Every day is another struggle for the province of Baluchistan, which continues to remain unsteady with the horrifying tumult and turbulence in the region. It’s sure a pity to watch such unrest grip thousands of families frequently, without a silver lining to fall back on. But then one can’t ignore but notice the pattern Baluchistan has fallen into, its trajectory being very similar to former East Pakistan.
So, naturally the question becomes ‘Is Baluchistan the next East Pakistan’? The resemblance is eerie to the extent that one cannot help but wonder, ‘What next for Baluchistan’? Will all this chaos finally result into a separate province or very much like Azad Kashmir carry on with the struggle forever? Located in the southwest region of Pakistan, Baluchistan is the biggest of the four provinces of the country. Administratively divided among three countries, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran, it has been a turf of turmoil and conflict since its annexation by Pakistan in 1947 and still continues to be. Notably known as the ‘Baluchistan Conflict’, it is a major growing conflict between the Pakistani government and the Baloch nationalists.
The apple of discord being many, beginning with economic inequality; developmental issues which involve gas revenue, regional inequality and the Gwadar port issue; resistance towards multiculturalism and immigration; education issues; human rights and finally military response to their demands of freedom. The largest resource rich province in Pakistan which is still struggling to make ends meet, has been and still continues to be brutally exploited by the government and accounts for the main cause for the Baloch uprising.
And recently the on-going Baloch movement has been strikingly joined by women, youth and the children of Baluchistan, reflecting their dedication, intensity and resentment of the county towards the unfair and remorseless atrocities inflicted by the authority on the populace of Baluchistan. The prime movers and shakers of the current rebellion remain the Baloch nationalists. Living in the remote mountains of the province, the Balochs are a tribal society led by tribal leaders known as “sardars”. Deprived of their rights and revenues from the considerable natural resources of their province and also considering the large scale initiative to develop the region as a threat to their domination the nationalists have been vigorously demanding for a full autonomy for their county.
The leading tribal chief Bugti, Marri and Mengal being the one’s heading the nationalist movement from the front.
- The Bugti’s until the death of Akbar Khan Bugti in an assault were considered to be more temperate and balanced unlike the Marri’s and Mengal’s. At present his sons, Nawabzada Talal Akbar Bugti, Jamil Akbar Bugti and grandson Nawab Sardar Brahamdagh Khan Bugti play a major role in this movement.
- The Marri, another dominant Baloch tribe headed by Mehran Marri is more stern in their outlook. And with their commitment to an armed struggle are persistent on acknowledging nothing less than complete independence for Baluchistan despite suffering loss on a personal level (death of Balach Marri).
- The Mengal’s on the other hand though have neither been a part of military resistance nor have denounced the anti-government armed resistance have been politically active for the purpose with the father and son duo (Ataullah Khan Mengal and Akhtar Mengal) aggressively fighting for the cause.
The very Baluchistan situation seems to be getting bleaker day by day with dirty politics seeping into the already disturbing predicament of its time. The apparent root cause of the problem being Islamabad’s ISI and Army’s sly policy of divide and rule. The government instead of taking an all in approach to solve the problems in Baluchistan, have continued with its reiterating attempts of exploiting the tribal enmities within the Baloch making it all the way more complex instead of solving the blazing issue. This crooked policy has been encouraged since 1948 and seems to have made its way into the present, where we find them pitting Mir Ali Bugti, a grandson of Nawab Bugti against his cousin Brahamdagh Bugti, son of Akbar Bugti.
These base gimmicks of the authority have continued with their releasing cryptic reports on Baloch nationalists backing off of the military operations and adopting a softer approach in collaboration with the government, creating a further rift. But all this is rather suspicious with the growing Chinese interference in Gwadar port matter which has garnered quite an influence on the Pakistani government.
In the wake of the China-Pakistan deal, both the parties stand in for a major benefit which could be hindered with the ongoing Baloch nationalist movement. And this seems to have called in for these desperate measures of ‘divide and rule’ policy aiming at colonizing the Baluchistan province. The real agenda kept at a hands distance is instead coloured with the pretence of benefits and upliftment for the province. To this the pivotal question that arises is, when all the previous upliftment programmes introduced by Pakistan have failed to do any good how different is it going to be this time? Or is it just a facade created by both the parties to reap benefits at the cost of the Baloch people?
With China benefitting to get hold of Gwadar, which has the potential to develop into a full-fledged regional hub and a trans-shipment port, is smartly creating its pipelines into the province remaining in the background creating an illusion of Pakistani hold in the matters.
What the authority has again and again failed to realise here is the fact that all the manoeuvring might back-fire and result in a much more staunch rebellion from the nationalists resulting in their loss of a highly beneficial province much like Bangladesh.
Courtesy: New Dehli Times