Political History and Conflict
- Baloch tribes migrated from Aleppo region, Iraq/Syria about 800 to 900 years ago
- Kalat State, a loose tribal confederacy established by Nasir Khan I in 1666
- State governance through 2 houses of Parliament Dar-ul-Umra and Dar-ul-Awam
- British Colonialist only administered “British Balochistan” Bugti, Marri, Bolan, Quetta areas (Northern parts of Balochistan)
- Kalat State never a part of British India
- Balochistan at Partition Offered 3 options by British
- Accede to India
- Remain Independent as British Protectorate
- Accede to Pakistan
- First 2 options rejected by Kalat State
- Accession negotiations with Pakistan started
- Negotiation agenda not completed by 11th Aug 1947
- Standstill agreement signed on 11th August 1947 between Jinnah and Khan of Kalat
- Pakistan independence announced 14th August 1947
- Balochistan declared independence 15th August 1947
- Accession talks to continue between Pakistan and Balochistan
- Khan of Kalat, Ahmed Yar Khan gifts one ton of gold to Jinnah to help in running of new born dominion of Pakistan
- Accession document finally signed by Khan of Kalat, Ahmed Yar Khan, under immense pressure from Jinnah in 1948 without mandate from Kalat Parliament.
- Khan of Kalat imprisoned immediately after signing under pretext of rebellion. Prince Agha Abdul Karim, brother of Khan, took to hills in protest for bifurcating Makran, Kharan from Balochistan. Known as first resistance war.
- Lasted just 3 months or so, surrendered and imprisoned. Both released after 2 years
- Balochistan governed like FATA through a Political Agent from 1948 to 1970 with people without citizens rights as in other parts of Pakistan
- Made part of One Unit to gain population parity with East Pakistan in 1956 but excluded from Constitutional cover
- Gas discovered in Bugti area in 1952 piped all parts of Pakistan except Balochistan. Akbar, Pakistan’s Minister for Defense resigns in protest to overnight legislation on all natural resources above and below ground belonging to God and the State negating 5% share of revenue to locals under 1935 India Mining Act. Bugtis agitate. Burma Shell negotiates land rent deal to pacify Akbar and Bugti tribesmen
- October 1958 Sardar Nauroz Khan with 3 sons and 4 nephews took to the mountains against political/administrative status of Balochistan and in protest against Pak Army invasion of Kalat town, taking Flag down and disbanding Baloch militia imprisoning Khan for 10 years under house arrest in 10 Q, Gulberg, Lahore
- Brig. Tikka Khan negotiated with Nauroz to surrender on oath of Quran & promised to meet their demands
- Nauroz, sons & nephews imprisoned in Hyderabad Jail tried and sentenced to death
- Sons & Nephews on the gallows asked for Quran to be put around their necks so that it could be hung along with them
- Nauroz died at age 90 in 1960 in Sukkur Jail
- Sher Mohammad Marri took to mountains in 1962
- Led Marri guerrilla force fought against One Unit & for Provincial status till 1968
- Air Marshal Noor Khan, Governor West Pakistan, negotiated cease fire & promised Provincial status
- Balochistan given Provincial status 1970
- NAP (National Awami Party) won simple majority in Elections of 1970 & formed coalition govt. with JUI of Maulana Mufti Mahmood in June 1972
- ZAB dismissed first elected provincial government in February 1973 on insistence of Shah of Iran amid trumped up charges. The Shah financed the war that ensued
- Siege of Marri, Mengal areas enforced where no food allowed into these areas
- Balochistan suffering from 3 years drought
- Marri tribesmen retaliate after 3 months of siege conditions in May 1973
- All Baloch & Pashtoon NAP leaders arrested in August 1973 after Baloch leaders refuse to sign new Constitution over provincial autonomy Clauses and Articles
- Balochistan Peoples Liberation Front formed
- A group of young men from Punjab & Sindh join BPLF
- 4 year civil war ensues
- Baloch civilian/non-combatant casualties 15,000, Baloch guerrilla losses 200, Army casualties estimated between 3,000 to 5,000
- Nearly 10,000 Baloch families take refuge in Afghanistan (70,000 women, men, children) from 1974 till 1992
- General Zia’s coup dislodges PPP government of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto
- War ends in July 1977
- January 1978 Hyderabad Tribunal trying NAP leaders disbanded, leaders released under a general amnesty by Zia
- Gas delivered to 5 district headquarters in 1985 by Gen. Zia
- From 1977 to 2002-3 Balochistan peaceful with Baloch elected provincial governments with no real fiscal autonomy
- Underlying issue of control over natural resources and provincial autonomy not addressed
