History of Balochistan

Balochistan is one of the four provinces of Pakistan. [ [http://www.pabalochistan.gov.pk/index.php/home/en Provincial Assembly of Balochistan] ] It was conquered by the British Empire on October 1, 1887 [ [http://dsal.uchicago.edu/reference/gazetteer/pager.html?objectid=DS405.1.I34_V06_286.gifBaluchistan — Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 6, p. 280.] ] and became part of British India. In 1947, when Pakistan became independent, most of Balochistan became a province of Pakistan, the following year the princely state of Kalat was annexed to Pakistan. Since then, a number of separatist groups in the province have engaged in an armed struggle against the Pakistani government; the first was led by Prince Karim Khan in 1948, and later by Nawab Nowroz Khan in 1968. These tribal uprisings were limited in scope, a more serious insurgency was led by the Marri and Mengal tribes between 1973 and 1977. All these groups fought for the existence of a "Greater Balochistan" — a single independent state ruled under tribal jirgas (a tribal system of government) and comprising the historical Balochistan region, presently split between Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan. In 2005 there was another struggle to achieve these aims, in 2006, the Pakistan army killed Nawab Akbar Bugti [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/5304594.stm Lonely burial for Baloch leader - BBC News] ] , the man they blamed for the violence. [ [http://www.balochistan.gov.pk/new%20folder/cmnews.htm Government of Balochistan 2005] ] Although Bugti had been proclaimed an offender by former president Pervez Musharraf he had become a hero for many of his own people. [ [http://archive.gulfnews.com/articles/06/09/03/10064652.html Bugti's killing will haunt Musharraf] , Gulf News.]

Ancient history

From the 1st century to the 3rd century CE, the region was ruled by the Pāratarājas (lit. "Pārata Kings"), a dynasty of Indo-Scythian or Indo-Parthian kings. The dynasty of the Pāratas is thought to be identical with the Pāradas of the Mahabharata, the Puranas and other Indian sources. ["New light on the Paratarajas" p11]

They are essentially known through their coins, which typically exhibit the bust of the ruler on the observe, with long hair within a headband), and a swastika within a Brahmi legend on the reverse (usually silver coins) or Kharoshthi (usually copper coins). The coins can mainly be found in the Loralai area of modern Pakistan.

Herodotus in 650 BCE describes the "Paraitakenoi" as a tribe ruled by Deiokes, a Persian king, in north-western Persia (History I.101). Arrian describes how Alexander the Great encountered the "Pareitakai" in Bactria and Sogdiana, and had them conquered by Craterus (Anabasis Alexandrou IV). The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea (1st century CE) describes the territory of the "Paradon" beyond the Ommanitic region, on the coast of modern Baluchistan. [ [http://people.bu.edu/ptandon/Paratarajas.pdf "New light on the Paratarajas" p29-30] ]

The bulk of Baloch migrations from what was Persia was caused by the invasions of Genghis Khan into that region and the Balochies were given refuge in what was the greater Sindh region. Later infighting between Balochies resulted in clans led by sardars, which claimed regions within Sindh. In an effort to gain total control of the regions, the British named the area Balochistan and got the support of the Baloch Sardars who then were titled Nawabs. These Nawabs were to keep minor Baloch, Pathan and other factions in check. For the last 150 years the region has seen continual fighting to gain access to natural resources in an otherwise barren land.

Major kings

* Yolamira, son of Bagavera (2nd century)
* Arjuna, son of Yolamira (2nd century)
* Hvaramira, another son of Yolamira (2nd century)
* Mirahvara, son of Hvaramira (2nd century)
* Miratakhma, another son of Hvaramira (2nd century)

