the relationship between Kalat and British authorities and recognized Kalat as an independent state.

In order to postpone a controversy, the British formally affirmed the unaltered status of the 1876 Treaty, though the Government of India Act, 1935 explicitly stated otherwise. The issue, however, remained unresolved and was deferred with the advent of the Second World War. More pressing concerns were at stake. The status of the Khanate of Kalat remained unsettled, only to be picked up again at the time of the partition of India.

The 1920s and 30s are also important in Baloch history because they witnessed the growth of independent political organizations. The two landmark 'All India Baloch and Balochistan Conferences' organized by Anjuman-e-Ittehad-e-Balochan-wa-Balochistan raised the concerns of the Baloch people for the first time. The Kalat State National Party formed with the support of Khan Ahmed Yar Khan in 1936 was banned in 1939 for overtly criticizing the sardari system and advocating administrative modernization and introduction of parliamentary representation on a western model. Ghaus Bux Bizenjo and Gul Khan Nasir, members of the party, were expelled from the state by the Khan. Anjum-e-Watan, organized around the Pathan residents of Balochistan, promoted the need for constitutional reforms. The Muslim League, though a minor party limited to very few, also played an important role in the years to come.

The issue of the status of Kalat State was again raised by Ahmed Yar Khan as the British withdrawal from India neared. Ahmed Yar Khan reiterated his well known stance that Kalat was distinct from other princely states of India as it was neither a British protectorate nor part of the Indian federation. Through two separate memorandums submitted to the Cabinet Mission in 1946, the Khan argued that any treaty arrangement between Kalat and the British Government would ipso facto terminate with the transfer of power in British India.

The British withdrawal from India and consequent partition revived Ahmed Yar Khan's hopes for an independent Kalat state. The fate of British Balochistan was decided by the Shahi Jirga, which was enlarged by the representation of the Quetta Municipal Committee. Though the Jirga voted for Pakistan, the actual results and the procedure followed became controversial with varying narratives. The Khan of Kalat, on the other hand, managed to get a standstill agreement reached between Viceroy Mountbatten, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Liaqat Ali Khan, and Ahmed Yar Khan. The standstill agreement, entered upon on 5th August, 1947, recognized the independent status of Kalat, but at the same time provided for the transfer of British paramountcy to Pakistan.

The Khan of Kalat declared independence on 15th August, 1947, and implemented an interim constitution that provided for a bi-cameral parliament. Later, when the Jam of Las Bela and the Nawab of Kharan, both constitutionally parts of Kalat, acceded to Pakistan, the Khan of Kalat also promptly signed the documents of accession to Pakistan on 30th March, 1948. Ahmed Yar Khan's younger brother Abdul Karim went up to the mountains to wage what was later termed by Baloch nationalists as the first Baloch war of liberation and self-determination. As the author rightly concludes, the death of the state was the birth of the nation.

The central thesis of Axmann that Baloch nationalism arose from the impact of modernity on the state and society in Balochistan stands firm on the historical facts collected by him through extensive research. This proposition can be confronted with the argument that modernity had no far-reaching impact in Balochistan, that the society there remained primitive, and modern education was limited only to a small minority. This criticism, however, misses the point that the initial instrument of modernity that hit Balochistan was the modern administrative machinery and Baloch nationalism originated from this interaction. In other words, nationalist leadership in Balochistan became familiar with modernity through their interaction with the modern territorial state. It is, therefore, not surprising that the initial demands of the Baloch leadership pushed for administrative and constitutional reforms and criticized the prevalent sardari system.

The book under review also hints at the wavering character of the ruling tribal elite of Balochistan with regard to their national movement. The censorship of the Kalat State National Party was an early sign of what was to appear later. After protesting against the forcible accession of Kalat State for a few years, Ahmed Yar Khan eventually affirmed his loyalty to Pakistan. The Khan of Kalat, commented Ayub Baksh Awan, who had been lodged in a comfortable house in the most fashionable locality of Lahore, reaffirmed his loyalty to Pakistan, asked for forgiveness and was pardoned. The full amount of his Privy Purse was also restored.


Tihar Jail
Oct 2, 2009
Balochistan-Pakistan's Other Colony


In recent times, Balochistan has always had to live under the shadow of Afghanistan but this cannot take away the intrinsic importance of the province to the renewed Great Game of the 21st century. Pakistan’s largest province and most backward state is resource rich and geo-strategically located astride the energy routes from the Persian Gulf and as a gateway to Central Asia. It is also the least populated state of Pakistan as well as the most isolated where the Baloch have periodically rebelled against the central authority whose only answer has been use of harsh military methods to suppress the revolts under an unthinking and unhelpful political doctrine of zero-tolerance.


