Balochistan Bedlam
Bassam Javed


Baluchistan historically has been a tumultuous region. In an endeavor to retain power in the province, the tribal leaders and sardars let them selves usurped by ill-intended foreign agencies who have had their eyes on the immense resources that this region has to offer. Looking back into the history, it all started with Prince Abdul Karim’s led insurgency in 1948, who when persecuted by the state for attempting to organize and lead an insurgency against the state of Pakistan fled to Afghanistan in a hope that the latter would support insurgency.

His assumption was based on two factors one; Afghanistan had opposed inclusion of Baluch and Pashtun areas in Pakistan and two; it had said ‘No’ to Pakistan’s membership into the United Nations. He failed to solicit Afghan support for the latter had its own designs on Baluchistan. The second insurgency spanned over later part of 1950s when Nawab Mir Nauroz Khan Zarakzai with tacit support of Afghanistan, India and Iran tried to challenge the writ of the Government of Pakistan. Iraqi Embassy in Islamabad had then acted as a conduit of arms in to Baluchistan for the insurgency. The third resistance to the state rule started in 1973 with reports of the then provincial government’s plan to dismember Pakistan with Soviet and Iraqi collusion. Once again a huge cache of arms and ammunition comprising 300 Soviet made sub machine guns and 48000 rounds of ammunition destined for Baluch insurgents recovered from Iraq’s Defence Attache’ residence gave credence to governments assertions to the motivated insurgency in Baluchistan. Later provincial dissidents kept on gathering clandestine support and offered pocket resistance against the government’s writ till 9/11 terror incident which brought Pakistan and Afghanistan into global focus for being a region infested with Al-Qaeda elements that planned and attacked World Trade Center in New York. The repercussions of US revenge in Afghanistan that started with flattening of Tora Bora through US aerial bombardment and subsequent invasion of Afghanistan pushed the Afghan insurgency into Pakistan elements of which disseminated deep in Pakistani territory.

With Pakistan’s focus elsewhere on its tribal areas, foreign intelligence agencies belonging to India, Israel, British and US found a soft opening in Baluchistan for creating instability in Pakistan. These agencies in connivance with each other continue to support Baluch dissidents and use them to disrupt and destroy lines of communications and strategic economic infrastructure therein the province. In addition to this systematic elimination of educationists and other non-Baluch Pakistanis settled in the province point to their designs on Baluchistan. Confirming the foreign intelligence network’s active presence in Baluchistan was the tabling of a revealing resolution by Congressman Dana Rohrabacher in the US Congress calling for Baluch freedom. This was followed with hearing on Baluchistan by US lawmakers that further alienated Pakistan’s state institutions with that of US and made it skeptical of real US designs on Pakistan. The sponsorship of Baluch dissidents by France, Switzerland, UK and US and the unbridled propaganda against the state of Pakistan and its security establishment and the ISI, the US has surpassed India’s traditional anti-Pakistani propaganda. It is with conviction that Pakistan asserts that whatever isolated terror incidents are taking place in Baluchistan currently, they all are taking place at the behest of foreign intelligence agencies especially the Indian intelligence agency ‘RAW’. Overtime, under US patronage India has managed to establish twenty-six camps in Afghanistan to train insurgents for creating disturbances in Pakistan. It has also been confirmed that India helped Baluch dissidents in creating over sixty farari camps within Baluchistan for the same purpose. Despite foreign intelligence services in play in Baluchistan for all the wrong reasons, a Gallop survey recently conducted in Baluchistan has revealed that sixty seven percent of Baluch carry positive views on being Pakistanis whereas the rest do not have same views. The participation of Baluch in recently held 14th August Independence Day ceremonies held in the province clearly sends out a message that it is a handful of miscreants bent upon to create disharmony and destruction of economic infrastructure in the province at the directions of their pay masters.

The Government of Pakistan has been working to stabilize Baluchistan through removal of Baluch grievances. It has taken various steps from time to time to address Baluch concerns but for their law-makers inability to translate money released to them into development, the sense of Baluch abandonment prevails. The provincial government that comprises forty-eight ministers out of a total of 50 member Baluchistan assembly has failed to deliver. Each member is provided with millions every year to fund development schemes however development is yet to be seen on ground. There has been virtually no interaction between the Baluch law makers and their constituents. This vital missing link has widened the mistrust and confidence on the Baluch leaders. All the money, it seems has been pocketed by the law makers starving the poor Baluch of their developmental rights.

There is a need to tackle the grievances at the grass root levels. Instead of doling out funds to individuals thinking that these elected tribal leaders and sardars would do something to improve the general conditions of their masses, has not paid dividends. There has got to be some mechanism placed therein Baluchistan comprising locals of the area to participate and oversee developmental projects in their areas. No amount of funds can change the fortunes of the locals unless they are involved. Pakistan army and the Navy have done well in laying out developmental infrastructure in the province wherein thousands of Baluch have been inducted in their respective services. Let us hope that the recently formed committee by the government on Baluchistan delivers to show its seriousness towards the cause of Baluchistan.