Islamic conquest of Balochistan

In the 7th century the current Balochistan province of Pakistan was divided into two main regions, its south western parts were part of Karman province of Persian Empire and north eastern region was part of the Persian province Sistan. The southern region was included in Makran, prior to the Islamic era - the suzerainty over the petty rulers of Baluchistan alternative between east and west. In the 14th year of the Hijra, 636-6CE, Rai Chach marched from Sindh and conquered Makran, however in 643 the Arabs reached Makran. [http://dsal.uchicago.edu/reference/gazetteer/pager.html?objectid=DS405.1.I34_V06_281.gifImperial Gazetteer of India, v. 6, p. 275.] ] In early 644 CE, Caliph Umar sent Suhail ibn Adi from Busra to conquer the Karman region of Iran; he was made governor of Karman. From Karman he entered the western Baluchistan and conquered the region near to Persian frontiers. [Ibn Aseer vol: 3 page no: 17] South Western Balochistan was conquered during the campaign in sistan the same year.During Caliph Uthman’s reign in 652, Balochistan was re-conquered during the campaign against the revolt in Karman, under the command of Majasha ibn Masood, it was first time when western Baluchistan came directly under the Laws of Caliphate and gave tribute on agriculture. [Fatu al Buldan page no:384] In those days western Baluchistan was included in the dominion of Karman. In 654 Abdulrehman ibn Samrah was made governor of Sistan, an Islamic army was sent under him to crush the revolt in Zarang, which is now in southern Afghanistan. Conquering Zarang a column moved north ward to conquer areas up to Kabul and Ghazni in Hindu Kush Mountains, while another column moved towards North western Baluchistan and conquered area up to the ancient city of "Dawar" and "Qandabil" (Bolan), [Tabqat ibn Saad vol: 8 pg: 471] by 654 the whole of what is now Baluchistan province of Pakistan was under the rule of Rashidun Caliphate except for the well defended mountain town of "QaiQan" (now Kalat), which was conquered during Caliph Ali’s reign. [Fatuh al buldan pg:386] Abdulrehman ibn Samrah made Zaranj his provincial capital and remained governor of these conquered areas from 654 to 656, until Uthman was murdered.During the Caliphate of Ali, the areas of Balochistan, Makran again broke into revolt. Due to civil war in the Islamic empire Ali was unable to take notice of these areas, at last in the year 660 he sent a large force under the command of Haris ibn Marah Abdi towards Makran, Baluchistan and Sind. Haris ibn Marah Abdi arrived in Makran and conquered it by force then moved north ward to north eastern Balochistan and re-conquered "Qandabil" (bolan), then again moving south finally conquered "Qaiqan" (kalat) after a fierce battle [Rashidun Caliphate and Hind, by Qazi Azher mubarek Puri, published by Takhliqat , Lahore Pakistan] . In 663 CE, during the reign of Umayyad Caliph Muawiyah I, Muslim lost control of North eastern Balochistan and Kalat when Haris ibn Marah and large part of army died in the battle field against a revolt in Kalat. [Tarikh al Khulfa vol:1 pg :214-215,229] Muslim forces latter re-gained the control of the area during Umayyads reign. It also remained part of Abbasid Caliphate's empire.

Arab rule in Balochistan lasted until the end of the tenth century, the parts of Balochistan best known to them were, Turan (the Jhalawan country) with its capital at Khuzdar, and Nudha or Budha (Kachhi). Around 976 Ibn Haukal, during second visit to India, found an Arab governor residing in Kaikanan (probably the modern Nal) and governing Khuzdar.

Mongol to Mughal era

Shortly afterwards Balochistan fell to Nasir-ud-din Sabuktagin, Sabuktagin's son Mahmud of Ghazni was able to conquer Sindh due to his possession of Khuzdar. After the Ghaznivids the area passed to the Ghurids and a little later became part of the dominion of Sultan Muhammad Khan of Khwazrizm (Khiva) in 1219. However around 1223 a Mongol expedition under Chagatai, the son of Genghiz Khan, penetrated as far as Makran. A few years later, southern Baluchistan briefly came under the rule of Sultan Altamsh of Delhi but soon came back under Mongol rule. The raids organised by the Mongols have left a lasting mark on history of Baluchistan, from Makran to Gomal the Mongol (known to the people as Mughal) and the atrocities they caused are still well know.

Afterwards the history of Balochistan centres around Kandahar and is was in this area in 1398 that Pir Muhammad, the grandson of Timur, fought the Afghans in the Sulaiman mountains. According to local tradition Timur himself passed through Marri country during one of his Indian expeditions.