The British had realised the importance of the region that is now Balochistan as they consolidated their Indian Empire. This was reflected even as they prepared to leave the subcontinent in the 1940s they still assessed the continued importance of the region to contain Soviet expansion just as they had worried about Czarist ambitions in the 18th and 19th centuries and as an important base for controlling the energy rich Middle East.

The sixth Khan of Kalat, Naseer Khan the great, who ruled from 1749 to 1794, was the first ruler of Kalat who succeeded in uniting the various Baloch tribes who had been feuding for centuries. Naseer Khan’s kingdom extended over all the Baloch areas which today straddles adjacent parts of Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan. Naseer Khan raised an army of 30,000 and the British curious about what was happening in an area potentially of great interest to them sent in their spy, Sir Henry Pottinger to assess the Khan of Kalat. Nicholas Schmidle in his essay “Waiting for the Worst: Baluchistan 2006” for the Institute of Current World Affairs and republished in the spring 2007 issue of the Virginia Quarterly Review says that Sir Henry found the Khan “a most extra-ordinary combination of all virtues attached to soldier, statesman and prince.” Naseer Khan died in 1794 when the Baloch kingdom was at its zenith and “the Great Game between Russia and England for control of Central Asia was about to heat up â€" and Baluchistan covered one of the most sought after pieces of real estate in the world.” This is something that has not changed since then although the main players have changed and main game may have altered somewhat.

Even as the British fought their wars in Afghanistan in order to subdue it and keep the Russians away from the warm waters, their eyes were also fixed on the territory of the Khodadad Khan, the ruler of Kalat. Eventually, in July 1876, the British Resident in Dera Ghazi Khan, Sir Robert Sandeman, called on the Khan ostensibly to help sort out some quarrels between the sardars. The Britisher inveigled the Khan into appointing him as the Governor General of Balochistan, Khodadad was thus the last Khan to have actually ruled in Kalat, the British empire had reached the boundaries of Iran (then Persia and southern Afghanistan) and they ruled for the next 70 years.

As the time to go home approached, there were misgivings both in London and New Delhi about securing British interests in post war and post independence India where it was assessed that Indian rulers would not be amenable to playing the game of containing Russia in the Cold War that was becoming colder. The British Foreign Secretary in the Attlee Government, Ernest Bevin, who scarcely hid his dislike for the Indians, said with a certain amount of satisfaction at the Margate Labour Conference in June 1947 that the division of India ‘would help to consolidate Britain in the Middle East.’ (from Narendra Singh Sarila’s ‘The Untold Story of India’s Partition: The Shadow of the Great Game.’)

Archibald Wavell, the Viceroy in India from 1943 to 1747 (prior to Mountbatten) had Britain’s post-independence strategic requirement worked out. Sarila mentions that Wavell had summed that because of the costs of the Second World War Britain would have to withdraw from India eventually. India’s primary usefulness in that case would be in the field of defence and not the market. The Muslim League, which wanted a partition of India would be more co-operative in matters relating defence and foreign policy than the Congress Party could assist in bridging the gap in Britain’s defence of the Middle East and the Indian Ocean if the League succeeded in separating India’s northwest from the rest of India. Linlithgow’s (Wavell’s predecessor) who had developed a friendship with Jinnah could help. Conceivably, Wavell discussed this with Churchill in 1945.

It was also in May 1945, after Germany had surrendered, the US had bombed Nagasaki and Hiroshima, the Post-Hostilities Planning Staff of the British War Cabinet had prepared a long term policy appraisal paper for Churchill. The report spoke of the need to have a military connection with the subcontinent to keep the Soviet Union away from the Indian Ocean. The area would provide a logistic link for sea and air communications to the region, quality man power for fighting battles, and bases against the Soviets. The report even suggested that Balochistan could be detached from the rest of India. Two years later the entire British General Staff was in favour of retaining Pakistan in the Commonwealth as the new country would be a tremendous asset in the region.

It was probably in this context that Mountbatten conveyed to the Khan of Kalat ten days before independence that his state was among the two princely states that would gain full independence. Schmidle says the other state was Nepal, but this cannot be because Nepal was already independent. The second state was most probably Kashmir as this fitted into the plan for defence of the imperial interests in India’s northwest and keeping the entire region abutting Afghanistan and Iran under friendly control.


