In the News.
The Balochistan liberation Army ar the BLA has claimed to carry out two audacious attacks on post of Pakistan Army at Panjgur and Naushki wherein it’s fighters attempted to get inside the camp on 3rd February. An intense firefight resulted in casualty figures of 13 BLA fighters and 7 security forces personnel as per the information received. These attacks by BLA reflects a growing trend and confidence with their fighters wherein they are confident to target Pakistani security forces more directly and right at their Headquarters. These are not only a qualitative change in the approach adopted by BLA fighters but also reflects enhanced level of training and coordination which is very essential for executing such complex operations. The string of attacks carried out by the BLA fighters against security forces in the recent past has set in alarm bells in the Pakistani security establishments.
What’s So Important About It.
Balochistan is one of the four provinces of Pakistan. It lies on to the South West and West of the country. It shares its border in the North East with the Pakistani province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and in the East and South East with Sind in the South Arabian sea is there and onto West and Northwest lies the international border with Iran. It is spread over an area of 3,47,190Sq Km. By the area it is the largest province of of Pakistan it has a total of 35 districts which contributes to 65 seats in the national assembly. Quetta is the capital city of Balochistan. By the name it means “Land of Baluchs”. The main inhabitants are are Baluchis 56% and Pashtuns 32% balance 12% consist of other minor communities like Sindhis, Punjabis, Hazaras, Uzbeks and Turks.
Balochistan is largely underdeveloped province but it is very rich in natural resources. It has huge reserves of natural gas (estimated to be adequate for meeting long term requirements of entire Pakistan), coal, oil, sulphur, floride and gold. Turbat is the next important city after Quetta and further down south is Gwadar port which is the second most important port after Karachi in Pakistan. Gwadar port is also at the heart of China Pakistan Economic Corridor. This port was expected to provide an alternate sea access to China for connecting to the West Asia using land route from China across Khunjerba Pass then Karakoram Highway further connecting to the Gwadar port. This new access was expected to reduce Chinese vulnerabilities at sea for carrying out critical economic activities wherein its ships were required to pass through Malacca straits overseen and dominated by Indian Navy.
Killing The Golden Hen.
Pakistan has been ruthless and in complete denial of the problem in Balochistan which is more of ethnic identities of proud Baluchi people. Who draw their inspiration and Pride from a rich Baluch history under the leadership of. Balochistan remains one of the province which aspired for being an independent state at the time of partition. However, the Pakistani insistence on Balochistan forming part of Pakistan which till then never existed by itself brought great desperation and disappointment to the Baluchi people.
Here was an arrangement, call it state of Pakistan which till few days back was not even part of international map, had No existence, No history, No leadership which wants to rule over the land of Balochistan which drew its history, lineage and pride based on years of existence. The handling of affairs in Balochistan by the Pakistani establishment proved worse than the fears of Balochi people. Pakistani establishment set in place a complete transactional attitude towards Baluchistan, devoid of understanding of tradition, culture and need of the people. The complete lack of development of the province in spite of having huge natural resources brings forth this transactional approach of the Pakistani establishment.
But Pakistan was never meant to be a state and it remained completely disconnected with territories that came under its control. Their approach of domination and racial superiority of ethnic Urdu speaking Punjabis proved reasons of debacle of East Pakistan where they found Bengali speaking Muslims to be off lesser mortal not deserving enough to be given leadership role leave alone leading the entire nation. The amalgamation of Muslim dominated provinces organised together to give birth to a Non existent entity called Pakistan only on the basis of religion proved horific disaster. The same attitude of the establishment and Pakistani Elite is being repeated over in present day Balochistan. This time again the end results are very unlikely to be different then the fate of East Pakistan.
The External Excuse.
The demographic peculiarity of Pakistan is that all its provinces shares international borders with other Nations. Similarly, Balochistan also shares porous border with Iran on the West. This restive province has struggled to be given due importance within Pakistan coupled with high handedness of the establishment, it has created huge discontentment among the population at large. The security forces of Pakistan have resorted to extreme measures including heavy bombing on the pretext of fighting what they call terrorist. There is a fear that the BLA fighters getting tacit support from Iran as also Pakistan never fails to blame agencies from India for abetting the unrest in Balochistan.