The succeeding century is one of great historical interest. The Baloch extended their power to Kalat, Kachhi, and the Punjab, and the wars took place between Mir Chakar the Rind and Gwahram Lashari which are so celebrated in Baloch verse. In these wars a prominent part was played by Mir Zunnun Beg, Arghun, who was governor of north-eastern Baluchistan under Sultan Husain Mirza of Herat about 1470. At the same time the Brahuis had been gradually gaining strength, and their little principality at this time extended through the Jhalawan country to Wadh. [http://dsal.uchicago.edu/reference/gazetteer/pager.html?objectid=DS405.1.I34_V06_282.gifBaluchistan - Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 6, p. 276.] ]

The Arghuns shortly afterwards gave way before Babar. From 1556 to 1595 the country was under the Safavid dynasty. Then it fell into the hands of the Mughals of Delhi until 1638, when it was again transferred to Persia.We have an interesting account of Baluchistan in the Ain-i-Akbari. In 1590 the upper highlands were included in the sarkdr of Kandahar, while Kachhi was part of the Bhakkar sarkdr of the Multan Subah. Makrdn alone remained independent under the Maliks, Buledais, andGichkis, until Nasir Khan I of Kalat brought it within his power during the eighteenth century.

From the middle of the seventeenth century Baluchistan remained under the Safavids till the rise of the Ghilzai power in I708. The latter in its turn gave way before Nadir Shah, who, during the first part of the eighteenth century, made several expeditions to or through Baluchistan. Ahmad Shah Durrani followed; and thenceforth the north-eastern part of the country, including almost all the areas now under direct administration, remained under the more or less nominal suzerainty of the Sadozais and Barakzais till I879, when Pishin, Duki, and Sibi passed into British hands by the Treaty of Gandamak.Meanwhile the whole of Western Baluchistan had been consolidated into an organized state under the Ahmadzai Khans of Kalat. All tradition asserts that the former rulers of Kalat were Hindus, Sewa by name.

As Muslim dynasties held Baluchistan from about the seventh century, we must look to an earlier period for the date of the Sewas; and it is not improbable that they were connected with the Rai dynasty of Sind, whose genealogical table includes two rulers named Sihras. The Mirwaris, from whom the Ahmadzais are descended, claim Arab origin. In their earlier legends we find them living at Surab near Kalat, and extending their power thence in wars with the Jats or Jadgals. They then fell under the power of the Mongols; but one of their chiefs, Mir Hasan, regained the capital from the Mongol governor, and he and his successors held Kalat for twelve generations till the rise of Mir Ahmad in 1666-7. It is from Mir Ahmad that the eponym Ahmadzai is derived.

Khans of Kalat

Authentic history begins with the reign of the Khans of Kalat, the rulers of Kalat were never fully independent, there was always a paramount power to whom they were subject. In the earliest times they were merely petty chiefs: later they bowed to the orders of the Mughal emperors of Delhi and to the rulers of Kandahar, and supplied men-at-arms on demand. Most peremptory orders from the Afghan rulers to their vassals of Kalat are still extant, and the predominance of the Sadozais and Barakzais was acknowledged so late as 1838. It was not until the time of Nasir Khan I that the titles of Beglar Begi (Chief of Chiefs) and Wali-i-Kalat (Governor of Kalat) were conferred on the Kalat ruler by the Afghan kings. [http://dsal.uchicago.edu/reference/gazetteer/pager.html?objectid=DS405.1.I34_V06_283.gifImperial Gazetteer of India, v. 6, p. 277.] ]

For the first 150 years, up to the death of Mir Mahmud Khan I, a gradual extension of power took place and the building up of a constitution which, looking at the condition of the country, is a marvel of political sagacity and practical statesmanship. A period of social ferment, anarchy, and rebellion succeeded, in which sanguinary revolts rapidly alternated with the restoration of a power ruthless in retaliation, lasting into the period of British Government.

As the Mughal power decayed, the Ahmadzai chiefs found themselves freed in some degree from external interference. The first problem that presented itself was to secure mutual cohesion and co-operation in the loose tribal organization of the state, and this was effected byadopting a policy of parcelling out a portion of all conquests among the poverty-stricken highlanders. Thus all gained a vested interest in the welfare of the community, while receiving provision for their maintenance. A period of expansion then commenced. Mir Ahmad made successive descents on the plains of Sibi. Mir Samandar extended his raids to Zhob, Bori, and Thal-Chotiali, and levied an annual sum of Rs. 40,000 from the Kalhoras of Sindh.