Bolstered by this assurance, the Khan declared independence on August 11, 1947, four days before Pakistan became independent, (while the Maharaja of Kashmir dithered) and appointed a two-tier legislature with the lower house to have elected representatives. The New York Times reported this the next day with the comment that “Under this agreement Pakistan recognizes Kalat as an independent sovereign state with a status different from that of the Indian States.” This was not to last very long, and in March 22, 1948 three of the other states â€" Makran, Las Bela and Kharan - that had merged with Kalat, broke away and joined Pakistan, leaving Kalat as a landlocked entity. In April 1952, Kalat also succumbed. In June 1954, Pakistan Government decided to take over the four princely states and merge them with the rest of the Balochistan province. In October 1958, the Khan of Kalat, Mir Ahmed Yar Khan, who had visited the US the previous year, revolted against Pakistan, unfurled his own flag something that Kalat had been using for 500 years. Yar Khan was arrested, stripped of his titles, decorations and his annuity. It is interesting that it was in October 1958 that General Ayub Khan staged the first of many coups in Pakistan and took over after deposing the President and two months later on December 8 1958, Oman formally sold Gwadar to Pakistan. In March 1959, the tribals from Kalat revolted against Pakistan with, as the New York Times reported in May 1959 “with ‘generous backing from Kabul.’” This revolt was put down as would be so many others that followed.
The third Baloch revolt was in 1962 (the first being the declaration of independence and the annexation of Balochistan by Pakistan) essentially by the Marri tribals when they protested against the import of Punjabi settlers, curtailment of some privileges for the sardars and the lack of development in the region.

The fourth revolt from 1973 to 1977 was the big one where all the major tribes â€" Marri, Mengal, Bugti and Zarakzai â€" took to arms when Z A Bhutto, the new autocrat disguised as a democrat, refused to concede to the provincial demands on the Baloch. About 50,000 tribesmen in arms (though not the state of art) fought against 80,000 Pakistani forces helped with the Shah of Iran’s money and 30 Cobra helicopters with Iranian pilots and Pak Air Force aircraft. The revolt was suppressed ruthlessly with an estimated death toll of 15,000 Baloch. No Baloch has forgotten the incident of the Chamalang Valley when Pak army aircraft unable to overpower the Baloch guerrillas, resorted to strafing and bombed 15000 families who had taken their livestock out to graze. This had forced the guerrillas to come out of their mountain hideouts and die defending their wives and children. General Musharraf later resorted to even more repressive measures.

The current â€" fifth - revolt began in January 2005, following the rape of Dr Shazia Khaled and the protection given by the Pakistan Army to the accused Captain Hammad. Nawab Akbar Bugti was enraged because this happened in the Sui (Bugti) area in a protected area and this was slur on the Bugti tribe. Angered by this, the Bugtis attacked the Sui facility and General Musharraf reacted, as he invariably always did, with arrogance and insensitivity. The Baloch revolted and eventually Nawab Akbar Bugti was killed in August 2006. Balochistan erupted in anger which was primarily anti-Army and anti-Punjabi as many Baloch see the Pak Army as a Punjabi Army. Anti-Punjabi sentiments, which are scarcely below the surface in Balochistan were visible in the months after Bugti was killed and many Punjabi were killed in revenge.

Akbar Bugti’s grandson, Brahamdagh Bugti renamed his party as the Balochistan Republican Party (with an armed wing), has since been leading a revolt against the Pakistan Army while Nawabzada Mir Balaach Marri, the second son of Nawab Khair Bux Marri, who had joined in with his group the Baloch Liberation Army was later killed by the Pak Army in November 2007. Balaach’s brother Hyrbyair Marri currently leads the Baloch campaign from England.

At one stage last year it appeared that the new President of Pakistan, Asif Zardari was going to pull off a major success at reconciliation when he apologised to the people of Pakistan for all the excesses against them, promised an all-party conference to look into all the problems of the province and establish a Truth Commission for the Baloch to express their grievances. But this must have been blasphemy to some because Truth Commissions are all very good in distant South Africa but in Balochistan it would mean revealing the embarrassing truth about the several hundred mysterious disappearances of Baloch nationalists under the pretext of fighting the Al Qaeda. The Pak Army could not afford to be shown up in Balochistan and face more anger and disrepute. Further progress on this dangerous path of Zardari was prevented through the disappearance and brutal murder of Ghulam Muhammed Baloch, President of the Baloch National Movement, Lala Munir Baloch from the same party and Sher Mohammed Baloch from Brahamdagh Bugti’s Baloch Republican Party. Violence erupted again, truth and reconciliation are now a thing of the past and this year the Baloch celebrated their independence day on August 11 inside Balochistan by hoisting their own flag and by singing their own national anthem. Elsewhere there were the usual rallies in the US and the UK and demands for human rights and justice. The Khan of Kalat, Mir Suleiman Dawood announced the formation of a Council for Independent Balochistan with Brahamdagh as one of the members. Announcing this from London, Mir Suleiman said that there was no question of reconciliation with Pakistan without the intervention of the UN and EU.

