Baloch State- A Story of Forced Annexation, by: Afrin Baloch

Baloch State- A Story of Forced Annexation

by: Afrin Baloch

Geography has played a significant role in preserving Baloch National Identity. Baloch live in a vast territory, many times larger than many European countries. But at present Balochistan is occupied and administratively divided among three countries, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran. The overall area of Baloch land occupied by Pakistan only is approximately 347,190 km².

At the end of the British colonialist era Viceroy Lord Mountbatten and Jinnah, who was the president of the All-India Muslim League met the Khan of Kalat, Mir Ahmed Yar Khan on 4 August 1947 and signed an agreement, recognizing Kalat as an independent and sovereign state with a distinct status from the rest of the states of India. The announcement of the agreement was broadcasted on all India radio Dehli station on 11 August 1947, three days before Hindustan’s partition.

On Friday, August 1947, the flag of Balochistan was hoisted in Kalat with the declaration of independence. Meanwhile, Khan Kalat Mir Ahmad Yar Khan expressed his thoughts and made a freedom speech in the following manner:

“I had three wishes, one of which has been fulfilled today: The independence of Balochistan.

2- Establishing an Islamic system of government in Balochistan, given that minorities will not be hindered by their religion.

3- To make the Baloch a developed nation like other advanced nations of the world.”

After independence, two assemblies named Diwan-i-Khas and Diwan-Aam were created for the state of Balochistan. A total of 52 seats were allocated for Diwan-e-Aam, members of which would have been chosen by the opinion of the tribal elders. And the candidates for Diwan Khas could be only hereditary chiefs, of whom there were 36 in total. It was professed that both the Houses will work for the welfare, development, and prosperity of the state and it was made mandatory for both Houses to arrange a parliamentary meeting once a year. The Prime Minister was declared the head of both houses. A seat was also allotted to the Hindu community in the Diwan Aam.

After the execution of the Partition Plan of India, the unnatural state of Pakistan sent a message to the Baloch Parliament for accession, in response to which the Baloch confederacy categorically rejected the condition of accession, considering it a breach of the 4th August agreement. When all the efforts of dialogue between Khan of Kalat and Jinnah of Pakistan failed, the central government of Pakistan back then sent the Pakistani army, who forced Mir Ahmed Yar Khan to give up his state.

However, a revolt broke out in the Jhawalan District led by Agha Abdul Karim khan, the brother of Khan, and people demanded internal political sovereignty. Agha Abdul Karim had been commandant of the Kalat state Army in the short-lived independence of Kalat. He proclaimed the independence of Kalat and continued armed activities till 1950 when an agreement was signed by Pakistani Army officers on the oath to Quran near Harboi Mountains. However, the agreement was dishonored and Prince Agha Abdul Karim was ambushed and his 102 comrades were arrested on their way to Kalat. Agha Karim and all his followers were sentenced to prison terms and in this way, the first Baloch insurgency which broke out soon after the Pakistani occupation of Balochistan comes to an impermanent end. It was a very significant chapter in the history of Balochistan, resulting in Balochs keeping alive their resistance culture against the outsider’s invasion and declaring Pakistan, a non-trustable enemy.

On 14 October 1955, Pakistani president Sikandar Mirza turned Balochistan into a part of “one Unit ” of West Pakistan. Baloch Nationalists started resisting to One Unit Policy declaring it as an attack on Baloch National Identity. Baba Marri said at that time “Our people have slowly sensed that these Pakistanis would destroy our identity as a Nation if we don’t fight back”.

Baloch Tribal elders refused to cooperate with Pakistan on the matter of One Unit. Pakistan sent troops to arrest Khan of Kalat on 6 October 1958 on the charge of gathering 80,000 tribesmen to revolt against Pakistan. These developments broke out the 2nd insurgency in Balochistan as Nawab Naoroz Khan Zehri started an armed struggle against Pakistan Army in the Jhawalan region. The loyal Sardars of Nawab also joined the guerrilla campaign. In this insurgency, The Pakistan army bombed many villages in the area declaring them militant homes and killed many innocent Balochs.

On May 19, 1959, Nawab Nouroz khan with his fighters halted the revolt after the authorities swore on Quran once again that their all demands will be accepted. Later, the agreement was dishonored by the Pakistani Army, and Nawab Nouroz and his comrades were arrested and sent to Quetta Cantonment and trialed by a special military court. Nawab’s eldest son Mir Battay khan along with his 7 companions was hanged in July 1960. Nawab was sentenced to life imprisonment and hence died in the prison on 25 December 1965 becoming another Martyr of the Baloch Nationalist Movement.

