By Zulfiqar Shah
29 November, 2016
Sindh-Balochistan: Lands of Indus and colonial Britain's South Asia - After the dismemberment of Pakistan in 1947, despite the tiresome engagement in 1971 military action on East Pakistan, and later on in war; and years-long imprisonment of ninety thousands army men in India, Pakistan military launched a military operation in Balochistan.
Unlike the common grief and anger in Baloch, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto neither gave orders for Balochistan operation, nor he did tender suggestion for the military action in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). It is, thus propagated by the military and security regime of Pakistan in its internal and external expressions that it was Bhutto who wanted military action in East Bangladesh.
Especially the Track II and people-to-people diplomacy carried with Bangladesh during and after President General Pervez Musharraf and President Asif Ali Zardari's period, the foreign office establishment of Pakistan, as well as certain mindset in Pakistan vociferously mentioned Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto as a sole culprit behind 1971 trail. This was being done in a bid to attain better ties with Awami League, and closer ties with Bangladesh National Party and un-touching the Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh to avoid the demand for tendering an apology to Bangladesh that was demanded from President Gen. Musharraf by the Bangladesh Prime Minister.
Such Bangladesh policy outlines and its internal use against Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto were not known by President Zardari; however unlike President General Musharraf, he tendered apology to Balochistan as Head of State, and Supreme Commander/Commander Chief of Pakistan Army. Meanwhile, President General Musharraf extended its feelings and expressions to Bangladesh, despite a formal apology.
Pakistani officials has been sometimes saying, however frequently by the mid of 2016 that India is interfering in Balochistan. President General Zia's regime was saying that India is supporting Sindh. It has been a cornerstone of Pakistan's internal policy towards federal dissenters in Sindh and Balochistan that "external interference" be quoted as reason behind the dissent.
If seen through established international practices, an interference and intervention in the affairs of a sovereign country particularly in term of civil wars and secessionism can only be determined and the allegations/claims be validated if a) a country intrudes militarily in the territory, b) citizens of the country formally becomes part violent conflict as soldiers, and c) weapons, specifically heavy and strategic weaponry from point of view of civil war is facilitated to the dissenters.
In the context of India, nothing has happened like this, which means neither Indian boot for war making, nor citizenry for gruelling or violence making nor even dispatch of weaponry by Indian until October 2016 has formal or informal reference with Sindh and Balochistan.
If seen with references to international precedence, European Union directly supplied heavy weaponry including strategic arsenal to Libyan rebels, almost similar happened in Syrian matter. Even the peaceful movements like Tahreer Square in Egypt attained equal response from across the globe, particularly the West, in the non-violent disposition of the social action based on political will.
If viewed in the perspective of the foreign policy expressions, and in some cases as well as initiatives, the USA and UK concerns for human rights, civil war, and Pakistan policies towards core issues concerning people of Sindh and Balochistan, and the rest of the unavoidable issues in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhuwa inclusive of FATA has been indicative of the state apparatus and constitutional crises in Pakistan. The recent statement of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his December 28, 2007 statement on Sindh, one day after the murder of Benazir Bhutto has been an expression of India on its historical legitimacy and justification because of being Common Statehood, if there is no Common Wealth of the States of Undivided India.
During 1980s, Indira Gandhi discussed and tabled a resolution in the Lower House of India on Sindh against the brutalities on Sindhi. The house vociferously and unanimously passed it. India, which previously refused to talk in a session called by United Nations on Balochistan, is now engaging with UN on Balochistan. (The video of the UN Session is available on You Tube.)
Although being in the eye of the storm, Sindh and Balochistan have transformed themselves into a modern nationhood, because of their historical nation and country hood, and partly because Pakistan has failed to transform and cement into one nationhood. It is a fact that Britain invaded India, Sindh, Balochistan, Punjab, Sri Lanka and Myanmar as independent and sovereign countries.
Khyber Pakhtunkhuwa and some other Pashtun parts were taken from Afghanistan after failure in invasion of Afghanistan, meanwhile Bahawalpur State, Siraiki Semi Tribal Areas adjoining to Bahawalpur State which today are dealt as FR area from system point of view. Britain, like Afghanistan had prolonged attempts to invade Nepal; however it failed time and again. If viewed, Nepal is the only South Asian country that never has been invaded in its whole history. On the other hand, Tamils that were indigenous to India bordering Sri Lanka received further migration of Tamil from India for labouring in tea farms over one century.
Colonial Britain freed Myanmar and Sri Lanka, geographically and in terms of sovereignty in the status in which they were invaded. Balochistan was also freed by annexing Pashtun area of Afghanistan five months before the Partition of colonial British India. Punjab chose its division / partition through legislature. Khyber Pakhtunkhuwa was annexed with Pakistan against the will of its elected government. Afghanistan was not taken into discussion regarding this. Bahawalpur State, against the agreement between Head of Bahawalpur and the Britain, in which Bahawalpur was guaranteed sovereign securities from invasion by Punjab, was annexed with Punjab in association with the semi-autonomous, semi-tribal Siraiki belt around Indus, parts of which during British and even in Pakistan are dealt as semi-tribal areas from administrative tradition.
Sindh was invaded by Britain through violation of various Treaties, which reached upon after negotiations, and were accorded by emissaries of Her Excellency, Queen of Britain, ensuring Britain for sovereign securities with reference to possible and intended invasions (quoting the perspective of a few Treaties) including by Punjab, and later on the Zero hours of August 14, 1947 was annexed with newly created Pakistan; however the Will of Sindhi who voted against AIML in 1946 was violated besides violating the agreements with Sindh in letters and spirits.
