Baluchistan: Inside Crosshair

Jawad Raza Khan          

 Years of investment by global and regional actors have been ripe and ready for its harvest. What all expected from the leaders of Pakistan, as

per the wishes of wicked actors, unfortunately, Pakistan proceeded just like that. The stories of insurgencies in Baluchistan which were tamed and restricted to two or three districts of vast Baluchistan, are now picked up, as was in the case of Arab spring. The narrative is now clearer, concise and comprehensive with all well planned executions unfolding one by one. This article is not at all an endeavour to rewrite “Baluchistan’s Greater Game” or something which is easily sellable like a “conspiracy theory”. For a change, this will look into Pakistan, how it reacted and what should be done now, to counter all this in the optics of own interest.

State of Pakistan since its inception has remained on high alerts during most of its history. The debacle of Dacca, law and order in Karachi, TTP in Kyberpakhtoon khwa and disturbances in Baluchistan all have become part and parcel of our daily life. The two in between (Karachi and KhyberPakhtoonkhwa) are indeed a little different from the case of extremes (Dacca and Baluchistan). The said “little difference” is “The Political Vacuum” which is certainly capable of making a big difference if not catered for on war footing.

History reveals that may it be a case of law and order in Karachi, or a full-fledged militarized insurgency in the Northern Province; the events have been taken care off through political and military muscle (in combination). The only reason for existence of at-least minimal controls in the said areas is non-existence of political vacuum in these areas of Pakistan. Before MQM, Jamaat-i-Islami was there in Karachi and when MMA is not in attendance ANP fills up the vacuum. This has always disallowed any armed faction, a continuous maintenance of unchallengeable control in areas with effective political dominion. This point can also be proved if we compare counterinsurgency operation in Swat and FATA. Political activity through political agents (failed system) in FATA and concrete political dynamics of Swat have also shown something to notice, with Swat in front of us “back to life”, and on the other hand a bogged up Pakistani Military in FATA, with militants in control of resistance pockets here and there.  So the conclusion is “the best way to fight is to fight with comprehensive political and military will”. Swat operation can indeed be termed as a classical joint political and military operation, but with some very acute flaws in it “The judicial mopping up”, which is completely absent to-date. This silent absence has not been touched or taken up by media as well (strangely), which is now raising many eye brows especially amongst the people of Pakistan who were directly affected because of uncountable terrorist attacks over civilian population. The whole good done will be zeroed if now media and judiciary does not play their part at-least from now on.

Coming back to Baluchistan, the “calming down” phase can only be triggered through comprehensive handshake between Political and Military forces (in light of counterinsurgency operations mentioned above), before proceeding any further. With complete Political vacuum in Baluchistan, and most of the MNAs and MPAs involved in criminal activities including abduction and killings the scene is most horrifying. Attendance of parliamentarians during sessions of Baluchistan Assembly can easily prove the point of disinterested local leadership in the assembly. This has certainly eroded the possibility of the required handshake between Political and Military leadership.

Sadly, we are still suppressing common baloch following the footsteps of our masters (The Englishmen). They use to give power and money to notables and in turn use to effectively purchase their loyalty; completely disregarding the common Baloch.

This will take you as surprise “Baluchistan for the purpose of Law and Order is divided into “A” areas and “B” areas. “A” area (5% of Baluchistan)) is the one which is under police and FC and “B” area (95% of Baluchistan) is under respective tribal control”. During the era of last Government through a notification almost all of Baluchistan was declared “A” area, but astonishingly the decision was reversed soon after the takeover of present Government (Political wisdom at its peaks). So, now again the fate of common Baloch is in the hands of uneducated, greedy and cruel.  This also must not go unnoticed, that a project like Kacchi Canal was dumped soon after the revival of so called democracy in Pakistan. Details of this project are worth mentioning here. Kacchi canal was an important plank of green revolution plan, costing over Rs 31 billion.  This could have been an important plank of Pakistan’s roadmap for bringing green revolution in province of Balochistan. Kacchi canal a giant project for the development of the province would have brought 0.7 million acres of barren land of Balochistan under cultivation after its completion. The said project was supposed to provide 6000 cusecs of water to Balochistan under Indus River System Treaty. The construction of Kacchi canal was part of WAPDA’s vision 2025.The project was inaugurated on October 4, 2002, and was to be completed by the end 2010.
Now what could be expected! Present government capped it for indefinite period; again the beneficiaries were the powerful Sardars and common balochs were yet again betrayed by Islamabad. All was done to favour Sardars like Shahzain Bugti and I sincerely hope that my readers have not forgotten the drama of Nawab Sahib Bugti, smuggling arms and ammunition of worth Rs 46 million from Afghanistan to Quetta. The incident was fortunately covered by Media as well. Guess what happened next! He was bailed out by our powerful and free judicial system within weeks of red handed apprehension in front of so called free media. We can easily imagine the ill fate of common Baloch now, especially after setting free a criminal like Shahzain Bugti. The legal presence of Bramdad Bugti and Harbiyar Marri in London and Switzerland controlling all operation against security forces in Baluchistan clearly indicates towards the planned rampage of West against Pakistan. Furthermore, nearly two hours of telephonic contact between US Embassy and Shahzain Bugti during the standoff involving him and FC authorities need no further elaboration.

