The Myth of Greater Baluchistan Debunked

One of the comments in the thread that followed my article on Global Village Space “The U.S. Deep State Recklessly Edging its Way towards Balkanization of Pakistan” regrettably hinted at an awfully sad reality:  the extent of ignorance as well as that of deliberate disinformation prevalent in regards to the case of Baluchistan not to mention the intensity of bitterness among a section of the Baluch.  The said comment not only reflected as to how uninformed and/or misinformed sections of our general population may be regarding the matter, it also revealed how naïve humans can be even in this time and age so as to actually believe that global tyrants of modern history, who have unceasingly contributed to precipitating and propagating unrest in the region for over a century, could become their saviour.  Undoubtedly the propaganda machinery employed by global powers with long term vested interest in the region has effectively influenced the meek and gullible.  And parallel to this, history has also witnessed a handful of turncoats among the Baluch elite who have been way too eager to play in the hands of global war mongers for the sake of self-centred interest.  Nonetheless, the saddest of facts pertaining to the matter under discussion, is that Jinnah’s vision for Baluchistan was purposefully and/or imprudently put aside by the succeeding rulers of Pakistan.  From the looks of it none of them had the vision to fathom the long term geo-political game already in the works at the time nor could they ever measure up to Jinnah’s noble and earnest concern for the Baluch people or for that matter the new-born state of Pakistan.  Hence the bitter resentment harboured by sections of Baluch population over the course of past seven decades that has been exploited and manipulated as a much welcome catalyst to further the agenda of the Great Game in the region.

The geo-strategic significance of Baluchistan was keenly understood by the British during their colonization of the Indian Sub-Continent.  To begin with perhaps their interest was chiefly fixated on establishment of buffer states in the extreme northwest of Baluchistan so as to block off any perceived Russian intervention, however it would be an understatement to say the British were not highly mindful of Baluchistan’s multidimensional geographical placement that had the potential of playing a highly significant role in the ever evolving Great Game.  Baluchistan not only provides an access point to South Asia via deep waters but is also situated on crossroads of land routes between South and South-western Asia.   Concurrently, it forms a rather safe passageway to the territories farther to its northwest namely the mineral-rich Afghanistan and still further the energy-rich Central Asia.  Not to mention, Baluchistan’s deep water ports are naturally positioned in close proximity to the oil-rich Middle East while this huge mass of mineral-rich arid land also makes for a safe passageway to the Chinese territory via the North-western Frontier region of Pakistan.  In a nutshell the Baluchistan region can be undoubtedly termed as a ‘geo-strategic gem’ hence the British did not want to lose covert control of it even after they were forced to concede to the demand of independence in 1947.  Prior to their reluctant departure the British did everything in their power to plant and nurture seeds of discord that would allow them to continue their clandestine effort aimed at exercising covert dominion over this geo-strategically positioned region for times to come.

Map 1

Historically speaking, the control of Baluchistan has remained divided between the Empires to its East and West.  In the 1500s Baluchistan was under the control of Safavid Empire in Persia to its west and Mogul Empire in India to its east.  In the middle of 17th century, the Brahui Ahmedzai tribe founded the Khanate of Kalat however, the early Khans were never fully independent and it was always of paramount significance as to who they were subject to.  They bowed to the Mogul Emperors in Delhi and/or the Afghan rulers in Kandahar.  After the collapse of the Safavid and Mogul Empires as well as that of Nader Shah’s, Baluchistan basically reverted to a collection of princedoms some of which fell under the rule of Afghanistan though most remained independent.  The Khanate of Kalat asserted its independence flatteringly and ushered an era of territorial expansionism.  Starting from the middle of 18th century the Khanate enjoyed its most glorious age right until the death of Nasir Khan.  Nasir Khan’s demise set in a period of great crisis.  During this period the Qajar Dynasty established itself in Persia while the British Empire continued to colonize the Indian Sub-Continent, hence the two commenced to squeeze the Baluch once again.  It served the interest of the empires both in the East and West to keep the Baluch territory and its people contained.  There were even instances of Anglo-Persian cooperation in suppressing the Baluch.  However it is worth observing external stimulus was not the sole cause of chaos and anarchy within the Khanate.  Among other reasons, it is said Khans favoured a feudal system whereas Sardars, the tribal leaders, were adamant upon replacing it with a decentralized confederation hence an in-house tussle.  Concurrently, the British Administration was bent upon securing the line of communication with Afghanistan via Baluchistan and this strategic goal could not be achieved without turning the Khanate of Kalat into a vassal state.  Although the British troops had been facilitated with a safe passage to Afghanistan during the first Anglo-Afghan war (1839-42), after withdrawal from Kandahar, the British invaded Kalat.  The Khan of Kalat was accused of betrayal and not enforcing the treaty signed with the British.  Mehrab Khan was killed when he refused to give in to the British Administration’s whims.  From here onwards the British Administration ensured Khanate of Kalat remained under their indirect dominion although the treaty of 1854 formally acknowledged its independent status.  The innovative yet experimental system of tribal pacification introduced by Colonel Sir Robert Groves Sandman, who was appointed as the agent to the Governor General in Baluchistan and was assigned the task to consolidate indirect British influence, changed the purely tribal system that had existed in Baluchistan for centuries and used institution as a weapon against rebellion.  The Khan was bypassed while Sandman established direct links with Sardars who relished the financial assistance and political patronage of the British since it impressively elevated their eminence.  This decentralized system gradually led to reduced dependence of Sardars on tribal support and increased distance between the Sardars and the Khan.  It also furnished a perfect excuse for the British to get away with minimal administrative and developmental intervention in the region since under this decentralized system Sardars were the custodians and guardians of their land and people.  After the second Anglo-Afghan war (1878-80), British Baluchistan was brought into existence by combining areas ceded to the British Administration by the Afghans and areas leased to the British by the Khanate of Kalat.  The Sardari system remained a keystone of British rule in Baluchistan although the British did have to crush centrifugal tendencies among the Baluch in order to keep the Khanate intact so it could continue to serve their interest.  It must therefore be noted the split of Baluch territory did not occur abruptly nor were the Baluch severed arbitrarily rather tampering of frontiers under mutual agreements between Empires in its east and west over the course of more than one century led to the modern frontiers of Baluch territory.