Punjab, no doubt, in 1930s sent a proposal to the Governor General of India that Sindh should be annexed with Punjab because it is Muslim majority adjoining territory as a Commissionerate, which was opposed by G.M. Syed, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Sir Shah Nawaz Bhutto, Jamshed Nasarwanji Mehta, Haji Abdullah Haroon, and by the rest. Besides, like Balochistan, not only the agreements that were made before 1843 with Sindh were violated, also Government of Sindh, Primer of Sindh, and the Cabinet of Sindh was not taken into consultation for annexation into a newly proposed country - Pakistan.
Balochistan, however, was formally taken into control by Pakistan in 1948, and the Bicameral Parliament of Balochistan, (Khanate of Kalat) was undone along with the leaderships of Prime Minister and Cabinet. Mir Ghouse Bux Bijanzo was the Parliamentarian of Balochistan, who led the majority opposition against Governor General of Pakistan, Mohammad Ali Jinnah's proposal for annexation with Pakistan. However, the Government of Pakistan sought vote from Quetta Municipality in favour of Pakistan.
The historical affinity between Baloch and Pashtun of Balochistan has many examples like the one, marriage of a Khan of Kalat from the family of Prince in Kandahar, who gifted Quetta to her daughter as Shaal (a cultural gift). Government of Pakistan also promised with Khan (King) of Kalat that borders security, international affairs, and currency would be Pakistan Governments responsibility, rest the Governance of Balochistan would be of locals.
A judiciary later on was submerged with traditional judicial mechanism; Nawabs (Princes) and Sardars (Dukes) were recognized right of policing and levying tax through Levies; and PRACTICALLY TRADE, and traditional holding of weaponry, without licenses, as well as purchase of it was given a space in the policies, procedures and laws if compared with other federating "states" called Provinces in Pakistan against the spirit and the text of claimed to be Pakistan Resolution.
This commitment, although involuntarily agreed by Balochistan, was violated immediately after in terms of the autonomy that was promised by the leadership of Pakistani government. Baloch fought many wars began around decade of its annexation with Pakistan: truces reached by even the traditional use of Holy Quran with Nawab Nauroz Khan, and later on the truce was violated. The contemporary war in Balochistan since over decade has proved to be the series of campaigns and battles from both of the sides.
Government of Sindh and Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhuwa were dismissed in 1948 and 1947 respectively because both of the governments, primarily opposed the annexation with Pakistan, and after creation of Pakistan, wanted an entirely different kind of federalism. Leadership of Sindh and Balochistan during last seven decades was killed, mostly by the Pakistan armed forces, or as claimed by the people of Sindh.
Sindh, through Sindh Assembly and representation in Federal Parliament as well as popular outpour of public; and Balochistan through massive protests and warfare have been protesting against the issues concerning to the people's security, sovereignty of the resources, self rule and autonomy and for their historical land hood expressing in the terms of identity and cultural existence, besides demanding for secession, which with reference to Balochistan during the military rule of President General Pervez Musharraf was demanding sovereign autonomy of Balochistan, and the same momentum, however peaceful, has been there in Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhuwa which also include the demand for the freedom of Sindh.
Siraiki have been demanding a separate Siraiki province through Parliament and streets; Hindko Hazara, although having larger share in Centre if compared with any Division in the federating provinces. Similarly, they are have the space non-government and private entrepreneur. However, Hindko Hazara has been claiming smaller representation in Khyber Pakhtunkhuwa provincial establishment.
Balochistan and Sindh freedom movements, in association with war in Balochistan, have been oldest if compared with liberation movement of East Pakistan, now Bangladesh. Freedom movement for Gilgit-Baltistan, to create Balawaristan, has been addressed by creating Gilgit-Baltistan administrative unit, which cannot get status of Province because it was invaded during Kashmir War of 1947-48.
Besides, terrorists belonging to Salafi and Sunni sects went inroads in the area to resist Khuwaja Shi'a Ismaili majority of Gilgit-Baltistan. The spiritual leader of Khuaja Shia Ismaili, His Holiness Prince Agha Khan, is also a Leader of Gilgit-Baltistan. He is a Sindhi, born on the banks of River Indus in Jhirik town of district Thatta.
Once, during His Holiness visit of Karachi he said, like Pir Pagara Syed Ali Mardan Shah Rashidi, "I am soul of Sindh." This very same statement was given by veteran Sindhi leader Rasool Bux Palijo. Sindh Government felt honoured by His Holiness Prince Agha Karim Khan's visit of Chief Minister House Sindh during which Sindh Government requested Abida Parveed to perform Ganaya for His Holiness.
Zulfiqar Shah is a Sindh civil and political rights activist, journalist, and writer. Although UNHCR recognized refugee, he is still associated with historical Diyal Das Club located in Hyderabad, Sindh. He is virtually house arrested on the request of Pakistan authorities, with round the clock audio-visual monitoring by Pakistan, USA, and India. The references to the facts and opinions have mentioning and citation apart from those that are established facts. The facts concerning period of colonial Britain are in documents that available for Public in India Office Library, London, UK; as well as Government of India at Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata being Britain rule capital and sub-capital in undivided India. A word 'Personality' used in the write-up is suggested by a Sindhi from Sindh in Pakistan.