Mir Abdullah, the greatest conqueror of the dynasty, turned his attention westward to Makran, while in the north-east he captured Pishin and Shorawak from the Ghilzai rulers of Kandahar. He was eventually slain in a fight with the Kalhoras at Jandrihar near Sanni in Kachhi.During the reign of Mir Abdullah's successor, Mir Muhabbat, Nadir Shah rose to power; and the Ahmadzai ruler obtained through him in 1740 the cession of Kachhi, in compensation for the blood of Mir Abdullah and the men who had fallen with him. The Brahuis had now gained what highlanders must always covet, good cultivable lands; and, by the wisdom of Muhabbat Khan and of his brother Nasir Khan, certain tracts were distributed among the tribesmen on the condition of finding so many men-at-arms for the Khan's body of irregular troops. At the same time much of the revenue-paying land was retained by the Khan for himself. [http://dsal.uchicago.edu/reference/gazetteer/pager.html?objectid=DS405.1.I34_V06_284.gifBaluchistan - Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 6, p. 278.] ]

The forty-four years of the rule of Nasir Khan I, known to the Brahuis as 'The Great,' and the hero of their history, were years of strenuous administration and organization interspersed with military expeditions. He accompanied Ahmad Shah in his expeditions to Persia and India, while at home he was continuously engaged in thereduction of Makran, and, after nine expeditions to that country, he obtained from the Gichkis the right to the collection of half the revenues. A wise and able administrator, Nasir Khan was distinguished for hisprudence, activity, and enterprise. He was essentially a warrior and a conqueror, and his spare time was spent in hunting. At the same time he was most attentive to religion, and enjoined on his people strict attention to the precepts of Islamic law. His reign was free from those internecine conflicts of which the subsequent storyof Kalat offers so sad a record.

The reign of Nasir Khan's successor, Mir Mahmud Khan, wasdistinguished bv little except revolts. In I810 Pottinger visited his capital and has left a full record of his experience. [Henry Pottinger - Travels in Belochistan and Sinde (1816)] The reign of Mir Mehrab Khan was one long struggle with his chiefs, many of whom he murdered. He became dependent on men of the stamp of Mulla Muhammad Hasan and Saiyid Muhammad Sharif, bywhose treachery, at the beginning of the first Afghan War, Sir William Macnaghten and Sir Alexander Burnes were deceived into thinking that Mehrab Khan was a traitor to the British; that he had induced the tribes to oppose the advance of the British army through the Bolan Pass; and that finally, when Sir Alexander Burnes was returning froma mission to Kalat, he had caused a robbery to be committed on the party, in the course of which an agreement, which had been executed between the envoy and the Khan, was carried off. This view determined the diversion of Sir Thomas Willshire's brigade from Quetta to attack Kalat in 1839, an act which has been described by Malleson as 'more than a grave error, a crime.' [Malleson, History of Afghanistan (1878)] The place was taken by assault and Mehrab Khan was slain.

British conquest

The British gradually became involved in Balochistan during the reign of Mir Mehrab Khan whose reign was characterised by the power struggle he had with the chief, many of whom he had murdered. Mehrab Khan had become dependent on Mulla Muhammad Hasan and Saiyid Muhammad Sharif. And it was these men who had convinced the British that he had encouraged the tribes to oppose the British advance through the Bolan pass. The British justified their 1839 attack of Kalat on this, and had had Mehrab Khan killed, his successor — Shah Nawaz Khan was then appointed with Lieutenant Loveday as political officer. However a rebellion of the Sarawan tribes the following year force Shah Nawaz to abdicate, his successor Mir Muhammad Hasan then took power and afterwards being known as Mir Nazir Khan II.

Under pressure from Colonel Stacey Mir Nasir Khan II submitted to the British, and Major Outram had him installed at Kalat in 1840. [ [http://dsal.uchicago.edu/reference/gazetteer/pager.html?objectid=DS405.1.I34_V06_285.gifImperial Gazetteer of India, v. 6, p. 279.] ]

Accession issues of 1948

Balochi nationalists support the claim that the ruler of the Khanate of Balochistan, Mir Ahmad Yar Khan, was coerced by Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the first governor-general of Pakistan, to sign the document of accession. Critics dispute such claims as unrealistic and contrary to popular support for Jinnah, as the Khan of Kalat ruled even after Jinnah's death with the support of the government. However, the Khan was not an absolute monarch; he was required to act under the provisions of the Rawaj (the Baloch constitution).

