An exclusive interview with the leader of the Balochistan Liberation Front
Series: Profiles in courage from BalochistanIn this exclusive interview, Jahanzeb Hussain talks to Allah Nazar, currently the top commander of the Balochistan Liberation Front, which is engaged in an armed struggle for freedom from the Pakistani state. In correspondence with the editor, Nazar asserts that taking part in Pakistani parliamentary politics would be akin to legitimizing Pakistan’s rule over Balochistan. And yet, he says, he would rather choose the book over the gun, though each informs the other.
Can you shed some light on the genesis of Baloch nationalism and its evolution since the creation of Pakistan?
Baloch culture, customs, code of honor and common psychology are the ingredients that sustain Baloch nationalism, which is rooted in hundreds of years of history. As soon as Pakistan invaded Balochistan in 1948, it imposed its cultural hegemony on us in order to erase our identity. The Urdu language was imposed in schools. Our children were taught about the histories of Arab, Afghan and Mongol invaders in a way that is completely different from and contradictory to our own history. Instructors were brought from Punjab and other areas so that the new generation of Baloch students could be moulded into Pakistanis. In a way, a slow cultural genocide was initiated. To shift the demographic balance, population settlements were created in and around the provincial capital of Quetta.