Cementing Pashtun-Baloch unity essential


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Pashtun-Baloch Unity Day was observed in Kabul on Saturday where Pashtun and Baloch leaders gave vent to their views how to address the issue of militancy, insecurity and Talibanization. The crux of what they say is that the military establishment in Pakistan has been responsible for the current day plight of the two peoples—Pashtuns and Balochs.

This Unity Day has been observed since 1949 aimed at cementing relations among Pashtuns and Balochs, who are straddling on both sides of the Durand Line. The day has been observed in such a while when Pashtuns and Balochs have become a worst victim to an international conspiracy—the war on terror. Their voices are being gagged and their leaders being killed.

In such a critical juncture, the unity of the two peoples, living in a strategically important region, needs to be cemented more and more. The contentious Durand Line has undermined the strength of the two peoples. On the Afghan side of so-called line, the de-facto frontier stretches from Nimroz in the southeast to Nuristan in the northeast. On the other side of the line, the de-factor border includes the provinces of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and the tribal belt—the seven tribal agencies.

The land where Pashtuns and Balochs live has been of utmost importance for the international powers because of its geopolitics and strategic location. For certain strategic, economic and other objectives the land of Pashtuns and Balochs have been pushed into a perpetual state of mayhem and confusion. The lives of these two peoples have become miserable at the hands of those who cannot tolerate their political, educational and economic development. To be specific, it is Pakistan that’s blameworthy. Being obsessed unhealthily with Pashtun-Baloch unity, Pashtuns have been given over representation in Pakistan army and its top spy agency, the ISI, while throwing the human and political rights of Balochs away. It is a deliberate attempt by Pakistan military strategists and establishment to bring a cleavage between the two ethnic nations.

Pakistan has long been supporting the Taliban because they also alienate the ethnically, religiously and linguistically diverse populations in Afghanistan and Pakistan. For instance, the Taliban chauvinism has led to the failure to unite with the adjacent Baloch, who at times have demonstrated even greater hostility to the Pakistan state, with their continuous history of insurgent resistance. This is highly advantageous for Pakistan—a country that has already lost its eastern wing in 1971 when the Bengalis successfully tore the Pakistan state into two. With secessionist movement in Balochistan, and disgruntle among Pashtuns of Pakhtunkhwa and the tribal belt, Pakistan is once again faced with the same situation. Being fallen victim to its own strategy, Islamabad has nothing to say but to blame India for security situation in Balochistan.

Pakistan is also squaring off with India in Afghanistan but it has lost the race, which is why it is hell-bent on blaming New Delhi for insecurity in the tribal belt in Pakistan. But the allegations of Pakistan seem to be unfounded as Baloch resistance movement started in 1948. It continuously remained a serious challenge for Pakistan in 1958-1959, 1962-63, 1973-77, and 2002-2009 and onwards. Instead of waning, their resistance against the Pakistan state has become more vigorous with the passage of time.

Pakistan considers the Taliban an effective tool in undermining and gagging the Pashtun irredentist movement and as well as causing a schism among Pashtuns and Balochs. The Balochs live on both sides of the Durand Line as well as in neighbouring Iran. People on both sides of the Durand Line consider it just a line and not an international boundary. The ongoing war on terror has been going against the interests of Pashtuns and Balochs as the war has become directionless. Unlike the Taliban, Pashtun nationalists and Balochs consider the Punjab-led establishment in Pakistan responsible for their backwardness.

The war in Afghanistan should have come to an end after the USSR pulled out its troops but it didn’t happen. Why? Because the military establishment in Pakistan didn’t want peace in Afghanistan. It is well evident from the statement of Pakistan’s then Lieutenant General and head of ISI, AKhtar Abdur Rahman, who was assassinated in a plane crash along with then Pakistan President Zia-ul-Haq. He said that Kabul must burn and it is burning even today. Why did he say that Kabul must burn? Because they knew that Kabul has been a symbol of Pashtun-Baloch unity and once that’s destabilized their unity will be undermined forever. But those who are against the unity of Pashtun-Baloch should know that their turn is coming to an end that will be followed by our turn.

[Courtesy by: Afghanistan Times]

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