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Baloch National Movement: Is for “Autonomy” or Free Balochistan?

November 22, 2008. The New York Times, republished the well known US Military scholar and  prolific essay writer Ralph Peters in the subject of foreign policy and military strategy who  presented a “New Middle East Map” that shows “Free Balochistan.” Pakistani military expert and politicians have been uneasy about his “New Middle East Map”, they fear their unnatural state, Pakistan may face the “Yugoslavia-like-fate”  

Military scholar Ralph Peters created a map namely, “New Middle East”, was originally published in June 2006 issue of Armed Forces Journal and has captured attention regarding the question of Baluchistan’s freedom.

According to a leading Pakistani newspaper; Daily Times report, “The United States, India and Afghanistan of conspiring to carve out a ‘Greater Balochistan’ by causing the disintegration of Pakistan.” 

Although, the US military scholar’s “New Middle East” map is not officially endorsed by the Pentagon, it said it has been used for training purposes in “NATO’s Defense College” among senior military officers.

Many political experts view the US military scholars Peter’s “New Middle East Map” as being based on historical and geographical fact about the regions. According to military scholars’ Peter’s it will stop the further ethnic cleansing and blood bath in that region.

Military scholars’ Peters argued “International borders are never completely just”.

“Readjusting faulty borders, mental effort to grasp the Middle East’s “organic” frontiers nonetheless helps us understand the extent of the difficulties we face and will continue to face. We are dealing with the colossal, man-made deformities that will not stop generating hatred and violence until they are corrected.”

Baluchistan’s “organic” borders are those that have been divided against their consent by regional and international forces for their interests in the past era. Actually, the original history of Balochistan has never been allowed to be taught by its occupying regimes, these being Pakistan and Iran’s educational institutions.

“Greater Balochistan” existed as a tribal confederacy based on collective and cooperative concept of Baloch tribalism from 1756-1795 in the name of “Khanate of Baluchistan” according to the indigenous Baloch scholars and the author’s of “The Problem of Greater Balochistan.”  Dr. Inyatullah Baloch. PHD.  

In, 1929 Mir Yusuf Aziz Khan Magasi, a future of Baloch Nelson Mandela, at the time of British Empire rule he was fighting against the British is the founder of the Baloch Nationalist Movement. Later he was head of the “Anjamn-e- Itehad-e-Balochistan” and the “the unity Party of Balochistan”. The main objectives of there parties  were the unification of Balochistan, that was his vision and dream for his Baloch nation, and this vision of “Free Balochistan” is still alive among the Baloch leaders with full backing of their masses.

Unfortunately, the future of Baloch Nelson Mandela, the late Mir Yusuf Aziz “Khan” Magasi, died while he was 28 years old in the horror of 1935 Earthquake in Quetta, the capital city of Balochistan. Some account that approximately 35,000 souls perished in that natural disaster, the city became a ruin and it turned into a warzone.

Balochistan sovereignty existed before March 27th, 1948 and Pakistani military invaded and forcefully annexed Balochistan into Pakistan. This is the reason why the Pakistani military and politicians are concerned with the US military scholar’s analysis about the future of that region unfolding political changes.

Since the occupation of Balochistan within Pakistani parliament system the “autonomy” of Balochistan remains unresolved due to Pakistani ineffective parliament system. Otherwise Baloch leaders have tried all democratic and peaceful means, but all their effort has been gone in vain without any positive outcome.

Regarding Balochistan’s rich natural resources, this is a major issue in Baluchistan’s “autonomy”.  An example of this includes paying back the revenues of Natural Gas. Payment to Balochistan, which is running yearly since 1953, is still in pending. When there is no sign of equal sharing of power, the question of autonomy is far in the distance, and this has been the case of Balochistan.

Major projects such as Gwader port, being built with assistance of “China”, remain a hot political debate between Baloch leaders and their anti Baloch regime, Pakistan. The future of Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas Pipelines (goes through Baloch land) has gone without consultation of Baloch leadership among three parties.  A Reko Dig, and Sandak are two major projects in Balochistan and they have been given to foreign companies. Both are for exploration of gold, silver, and copper but the real owner of the land is stripped from the benefits in terms of revenue and employment.