Princely Staes Joined Pakistan

The advent of 20th century marked the beginning of political awareness among the younger generation of the western educated Baluch elite.  The split of Baluch territory and the tenuous position of the Khanate of Kalat had a pronounced role to play in leading Mir Abdul Aziz Kurd to vehemently advocate institutional and political reforms in Baluchistan under the banner of ‘Young Baluch’.  Yusuf Ali Magsi was another name that rose to prominence with the wave of newly found sense of Baluch nationalism and the two eventually went on to form the first political party of Baluchistan by the name of Anjuman-e-Ittehad-Baluchan wa Baluchistan.  This political organization united the Baluch and the Pakhtun population in their demand of constitutional reforms and a united Baluchistan.  It is worth mentioning the demand for reforms in Baluchistan, on the same footing as in other provinces, had already been included by Jinnah in the Delhi Proposals presented in 1927 and again in the 14 Points proposed in 1929.  In 1931 demands made by the Anjuman met with failure when the Khan of Kalat Azan Jan, who the Anjuman had supported in his claim to the throne of Kalat, reneged on his commitment.  The Khan and the Sardars were highly reluctant to allow political reforms as that would tend to diminish their influence.  In 1932 the Anjuman managed to convene the All India Baluch and Baluchistan Conference that unified the Baluch-dominated Khanate and the Pakhtun-dominated British Baluchistan in their demand for unification of Baluch territories, a constitutional government, and political as well as educational reforms.  The proposed reforms were however not taken into consideration by the British Administration on account of general lack of political awareness and the disunited nature of Baluch territories as well as ‘lack of resources’ and ‘small population’.  Subsequently the British Administration arrested nationalists struggling for constitutional reforms.   Despite this, Yusuf Magsi managed to organize the second All India Baluch and Baluchistan conference in 1932 that stressed upon the yet unmet demand of reforms.   It is exceedingly interesting to note that in the long term, reforms if implemented, would have naturally addressed the general lack of political awareness while a merger of the Khanate of Kalat and British Baluchistan would have evidently helped create a sense of unification among the inhabitants of Baluch territories regardless of their ethnicity.  Hence reasons cited as the basis of British rejection of the said demands were in fact nothing more than lame excuse.   The truth of the matter was if the British had acceded to these demands at the time they would have not been able to write the history of sustained covert dominion over Baluchistan even after their apparent departure from the Indian Sub-Continent.

After the approval of Government of India Act 1935 that proposed formation of a Federation inclusive of some or all princely states, differences arose within the Anjuman.  This was an unfortunate ethno-nationalistic split between the Pakhtun of British Baluchistan who stood for constitutional reforms versus the Khan of Kalat who strived to sustain a sovereign status.  Abdul Samad Achekzai went on to form Anjuman-e- Watan that aligned itself with All India Congress’ politics and continued to advocate for reforms in British Baluchistan whereas Mir Abdul Aziz Kurd proceeded to lead the Baluch nationalists under the banner of Kalat State National Party (KSNP).  KSNP had the backing of the Khan of Kalat initially but this marriage of convenience came to an end in 1939 due to KSNP’s demand to get rid of the Sardari system and replace it by a representative government.  The Khan of Kalat was not willing to reconcile to the status of a mere figurehead of such a representative government.  Subsequently, KSNP was declared an unlawful body and banned by the Khan of Kalat however it continued to function in British Baluchistan where it also affiliated itself with All India Congress’ politics.  Parallel to these developments, Baluchistan Muslim League was informally established by Qazi Isaa and in the following years Jinnah did not spare any effort at infusing the Muslim political movement in Baluchistan with his undying spirit.  Here it must be noted the formation of All India Muslim League in Baluchistan was initiated by the people of Baluchistan and All India Muslim League simply responded to their call.  All India Muslim League gained the support of some very prominent Sardars of the time and Mohammad Khan Jogezai in fact managed a victory over Abdul Samad Achekzai in the contest for the Baluchistan seat in the Constituent Assembly.  This was perhaps viewed as a symbolic defeat of All India Congress and its affiliates at the hands of British Baluchistan that had overwhelmingly chosen to extend support to All India Muslim League’s Pakistan movement.  The All India Congress at this point seemingly realized inclusion of Baluchistan in an Independent India would not be permissible due to geographic and demographic compulsions hence it commenced to encourage the idea of independence of Baluchistan as well as that of the Muslim majority North-western province.

