INDIA & BALOCHISTAN
Balochistan one of the four provinces of Pakistan, located in the south-western region of the country. Its provincial capital and largest city is Quetta. It shares borders with Punjab and the Federally Administered Tribal areas to the northeast, Sindh to the southeast, the Arabian sea to the south,Iranto the west, and Afganistan to the north.
The name Balochistan means “the land of the Baloch” in many regional languages.
Balochistan is noted for its unique culture, and extremely dry dessert seasons.
Balochistan is one of the four provinces of Pakistan. It is the largest province in the country, covering 44 percent of the total area. The population is 1.3 crore, which is merely 7 percent of the total population of the country. Most of the inhabitants are Baloch
The province is rich in natural resources like oil, gas, copper and gold; the economy is dominated by its natural gas fields. Its location is extremely strategic. Gwadar Port in Balochistan is of immense importance to Pakistan.
Baloch separatist group has conducted several attacks on Pakistani security agencies and civilians. Baloch nationalists accuse Pakistan of systematically suppressing its development to keep the Balochs suppressed.
Problems in Balochistan
When Pakistan was born in 1947, the rulers of the khanate of Kalat, which was a princely state under the. Riteish and part of today’s Balochistan, refused to join the new nation. Pakistan sent troops in March 1948 to annex the territory. Though Yar Khan, the them ruler of Kalat, later signed a treaty of accession, his brothers and followers continued to fight, triggering the first conflict between Balochis and the Pakistani army. So far, there were five waves of insurgencies.
The Balochi nationalists accuse Islamabad of deliberately keeping the mineral-rich province poor, while Pakistan’s rulers say the pace of development is slow due to insurgency. But a bigger allegation that the Pakistan is facing is the large-scale human rights violations in the region, both by the Army and the militants. Every time there’s unrest in the region, the Pakistani Army used brute force to retain order. Even the Air Force was used against the civilian population many times.
Balochistan people are systematically targeted by paramilitary groups, allegedly sponsored by the Pakistani authorities. Extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances are the most common practices
Several thousands of people have been disappeared. International voice for Baloch missing people claims that 19,000 Baloch were missing by 2014, of whom more than 2,000 were killed Pakistani security forces are accused of illegally detaining 19,000 men, women and children in Balochistan. Many of them have been raped and killed.
On the occasion of Independence Day on 15th August 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said,”Pakistan forgets that it bombs its own citizens using fighter planes. The time has come when Pakistan will have to answer to the world for the atrocities committed by it against people in Balochistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir,” People of Balochistan, Gilgit and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir have thanked me a lot in the past few days. I am grateful to them,” he said during his Independence Day speech.
Pakistan critisized Modi’s speech calling his language “aggressive”, and his comments about Pakistan, a breach of “diplomatic norms”. It added that the Indian PM’s remarks will most likely be interpreted by Pakistan as a threat and shouldn’t be raising the issue of Balochistan is because the issue is “senseless” and that Pakistan could easily come up with a retaliatory accusation.
Before 15th August 2016,
India maintained for a long time that it would not interfere in the internal matters of other countries. Hence, it never brought up the Balochistan issue at any international platform, despite Pakistan repeatedly stoking the Kashmir issue.
Pakistan has been accusing India of running terrorist activities as well as helping
Baloch nationalists. when a terrorist attack killed over 50 people in Quetta, Balochistan, the Pakistani Chief Minister blamed RAW (Research and Analysis wing), the intelligence agency of India. Pakistan could never produce any substantial proof against India.
Even if the statement of the Indian PM is meant to divert attention from the ongoing situation in Kashmir, it will still help the Baloch nationalists in terms of highlighting their cause because the Baloch have been struggling for ages to get international support and not a single country has ever spoken in their support. Modi is the first Prime Minister in the world who has spoken of the Baloch and their sufferings. Thus, it is a great breakthrough. We have to wait and see if India supports Balochistan as a part of an official policy or if it is using Balochistan only as a chip to respond to Pakistan. I look at Modi and the the Baloch nationalists as strange bedfellows though.- Malik Siraj Akbar, Editor, The Baloch
Many countries like India, Russia, France, USA, Germany, etc, are in support for the people of Balochistan. While USA does not support for the independence of Balochistan but are in support of the people.
India are raising the Balochistan issue in the United nations.
Will the people of Balochistan get justice, will they get independence, how much will the independence of Balochistan cost Pakistan, will it benefit other countries? These are the big questions around the Balochistan issue.
Thank you for being a patient reader.