On the sixteenth of this month, the Iranian bombing of the Pakistani province of Balochistan exhumed new old files. The file of Pakistani Baloch anger was essential in this exhumation process. It is a file that, in many of its aspects, backgrounds, and the interference of the countries concerned with it, is similar to the Kurdish file in our region, so that Its peoples have their own aspirations, grievances, and preoccupations, with each country that includes the Baloch component being able to sometimes use it to its advantage.
It often turns into its opposite, becoming something like a minefield and a powder keg, used by some against others, but in its truth and reality it threatens to explode in the face of everyone at some point, as long as this everyone insists on sweeping it under the rug, refusing to acknowledge it. In addition to dealing with it positively, which makes it a plunder for use by forces eager to create tension in the region.
It is known that what brings the Baloch and Kurds together is their desire to obtain rights. But with the failure to deal positively over the decades with these two issues, we saw the development of the demand among some of them for a special state, especially after the marginalization and deprivation that they experienced for decades, unfortunately, a deprivation that in reality the peoples of the region experienced under political or partisan tyranny, or call it what you will, which included Everyone, unfortunately no segment was provided.
The most evident manifestation of the militarization of the Baloch file was the military operation ordered by the late Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, which resulted in the killing of a well-known national Baloch leader, Nawab Akbar Bugti.
The process of exclusion and marginalization was accompanied by the lack of real state leaders who look beyond their partisan, electoral, and immediate interests. In order to put the train on the track for the benefit of subsequent generations, by talking, transparently and boldly, with Baloch decision-makers, to address all Baloch concerns that cross borders and borders set by foreign occupiers, which were truly, as some described, borders of blood.
Throughout my stay in Pakistan, which extended for three decades, I was interested in the Baloch file, whether through my work in the press, which imposed this on me, or through the desire to make comparisons and comparisons between it and the Kurdish file, the pressing file in our region, and above that, my personal academic desire to read the history of This file was helped by Pakistani Baloch brothers in identifying its windings and complications, so I translated that desire into preparing a film nearly a decade ago to introduce the issue and its historical background. Hoping that it will open doors and windows to help with treatment and mitigate its future danger not only to Pakistan, but even to the Gulf region. Given the presence of the Baloch on the other side of the Arabian Gulf, there are Baloch interests on both shores, whether in terms of family sharing or economic interests.
When talking about Baloch anger in Pakistan, two important and sensitive issues stand out to us, related to the growth of this anger and this rebellion, and with the militarization of this issue by the ruling and even political forces of Pakistan, the danger of the explosion, its strength, its extent, and its geographical area increases, and one of the last manifestations of this militarization, unfortunately, was the statements of the Prime Minister. Interim Pakistani Anwarul Haq Kakar lost his temper at a press conference in the capital, Islamabad, when he said: These women who are protesting against the disappearance of their relatives by the security services must know that their sons and brothers fought against the Pakistani state.
The most evident militarization of the Baloch file was the military operation ordered by the late Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, which resulted in the killing of a well-known Baloch national leader, Nawab Akbar Bugti, when his headquarters in Balochistan was stormed in late August 2006, which is what Bugti called himself at the time. It was a day similar to 9/11 for Balochistan. Many thought that the era of Pakistani military operations had passed, after the region had been subjected to five military operations since 1948, the date of the start of this conflict, but with the occurrence of this military operation that targeted a national Baloch leader the size of Bugti, This doubled the danger of the Baloch rebellion led by Baloch groups, and gave it legitimacy and a new social incubator, and unfortunately supported its operations targeting the army and state institutions later, which exacerbated the problem and increased its repercussions. Pakistan is still paying the price for that military operation, and perhaps it will continue to pay. Pricey for a long time.
Political and economic marginalization
Balochistan is the largest geographical province in Pakistan, as its area constitutes 43.6% of the area of Pakistan, but it is the least populated. Its borders border both Afghanistan and Iran, and the region has a very difficult topographic nature, which made it a center and home for smuggling gangs, so much so that its triangle, in which it meets Afghanistan and Iran, was called the Golden Triangle of smuggling gangs. Iranian Baluchi Islamic groups residing in Iran were also active in it, seeking to seize Their rights. Pakistani nationalist Baloch groups residing on the Iranian side have also been active to extract their rights in Pakistan.