Unlike earlier times, when the Pak Army would put Balochistan in a padded cell and ‘sort out the Baloch’, this is no longer possible in the age of the Internet, Twitter and what have you plus the cell phone. Besides the Baloch all over the world have several websites that keep updating. Of course entry of foreigners into Balochistan is virtually impossible with each arrival notified to seven separate departments. The mandatory minder accompanies everywhere. Despite this, news has been trickling out.

Baloch nationalists have claimed that this year the Baloch National Front hoisted their Baloch flags in Nushki, Kalat, Turbat, Gwadar and Kharan while the Khuzdar Engineering University had to be shut down because a group of students belonging to the Baloch Students’ Organisation wanting to hoist the Baloch flag, clashed with the police.

According to other eyewitness accounts, Quetta looks like a city under siege, with the Army (commonly referred to as Pakistani Occupation Forces - POF) deployed behind makeshift bunkers and barbed wire encampments; armoured personnel carriers and heavy machine guns are meant to intimidate the local population; locals are routinely questioned and humiliated or taken away, especially the ones on motor cycles. In early August they had taken away about 100 persons in their search for the killer of an army trooper. The Baloch refer to themselves as the Baloch Resistance Forces. On August 12, these forces targeted a ‘POF’ convoy with a remotely operated bomb in Quetta destroying two vehicles and killing five soldiers. This was said to be in retaliation to an ongoing operation in Dera Bugti. The Baloch claim to have shot down a helicopter, blown up a 330kv pylon in Dasht, interrupted supplies from Hub, as the people celebrated the Baloch national day all over the province.

The difference between the previous insurgencies and the current one is that the old Lee Enfield .303s have been replaced with AK-47s and the fighting is led not only by the sardars that Islamabad generally tries to ridicule, but also by the middle class and the educated who are politically conscious nationalists. Money from this comes from the Baloch diapsora in the Gulf.

It is difficult to confirm how many troops have been deployed to tackle the Baloch and the estimates vary from 40,000 to 50,000 troops with about 100,000 Frontier Corps personnel. As in the case of the NWFP, deployment of the Army immediately means deployment of a Punjabi Army since there are virtually no Baloch troops in the Pak Army and this means a battle between the Baloch and the Punjabi.


The British realised very early on that the Baloch, fiercely independent minded by nature and even unruly, were best left alone and they contented themselves with direct rule only in British Balochistan (mainly Pushtun in the northern part of the province) and left the princes to handle their tribesmen. The Pakistanis began to amalgamate the province into Pakistan at about the time gas was discovered in Sui, Dera Bugti in 1953.

Balochistan comprises 48% of Pakistani territory, has only 4% of the total population and despite contributing $ 1.4 billion as revenue in a year gets only US $ 116 million a year on the basis of the population. All or most new employment opportunities are being taken away by the Punjabis because the locals do not meet the required qualifications and that is because literacy is only 16%. The Baloch language is suppressed and the locals have been deprived of prime land in Gwadar to be given away to favourites from outside, they resent the establishment of new cantonments in Sui, Kohlu and Gwadar both because these are signs of oppression and secondly, because this takes away Baloch land at throw away prices. In addition, the US has control of two airbases in Dalbandin and Pangur. The irony of the situation and the degree of discrimination is evident from the fact that although gas was discovered in 1953, the first supply to Balochistan was made only in 1986. The province produces 36% of the country’s gas but gets 12% of the royalties due to it from the gas. Education and health systems are in a shambles and there is acute unemployment. Rural poverty increased by 15 % during the Musharraf years and during the 1999-2000 period while Punjab’s GDP grew by 2.4% annually that of Balochistan grew by .2%. Musharraf promised greater Baloch control of their natural assets and nothing happened like all other promises to the Baloch. The Taliban and their affiliates and loyalists, Pakistanis and Afghans have the freedom to move around in the province; it is the Baloch who are intimidated and killed. The Baloch also fear not only a demographic onslaught but also a Wahhabisation of their essentially secular culture.

In towns like Khuzdar south of Quetta, slogans like “Down with Pakistan” can be seen on the walls. Disappearances of Baloch dissidents are common at the hands of the various forces deployed there â€" the army, police, Frontier Corps, Rangers, and other militia. Bloggers and websites operated by Baloch nationalists outside Balochistan routinely refer to these arrests and disappearances. In fact, these disappearances were one of the issues over which Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Choudhry fell out with General Musharraf who then sacked him in November 2007. Student leaders of the Baloch Students’ Organisation to have been arrested on false charges and is not traceable. Baloch nationalists fear that if Qambar is alive he along with other BSO colleagues like Zakir Majeed Baloch and Shahzaib Baloch would probably be languishing in one of Balochistan’s Guantanamo type along with five thousand Baloch nationalists who have disappeared. Baloch nationalists now allege that CJ Choudhry has begun to distance himself from the issue of disappearances is because this was part of the deal with the Army that led to his restoration.

