Balochistan Issue or Issue of Balochis?
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February 24, 2012
The resolution for an independent Balochistan has been tabled in American Congress -- a move that has been lambasted by Pakistan’s political elite. This development also infuriated the masses having tagged it as barging in on the internal matters of Pakistan. It is more like a tactical move by the US to intensify the pressure on Pakistan at a point where Pak-US bilateral relations are at the lowest level.

No subject of disagreement that the contemporary law and order situation in Balochistan is worse, rather deteriorating. Embers of discontentment are conflagrating and fierceness is pervasive. Yet it would be a misnomer to brand this issue as a Balochistan issue, rather this is the issue of Balochis who are hardly 50 percent of the total population, out of which 20 % speak Brahvi. A large proportion of almost 45 %, Pushtuns are altogether unconcerned with this issue.

What actually the problem of Balochistan is and what is its solution? This reeling question comes across time and again. The problem of Balochistan can be widely understood in three phases -- its past, present and future.

The woes of Balochis trace their genesis in pre-partition time with the establishment Anjuman-e-Ittahad-e-Balochistan in 1920 which was transmuted into Kallat state national party in 1937. Banning of this party in 1948 and the establishment of “Ustoman Gul” in 1955 further aggravated the problems and cause for separation. This party was later merged into “National Awami Party”, and objective at that time was provincial autonomy and dissolution of one unit. Power was used brutally during Mirza and Ayub’s regimes, but most importantly the first military operation in Balochistan during democratic regime of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto worsened the crises.

Secondly the sense of deprivation that was cultivated in the minds of Balochis by their feudal lords and sometimes by Federation as well, is now deeply rooted that ultimately generated a new term, "Rich Balochistan, Poor Baloch". The most recent scam of “Rekodik” was to add fuel to the fire where state has already being labeled as plunderer of the resources, by a common Balochi. Here the question arises, was all the federation responsible for the poverty and miseries of Balochistan? Were their leaders, feudal lords and hierarchical structure not equally responsible? Did they not, in order to preserve their hierarchy, keep Baluchis from progressing? Nawab Akbar Bugti having his own army, being reimbursed time and again for the royalty of gas may not be all true, but cannot be rule out completely as just rumors. We have to admit this that something was going wrong on the other side as well.

But the action that added insult to the injury was the brutal killing of Nawab Akbar Bugti during Musharraf regime, which cannot be justified at all, and which at once ignited the sentiments of riot against the state. The struggle for rights transmuted into separatist movement and now a sate of insurgency in Balochistan has ultimately put Pakistan on tenterhooks. This extreme unpleasant and grisly act will always cast a slur upon the dictatorial regime of Musharraf.

At present, a separatist movement is at its pinnacle; target killings are rife and the settlers are insecure. No one knows who is killing who? The target killing of Baloch nationalist leaders is also smoldering the sentiments. The issue of missing persons, the protests of bereaved families and attitude of turning a deaf ear by the government is making matters worse. Who is involved in this bloody game? Fuming Balochis are openly expressing annoy. Who is financing guerilla war in Balochistan. Is there any foreign agency, especially RAW, operating in Balochistan? This possibility cannot be ruled out and is not far beyond expectations. If it is so, who is responsible? The canvas of hostility with the Punjabis is now broadened to the all settlers in Balochistan. The question is whether solely Punjabis are responsible for the deprivation of Balochistan? Are not those military regimes and individual personalities responsible, who added to the grievances.

The traditional lords of Balochistan, Mengals and Bugtis, are no more as efficacious as they were. That’s why the US Congress resolution has been welcomed by Akhtar Mengal. The banned outfits members like Dr Allah Nazar, Herbyar and Brahamdagh would grasp it as an ample opportunity to manipulate and mislead the masses.

What ought to be done is the most important question? Probably, it’s the time to end the photo sessions and concede to the fact that problem lies with the deliverance, and in this regard something went wrong. Need of the hour is immediate solacing and assuaging the grievances of Balochis. Issues like missing persons, bringing murderers of Nawab Akbar Bugti to book, redrawing role of FC, endowing Balochis with their due share in their resources, commencing dialogue with the new emerging separatist leadership of Balochistan are needed to be discussed on immediate basis. Someone, either from government, opposition or National leadership, will have to spearhead the campaign for Baluchis’ due rights.

As far as US’s resolution is concerned, it is only political maneuvering and dismemberment of Balochistan won’t be made possible with such superficial attempts. Those who are sounding doomsday scenario for Balochistan are making mountain out of a molehill. It would be a blunder to juxtapose Balochistan with East Pakistan where geographical integration and ethnic distribution played the major role. The system of deliverance needs to be restructured in Balochistan which will attenuate likelihood of any catastrophe in future.

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