The resolution by US House of Representatives on Balochistan is not only in extreme bad taste, but also amounts to interfering in Pakistan’s internal affairs that is contrary to the UN mandate.
Balochistan is an integral part of Pakistan. The instrument of accession was signed by the Khan of Kalat on March 27, 1948, while the other states under British rule had already joined the newly independent country in 1947.
Since then, a number of separatist groups in the province have engaged in an armed struggle against the Pakistani government; the first was led by Prince Karim Khan, the Khan of Kalat’s younger brother, in 1948, and later by Nawab Nowroz Khan in 1968. These tribal uprisings were limited in scope; a more serious insurgency was led by the Marri and Mengal tribes between 1973 and 1977. All these groups fought for the existence of a “Greater Balochistan” - a single independent state ruled under tribal jirgas (a tribal system of government) and comprising the historical Balochistan region found within Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
In 2005, there was another struggle to achieve these aims; in 2006, Nawab Akbar Bugti, the leader of the movement, was killed in an armed conflict with the Pakistan Army. During the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the intelligence agency of USSR, the KGB, created inroads by arming insurgents in the strife-torn province to destabilise Pakistan and reduce the pressure on its troops by mujahideen attacks launched and supported by Pakistan. According to security reports, America’s CIA, like the KGB, has also hired locals to destabilise Pakistan and pressurise it to stop its alleged support to the Taliban targeting the foreign troops in Afghanistan.
Perhaps, moving a resolution on Balochistan by Congressman Dana Rohrabacher is part of a grand plan commenced by former US President George Bush, who in a Freudian slip had called it the “crusades”, in which the Islamic world is being targeted. After the cold war, Islam has replaced communism as a major threat to the West. Bosnia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Tunis, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Syria, Libya are examples of creating instability and destabilising the Islamic world, lest they unite and become a force to reckon with.
Balochis have been a fierce and warlike race. The British first came across them during the first Afghan War in 1839, when their army marched through the inhospitable barren tracts of Balochistan and was confronted by the ferocious Balochi tribes, whose incessant marauding attacks caused heavy losses and sufferings to the marching columns and baggage trains. After the Indian War of Independence in 1857, in which the British nearly lost everything, they realised that the solution to their problems in India lay in recruiting natives with warlike qualities to serve in the British army. Recognising the brave and fearless qualities of the Balochis, the British formed the Baloch regiment that fought for them resolutely in the Abyssinian Campaign of 1868, the second Afghan War in 1878 and both the world wars. Likewise, the US - aided by its partner India - is now using natives, i.e. the Balochis, to foment insurgency in their own province.
Indeed, most of the grievances the Balochis have are not unfounded. Successive Pakistani governments, even those led by the Balochi leaders, have done little or nothing to alleviate the misery of people and uplift of Balochistan. The feudal and tribal system prevalent in the troubled province has not helped matters, since the warlords have kept their folowers immersed in ignorance to keep them subservient.
Anyway, the US congressional hearing on Balochistan is a deliberate attempt to destabilise and weaken Pakistan. The move follows the last two or three years of souring relations between Pakistan and the US. Blackballing Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, installing CIA agents in the country, the Raymond Davis affair, the Osama bin Laden episode, the unwarranted attack on Pakistani military checkposts in Salalah, and now the resolution on Balochistan are all part of the greater plot. What the US has forgotten is that the USSR had also indulged in similar machination, but paid heavily by disintegrating into the Central Asian States. By following in its footsteps and indulging in numerous wars, America has overstretched its resources; its economy is on the verge of collapse and there is a strong possibility that its 50 states may disintegrate into independent ones. It should concentrate on stemming its own rot, rather than sullying Pakistan’s affairs.
The writer is a political and defence analyst.