- Akbar Bugti takes lead in dealing with Federal Government on control over natural resources, gas royalty, land rent under gas instillations, Gawadar port and provincial autonomy
- 2 negotiating commissions (Chaudary Shujaat/Mushahid & Wasim Sajjad) begin negotiations with Akbar Bugti
- Negotiations breakdown and stalemate due to Musharraf’s intransigence on accepting any of the demands put forward by Akbar on behalf of Baloch nationalists
- Musharraf takes Akbar’s demands as personal affront promising teaching lesson at Zhob public meeting after his copter fired upon and rocket attack at Kohlu by BLA not Akbar
- Dr. Shazia Khalid raped by Capt. Hammad of the FC
- Akbar demands handing over Hammad for trial under Baloch code of honor, sends armed group to capture him unsuccessfully
- Dr. Shazia & husband paid monies and exiled to UK; Hammad whisked away to safety in cover up
- MI plans FC attacks on Dera Bugti nearly killing Akbar with mortar fire; killing 30 people mostly Hindu families living next to Akbar’s House/baithak
- Akbar driven out of Dera Bugti into Marri area
- August 2006, 82 year old Akbar, suffering & dying of carbuncle, killed by missile attack
Army & Intelligences agencies tactics to suppress Baloch
- Turf war between ISI and MI comes to light with IB acting as eyes and ears
- Abductions, arrest without warrant, holding without trial for years, finally dumping tortured, bullet riddled bodies in desolate places reminiscent of the 70’s war when tortured Baloch were dropped from helicopters by (late) Brig. T.M. Shah of the SSG. Nearly 1,300 people allegedly still missing
- Criminal gangs, assassins hired by MI, ISI to target settlers to transform wave of sympathy in Punjab over Akbar’s killing into hatred providing them with service cards and arms
- Destruction of homes suspected of being supporters of the resistance
- Humiliation on the streets of Quetta & all main towns of Baloch women and travelers trying to instill fear
- Torture cells in MI, ISI, FC incarceration safe houses, Kuli Camp etc
- FC personnel overwhelmingly drawn from Pushtuns of KPK giving the conflict ethnic dimensions
- Prior to 2007 sectarian violence targeting Hazara Shias nearly non-existent. LEJ, LET new entrants in to Balochistan’s sectarian divide escalating violence, targeted killings
- Driven to the wall, Baloch young leadership and youth demand secession and independence for Balochistan
Prevailing Political & Military situation, foreign interventions
Balochistan’s Provincial (PPP) government has broken all records of corruption; incompetence and no governance while Baloch areas of the province are in the throes of another military sponsored (legacy of Musharraf) bloody civil war since 2004. These ineffectual members of government are also accused of sponsoring kidnapping for ransom and protecting criminal gangs. To cover up their own incompetence and criminal activity they claim that the MI, ISI, IB and FC are running a parallel government and do not take their orders seriously. That may be the case but how assertive and effective has the provincial government been in governing the province in terms of socio-economic development?
Analysis of Baloch Groupings
Broadly speaking there are three groupings.
A) The Baloch Nationalist Political Parties who are part of the pro federation grouping. The National Party, Balochistan National Party (M) and a grouping of independents are part of this group supported by the BSO. JWP is in disarray after Akbar’s killing and does not really play any role. The ANP and Milli Party are focused in the Pashtun areas of Balochistan and are pro federation. JUI has much more of a vote bank than most other parties while JI hardly any political clout in Balochistan. PPP has been badly discredited in the last four years while the PML-N has gained in terms of popularity given its efforts to bring about conflict resolution. PTI is a new entrant and as yet has to prove itself in Balochistan and Pakistan notwithstanding the large jalsas.
B) This is the militant grouping. BLA is the oldest organization inheritor of the BPLF of the ‘70s. Basically Gazaini Marris form the nucleus of BLA but since 2006 have been able to recruit from other tribes from Sarawan, Jhalawan and Dasht area of Makran. It is the best organized and targets only military forces. The BLA has clashed with the Bijarani Marris (50% of the Marri tribe) after the split witnessed in Afghanistan between Mir Hazar Bijarani and Nawab Khair Baksh Marri who is Gazaini (35% of the Marri tribe) and thus the Bijaranis, who were the backbone of 70’s BPLF guerrilla force, have not taken an anti-Federation stand.