Baloch nationalists had been threatening Punjabis and asking them to leave. Anti-Punjabi feelings erupted once again last June when Baloch nationalists resorted to killing of Punjabi teachers, including the principal, at the Balochistan Residential College in Khuzdar forcing the closure of the college. Principals of the Government College, Quetta and the Secondary School at Mastung had been killed as well. This has had an effect on the land prices of Punjabi-owned properties in places like Quetta where the owners, feeling insecure have tried to leave the province. Although this sort of killing does have a down side to it, including a distancing from the nationalists among the Pushtun who are the second largest community in Balochistan and could lead to an exodus of college professors, many also say that this was in retaliation to the killing of three Baloch nationalists earlier in April.

Balochistan’s rich natural resources and especially its gas are important for Pakistan’s economy which is nowadays controlled by the Punjabi elite and the Army. They wish to continue to hold this supremacy. All deals that are struck in Balochistan are for the benefit of the Punjabi industrial base â€" in return for providing 64% of Punjabi consumers with Baloch gas, the Baloch themselves get only 3.4%; the province produces US $ 1.4 billion worth of gas but receives only $ 114 in royalties. No political, bureaucratic or military structure wants to change this.
The Baloch were upset that the Pakistan government was striking deals with Iran and maybe India over the gas pipeline without taking Baloch interests on board. Nawab Akbar Bugti had begun his campaign in 2005, and in June 2006, the Baloch Provincial Assembly passed a resolution demanding transit royalties from the proposed Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline and a Baloch presence at the negotiating table. In August 2006, Nawab Bugti was killed by Pakistani forces. In May 2009 Pakistan and Iran signed a Pakistan-Iran pipeline and price agreement in Teheran. The agreement and the price accord stipulates that Iran would sell the gas at a variable rate from US $ 7 to US $ 13 per MMBTU depending upon variation in the price of the Japanese Crude Cocktail rates per barrel. Compared to this, the Baloch gas is purchased at only 63 cents per MMBTU by the Pakistan Petroleum Limited and the entire amount goes to the federal government. The disparity is obvious.

The Baloch also see no benefit for themselves from this or the TAPI pipeline. They fear that gas would be pumped directly to the Punjab and Sindh. All construction work will go to outsiders, the Baloch will be dispossessed of land, security will be enhanced which means more Punjabi forces. Political unrest will continue till this issue among others is resolved.


Islamabad’s reaction to the Baloch nationalists is typical. The first strand is the military option. This means increased deployment of the Army, new cantonments in Sui, Kohlu and Gwadar, in addition to the two at Sibi and Quetta, as already mentioned along with other military infrastructure and surveillance capabilities. There are also plans to create local forces but the central aim is to increase the capabilities of the forces to protect energy specific and anti-nationalist capabilities. The thrust is to militarily subdue the nationalists rather than accommodate any of their demands.

The second strand has been to try and manage the situation through political management which consists of political persecution, under which arrests and disappearances are common; the killing of Akbar Bugti and Balaach Marri, leader of the banned Baloch Liberation Army, was part of this muscular policy. The killing of both the leaders had led to widespread resentment and disturbances in Balochistan. This has not abated. They have also tried to divide the nationalists and also create an ethnic divide among the Pushtun and the Baloch, and win over some of the leaders. This is aggravated by the presence of Afghan Pushtun refugees and the Afghan Taliban led by Mullah Omar in and around Quetta for several years with the Pakistan establishment unwilling to take any action against them.

The third course of action is to hermitically seal the province and launch a sustained demonization campaign against the Baloch by either being dismissive of the campaign as the result of the whims a few backward and autocratic Sardars who do not want progress as this would mean a reduction of their traditional influence and hold. The government asserts that modernisation and development of ports like Gwadar would benefit the people, do away with the age-old practice of bonded labour and provide schools, colleges and hospitals.

Not so, say the Baloch. The Baloch movement is no longer one that is confined to the desires and aspirations of the sardars but has a strong middle class educated element to it. All benefits would accrue to the Punjabis, the Army and their henchmen. Baloch nationalists argue that the decisions on these projects like the Gwadar port and the Kachhi irrigation canal project were taken without consulting or involving the Baloch. They say prime land along the Makran coast is being bought off the Baloch very cheap and sold to outsiders (meaning Punjabi) and similarly Baloch land has been acquired by the military to establish additional military cantonments. Huge profits have made by non-Balochis, especially the Punjabis. Outsiders are being shipped into Balochistan to work on these sites so the local Baloch get no employment benefit either along with the fear that they will be demographically disadvantaged over time.

