April 1, 2012

Baluchistan (on Nowruz)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — David Isby @ 4:43 pm

Pakistan Author: State ‘Callousness’ in Balochistan Remains ‘Troubling Question’
Article by Shahzad Chaudhry: “Our Broth in Balochistan”
The News Online
Saturday, March 3, 2012 T08:12:31Z
Journal Code: 1091 Language: ENGLISH Record Type: FULLTEXT
Document Type: OSC Transcribed Text
Word Count: 1,331
Material in the World News Connection is generally copyrighted by the source cited. Permission for use must be obtained from the copyright holder. Inquiries regarding use may be directed to NTIS, US Dept. of Commerce.

(Text disseminated as received without OSC editorial intervention)

This isn’t something new or freshly stirred; it has been on the cooker for quite long. We have had the East Pakistan experience when in 1971 because of similar sentiments of alienation. Why has Balochistan stayed below our radar and despite its volatility? Why hasn’t, God forbid, it too broken off in the same way as our erstwhile Eastern Wing did? Come to think of it, East Pakistan may have held its balance better than how the Baloch have tended to express themselves-always with raising the flag of rebellion against the state of Pakistan.

There is a growing acceptance of the lore that Mir Ahmed Yar Khan of Kalat had indeed offered to accede the state of Kalat to India in June 1947 as the moment of independence neared. Jawaharlal Nehru, soon to be India’s prime minister, disagreed, perhaps for the geographical non-viability of the proposal. The Khan had also tried to keep the British engaged in his state to provide him the necessary security as he sought independence, both from India and Pakistan. It is a reasonable conjecture that the three principals of British India, Jinnah, Mountbatten and Nehru, too had agreed in keeping Kalat within the proposed geographical boundaries of Pakistan. Soon after independence Jinnah began in earnest a series of meetings with the ruler of Kalat to convince him to formally announce merger with Pakistan, given the non-viability of keeping Kalat as a separate protectorate of Britain.

The Khan finally relented, and Kalat became a part of independent Pakistan in April 1948. The Khan of Kalat’s brother, Prince Abdul Karim Khan, who held Makran in his remit, soon revolted, fearing a loss of his sovereignty over Makran. This was in 1948, and Jinnah was still around. That is when the army was first moved into Balochistan. Prince Abdul Karim Khan was soon apprehended and subsequently executed for rebellion. The use of the military during any crisis in Balochistan had begun. Sadly, sixty-four years later, the story is still the same.

The next military expedition into Balochistan occurred soon after 1958 with the coup and the annulment of the 1956 federal Constitution. In 1955 the rulers of Pakistan, fearing a Bengali majority on the basis of proportional representation, had resorted to the One Unit formula where both wings of Pakistan shared equal representation, although East Pakistan had a larger population. The Baloch, wary of losing their identity, rebelled once again. The state of Pakistan found the solution is placing the military on a permanent basis in Balochistan in new cantonments and garrisons. This is when the army found permanent abode in Baluchistan and by virtue of being there influenced both the politics and the socio-cultural milieu, much to the chagrin of the Baloch.

Yahya Khan returned the federated structure in West Pakistan and that appeased the Baloch a bit. But soon after, Prime Minister Bhutto, wary of the increasing power of the sardars as they gleaned more in terms of power in return for their agreeing to sign the 1973 Constitution, soon after sacked the popular governments of Balochistan and the former NWFP. Thus began the most notable second insurgency in Balochistan that saw some Baloch leaders declare that a separate and independent Balochistan was their goal.

Mr Bhutto ordered a massive military action and left deep scars on the Baloch psyche. Thus began superficial appeasement of the Baloch, but no effort was made to address their increasing alienation, which in turn fuelled Baloch nationalism.

The root of the current spate of killings and Baloch uprising lies in the senseless vendetta of Gen Musharraf, who for some reason started a personal feud with Nawab Akbar Bugti. The rest, as they say, is history. Enter Dana Rohrabacher and the likes of him in the United States. That will include Col Ralph Peters of independent Balochistan fame and the proponent of dividing Afghanistan into two. When the leadership lacks vision and its foresight remains restricted to the length of its own nose, unintended consequences result. We are not yet there, but if major course correction does not occur the inevitable just might happen.