The question now arises that “how to go about it now”?

“Own house in order is the order of the day”

Situation is certainly complex and warrants immediate actions to be done with force, precision and determination. The policy of 3Es is strongly recommended to ensure that foreign players of the game are resisted in a logical, systematic and a comprehensive manner. Firstly, Education sector need to target the youth of Balochistan as soon as possible. Young Balochs must be given education in renowned institutes all over Pakistan to dig them out of the suffocated environment of Sardari system. Immediate up gradation of all universities and colleges all across Baluchistan be taken up as a matter of high priority. This all is needed to be done before they pick up arms for so called Nawabs and Sardars against Pakistan. Secondly, Economy, this will ultimately fall in the lap of law and order. Immediately all B areas should be converted back to A areas for effective writ of the Government. Judicial machinery should be oiled up extensively to look into criminal proceedings on top priority. Projects like Kaachi Canal and M-8 road network must be resumed for desired expeditious economic activity. Lastly, fresh general elections under independent Chief Election Commission with rectified electoral rolls should be carried out for digging last nail in the coffin of foreign actors responsible for creating disharmony in this all important province of Pakistan.

To do all this and to stop wicked plans of foreign players in Baluchistan all institutions need to provide a joint front. Political leadership, the military muscle, an efficient judiciary and lastly an honest and a patriotic media is an orthodox definition of the said united front.

God Bless Pakistan  .

+ The writer is a political commentator based in Rawalpindi.


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  • Asim  On February 13, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    Keep up the good work….We need to a lot and We will….Keep writing…!!!

  • MAHEEN TIRMIZI  On February 13, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    Very well written!!!

  • Ata ur Rashid  On February 14, 2012 at 5:11 am

    Nice article and thinking stuff for all of us to bring change to this country!

  • Dilazak1  On February 14, 2012 at 5:20 am

    Very elaborate work. For me, order of priority of 3 Es would be Economy, Education and Elections. We can not ignore uncle SAM’s evil wrong doings every where, here and there. A dying giant may damage poor and disorganized countries like ours under its dead weight before going earth to earth, ashes to ashes.

  • Ali Raza  On February 15, 2012 at 2:58 am

    after going through the article n the following concluding remarks,

    ” To do all this and to stop wicked plans of foreign players in Baluchistan all institutions need to provide a joint front. Political leadership, the military muscle, an efficient judiciary and lastly an honest and a patriotic media is an orthodox definition of the said united front.”
    which political leadership you are talking about. is it punjabi leadership? or it is the symbol of federation”ppp” or it is the balouchi leadership, or it is mullah military alliance to defeat nationalists, or any other maneuvered leadership of establishment “pti”????? the so called analysts are unaware of the ground realities. enjoying a cup of tea and writing articles has already poisoned the masses. the only solution to this is issue whether someone likes it or not ” the military has to confess their mistakes to the balouch” and ” establishment has to give them their rights after confession and pardon”. the military to solve this has to stop war hysteria with india. we have to give our neighbors their due regard then they will stop support to insurgent elements.

    i m not sur sure whether the 4 star king of pakistan and his unquestionable team is willing to realize the sensitivity of issue. and if they are aware then ground realities should be considered before imposition of any solution.

    A patriotic Civilian with concern for the country.

  • Syed Shah  On February 15, 2012 at 3:20 am

    A well written article with good suggestions but do the two clowns on top really care about it ?

  • MUHAMMAD CHAUDHRY  On February 15, 2012 at 9:17 am

    I ,broadly endorse the views of J.R.Khan and salute him for a very insightful and objective evaluation of the ground realities.His three Es solution is pretty down to earth but only its sincere and honest execution is the question mark.This in turn calls for federal government of true public representatives, with a lot of self-denial,elected through fair and free election under a truly independent commission.

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