There is another element to government strategy. This is to belittle the nationalist movement and then to simultaneously paint is an Indian-inspired terrorism. While it is fashionable in Pakistan for the media and politicians to blame India for all the troubles in Pakistan recent experience in the NWFP and FATA showed that the Pushtun trooper was reluctant to take on his cousins, brothers and fellow Pushtun and Muslims in the fight against the Taliban insurgency in the NWFP. However, the portrayal of the Baitullah Mehsud’s Pakistani Taliban as Hindu-India aided helped motivate the soldiers. Similar tactics are now being applied in Balochistan.

Perhaps the leader in this campaign is retired Army Chief, General Mirza Aslam beg. His bizarre article of March 29, 2009 is an accurate description of the Goebellsian doctrine at work in Islamabad. The General wrote:

“We have enough information to identify this intelligence network inside Afghanistan, fairly accurately, to determine the dimensions of this Great Game, of the civilised world. The nerve centre is at Jabal-us-Seraj, manned and operated by CIA, Raw, Mossad, MI-6 and BND (German intelligence). It’s a huge set-up with concrete buildings, antennas and all the modern electronic gadgetry one can conceive of. Its out-posts are Sarobi and Kandahar against Pakistan. Faizabad, against China; Mazar-e-Sharif, against Russia and Central Asian States and Herat against Iran.”

He goes on to say “Intelligence Network of Occupation Forces in Afghanistan against Pakistan. Sarobi is the nerve centre headed by an Indian General officer, who also commands the Border Road Organisation (BRO). Its forward bases are Ghazni, Khost, Gardez, Jalalabad, Asadabad, Wakhan and Faizabad. BRO has built an all weather road from Sarobi to Asadabad to Faizabad. Sarobi network, targets the province of NWFP, Pakistan.

“Dissidents from Pakistan, are trained at Sarobi for missions inside NWFP. Wakhan salient has been infested with dozens of electronic outposts, covering Pakistan, China, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

“Kandahar has its forward bases at Lashkargah and Nawah. Their target area is the province of Balochistan. The dissidents from Balochistan are trained at Lashkargah for undertaking missions in Balochistan as well as in support of the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA).

“One of their tasks is to target Chinese working in the province, particularly at Gwadar, Sandak and Hub. The American anchorages, on the Pakistani coast at Jiwani and Kalamat, jointly plan operations with BLA inside Balochistan. They also use the Pakistani out-posts at Mand, for operations inside Iran. The American warships in the Arabian Sea and their intelligence base in Muscat, provide the back-up support. The facilities at Jiwani and Kalamat were provided by Pakistan, as logistic support bases to the Americans for operation in Afghanistan, but the same are now being used, to destabilise Balochistan and Iran.

“The set-up at Faizabad (Badakhshan) holds over personnel mainly Muslim soldiers, engineers and workers from India. It serves as the training camp for the Chinese dissidents from the Xinjiang province. Indian Ulemas impart motivational education, giving the impression that the entire out-fit at Faizabad was run by Pakistanis. The recently acquired facility for military deployment by India, across the border in Tajikistan at Kalai Kumli, adds a meaningful capability to India to operate inside Tajikistan, as well as Uzbekistan.

“Against Russia. The intelligence base at Mazar-e-Sharif is run jointly by CIA, RAW, Mossad and BND. Chechnyan dissidents and agents from Turkmenistan are trained for operations in these countries. Rasheed Dostam and Ahmad Zia Masood are very active supporters of such activitiesin Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

“Against Iran. The forward base at Herat and Farah are manned by CIA, RAW and Mossad for subversive activities inside Iran. Jointly operating from these bases and the bases inside Pakistan, such as Kalamat, Jiwani and Mand, they have been able to undertake actions inside Iran, killing a number of security forces personnel in the last few years. The terrorist organisation named Jandullah has been used for conduct of such operations inside Iran.

“Pakistan and Iran are being blamed for supporting terrorists in Afghanistan, whereas Afghan territory is being violated so blatantly to destabilise the neighbouring countries of Afghanistan, by nations, who claim to be the flag bearers of the ideals of international norms of justice and fair play. This is the worst kind of ‘Terrorism Through Consensus’, by the so-called civilised nations, in occupation of Afghanistan. The brutal violation of Afghanistan’s sovereignty for the shameful purpose of destabilisation of Pakistan and the regional countries, is condemnable.

“Was this the purpose of the strategic partnership deal between India, United States and NATO”?

