It was in March 1948 that the last of the erstwhile Balochistan Agency acceded from British India into the newly formed State of Pakistan. However, the assimilation and acceptance of the Baloch people into Pakistani society and Pakistan as a whole has been characterized by both active and passive resistance. The denial by the Pakistani State in providing mere provincial status and rights to Balochistan till 1970 was also accompanied by a policy of systematic oppression of the Baloch people that has continued till the present – the most recent phase of which was set in motion when General Pervez Musharraf assumed power after conducting the 1999 coup d’état replacing the then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. In January 2000, under his orders as the Chief Executive of Pakistan, his army ravaged the New Kahan area to the south of Quetta – the capital of Balochistan, in a joint military operation involving the police and paramilitary, the latter of which included the Pakistan Rangers. In one day alone, 125 people were arrested, others disappeared forever (Television, 2010).
Pakistani forces not only arrested the locals of New Kahan but also vandalized their residences, of which the semi-permanent settlements were destroyed completely. The arrested included almost all of the adult men, while only women, elderly and children were left. These arrests however would soon turn out to be state-abductions, without any respite to the relatives, who approached the authorities for the whereabouts of their loved ones to no reciprocation – the regional authorities had no answers.
New Kahan (News) is an area to the south of Quetta populated by the Marri Baloch Tribe. The Marri Baloch had migrated to Afghanistan during the 70s military offensive and lived in Afghanistan as refugees until the Taliban took over, after which they were forced to return to Balochistan in the early 90s. New Kahan and surrounding area has always been, and remains, one of the primary regions of retaliatory offensives whenever there is an attack on Pakistani forces and government installations in Quetta. The latest raid in New Kahan was conducted on the night of 14 August 2020, ten residents were reportedly arrested and soon after they disappeared.
I was watching the inauguration ceremony of Gawadar corridor route passing through occupied Balochistan territory.
The puppet and toothless ministers from Balochistan and other parts were also present to confirm their attendance and obedience to Punjabi domination on Baloch land.
Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif repeated the same rhetoric and showed lollipops of the past to Baloch nation.
We still remember the tall claims of Zulfiqar Bhutto, Zia-ul-Haq, General Ayyub Khan, Benazir Bhutto, General Musharraf, Asif Ali Zadar and now again Nawaz Sharif of turning Balochistan into paradise but the reality in today different.When you visit Balochistan today after six decades you will witness the increased number of graveyards and mass graves instead of School, Collages, Universities, health care centres, technical centres.
Only three days ago the ‘Dawn Newspaper’ reported quoting the Home Secretary of Balochistan that “More than 9,000 ‘suspected militants and criminals’ were apprehended by police, levies, frontier corps and intelligence agencies in Balochistan as a part of the national action plan in the year 2015.But neither Dawn nor the Home Secretary has said anything about the whereabouts of those arrested 9000 ‘suspected militants’. Have they all been killed and dumped or are they being tortured in secret dungeon of Pakistan army?
Balochistan, bordering Iran to the West and Afghanistan to the North, was an independent country before the British attacked and invaded it in 1839. The Baloch ruler, at the time, Mir Mehrab Khan along with hundreds of Baloch fighters died while defending Balochistan.
Later the British draw two artificial lines (borders), the Goldsmith Line (1871) and the Durand Line (1895), dividing Balochistan into three pieces. Northern Balochistan and Western Balochistan were given to Persia and Afghanistan respectively, and Eastern Balochistan (Pakistan occupied Balochistan) remained independent and maintained treaty relations with the British.
One of the treaties the British government signed with Balochistan in 1854 and later amended in 1876 reads as follows: Article 3: “Whilst on his part, Meer Khodadad Khan, Khan of Kalat, binds himself, his heirs, successors and sardars to observe faithfully the provisions of Article 3 of the treaty of 1854, the British Government on its part engages to respect the independence of Kalat, and to aid the Khan, in case of need, in the maintenance of a just authority and the protection of his territories from external attack, by such means as the British Government may at the moment deem expedient.”
The British remained in Eastern part of Balochistan until 1947 and at the time of their departure they recognised Balochistan as an independent state. Three days prior to Pakistan’s separation from India, a tripartite agreement was signed between the British, the ruler of Balochistan and the upcoming Pakistan administration accepting the sovereignty of the Baloch people. On 11 August, 1947, Eastern Balochistan declared full independence. Continue reading “Is Britain complicit in human rights violations in Balochistan?”
Balochistan is part of the Central Asian Plateau. The Baloch land shares its border with Persia in West, Afghanistan in North and Sindh and Punjab in East. Because of its strategically important location and vast reserves of natural resources Balochistan has been the focus of world powers throughout history. The first unified Baloch nation state was established in year 1666 under the authority of Khanate of Kalat.