By A.H Amin
25 February, 2012
It is a great mystery
of history that the ongoing war in Balochistan took so long to begin? As a
young student in 1968 in Quetta I do not remember anything Baloch about the
city other than few fellow students, all sons of leading Sardar who were my class
fellows or contemporaries.
All this was a British
legacy. The British had created Quetta, to serve the army. The police was
almost entirely Punjabi with some Pashtuns and Hazaras.They had even raised two
purely Hazara battalions which were used with ruthless effect by Brigadier
General Dyer in the Persian Campaign in Iranian Balochistan in the First World
The British found the
Pashtuns friendly and gave them preference while they found the Baloch hostile.
Pakistan inherited this British legacy and instead of improving things
Kalat the biggest of
Baloch states was handled arrogantly and old political agents like Iskandar
Mirza were the fathers of this excess of arrogance.
Ayub Khan was a disaster
in the Baloch saga. His arrogance and contempt for the Baloch aggravated things.
He was treating Balochistan like Karachi where he could settle his district
mates and terrorise the Baloch just like his clan terrorized Karachi in 1965! The
Baloch were not tailored like that! Thus retaliation of Sardar Nauroz Khan
Zarakzai and his surrender obtained on promise of honourable treatment sworn on
the Holy Quran.A promise that was rudely broken in torture chambers at Qully
camp Quetta and on the gallows of Hyderabad and Sukkur Jail.
The worst blow on the
pride of Baloch was thus delivered by Ayub Khan .Bugti came only much later.
Between 1960 to 1968 a
fierce but forgotten war was fought by the Baloch against a military usurper
against whom all Pakistan should have been in arms! The torchlight was then
picked by the Bengalis in 1971 who finally decided to call it a day and sought a
divorce with a crude political arrangement where the minority ruled over the
In 1969 martial law by
Yahya Khan was welcomed in Balochistan because this was Pakistan’s only martial
law which restored direct adult franchise in Pakistan, demolished the infamous fascist
one unit and which held Pakistan’s first real elections in 1970! A job which
should have been done by Pakistan’s first Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan.
My father was GSO 2
Operations of 16 Division in Quetta. All major leaders of Balochistan were
invited by the general officer commanding for pre election friendly consultations.
A young but charismatic Sardar Akbar Bugti then explained Balochistan’s
demographic dilemma in the following words.
Sardar Akbar Bugti
then stated that development in
Balochistan would mean turning the Baloch indigenous population into a minority
and this would not be acceptable to any Baloch whether a common man or a
Sardar. This faux pas was committed by Musharraf once he started Gwadar.
Interestingly Gwadar a future Chinese naval base and a city that would turn the
Baloch into a minority in their own province is a thorn both for the Baloch and
the USA. A deadly possible convergence of interest in a delicate geopolitical
era once USA is the only Roman Empire fighting the Barbarians!
Balochistan crisis was engineered by the Jam Sahib of Lasbela , a non Baloch
and Khan Abdul Qayyum Khan who engineered Mr Bhutto into launching a military action.
When Bhutto wanted to make peace with the Baloch in 1976 he was restrained by
the arch intriguer Zia who made peace with the Baloch after usurping power,
thus robbing ZA Bhutto of the credit of doing so earlier.
Ironically the present
Balochistan crisis's father is the same Jam Sahibs son and a man with no
understanding of Balochistan , ironically nominated as the governor by the
usurper Musharraf i.e. Owais Ghani.
In mid 2002 I told my course
mate and friend then a lieutenant colonel in the military intelligence and now
a major general in the ISI that the next Baloch rebellion will commence from
the south west tip of Mand Bullo and Turbat district. This was a strange
proposition in 2002.My assessment was based on extensive visits to the area as
a custom clearing and forwarding agent.
Gwadar was the
catalyst as it was seen as Bugti had said in 1969 , a scheme to alter the
demography of Balochistan. Bombings and incidents of sabotage thus started from
2002-3 in Balochistan. There may have been a US angle of checkmating the
Chinese but the average Baloch felt like an outsider in the Pakistani state.
The important change
took place after US invasion of Afghanistan. Baloch grievances against the
Pakistani state were genuine but what kept the Baloch in restrain was absence
of a state actor or state actors to support their armed insurrection. In 1974-76
the Baloch had received very limited support from Afghanistan but after November
2001 the entire scenario changed.