The incorporation of the Khanate resulted in a few anti-Pakistani rallies and meetings in certain areas of the Khanate. To subdue anti-Pakistani sentiment, the Army of Pakistan was placed on alert. The Government of Pakistan decided to take complete control of the administration of the Khanate of Balochistan on April 15, 1948. The Agent to the Governor General (A.G.G.) in Balochistan conveyed Jinnah's orders that the Khanate would revert to its previous status as it had existed under British rule. Jinnah also refused to give autonomy to Balochistan.

In April 1948, several political leaders from Balochistan, including Mohammad Amin Khosa and Abdul Samad Achakzai, were arrested. The pro-Congress Anjuman-i-Watan Party, headed by Samad Achakzai, was declared unlawful.

Prince Abdul Karim Khan

The refusal to grant autonomy to Balochistan and the continued existence of the "Sandeman system" re­sulted in civil unrest. On the night of May 16, 1948, Prince Abdul Karim Khan, the younger brother of the Khan, decided to lead a rebellion. The Prince invited the leading members of nationalist political parties—the Kalat State National Party, the Baloch League, and the Baloch National Workers Party—to join him in the struggle for the creation of an independent "Greater Balochistan." Apart from his political motives, the Prince was a member of the royal family and the former governor of the Makran province; he was upset by Pakistan's recognition of Sardar Bay Khan Gichki as Makran's ruler. The Baloch Mujahedeen fled to Afghanistan and encamped at Sarlath in the province of Kandahar. During their stay, the Baloch fighters adopted national, cultural and religious ideas to further their cause. The Prince also organized the Baloch Warriors, former soldiers and officers of the Khanate's army.

Prince Karim's capture

With Afghan aid, Abdul Karim entered Balochistan and organized a rebellion against Pakistan in the Jalawan area. He received assistance from Mir Gohar Khan Zahrri, an influential tribal leader of the Zarkzai clan. Major General Akbar Khan, who was in charge of the Pakistani army's Seventh Regiment, was ordered to attack the insurgents and force them to surrender. Prince Karim and his 142 followers were arrested and imprisoned in the Mach and Quetta jails.

Trial and sentencing

After the arrest of the Prince and his party, the A.G.G. gave an order for an inquiry, to be conducted by Khan Sahib Abdullah Khan, the Additional District Ma­gistrate of Quetta. He submitted his report on September 12, 1948. His report was based on the Prince's activities and upon the letters and documents published by the rebel force. After the inquiry, R. K. Saker, the District Magistrate of Quetta, appointed a special Jirga (official council of elders), this Jirga was instructed to study the circumstances and events which led to the revolt and was asked to give its recommendations to the District Magistrate. On November 10, 1948, the Jirga heard the testimony of the accused and gave its recommendations to the D.M. on November 17, 1948, suggesting the delivery of the Prince to Loralai at the pleasure of the Government of Pakistan and various other penalties. The D.M., in his order dated November 27, 1948, differed with the opinion of the Jirga and sentenced the Prince to ten years of rigorous imprisonment and a fine of 5000 rupees. Other members of his party were given various sentences and fines.

econd Baloch Rebellion (1958)

Nawab Nowroz or Nowroz Khan, commonly known by Balochs as Babu Nowroz, was the head of the Zarakzai tribes of Balochistan. Nowroz started an armed struggle against Pakistan, but later surrendered to Lt. Col. Tikka Khan (later General of the Pakistani army) when Nowroz came to the army for negotiations. He and his followers, including his sons and nephews, were taken to Hyderabad Jail, where they were all executed without a trial. Nawab Nowroz Khan was 84 at the time of his execution.

Balochistan Rebellion of the 1970s

This rebellion constitutes an infamous period in Pakistani history, second only to the Civil War of 1971 and subsequent loss of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).

The National Awami Party, led by nationalists Ghaus Bux Bizenjo, Sardar Ataullah Mengal, Khair Bux Marri, Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti and Khan Wali Khan, dominated Balochistan and the NWFP. At the time, even the Jamiat i Ulema i Islam of Maulana Mufti Mahmud (father of Maulana Fazlur Rehman) thought it fit to join hands with the nationalists to espouse the provincial cause.

