Crisis in Balochistan

Balochistan has become the second Kurdistan. A supressed nation of 6 million people split up between Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan. The Balochis have rebelled periodically against what they perceive is as marginalisation of their community in Punjabi dominated Pakistan.

Unsurprisingly perhaps, of all ironies, the army that cant stop mass-murderers from using its territory to wreck havoc in its neighbouring countries, has come down like a ton of bricks on the Baloch insurgency. The highly ill advised assassination of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti late last month, has plunged Pakistan into civic crisis. To top it off, the unconvincing retraction of the “assassination-story” by Pakistani Army seems to have added more fuel to the fire. The renewed Baloch campaign for more economic and political auntonomy has just got its first martyr.Pakistan, to many of us the Indian nationalists is an artificial political construct cobbled together from parts of Greater India (West Punjab, Sindh, Northern Areas) and Afghanistan (NWFP & Balochistan) under the banner of Islam. Arguably a one could say the same about India vis-a-vis its North-Eastern states. But most of major Indian ethnic groups have much better historic and cultural cohesion with each other. Moreover political power in India is proportionally distributed amongst its states. It is this equitable distribution of power and sense of cultural continuity that enables India to function as a stable democracy despite the numerous insurgencies that riddle its fringes. Pakistan on the other hand appears to turn into Punjabistan by the day.

A country cannot sustain itself on the basis of religious unity alone. Analogies with Bangladesh War are being drawn. But veteran Indian blogger Nitin Pai argues against such comparisons. According to him, concerns over breakup of Pakistan are overblown. Yet he warns that crisis in Balochistan may drive the desperate yet crafty General to initiate another small-scale war on the lines of Kargil against India to save his own skin. Personally though, I believe that possibility of another war with India is highly unlikely, we can expect increased anti-India rhetoric in Pakistan’s public discourse.

One can only wonder what General Musharraf was thinking when he gave orders to bump off the old Bugti. It was Indian Army’s botched up “Operation Bluestar” that gave Khalistanis a much need momentum and a degree of legitimacy launching Punjab into a dance of death that was only effectively stopped in 1995. The grievances and demands of the Baloch people appear to be legitimate. Least the Pakistani government can do is talk to them. If the chaps in Pakistan establishment think that violence causes silence, then they are mistaken…

P.S Finally I’ve settled on a name for my blog, : “The Boy from Bombay” … Afterall everybody loves alliterations