The BRA came into being post Akbar killing. It is manned only by Bugti tribesmen and target military forces through IEDs while they damage the gas and electricity infrastructure more than confrontation with the FC. The BLF is a very small group which is ineffectual.
The third militant group is the BLUF lead by Dr. Allah Nazar. Allah Nazar formed this group after his release from a security agency confinement where he was allegedly tortured badly in response to this treatment by the security agency. Its tactics and philosophy are similar to the BLA’s as they ascribe to Khair Baksh’s political agenda which has hardened after the alleged killing of his son Balach.
C) This grouping is the general Baloch population which is sitting on the fence waiting to see which side the tide turns. Majority of this group is undecided and more inclined towards the Federation but the picking up of their young activist sons, brothers and fathers who so much as talk about the situation from a point of view of Baloch nationalism, incarcerated for long without recourse to judicial review, dead tortured bodies of their loved ones is turning them into supporters and provides grounds for recruitment for the militant groups.
The Baloch claim over 1,300 missing persons and more than 450 brutally tortured, mutilated, shot at close range bodies of missing persons dumped near roads and towns to instill fear in the Baloch nationalists who were demanding their Constitutional, Fundamental, Human rights and control over natural resources. Break away nationalist forces from the mainstream political parties are now beginning to demand cessation and an independent Balochistan as their experiences of broken promises and agreements after resistance wars in 1948, 1958, 1962-68, 1973-77 and the ongoing civil war; have hardened their resolve to throw off the yoke of oppression, repression and suppression of their legitimate Constitutional, Fundamental and human rights by the Pakistani security state.
Before Balochistan was able to wrestle provincial status in 1970, it too was ruled under the FCR in a similar manner as FATA. The President and Governor of West Pakistan ruled the Kalat State through political agents just as the British colonial powers did; with an iron hand, denying the Balochistani’s their Constitutional, Fundamental and human rights, control over natural resources or benefits thereof. Baloch nationalist leaders like Nawab Nouroz Khan and six of his sons and nephews (1960), Lavangh Khan Mengal, Safar Khan Zehri, Asad-ullah Mengal, Ahmed Shah Kurd (all between 1973-77), Ghulam Mohammad, Lala Munir, Sher Mohammad, Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, Nawabzada Balach Khan Marri, Habib Jalib, Ghulam Mohammad Dashti, and recently Senator Bakhtiar Domki’s wife and daughter (Daughter and Granddaughter of Akbar) (all killed since 2006) have been murdered in extra judicial targeted killings by the security establishment and their proxies. These are only a few names of well known Baloch leaders while there are thousands more political and student activists killed in the wars and most in the present ongoing civil war. Balochistan desperately needs to be stabilized in as short a time as possible by the Pakistani Federation.
The menace of terrorism is not confined to FATA and tribal areas alone but has spread its tentacles to Karachi, South Punjab, Pashtun areas of Balochistan and some rural areas of Sindh. As yet these areas have not become militarized to the extent of FATA and the tribal areas but if mitigating measures are not taken immediately to address the sense of marginalization, disenfranchisement, insecurity and abject poverty being perpetuated by bad governance, the stability and unity of Pakistan is in grave danger of balkanization throwing the whole South Asian region into turmoil.
The intelligence agencies have continuously blamed Indian RAW, Mossad, and Afghan agencies as instigators of these rebellions. As of January 2012 the USA has taken an open stand about Balochistan after Senator Rohbacher’s Congressional hearing. Although they portray the resolution and hearing as not the official stand of the US Government but Ambassador Robin Raffial’s presence in Islamabad meeting Baloch sympathizers, students and request for a US Consulate in Quetta belie the US government’s public stance. The so-called US strategic interests in this region are rolling back Pakistan’s nuclear programme, potential Iranian nuclear programme, containing Peoples Republic of China within its own borders, access to and control over the energy resources of Central Asian Countries, Afghanistan and Balochistan along with the strategic port of Gawadar. Why have we, Pakistan, provided our enemies this situation on a platter where they can intervene in our internal affairs using discontent amongst the Baloch for their nefarious Imperialistic designs?