It might sound callous, given the cycle of unending killing and abductions in Balochistan, but it has something to do with population density or people-to-space ratio. Not only did East Pakistan have the larger segment of the population in united Pakistan it also had high population density in terms of number of people per square kilometre. That created its own momentum and intensity in 1971. When the politico-military establishment decided to confront such an uprising that swelled as tidal waves in that sea of people, the plot was lost. Major cities were impossible to control.

Fortunately, for the moment Balochistan defies all such enabling mechanisms. Its 44 percent land mass of entire Pakistan holds only 3.6 percent of Pakistan’s population. There is no reason why the killing must continue as it does. But, given that the demographic divide between the Baloch and non-Baloch in the province is almost half-and-half, and only some of the Baloch tribes and groups have taken on the state in the current spate of violence, the revolt is unlikely to turn into an insurgency. Similarly, it is almost impossible for any protagonist, including the state, to establish its control over the entire territory of Balochistan. Such is the vastness of the space involved. This in itself notionally and practically defeats Ralph Peters’ concept of an independent Balochistan. Those taking on the state may seem to be winning since the same space provides them safe havens but they too remain desperately short of controlling the landmass. Have the crude mathematics of it been at the source of state’s callousness, remains a troubling question.

Without a doubt our leaders, both political and military, have given short shrift to Balochistan. They have shelved the urgency to deal with the politics of integration, ceding space to alienation instead. Balochistan in its current form needs to establish the writ of state-sadly that remains the only aspect that has caught the fancy of our leaders-and while that is important, what should have accompanied are both dialogue and development. Inducting the military only addresses the writ part of the equation while both dialogue and development remain unattended.

The army may know how to shoot its guns in a vicious cycle of killings and counter-attacks, making it irrelevant to question where the rot began. But it remains patently incapable of doing anything about dialogue and development which are both within the political remit. What has the elected political leadership of Balochistan been doing all these years? There should be an effort to wrest the initiative from the army and restore political domination through an integrated and cooperative approach in accordance with an agreed vision for Balochistan.

It may never get to be an existential danger to Pakistan’s integrity but it will sure remain a nasty bleeding sore with the possibility of unintended consequences. Islamabad and Rawalpindi must find time to give to the 44 percent of Pakistan.

The writer is a retired air-vice marshal of the Pakistan Air Force and served as its deputy chief of staff.

(Description of Source: Islamabad The News Online in English — Website of a widely read, influential English daily, member of the Jang publishing group. Neutral editorial policy, good coverage of domestic and international issues. Usually offers leading news and analysis on issues related to war against terrorism. Circulation estimated at 55,000; URL: http://www.thenews.com.pk/)

