View : Analysis Of Balochistan’s Situation Sheikh Asad Rahman
Pakistan is not a homogeneous nation state and in reality is a multi-national one. This factor has never been recognised by the Pakistani state machinery, and instead a unitary political, cultural, socio-economic structure and policies have been forcefully imposed.
The State of Kalat (Balochistan) declared independence under the ‘Standstill Agreement, August 11, 1947′ on August 15, 1947. After negotiations that lasted about six months, Balochistan acceded to Pakistan on March 27, 1948 under an Accession Document signed by Mr Jinnah and the Khan of Kalat and verified by A S B Shah, the joint secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Subsequently in 1955, Kalat lost its autonomous status when all states were amalgamated into the provincial and federal administrative setup. West Pakistan came into being, with all provinces amalgamated as one unit to gain parity with East Pakistan. Balochistan was ruled under the 1901 FCR regime, and in 1970, Balochistan wrested provincial status for itself.
Pakistan is not a homogeneous nation state and in reality is a multi-national one. This factor has never been recognised by the Pakistani state machinery, and instead a unitary political, cultural, socio-economic structure and policies have been forcefully imposed. These policies have proved to be the genesis of the problems faced by Balochistan since 1948 just as it happened in East Pakistan, which led to the dismemberment of the country. Ethnic nationalities have a distinct socio-economic and political history, geographic affiliation and most importantly, culture, and thus human, cultural and socio-economic rights accrue to the federating nationalities. These rights were denied to East Pakistan and Balochistan to date.
The 1948, 1958, 1962-68, 1973-77 and the ongoing violence and civil war were not only expressions of the Baloch resistance to imposition of an alien culture and politico-administrative structure but a very emphatic movement for their fundamental, human, cultural, social, political and economic rights. Balochistan’s political elite have been continuously excluded from policy and decision-making forums, or under-represented due to the population basis used for electing political representation in the National Assembly. While the Senate has an equal representation for all provinces, it is not the final policy/decision making forum as it has no fiscal or political decision making powers. These are the functions of the National Assembly where Balochistan has only 14 seats out of 340. Balochistan has 30 districts but the division of constituencies on the basis of population restricts the seats to only 14, thereby denying the Baloch any real say in national politics or even adequate representation.
It should be noted that primary education is universally accepted to be the most productive if it is in the mother tongue. In Sindh, primary education is in Sindhi while in some parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pashto is the medium of instruction at the primary level. Balochistan and Punjab do not have primary education in the mother tongues and, therefore, it is a violation of cultural rights.
These resistance wars were also against the economic exploitation of Balochistan’s strategic and natural resources by the state with no benefits accruing to the local population of the district or province. In 1952, gas was discovered by Burma Shell in the Bugti area. Pakistan was operating under the India Mining Act 1935, which gave five percent of the net revenue for local area development to the place where the resource was being extracted. When Nawab Akbar Bugti, the then defence minister of Pakistan, demanded this five percent, overnight legislation denied them the right with the stipulation that all resources above and underground belong to God and the state. On the resignation of Nawab Akbar and the agitation by Bugti tribesmen, Burma Shell, with the knowledge of the government, signed a land rental deal for land under installations with Mr Bugti, which continued until 2005 when Musharraf stopped Pakistan Petroleum Limited from paying this rent, leading to further tensions between Mr Bugti and the state (especially Musharraf).