Every insurgency in
order to succeed requires support of a state actor. Thus the Afghan Mujahids of
1979-92 succeeded not because of their Jihadist zeal but thanks to US Dollars,
military hardware and Pakistan as major base area.ISI officers like Brigadier
Yasub Dogar was penetrating as far as Gardez to supervise rocket attacks on
Gardez. For almost each major Mujahid attack a video film was made and sent to
the CIA headquarters .Just like a contractor who has to support his invoices
with supporting documents.
While Gwadar acted as
a catalyst, Operation Enduring Freedom enabled many state actors to support the
Baloch with military hardware and US Dollars just like what Pakistan did to
Afghanistan in 1979-92 ! The wheel had turned full 360 degrees. But history is
cruel and does not stand ignorance and injustice.
The Pakistani military
establishment under the usurper Musharraf stayed in supreme denial. Thus when I
stated in an article published in daily Statesman Peshawar that the next low
intensity war may be fatal! In 1971 there was West Pakistan to fall back upon! In
the next conflict the existence of what remains of Pakistan may be at stake! Baluchistan
and NWFP can absorb thrice as many Pakistani troops as Indian Held Kashmir can absorb!
I received an e mail from the editor stating that my article had caused a stir
in GHQ and that the newspaper could not publish my second article.
My work in Balochistan
takes me to every nook and corner of the province. Over last seven years ambushed laid by the Baloch have grown in
sophistication with the biggest ambushes being laid at Bahlol Basri on Kingri
Chamalang road in late 2011.
Turbat and Panjgur are
in the lead with the fiercest ambushes at Niwano in Buleda, Kalatuk and Mad
Bullo. Panjgur is like what Marri area was in 1974.Middle class leaders like Dr
Allah Nazar command allegiance from Mashke near Khuzdar till Mand Bullo on the
My dear friend now a
major general told me that all is in control but the civilians in the
intelligence setup were more skeptical. The most brilliant summing up which one
of them gave me was that we may be able to physically eliminate some
separatists but we have failed to eliminate the idea of independence from the
heart of the Baloch youth.
When I met legendary
Baloch leader Mir Hazar Khan Ramkhani at Tadhri in December 2011, he remembered
young Punjabi and other leftists like Ahmad Rashid, Najam Sethi, Dillip Das and
Rashed Rehman who had come to Tadhri Ghar in early 1970s.Now in his old age Mir
Hazar Khan was more philosophical and narrated that the corps commander Quetta
had visited him. Alas he said that the new generation was alienated. Although
the Marris, the fiercest of all Baloch tribes wanted to make peace, there were
major irritants hindering the process.
This is a time to think,
to reflect and to meditate. Wars were never won by bullets or swords alone.
Blaming India, USA, and Israel is counterproductive. All will be OK when we
agree that the fault was inside us also .By us I mean the Pakistani
The first step must be
to hold new elections in Balochistan. Ammend the 1973 constitution allowing all
provincial governments to enter into partnership with foreign governments for
any business enterprise .This would bring prosperity to all provinces and
is not the only sufferer. In 1995 the Pakistani Federal Government contested
Punjabs right to construct a ring road in Lahore and the Faisalabad Pindi
Bhattian Motorway with foreign Build Own Lease and Transfer system. Thus the
Lahore Ring Road was delayed by some seven to eight years.
The issue is not
Indian interference or US designs but an inbuilt intellectual constipation in
Islamabad inherited from the British viceroys. Times have changed , so we have
to change also. Or we will be drowned and taken to the bottom of the sea by the
ruthless tide of history.
New states can be
created in a jiffy when it comes to serious issues of global geopolitics. The
congress defied the British in 1939 by non cooperation in the British war effort.
The British revenge was partition of India which has kept the Indo Pak in
relative instability since 1947.
Bosnia, Kosovo were
created with US support trampling all international principles. Iraq was
literally divided in three parts in last ten years. Afghanistan may be divided
into two or three parts in the next five years. Maps change , boundaries change.
States are important but not sacred.
It is time that
Pakistani establishment thinks proactively rather than staking their entire
strategy on a few intelligence bosses assessments. Nothing is inevitable in history.
What was lost in Hyderabad Jail in 1959-60 can be retrieved with a major change
of political and constitutional posture in 2012.
Fear made men believe
in the worst, but in this case, if major changes are not made in Balochistan policy,
the worse may come true.
Agha Amin is a strategic thinker and writer in Pakistan