This line of approach suits very well to Pakistani establishment which can then paint everyone who opposes the policies and handling in Balochistan as getting support from India and are are Anti National elements. However, this logic completely ignore a simple fact that neither India shares any common boundary with Balochistan nor Pakistan has ever been able to substantiate its imaginative claims against Indian agencies. This approach also runs a serious danger of underestimating compounded feelings of alienation among the Baluchi people who inspite of being strong community with rich history are being labelled as traitors in their own land, all for want of equitable respect in Pakistan. This complete disconnect of Pakistani establishment with the sentiments will create an explosive scenario and the ripple effects will be felt across the nation.
It is worth noting that the response of Balochistan liberation Army has not only become highly visible but also extremely violent. In the understanding of the common Baluchis the language of gunpowder is what best understood by the Pakistani establishment. Having denied their rightful share of resources, development, prosperity and being labelled traitors and terrorist they are literally left with No choice but to defend their honour which any self respecting community would do. There disappointment from establishment is not difficult to comprehend, when they see what it has been doing to rest of the nation. When always and every time the establishment has kept its interest on top and foremost even above the national interest. It was the establishment which created a stuffing environment with the Bengali Muslims when they have to fight for defending their honour which led to creation of an independent Bangladesh. The similarities does not and here like in then East Pakistan the leaders and the democratic process was trumpled on the pretext of being aligned to Anti National forces, meaning India, the leaders of Balochistan are also labelled as part of Anti National narrative. Like in then East Pakistan the political workers and supporters of Bengali leaders the Mukti bahini was declared terrorist force today the Balochistan liberation Army has been tagged in the same manner. Like in East Pakistan the resources of the nation were diverted for benefit of few.
Today resources of Balochistan is having the same fate. The high-handedness of Pakistani military against the Bengali population is well documented whether it’s leaders, women, children they spared none. Similarly, today in Balochistan the extreme measures being resorted by Pakistani security forces against its own people residing in own territory and demanding the most basic right of equality and honour which they fully deserve is being crushed under the power of barrel.The main seperatis organization in Balochistan are Baluchistan Liberation Army (BLA), Lashkar e Balochistan (LeB), Baluchistan Liberation United Front(BLUF). Out of this the Balochistan Liberation Army is most visible. It is expected to have around 6000 fighters and has intensified the atrocities.
A Taste of It’s Own Medicine.
Pakistan has been fascinated and obsessed with India. It blames India for just about anything imaginable. India remains responsible for all ills as per the elitist views held in Pakistan. It so much eases the trouble of explanation to the common Pakistani citizens. Actually No one in Pakistan whether ruling elite or establishment is even bother to reason out any challenge the country faces, ‘Indian Conspiracy’ theory is the easiest way out. Strange is the manner most of it is readily lapped up by the people, media and even section of intelligencia. So, if the scandalous handling of economy, rising prices, international isolation, No phone call from US prez, poor vaccination, law and order, scientific backwardness, failing cinema and the list goes on are because of Indian conspiracy then terrorist attacks will ofcourse be blamed on India. As it appears India has only one reason to exist, to enable Pakistani elite be able to blame it. Just wonder what if there’s No country named India. So logic or rational doesn’t work for Pakistan, it would surely miss the obvious how so ever clear it might be.
Creation of terror infrastructure in 1980s was a momentous decision of Pakistani rulers, with a crazy hope to bleed India with thousand cuts or so they believed. These dictators radicalised entire Pakistani society, Not a thought was spared what their nation would become with such a toxic culture. As has been the unfortunate fact Pakistan is run by those who are accountable to none. Not least to their own people. And that’s the reason it’s such an unapologetic and an insane country. These ruling elite of Pakistan have balkanised the nation, got it at the brink of bankruptcy today, the country is shamed at FATF, the name of their nation becomes synonymous with terrorists so much that their heads of state are stripped for checking. But their ruling elite have got away with all this murder, rape and loot at one go. No self respecting nation would conduct their affair as Pakistan does. Topping it all it cries wolf. Saddest of all though is, concept of Pakistan as a state for it’s ruling elite is the land mass it has (whether it has lost or striving to gain some) not the people who live there.
–By Ravi Srivastava