For the Baloch nation, Nawab Naoroz khan and the other 7 martyrs compiled an important chapter in their struggle. It symbolizes the determination of the Balochs, not bowing down to unjust and brutal assaults on their freedom and resisting regardless of the price they must pay on this honorable path. This second insurgency of Baloch history was followed by the Pakistani military establishing cantonments in the interior of Balochistan.

In 1962, the immediate provocation of the 3rd insurgency was the matter of elections under Ayuob’s ‘Basic Democracies’. Gen Ayoub considered Nawab Khair Bux Marri and Sardar Atta Ullah Mengal’s election against Pakistani interests. So, he dismissed their government and pointed out Sardars of his own choice to head local government institutions ensuring utmost loyalty.

A revolt broke out and Baloch guerrillas started attacking Pakistani Military posts. This Insurgency was more organized than the previous ones. Babu Sherro Marri organized Ferrari camps, which contained 200 fighters each. Camps were located largely in Marri and Mengal areas. The insurgency remained till the Government of Ayub Khan. Shortly after Ayub, when Yahya came into power, agreements were made with Baloch fighters announcing the withdrawal Army from the operation areas.

In the 60s era, Baloch Student Organization (BSO) was also formed by Baloch students in 1967, considered a new awakening of the Baloch National struggle.

The 4th insurgency started in 1973 when Bhutto dismissed the NAP government in July 1973 and arrested Baloch leaders i.e Atta Ullah Mengal and Nawab Khair Bux Marri. Army convoys and posts started being attacked by Baloch Nationalist Militant organizations especially the Baloch People Libration Front led by Mir Hazar khan Marri. In this insurgency, 16000 innocent Marri tribesmen were martyred by the Pakistani Army through carpet bombing of Marri areas. Infamous Gen Tikka khan also named the “Butcher of Bengal” led this military campaign of the Pakistan Army to crush the Baloch struggle and hence declared the “Butcher of Balochistan” also after his inhuman war crimes there. This insurgency remained till the Bhutto government, When Gen Zia come into power, imposed Martial law, and went to agreements with Baloch leaders, giving Amnesty to Balochistan, and withdrawing troops from Operation areas. After the Zia government insurgency ended impermanently but Baloch Nationalists started regrouping themselves.

The 5th and longest Baloch insurgency which is still going on with his all might start after 2000 and till now has acquired the shape of modern warfare by using scientific strategies in war-hardened Balochistan. After Nawab Bugti’s Martyrdom in 2006, civil as well as militant uprisings broke out all over Balochistan. In this Insurgency Baloch Nationalist Struggled in a proper organized way by awaking Political conscience in people leading to armed institutions. Pakistan retaliated in many ways, one of them being the infamous “Kill and dump” policy targeting thousands of Baloch students, political activists, and Balochs from every field of life. Till now thousands of Balochs have been killed and dumped, found in Mass graves and thousands are still missing. Many State-backed death squads were created in every region of Balochistan to counter Baloch Nationalists. According to estimates provided by the Europian-based Human Rights Council of Balochistan (HRCB), at least 20,000 Baloch activists have “disappeared” since 2000, and about 7,000 of them are dead and numbers are still rising.

Since 2000 Pakistani army has made Balochistan a war playground where they have implemented every possible inhuman considered strategy to counter the ongoing freedom movement. They have tried to shape every possible factor of a Baloch cultural society in their favor like using religion in the colonial context, herding Baloch youth to drugs, etc. Balochistan’s declaration as an information blackhole is also insight into the journalism situation in the area. Pakistan has used propaganda campaigns to mutilate the facts and to hide its war crimes. State-sponsored death squads have killed uncountable Baloch political activists and laymen based on suspicion. While the area is indulged in lack of necessities, all Pakistan is doing is exploiting Balochistan’s natural resources in the name of many so-called development projects i.e CPEC which are rejected by the whole Baloch Nation declaring them a threat to their national identity.

Despite all the counter strategies implemented, what the Pakistani army is still unable to understand is the strong nationalist political conscience of Balochs and can’t withstand their guerrilla war strategy. Today Baloch insurgency is based on the core political ideology of ‘nothing less than freedom’ led by educated people with the background of every economic class. Participation of educated young men from middle-class families in today’s independence movement differentiates it from the previous insurgencies. Until now they have been successful in parsing their insurgency according to modern-day scientific rules of independence movements. Despite limited resources and media Blackout in the area, the Baloch Liberation movement has managed to get the international intention and has been able to deliver their message to the world that they want nothing less than a free country and that their struggle will continue at every cost till the victory.

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