Until May 1998, the region was not in the international media spotlight, but with the Pakistani nuclear explosions that took place in the Chaghi region of the region, the name of the region emerged to the global media forefront, and this was followed by Baloch political and nationalist parties demanding political and economic rights, as a result of the feeling of injustice in being marginalized from the region. Before it was described as the Punjabi majority, which represents 60% of the population of Pakistan, and Lahore is the capital of the Punjab province, and has the lead in ruling and determining the fate of Pakistan, this political marginalization was reflected in the economic aspect, and this appeared in all the meetings I conducted with Baloch nationalist and Islamic leaders, I met them during my stay in Pakistan, as they expressed their anger and dismay at the situation they had reached. Perhaps the factory of all of this was the University of Balochistan, which I visited more than once. I sensed the extent of the anger and injustice felt by Al-Balushi regarding the state of marginalization he is experiencing politically and economically, and it is known that these Students are the ones who will be the leaders of thought, opinion and decision in the future.
As for economic marginalization, it appears in depriving the region of the gas it produces, while supplying it to other Pakistani regions. This is reinforced by the giant Pakistani economic projects undertaken by Islamabad in participation with Beijing in the Belt and Road project, passing through the region, which resulted in the expansion of the port. Gwadar, which is expected to compete with the Iranian ports of Dubai and Charbahar, as India entered the line to expand the latter; With the aim of weakening the Pakistani port of Gwadar, whose expansion is seen as a military danger and threat, beyond the economic threat, and despite all this, the expansion did not reflect positively on the indigenous Baloch population, who have come to see that this expansion, and these projects, serve other Pakistani ethnicities, more than they serve the people of the region. The indigenous people, as it provided other ethnicities with new job opportunities at the expense of the people of the region, and also caused an imbalance in the population and demographic balance, due to the import of Pakistani workers and employees from other regions to reside on the land of this region, which may threaten the Baloch to become a minority over time, which is directly reflected in Local and federal elections affect the selection of regional decision-makers.
This reality prompted some Baloch rebel groups to escalate military operations against Pakistani forces, and even against Chinese companies and their workers and employees, kidnapping them and killing some of them, in order to stop the project, which may have interference and regional calculations, which is what the Pakistani leadership believes. .
Missing Baloch bomb
With the marginalization of the Baloch politically and economically, Baloch rebel armed groups were established, as an expression of this marginalization, and in an effort to restore their political and economic rights, as they believe, and with it a bloody conflict emerged, as usual, that began in reality with the beginning of the founding of Pakistan in 1948, and spawned four pivotal conflicts known throughout the history of the Baloch-Pakistani conflict. Although it has declined in recent years, it has not ended or subsided completely, as it has remained like embers under the ashes.
This tense and escalating atmosphere created reactions among the ruling authorities in Islamabad, who resorted to arrests, including cases of forced disappearance, the numbers of which were estimated by Baloch human rights organizations until 2013 at 8,000 missing persons, according to the standards set by international human rights organizations, but the Voice of the Baloch website estimated it. Five thousand disappeared, while official government estimates say that the number does not exceed 2,700 missing, regardless of the number, but addressing it remains an important matter, as it is a time bomb that may explode in everyone’s face at any moment.
Baloch human rights organizations and even Baloch feminist elites and others responded to this with demonstrations and sit-ins in front of the local parliaments in the four well-known Pakistani provinces, in addition to the federal parliament in Islamabad, but to no avail. These human rights organizations saw that these enforced disappearances were being used as tools of intimidation by In order to silence the demands of the Baloch people for their political and economic rights.
Balochistan from the beginning was not willing to join Pakistan in 1948 when it separated from India, and its identity was strengthened by the fact that it was an independent emirate before the founding of Pakistan, which created a feeling among the Pakistani leadership and its decision-makers that the Baloch might repeat what happened in the secession of Bangladesh in 1971. When it caused a major Pakistani earthquake, and it still is, the Pakistani leadership is acting with the Baloch and their ambitions according to that bitter experience that it lived through, and therefore it is necessary for both parties to acknowledge the problem, and strive seriously to address it according to reality and interest.
The solution is in the interest of the Pakistani state
Without a doubt, the next Pakistani economic focus will be on the port of Gwadar and the Belt and Road project coming from China, crossing Pakistan to the Arabian Gulf. Therefore, Baloch anger is capable of obstructing this project, on which the Pakistani budget relies heavily, and on which it relies to strengthen its Chinese relations and impose itself as a power. True regionalism, by controlling international economic crossings and paths, especially since Pakistan is living in difficult economic conditions. So what if such an important, vital economic project is targeted? Which will harm its relations with China, a strategic and vital ally in the region, in the face of many regional adversaries, competitors, and enemies. .
We see the global path that America seeks to impose through Pakistan's traditional opponent, which is India, and therefore settling this anger is in Pakistan's interest in all the short, medium and long terms. Perhaps the most pressing file in this regard is the file of forcibly missing persons, such that some suggest that special courts be established to look into the case in all its dimensions, and issue rulings that are satisfactory and convincing to all, which should be followed by addressing all Baloch concerns at the levels: political, economic, and social. To prevent these tensions from being exploited by regional and international powers lurking in Pakistan.