By Shanzay Noor, Kinnaird College for Women, Pakistan.
Balochistan is surely descending into Anarchy. The contemporary wave of insurgency in Balochistan is driven by multiple factors from exploitation of resources to the role of tribal sardars in perpetuating the conflict and mismanagement of Baloch grievances by the Pakistani state. A nexus has been created among criminality, militancy and terrorism due to the complicity of security personnel in violent activities. The purpose of this research is to address the longstanding grievances of Balochs to identify the internal and external key players trying to escalate the conflict in their own way due to its strategic position and colossal resources and to formulate a way forward for Balochistan reconciliation. A qualitative and descriptive research has been conducted. Semi structured interviews have been considered to know the perspective of concerned parties. The paper concludes that Balochistan reconciliation requires a political solution consisting of a multidimensional approach. There is an immediate need to establish confidence and mutual trust among Baloch nationals in order to resolve the issues of insecurity, antagonism and anger among them. Failure to a prudent approach for Balochistan reconciliation in a fair and unjust manner would plunge the chaos and disorder, which will lead towards a deepened insecure and volatile federal-province relations ultimately harming the national interest of the state.
Keywords: Anarchy, Insurgency, Reconciliation, Militancy, Criminality, Terrorism
Balochistan Conflict is the ongoing conflict between Baloch masses and the Federation of Pakistan. Since inception of Pakistan Balochistan province has remained marginalized. A number of factors have contributed in aggravating the issue. Balochistan comprises Baloch ethnic majority and Pashtuns as well. Despite the fact that Balochistan is the largest province of Pakistan and enriched in natural resources has remained a poorest province. Balochistan was never willing to join Pakistan and the promises made during the merging time of Balochistan have never been fulfilled. The great central authority and poor representation of Baloch people in politics. unequal distribution of resources, Lack of representation in Army, dominance of Punjab, forced disappearances has exacerbated the hostility. Terrorist and extremist groups such as Al-Qaida and Tehreek-e-Taliban operating in Balochistan have created a conflictual situation. Poor Governance, lack of functioning economy and strategic location of Balochistan helped these groups to perform their terrorist activities with a religious label.
Since inception of Pakistan Balochistan has become the hub of insurgency for the five times. Dissident people demanded greater autonomy or independence so that they could unite with Baloch people from Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Balochistan is rich in natural gas and resources. Sui Gas which was discovered in Balochistan and providing Sui Gas to other regions and provinces since 1952 but the indigenous people got Sui Gas in 1970 which is a clear vindication of rulers negligence towards Balochistan. despite producing 36-45 per cent of gas for Pakistan, the province of Balochistan gets to consume a mere 17 percent of it. The other grievance for Baloch people is Gwadar Port. China Pakistan Economic Corridor The project initiated by the Pakistani government in collaboration with China as a part of China's Belt and Road initiative has started construction of a port at Gwadar which will bring prosperity and numerous employment opportunities for the native people of Balochistan as well. But it provided employment to the Baloch and Punjabis therefore, Baloch people started opposing this project in the name of another example showing the state snatching Balochistan's wealth and resources away from them.
Baloch people started political movement against the central government for the discrimination. Baloch people who were initially demanding provincial autonomy now with the passage of time have started raising slogans of Independence. Baloch nationalism emerged after the creation of Pakistan 1947. Baloch National Movement states that Pakistan has occupied Balochistan. From that day Baloch culture, national values, identity has been suppressed by Pakistan and Baloch people are living in slavery. Since the occupation of Balochistan, Baloch people have been struggling for independence. Khan of Kalat rejected the idea of joining Pakistan, Pakistan sent its military troops to Balochistan and brutally occupied Balochistan. Recently a militant organization under the name of Balochistan Liberation Army came to the surface. It demands greater autonomy or independence from Pakistan and fighting against Pakistan government in order to achieve their goals. Which has started attacking state institutions and non-Baloch civilians as well the basic ideology of BLA is that Pakistan has exploited the resources of Balochistan without giving due share to them. They want freedom from Pakistan and want to reform Baloch society internally as well. BLA has carried out several attacks in Pakistan targeting security forces and civilians. A recent example of Karachi Stock Exchange attack by BLA. Media has reported several times that BLA is getting foreign funding and India's involvement in destabilizing Pakistan. Estimated onemonth expense of BLA is 40 to 90 million Such a huge expense and the day by day worsening situation clearly indicates that there must be some external factors involved in Balochistan insurgency. These forces want to weaken the state by igniting insurgencies. The basic purpose behind these external actors clearly lies in the strategic position and colossal resources of Balochistan. "The leading newspaper Herald says that America is funding Baloch insurgents to counter Chinese influence in Balochistan in spite of the fact that Pakistan has remained America's frontline ally in war on terror" (Herald,2012).
Sectarian violence, kidnapping, extra judicial killings, attacks on government installations are increasing and the situation is worsening in Balochistan. The ham handed approach of the government to curb Balochistan insurgency has paved the way towards disintegration. This paper examines the internal and external factors igniting insurgency and formulating strategy for Balochistan reconciliation.
Noor, Shanzay, Balochistan Reconciliation (July 28, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3702972 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3702972