When Baloch leadership with the full support of their masses opposed such anti-Baloch policies against the central government an outcome was another military operation.

The Pakistani military started a 5th military operation in Balochistan from March 2005 till today, during this brutal military operations Baloch leaders were assassinated. 240,000 Bugti and Marri tribes were forced to become refugees and hundreds of Baloch political activist and students were and are being kidnapped and have disappeared.

Nelson Mandela is a leader and freedom fighter; he realized the apartheid regimes of South Africa are not paying attention to their peaceful means of political struggle. He wrote in his famous biography “Long walk to Freedom”.

“Over and over again, we had used all non-violent weapons in our arsenal-speeches, dipterous, threat, marches, strikes, stay-away, voluntarily imprisonment all to no avail for whatever we did was met by iron hand. A freedom fighter learn the hard way that it is the oppressor who defines the nature of the struggle and oppressed is often left no recourse but to use methods, that those of the oppressor.”

The Baloch people are today facing a similar regime who only knows how to rule with an iron fist upon Baloch people. Therefore, many Baloch leaders think such aggressors have left no other option except to be up in arms.

According to the Asma Jehehangir, Chairwomen of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, “It is not just few (Baloch) tribal chiefs against the government. There’s a genuine movement of Baloch Nationalist. There are people enlisting every day and picking up arms.”

 Historically, the Baloch national movement does not consider itself as a federalist party within state because “Regionalism (federalism) encourages the inhabitants of a territory to demand a change in the political, economic, and cultural relations between the region and the central powers within their larger state”. This clearly summarized by political scientist Robert Jackson.

According to his analysis federalism and nationalism are two different pathways they can not adjust with each other. According to his concept of nationalism, “A nation share a sense of loyalty and psychological attachment” their struggle is “based on common language, history, culture” Therefore, he argued “Nationalism in its modern sense is defined as the collective action of politically conscious group or nation in pursuit of sovereignty.”  Baloch nationalists should be clear in their path and of their long term goal, they should be in pursuit of their freedom and sovereignty as a whole, as defined by Jackson’s argument.

Hence the Baloch national movement’s “Aim is to pursue fundamental changes that are not compatible with the sovereignty of the state to which they belong.”  According to Robert Jackson it is fear to assume Baloch leadership demand could not be accepted within Pakistan’s federal set up. Perhaps Baloch leadership has been innocently betrayed in the name of negotiation and compromised for the last sixty years.

Recently, a senior Baloch leader was released after 9 years in jail, Mir Abdul Nabi Bangulzehi  and he said ” The provincial autonomy is not “the” headache  of Baloch nation any more and the rulers (Pakistan) know exactly what Baloch people want; a free Balochistan.” He went on further to warn that “Those (Aggressor’s) who have made Balochistan hell for us. Baloch will not make the land of Balochistan a heaven for them.”

Whether the well known US military scholar’s analysis about the future of Middle East region has become a reality or not, the fact is the Baloch National Movement has been in existence from 1929 and it will keep going to regain their sovereignty of Balochistan. Pakistani military and politicians are fully aware about the ground reality of Balochistan, and perhaps simply keeping the issue under the rug.

Recently, the “Baloch Republicans Party,” a senior leader said, “In the tongue of a four year old (Baloch child) to “eighty” Four  year old (men’s/women’s) remains the verse ‘freedom of Balochistan’. Ultimately, the freedom of Balochistan will be the destiny of Baloch nation.”   

In real a democracy the majority rule, Baloch as a whole are loudly and clearly stating their objection for autonomy and support for a free Balochistan. After years of rivalry, trial-and-error experiences in the search for greater autonomy the people of Balochistan demand sovereignty after suffering and military rule by their occupied regimes. The first demand was not met, the question of autonomy was swept away and with greater support for Baloch leaders the people of Balochistan have taken their demand to a much higher level,  and Ralph Peter’s map summarized the needs and serves as a solution to Balochistan’s problems.

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