Pakistan – more on Baluchistan

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — David Isby @ 4:39 pm

Pakistan Article Says Army Still Following Musharraf’s Policies in Balochistan
Article by Sana Baloch: “The Real Balochistan”
The News Online
Saturday, March 24, 2012 T10:18:37Z
Journal Code: 1091 Language: ENGLISH Record Type: FULLTEXT
Document Type: OSC Transcribed Text
Word Count: 988
Material in the World News Connection is generally copyrighted by the source cited. Permission for use must be obtained from the copyright holder. Inquiries regarding use may be directed to NTIS, US Dept. of Commerce.
(Text disseminated as received without OSC editorial intervention)
Musharraf’s statement about Balochistan’s “A” and “B” areas is highly misleading. In his article he emphasises that only three sardars with a tiny number of followers are the cause of the troubles in Balochistan. Then, how come these few sardars use the Levies force against the powerful Frontier Corps and the military in Balochistan? The establishment in Islamabad has never been able to substantiate its claim regarding the Levies’ involvement against the FC.
Despite international demands, repeated resolutions and domestic pressure, Islamabad is unwilling to change the status of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata), replace the Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR) with modern laws and dismantle the Khasadar force. But when it comes to Balochistan it is always eager to extend its influence by any means.
The distinction of “A” and “B” areas is not due to the police and the Levies. The reason is that the “A” areas cover cities and towns while the “B” areas consist of the rural parts of the province. This division was made in 1883 by the British government. The former areas were put under the jurisdiction of the police and the latter were assigned to the Levies.
Despite their immense resources and a strength of 19,145, the police in Balochistan were consuming Rs2 billion just for maintenance of law and order in the four-percent “A” areas. However 96 percent of Balochistan’s crimes were documented and reported in the policed “A” areas – not in the “B” areas controlled by the Levies.
Data available for 2002 indicates that Balochistan had 89 police stations and 286 Levies thanas (stations). The sanctioned strength of police is 19,145 and that of the Levies is 13,357. The area under police jurisdiction is spread over 14,251 square kilometres (four percent of Balochistan’s territory) and the Levies have charge over 332,929 square kilometres (96 percent).
The Levies, with their meagre resources and a budget of Rs1,77,743,900 and 11,153 personnel, were responsible for maintenance of law and order in 96 percent of Balochistan’s territory. In an ironic inversion, however, the crime rate in the rural 96 percent of the province during 2001-2002 was just four percent, compared to 96 percent in the areas controlled by the generously financed police force.
Many Baloch, and Pakhtuns, argue with substantive facts and figures in support of the Levies. “The primary reason for the comparative effectiveness and efficiency of the force in the “B” area is that the concept of Levies is based on the principles of community policing which is recognised universally as the ideal model. The Levies, by all definitions, are a community police force which functions within the parameters of the customs and tradition of the tribes. Their strength is the community which assists them in the prevention and detection of crime.
Since Islamabad and its proxies in Balochistan never encouraged a fair and democratic system based on justice and equality, many saw Musharraf’s Rs6 billion spent on the policing of the “A” areas as a tool of suppression. This amount should have been used for the development and revamping of the appalling the education system and infrastructure. Balochistan needs more education, not more policing.
In fact, Balochistan is virtually controlled by the army, the FC, the navy, the coast guard and several federal and provincial agencies with countless cantonments, naval bases, paramilitary garrisons and thousands of check-posts. Any further expansion and increase of force is clearly a means of suppression, not development.
Instead of mentioning Dr Shazia’s rape by a uniformed soldier, Musharraf writes about rockets attacks on gas installation and justifies his inhuman and disproportionate use of force against Nawab Bugti and his people.
After the Sui incident there was an informal ceasefire and a parliamentary committee was formed to look into the real issues and cause s of resentment among the Baloch people. Nawab Bugti’s two representatives were part of the negotiations. I myself was a member of the parliamentary committee on Balochistan and my first presentation was adopted as a comprehensive agenda on Balochistan.
Meanwhile, Musharraf visited Kohlu and, using as a pretext the rocket attacks on his gathering in Frontier Corps’ fort in Kohlu, he sent regular troops to eliminate Akbar Khan Bugti. The forces, using fighter jets, bombarded the entire area and forced Nawab Bugti to leave his hometown. In a planned operation, involving dozens of military helicopters and SSG troops, he was surrounded in Kohlu’s mountains and killed.
Musharraf writes that “this is a clear case of a self-inflicted casualty.” If that is so, why was his body not handed over to his family? Who locked his coffin? Or was it a “self-inflicted” decision by Nawab Bugti for his corpse to be locked in a wooden coffin?
Humiliation of even the dead is a deliberate policy. No respect is shown to elders, women, children and political dissidents. A Baloch with legitimate demands is regarded as a grave threat to Islamabad’s colonial policies in Balochistan and he is worth humiliating, jailing and killing.
Musharraf’s established rules of dishonouring the Baloch are still in practice by his military and paramilitary followers. Bullet-riddled mutilated corpses are evidence of that continuing mindset.
(Description of Source: Islamabad The News Online in English — Website of a widely read, influential English daily, member of the Jang publishing group. Neutral editorial policy, good coverage of domestic and international issues. Usually offers leading news and analysis on issues related to war against terrorism. Circulation estimated at 55,000; URL: http://www.thenews.com.pk/)