This quotation from an article written by the General is lengthy but necessary. This is the usual Pakistani way of blaming others and comes mainly from a persecution complex that the entire world is to be blamed for Pakistan’s problems, and that the entire world is conspiring against Pakistan. On this one, however, he has let his imagination get the better of him. The General has repeated this argument in other articles too. Since then there has been a concerted campaign in the Pakistani media against Indian involvement in NWFP and FATA with Baitullah Mehsud first described as Pakistani patriot and then an Indian agent. The campaign about 12 Indian consulates in Afghanistan hatching conspiracies against Pakistan and especially in Balochistan is now gathering momentum. The latest in this round accusations against India is that now there are 26 Indian consulates in Afghanistan and Iran along the Pakistan border It was Hitler’s propaganda minister, Joseph Goebells who said “Tell a lie that is big enough, and repeat it often enough, and the whole world will believe it.” The Pakistani rulers are hoping that the rest of the world will believe this if they say it often enough.

The Pakistani establishment has many reasons for projecting this lie. There was no reason for India to give any credence to this lie which we have done by including this in the Sharm el- Sheikh joint statement of July 16. Since then the Pakistani campaign has become a noisy din. There was no need for us to first raise them to our level by stating that like India they too are victims of terrorism; then we lower ourselves to their level by indirectly admitting that we, like them, are sponsors of terrorism. It is apparent that they need to demonise the Baloch nationalists to be better able to launch assaults against them. The expectation in Islamabad and Rawalpindi must be that there will be pressure on Islamabad to do something against the Afghan Taliban in Balochistan. When that pressure becomes unbearable then this advance demonization against the Baloch will help in going after them under the pretext of hunting for the Taliban. And if the hunt does not succeed then there is a ready excuse to give to the Americans. Machiavellian, no. Too clever by half, yes.


There are three new found roles for Balochistan in the new geo-strategic Great Game in the region. And the main players are Pakistan, China, the US and Iran with India and Russia also on the bench. With the economic rise of China and then of India, energy requirements and energy security have a new meaning for these Asian nations as well. Robert G. Wirsing discusses this at length in his monograph entitled ‘Baloch Nationalism and the Geopolitics of Energy Resources: The Changing Context of Separatism in Pakistan,’ April 2008.

The discovery of gas and sizable reserves of coal in Balochistan, the possibility of discovery of oil and the discovery of the world’s largest copper and gold reserves at Reko Diq, close to the Iran Afghan borders is estimated to be worth US $ 65 billion, makes Balochistan a profitable destination for prospectors and investors. Exploration by Barrick Gold in co-operation with a Chilean company Antofagasta Minerals (the two together own 75% of the shares and only 25% by the Balochistan Development Authority) has already begun. Pakistan’s proven gas reserves in 2006 were estimated to be 28 trillion cubic feet of which 19 tcf (68%) were in Balochistan. The one major problem with the gas production and supply has been the steadily increasing and more efficient attacks on the pipelines and the production facilities by Baloch nationalists since 2002. Nationalist violence has steadily escalated and by 2006 when the latest figures were available, there were 843 attacks that year, including 31 on gas pipelines and others on different targets and mine blasts. Supplies to Punjab have been cut off on occasions but the nationalists have graduated to hitting production sites.

Balochistan’s other importance is that it lies on the routes of two prospective pipelines. One is the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) pipeline that originates from the massive South Pars gas fields of Iran crosses into Khuzdar, Balochistan on to Multan and Jhang and then eventually to Delhi and western India via Jaisalmer. The other is the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline that originates from the Dauletabad gas fields and runs through Herat and Kandahar through Quetta, Sui and then to Delhi and western India again via Jaisalmer. Technically sound on the drawing board, there are obvious problems of unsettled areas on of Afghanistan, the nationalist insurgency in Balochistan and above all the attitude of Pakistan especially at times of tension if not hostilities.

Given the state of India-Pakistan relations it would be a miracle if this were to work to the satisfaction of all. Further, the Americans are unlikely to view the Iranian deal with any favour but would rather that the TAPI deal came through by which time Afghanistan would have been pacified. This is a gamble that is most certainly high stakes because 1200 kilometres of the pipeline or 58% would travel through sensitive areas which is substantial. With a hesitant India, the Pakistanis are now looking at the prospect of having the pipeline run down to Gwadar. It is doubtful if any economic or financial benefits will accrue to the Baloch in the near term assuming of course that Islamabad would have been willing to share revenues with the Baloch or allowed the Baloch the employment opportunities these pipelines would have generated. Besides Balochistan is known to be rich in copper and coal; with a good prospect that oil could be found in the province.

The third aspect is Gwadar. The Chinese built this rapidly after 2002 when they saw the Americans entering Central Asia and Afghanistan in their fight against terrorism. The obvious worry was to secure energy supplies and not be dependent on routes that could be subject to interdiction, especially when the Indians and the Americans had decided to co-operate in patrolling the Malacca Straits. Besides the beleaguered Pakistan President General Musharraf had to be given some succour in his hour of need and prove once again China’s steadfastness. The Pakistanis hope that this would be the Arabian Sea’s Dubai or Singapore and the coast line would be its Riviera. Pakistan would then become a key player as transit point into and from Central Asia, into western China and back with pipelines, rail and road links linked to the Karakoram Highway while at the same time firmly integrated into the Economic Cooperation Organisation launched Turkey, Iran and Pakistan. If the TAPI or IPI pipelines were to become a reality then all this could transform Pakistan into a modern economically sound state. Besides, for India this means extending its Navy in times of hostilities.

