Separate Pashtun Areas From Balochistan

By Malik Siraj Akbar

Like the Balochs, the Pashtuns also remained a victim of British policy of divide and rule when some of their districts were incorporated into what constitutes today the province of Balochistan following the Treaty of Gandmak in 1879.

Ever since, the Pashutn population of Balochistan has not accepted Balochistan from the bottom of their heart as their home province. They have always demanded to be either integrated with the province of Khyber Pashtunkhawa or Afghanistan as a separate Pashtun unit. They demand the division of Balochistan. (See the title picture)

This is a justified demand if the government agrees to re-demarcate provinces on ethno-linguistic lines in Pakistan in order to create more harmony in the federation.

The Pashtun grievances are increasing day by day with their demands becoming more unreasonable with the passage of every day which indicates how difficult the coexistence of Baloch and Pashtun is turning out to become in the future. The Pashtunkhawa Milli Awami Party, the representative party of the Pashtuns living in Balochistan, has been continuously asking for “equal status” for the Pashtuns against the majority Baloch population. Irrespective of the fact as to how legitimate the Pashtun demands are, the Balochs believe such claims are unrealistic.

Balochs are in majority in 22 districts of Balochistan while the number of Pashtun districts is hardly 8. Yet, the entire land area of all Pashtun districts remains smaller than than one Baloch District, Chagai. All natural resources such as gas (found in Dera Bugti District), petroleum (Kohlu), gold and copper (Chagai) and port (Gwadar), which give Balochistan the confidence to become economically independent and viable, are located in Baloch areas. Pashtun areas, on their part, do not contribute any such significant natural resource that makes Balochistan such an economically viberant place.

Currently, it is no secret that both the nationalities blame each other for usurping each other’s rights and privileges. Such mistrust can only be removed by taking drastic measures to form new provinces in the country on the ethno-linguistic lines. The Baloch nationalists hailing from all divides of the political spectrum should call for the division of Balochistan, giving the Pashtuns the right to decide their fate. Pressure should be exerted on the Balochistan Assembly to pass a resolution demanding the separation of Pashtun areas from Balochistan. One cannot predict with certainty if Khyber Pashtunkhawa would be willing to incorporate the Pashtun districts of Balochistan due to their meager economic resources and huge population.

From a Baloch perspective, the current integration of Pashtun areas with Balochistan goes to the complete disadvantage of the Balochs. While the Pashtun areas do not have any contribution in the oil, gas, gold and copper production of Balochistan, they keep asking for “equal rights” and “equal share” for whatever the province gets in terms of gas royalty and Gas Development Surcharge. It is utterly unreasonable to spend the Baloch revenue on the development of Pashtun areas, as is being demanded by Pashtunkhawa Milli Awami Party about the equal distribution of the provincial budget.

Similarly, the government of Nawab Mohammad Aslam Raisani must not live under any illusion that the passage of Balochistan Package or the new NFC (National Finance Commission) is solely its achievement. The credit for a change in Islamabad’s mind goes to the Baloch armed fighters who have taken to the hills and compelled Islamabad to rethink its Balochistan strategy. If it was not for the activities of Baloch Sarmachars, Islamabad would never constitute parliamentary and constitutional committees to ponder over the crisis in Balochistan. After all, Mir Ghose Baksh Bizenjo, Sardar Attaullah Mengal and Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti were more competent leaders than Nawab Raisani but they failed, with their political struggle, to push Islamabad an inch backward from its stated position (of exploitation) vis-a-vis Balochistan.

If Islamabad has finally agreed to give some jobs to the youth of the province under Aghaz-e-Haqooq-e-Balochistan, review the National Finance Commission (NFC) Award, grant more provincial autonomy under the 18th Amendment and accommodate Balochs in the federal institutions then it is also because of the sacrifices of the Baloch sons who revolted against the suppression of the federal government.

Balochs have suffered immensely during the entire conflict and they have sacrificed their lives to get Balochistan its due rights. It is pathetic to see the fruits of Baloch struggle going to the other ethnic groups.The only towns that were bombarded during the military operation were the Baloch-populated areas while all the “missing persons” belonged to the Baloch families. Not a single non-Baloch received a minor injury in the military operations unleashed by Islamabad at least five times in the history of Pakistan.

The Baloch leaders have to realize that their struggle will not bear fruits for the Balochs as long as the benefits of their struggle go to the non-Balochs. Worst still, the Pashtuns living in Balochistan, who do not have a single “missing person” from their ranks to indicate their contributions in the fight for the rights of Balochistan, keep holding the Balochs responsible for their plight without uttering a word about the safe heavens they provide to the Taliban in their areas.