Emboldened by the stand taken by Sheikh Mujib, the Baloch and Pashtun nationalists demanded their "provincial rights" from Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in exchange for a consensual approval of the 1973 constitution. But while Mr. Bhutto admitted the NWFP and Balochistan to a NAP-JUI coalition, he refused to negotiate with the provincial governments led by chief minister Ataullah Mengal in Quetta and Mufti Mahmud in Peshawar. Tensions erupted.

Within six months, the federal government had sacked the two provincial governments, arrested the two chief ministers, two governors and forty-four MNAs and MPAs, obtained an order from the Supreme Court banning the NAP and charged everyone with high treason to be tried by a specially constituted Hyderabad Tribunal of handpicked judges. In time, a nationalist insurgency erupted and sucked the army into the province, pitting the Baloch tribal middle classes against Islamabad.

The 1970s revolt of the Baloch, which manifested itself in the form of an armed struggle against the Pakistani army in Balochistan, was provoked by federal impatience, high-handedness and undemocratic constitutional deviation. Mir Hazar Khan Marri led the Baluch liberation movement under an organization nicknamed BPLF, the Baluch People's Liberation Front. Marri and the BPLF were forced to move to Afghanistan, along with thousands of his supporters. Baluch fighters often fight today under related nicknames such as BLA, BLM, BLO, etc.

The modern Pakistani province of Baluchistan comprises a part of historical Balochistan. Another part is incorporated in the Sistan and Baluchistan province of Iran. The irony was that Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti served the federal government when Bhutto appointed him Governor of Balochistan throughout the time of the insurgency; during this time, Bugti spoke not a word in favour of Baloch rights or provincial autonomy. The greater irony was that the insurgency came to an end following the army coup of General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq against Mr. Bhutto's civilian government.

Soon thereafter, Gen. Zia unfolded plans to desensitize the alienated Baloch and Pashtun leadership by a multi-faceted strategy aimed at co-opting the leaders into office while providing jobs and funds from the federal government to the alienated, insecure tribal middle classes. More significantly, Zia created maximum political space for the mullah parties in the NWFP and Balochistan so that they could be galvanized in the jihad against the USSR in neighbouring Afghanistan.

Divided, fatigued and shorn of its ideological moorings or avowed enemies such as Bhutto, the Greater Balochistan movement melted into memory over the next two decades.

Rahimuddin Khan's Reign

The uprising itself had suffered from a lack of direction. Some Baloch wanted independence, others only greater autonomy within Pakistan. Attacks were organised by individual Baloch chiefs, rather than an organised Baloch-wide attack. Also, the Baloch hoped to get the support of the USSR, which never happened. Also, the large Pashtun minority in Balochistan did not take part and were hostile to the idea of an independent Balochistan.

Another Pathan who was hostile to the idea of an independent Balochistan was Rahimuddin Khan, a distinguished Lieutenant General at the time (later General). Soon after Zia's assuming power, Rahimuddin was appointed Martial Law Governor of Balochistan, a position that headed all affairs to do with the province, and thus was, for the Pakistani government, a phenomenally powerful post.

Rahimuddin's unprecedented long rule (1978–84) crushed any armed uprisings within the province with an iron fist. His completely isolating Baloch Sardars from provincial policy was a move that, over time, gained increasing controversy, due to the unheard of nature of Rahimuddin's style of government. Past rulers had tried to appease the feudal lords; Rahimuddin went out of his way to isolate them from any position of provincial power.

This, in retrospect, ultimately led to the most stable period Balochistan has ever witnessed in its short history as a Pakistani province. Economic expansion was also impressive during Rahimuddin's reign.

Revival of the provincial rights struggle

Today, the single most critical macro factor is the social and electoral engineering initiated by the military regime of President Pervez Musharaf. By sidelining the mainstream PPP and PMLN parties and their natural progressive allies such as the ANP, BNP and others in favour of the mullahs of the Jamaat-e-Islami and Jamiat i Ulema i Islam, General Musharraf has alienated the old non-religious tribal leadership as well as the new secular urban middle classes of Balochistan, who see no economic or political space for themselves in the new military-mullah dispensation.

Similarly, by sacrificing the cause of provincial autonomy at the altar of local and federal government, the military regime has threatened the very roots of constitutional consensus enshrined in the Baloch consciousness.

Balochistan remains a backwater province, infested by Taliban-type mullahs, corrupt and opportunist politicians and tribal chiefs, all beholden to the military regime in Islamabad.