Unfortunately for the Baloch, they are destined to live under the shadow of Afghanistan. Their problems are likely to remain unnoticed as the US and western gaze is fixed on NWFP-FATA and AfPAk. In fact, Balochistan would be considered an unnecessary divergence. Besides the Baloch problem is that their numbers are not enough and they are scattered in three countries. Iran would not view any pan-Baloch movement very favourably and the Baloch may end up being like the Kurds.

Then there are conflicting and merging interests in the region. China and Pakistan would naturally not want any instability in Balochistan. The Chinese have invested over time with money, military supplies and support in nuclear and missile technology. They see Gwadar as an important stepping stone into the Persian Gulf and overlooking the Arabian Sea lanes. This has become very important for them after the US presence dramatically increased in Central Asia and Afghanistan Pakistan after September 11, 2001. Unnerved by this, the Chinese have begun looking for alternative energy supply routes and would wait for the day when the US and NATO finally quit the region.

For Pakistan too it is imperative that this project in Gwadar takes off with all the other subsequent spin offs not just economic but also strategic that accompany especially in relation to India. It is important also for its general economic survival. So long as Balochistan is unstable the Pakistan economy will struggle. According to one report by Syed Fazl-e-Hyder in the Asia Times of August 14, the Chinese have shelved their multi-million dollar oil refinery project in Gwadar as there had been no progress on the project since the agreement was signed. Earlier in January this year the UAE also pulled out of Coastal Refinery Project at Hub. It is possible both may have pulled out of these projects because of the global meltdown and this stoppage may be temporary but for Pakistan and the multibillion dollar mega oil city project in Gwadar continued delays and uncertainties will cause serious economic and financial difficulties.

For the US, it seems this would be a multipronged weapon. Pakistan is an important keystone on the eastern fringes of a turbulent and resource rich Muslim world but unfortunately it has become equally unstable and volatile. Yet it remains an entry point to Central Asia and the Caspian for access to its energy resources, for a check on Iran but for which Balochistan must remain peaceful and stable. But without sustained American presence and interest, Pakistan would give free access to a rising China that is now getting ready for the day they assess that the US will lower its shadow in the region as the cost in men and material of a war in Afghanistan gets unbearable in the US public perception. Besides, the manner in which the campaign is being conducted by the US and NATO gives little reason to be optimistic about its success. For the present, it seems that Baloch nationalist aspirations are unlikely to draw much international attention and may instead be sacrificed at the altar of geo-strategic interests. Besides, President Obama cannot reasonably be expected to let this become his endless war.

It would be a mistake to ignore Russian interest in this region, particularly attempts to influence its Near Abroad, long considered as its own backyard. Their moves to counter American and Chinese influence designed to bypass Russia in the energy game are not going to be left unanswered. Iran will be a factor in the Russian calculation. Russia may have declined since 1990 but it is far away from oblivion and it still has a strong military machine along with high-technology, especially nuclear, of Indian interest.

India, as the regional power and neighbour, must exhibit this status to secure its national interests. It is only when this is done actively will others learn to respect Indian interests. It cannot sit and watch idly as the others play their role in their national interests because a passive approach or that of conciliation amounts to appeasement in the Pakistani perception. Our national interest demands that we continue to strengthen our relations with Iran and Afghanistan to bypass a permanently hostile Pakistan no matter what it takes. This means that our policies towards Iran and Afghanistan would be determined by our interests first and not by others’ interests.

The Baloch are a secular people, they have been our friends and we must retain their friendship. We do not have to launch any foolish ventures but we can give them moral and diplomatic support for the fulfilment of their natural desire for self-determination and economic and political equality. While Balochistan remains Pakistan’s internal problem, we cannot be seen to be helpless if there is injustice in our neighbourhood. At the same time, what is happening in Balochistan is not India sponsored terrorism unlike what is happening in India where Pakistan sponsored terrorism by the Lashkar e Tayyaba and others continues unabated. War is an ugly option but it is an option that one would not exercise but before that there several intermediate options - economic, political, para-military/covert that can be considered.
The players may have changed from the 19th century but the game goes on and Balochistan could well be the centre piece for exercising control in a world that is running out of energy sources. The situation is going to remain fluid in the years ahead and only the powerful and nimble footed will win.

Source : Eternal India ,September 2009 ... kistans-other-colony.html

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