Afghan refugees came in millions in the aftermath of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 to create a major demographic imbalance between the majority Balochs and the Pashtuns. These refugees brought with them the scourge of drugs, weapons, lawlessness and religious radicalization. In spite of this, they enjoyed overwhelming support from Islamabad which saw Baloch nationalism as a major threat that needed to be countered from multiple fronts such as demographic changes and radicalization of the society. A thumping majority of these refugees were provided Pakistani nationality and the right to possess property to oust the Balochs from businesses.

Once the Pashtun districts are separated from Balochistan then it can help both the nationalities to live happily as good neighbors. In politics, you cannot give your land and resources to the others for the reason that they are your ‘brothers’. You can live as brothers even without exploiting each other’s resources and interests.

Unlike the Pashtuns, no Baloch political party has formally appealed for the separation of the Pashtun areas from Balochistan but we believe all the Baloch political parties should now prioritize this demand. The current composition of the province is unnatural which does not meet the interests of both, Balochs and Pashtuns.

(This write-up originally appeared in The Baloch Hal, Balochistan’s first online English newspaper)

9 Responses to “Separate Pashtun Areas From Balochistan”
  1. shunyansh says:

    The idea of divide blochistan province between pashtun and bloch is good but these area merge with pakhtunkhwa not good. I suggested that these area comprised with waziristan and dera islam khan make a new state on suth asia. Some people think why not merge with pakhatunkhwa , because the population of pakhtunkhwa is high and the seets given for this area will be less than blochistan assembly.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Why divide baloch and pashtun? Ahmad Shan Durrani empire baloch and pashtun lived peacefully. We are all sunni muslims. If baloch and pashtun united it would be a very powerful and successful country.

  3. ViperSamurai says:

    “Sunni moslims.” Yet an other division! By dividing you get nothing but puppet states under influence of your neighbors or other powers. Division is not an answer. Nationalism and Fascism are not the answer. Religious fanaticism is not an answer. Everyone suffers in this country. All minorities live under constant threat and all majorities are manipulated. If we want a solution, Let’s find it together.

  4. Babul says:

    Pashtun must have rights to rule in quetta, we have more businesses, more investment, and more skilled people in managing the balochistan province. Baloch people want free money from natural resources, they can keep it, but we are making the difference in every sector. We want equal governing rights. Its is Baloch political parties who started front with Islamabad and not to mention, 5 Baloch regiment from Army was also part of operation against the Baloch people. Thy should settle the differences first, rather being an obstacle for development.

  5. Mati ullah says:

    Balochistan should be divide into 3 provinces.
    1. Khaber balochistan….pushtun and some peaceful bloch areas and FATA
    2.Kalat balochistan… Un.settled areas e.g dera bugti,kalat
    3.Makran balochistan… Settled baloch areas and gwader.

  6. Pir Rokhan says:

    Malik Siraj’s suggestion about a separate province for Pashtun makes perfect sense. We want that every people should have control over their resources and should have due share in power and governance. We urge people not to vote for Mullas as they wont deliver anything to the masses. Baloch should vote for their sincere leadership and so should Pashtuns. The results of 2013 elections are optimistic and we hope that if the issue of military operations against Baloch is resolved then Baluchistan will see days of prosperity. What should the separated Pashtun province do, is all unto them. It is no one else’s business other than Pashtuns as they have ruled this whole area except Qalat State Union which was proper Baluchistan historically [unlike the claims of the Baloch Nationalists] under Ahmed Shah Durrani’s Afghan empire in which Baloch lived side by side with perfect harmony and free will. It was after Punjab invaded Baluchistan that the target killing and army operations started and Baloch started missing the golden era of Ahmed Shah in which they enjoyed respect and freedom both.

  7. Sahoo Barlas says:

    This later part of the article is not a good analysis by the writer. “safe heavens they provide to the Taliban in their areas”, he must had considered the fact that Pashtuns are not providing the safe heavens to them, it’s military and ISI. Afghan refugees have not created demographic imbalance between the majority Balochs and the Pashtuns. They live in camps and are identified by their living style as inhuman name of “Muhajir” in their own country.

  8. sardar agha says:

    Since baloch r now a minority in balochistan they want to kick Pashtuns out so they can live off natural resources but that means there is no real geographical entity called balochistan and all those ethnic baloch outside of a small area have been declared non baloch. Some people just want to make nation on top a metaphorical oil well

  9. Jamal says:

    Yes, give freedom to Pashtun areas of balochistan and rename it “Godar.”

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