How can this dangerous situation be averted and nuclear armed Pakistan saved from disintegration or a war with the US and their agents? The solution lies in ensuring inclusiveness of all peoples and regions of Pakistan in democratic governance at district, provincial and federal levels; ensuring Constitutional, fundamental and human rights, accountability and transparency, checks and balance, a strong independent Judiciary and Election Commission. If the basic law of the land is flawed, exclusionary and discriminatory there is no way that Peoples Centered Good Governance can be practiced. All institutions of State must function within the parameters set out in the Constitution. Therefore it is imperative that the Constitution is amended, systemic and institutional reforms implemented without which Pakistan cannot avert the disaster.
1) What CBMs are needed to create an environment where the Baloch political and militant leadership agrees to sit around the table to negotiate a permanent political solution for the Balochistan crisis?
2) Is the GHQ willing to address human rights violations by Intelligence agencies, FC and institute its own military judicial process to convict and punish responsible officers and their proxies?
3) To what extent is the GHQ in control of the intelligence agencies given the turf war between ISI and MI in Balochistan? What will be the reaction of culpable officers to be tried?
4) To what extent GHQ and Federal Government are willing to address Baloch grievances with an unbiased, apologetic, big hearted approach?
5) What are the demands of Baloch political and militant groups?
6) Who will be the members of the negotiating team? TORs and empowerment?
7) Who will ensure and what are the Guarantees to any agreement for a permanent solution to repeated Balochistan crisis?
1) a. A unilateral cease fire and general amnesty announced by the Federal Government and GHQ.
b. Withdrawal of all cases against Baloch leadership and militants.
c. Release of all missing persons in the custody of FC, MI, ISI and IB.
d. Announce and implement sincerely compensations for all missing persons killed and those held.
e. Withdraw FC from interior Balochistan to Pak-Afghan-Iran borders to reduce possibility of conflict and violent incidents.
f. Issue Red Warrants for arrest of Musharraf for trial in the case of Akbar Bugti’s murder and have them implemented seriously. D.G. MI, 2006 and military officers who planned and executed the attacks on Akbar also tried in the case with Musharraf. All civil authorities nominated in FIR arrested and tried. The trial must be held in the Balochistan High Court so as to provide provision of appeals in the Supreme Court under due process of law.
g. All proxy assassination gangs, leaders disarmed withdrawal of their service cards, arrested and tried in the High Courts for atrocities, targeted killings, human rights violations.
h. Return and rehabilitate all displaced families of Bugti and Marri tribes. Allow Civil Society organization to access them and help in return and rehabilitation.
i. Open up Balochistan for independent national Media to report from interior. Allow national coverage to vernacular Media.
j. Create scholarships and allocate at least 50 seats for Baloch students in all government Universities in Punjab, Sindh and KPK to expose them to rest of the country.
k. Allocate at least 30 Federal Government positions including Deputy, Additional and Secretaries levels for Balochistan bureaucrats.
All of these CBMs must be implemented simultaneously
1) JAG, under the supervision of the GHQ, institutes internal inquiry starting from 2006 indentifying the officers who planned and executed these illegal tactics under the Military Operational Code of Conduct and violated the Constitution. These officers then need to be either tried under Court Martial or retired to stand trial in Civil Courts.
2) This is a decision for the High Command to take and bring under its control both the MI and ISI ensure and assign their duties under the prescribed mandates.
3) This too is for the High Command and Federal Government to decide if they are willing to mitigate this dangerous situation which could snow ball into an international conflict and disintegrate Pakistan. The gravity of the situation needs to be understood and instead of misplaced bravado or personal interests; national unity, integration and security are to be ensured.
4) Complete Provincial Autonomy (self rule as envisaged in the Accession document signed by Jinnah and Khan of Kalat) according to International standards, complete control over the natural resources, more representative political inclusion at the Federal level in policy and decision making, provincially driven socio-economic and political development. No attempts to forcefully change the demographics of Balochistan.
5) The trust deficit between the Baloch and GHQ precludes any member from the Army in the initial negotiating team though could be added later to provide ownership. The team should include members that the Baloch trust. This could be a formulation of retired and serving judges of the Supreme Court, senior lawyers, senior Media Editors, political leaders and workers from Balochistan, Punjab, KPK and Sindh but not political party heads, members of civil society organizations and senior citizens. The GHQ must then announce blessings to the negotiating team and claim ownership. The Terms of Reference and empowerment would have to be worked out according to how far the GHQ and Federal Government are willing to concede the Constitutional Fundamental Rights to Balochistan and other related issue enunciated above. List would depend on agreement to follow this strategy.
6) What guarantees the Baloch will accept and what the Federation is willing to extend will depend on the negotiations.