The Baloch Liberation Army, composed of a few bandits under tribal and middle-class command, is conducting terrorist operations. Gwadar is an obvious target.

Old grievances

The causes of grievances in Balochistan are twofold. On one side there are tribal leaders who want no development in the area; on the other side is the government, who is reluctant to go against tribal leaders. Natural gas development in the city of Sui has never benefited the people of Balochistan. Huge royalties are paid to Sardar of Sui, but the money fails to reach the area's poor; Gwadar is in the clutches of a land-grab mafia of Pakistan; the federal government earns billions from gas extracted from the province, but gives only a fraction back to Balochistan for development, and this fraction is largely improperly spent; the provincial autonomy promised in the 1973 constitution is nonexistent, etc.

Balochistan remains a neglected backwater of Pakistan largely due to internal and external politics. Baloch internal politics have been factionalised by federal interference and meddling in the pursuit of dubious strategic regional interests. The province's drought-stricken pastoral economy cannot even provide for its small population. This state of affairs has lasted fifty-seven years. No federal government has ever thought of bringing development to Balochistan, and talk of tribal chiefs obstructing progress is being called nonsense by the Balochs. Government neglect has strengthened the ranks of the nationalists and increased their clout.

The danger in Balochistan is twofold. The nascent but alienated middle class in the few towns of Balochistan is now rallying behind the nationalists and accepts the "sardars" spearheading PONM as genuine leaders. At the same time, the developmental lag in the province is sufficient to substantiate the anti-centre stance of the PONM. That is why any military action in the province will completely lack local support. Locals may support military action if it is against the sardars who are eating their resources, but this is unlikely as the federal government does not want to create any more problems in Balochistan. Even the PONM is not representing all of Balochistan, as its ideology is very narrow and its leader rarely delivers.

The other destabilizing factor relates to the ongoing battle against the combined forces of the Taliban and Al Qaeda in the area. The Pashtuns in Balochistan also have serious problems with the federal government's policy on the Pakistani-Afghan frontier. This could be troublesome, since Pashtun nationalism has also been responsible for the internationally-reported presence of the Taliban in the province.


The problem of Balochistan is concurrent list of subjects enlisted in 1973 Constitution of Pakistan. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto used this list to show smaller provinces that he believed in provincial autonomy and these will be waived off after 10 years. If these subjects would have been given to provinces in 1973 there was no problem in Pakistan. The solution lies in waiving of this concurrent list, autonomy of province and modernising Balochistan.

Recent development projects

Many development projects are underway in Balochistan, including the Gwadar deep sea port which is being built by the help of China. The Makran Coastal Highway was also constructed on the coastline between Gwadar and Karachi by National Highway Authority, and has reduced travelling time considerably. The Government is also making several water filled dams in Balochistan, including Mirani dam. Furthermore since 1947 till 2002 the total development budget allotted to Baluchistan was Rs.152 Bn and the development budget allotted to Balochistan since 2002 to 2008 in the last seven years only is Rs.302 Billion. It is to be noted that this amount is only the amount allocated for developmental projects and is separate from the money allotted for other things.


* "New light on the Paratarajas", Numismatic Chronicle, 2006. [http://people.bu.edu/ptandon/Paratarajas.pdf Pdf]

ee also

* Iraq support to Balochis
* Dad Shah
* Iran–Iraq War

External links

* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/urdu/miscellaneous/story/2005/01/050121_who_r_baloch_asif.shtml BBC Urdu - History of Balochistan]
* [http://www.bdd.sdnpk.org/map%20of%20balochistan.html Balochistan District Maps,information and Background]
* [http://mehrgarh.webpal.info/mehrgarh/ Mehrgarh (Balochistan)]
* [http://isowba.blogspirit.com ISOWBA (Intelligence and Special Operations Wing of Balochistan Army]
* [http://www.onwar.com/aced/data/papa/pakistan1973.htm Balochistan insurgency of 1973-1977]
* [http://countrystudies.us/pakistan/35.htm Baloch ethnic group]
* [http://www.baloch2000.org/people/origin.htm Baloch Origin]
* [http://ww4report.com/node/3138 Terror strikes Iran: Baluchistan blowback?]
* [http://www.thenews.com.pk/print1.asp?id=101617 Great game being played again - The News Pakistan]

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