The Khan of Kalat, Ahmed Yar Khan, extended his support to the Pakistan Movement but desired an independent status for the Khanate.  The Khan contested the unilateral change in the status of the Khanate under the Government of India Act 1935 and insisted on the independent status sustained in earlier treaties namely that of 1854 & 1876.  However the British Administration regarded its sovereign status as a mere formality since British intervention in the affairs of Khanate had continued to increase with the passage of time rendering the Khanate’s status equal to any other princely state of British India.  Lord Mountbatten did agree with the Khan on the sovereign status of the Khanate on July 19, 1947 as did the representative of the future Pakistan Government.  The dispute over return of leased territories included in British Baluchistan did remain.  The Khan of Kalat insisted these territories should be handed back to the Khanate upon transfer of power however the representative of the future Pakistan Government insisted under international law Pakistan would inherit all treaties signed between the British Administration and the Khanate.  In order to decide the fate of British Baluchistan, Shahi Jirga was appointed by the British Administration as an electoral college, which included Sardars from the leased and tribal regions of British Baluchistan despite rather irrational opposition from the Khan of Kalat.  The Khan was aware of the overwhelming support for the Pakistan movement in the leased territories as well as the tribal region.  The nationalist elements did not hesitate to dispute the verdict given by the Shahi Jirga that voted in favour of Pakistan.  On August 4, 1947 a Standstill Agreement drafted by the British Administration with regards to the future of princely states was signed by representatives of the future Pakistan Government and the Khanate of Kalat thus effectively assigning Pakistan as the legal, constitutional and political successor of the British in terms of any agreements signed between 1839 and 1947.  The purpose of this Standstill Agreement was to allow more time to the princely states that were not yet willing to sign the Instrument of Accession also drafted by the British Administration parallel to the Standstill Agreement.  After independence Kharan, Makran and Las Bela expressed their desire of accession to Pakistan irrespective of the decision made by the Khan of Kalat.  Following the lapse of British paramountcy Kalat’s supremacy, seen as outright hegemony by these princedoms, was not acceptable to any.  This development apparently had a big hand in leading to what is sarcastically termed by most historians as a ‘change of heart’ on Jinnah’s part since in October 1947 he advised the Khan of Kalat to sign the Instrument of Accession whereas Kalat disputed the independent status of these princedoms.   In February 1948, Jinnah wrote to the Khan of Kalat and reminded him of his commitment to a final reply subsequent to their detailed one-on- one discussion on all aspects of the matter.  Ahmed Yar Khan committed to a reply after discussion with the House of Representatives of Kalat however before the said meeting could convene Kharan, Las Bela and Makran signed the Instrument of Accession, which was sent to London by the Foreign Ministry of Pakistan on March 17, 1948.   There is ample reason to believe Ahmed Yar Khan hesitated to announce accession to Pakistan due to his brother Prince Karim Khan’s strong opposition.   However with Makran, Kharan and Las Bela having acceded to join Pakistan and given its geographical placement, it was simply not possible for Kalat to sustain itself as a sovereign state hence amidst rumours of conspiring with the Indians Ahmed Yar Khan announced to sign the Instrument of Accession on March 27, 1948.  The Khan’s brother had fled to Afghanistan prior to this but returned with militant provision to commence a revolt in July 1948.  This group of militants continued its unconventional attacks on the Pakistan army up until 1950 although this was a lone battle.  The decision of Pakistan Government to use military to curb an illegitimate insurgency within its own borders was used to give birth to propaganda that claimed Baluchistan was under Pakistan’s occupation; however if such a set of circumstances is to define ‘occupation’ of a land and its people, the map of the world would stand in dire need of much modification.

In 1955 the status of Kalat was altered from that of a princely state as was the case with Makran, Kharan and Les Bela.  All were eventually made part of West Pakistan.  The Gwadar enclave, which had been under the rule of Oman since 1784, was also acquired back at the cost of U.S. $3 Million in September 1958.  During 1958-60 a second wave of conflict was witnessed when in retaliation to the One Unit Policy implemented under the constitution of 1956 Nauroz Khan of the Zehri tribe started a guerrilla war against the State.  On the face of it, this was reaction against limited provincial autonomy under the One Unit Policy.  This was also a solitary battle without support from the rest of Baluchistan.  Although this conflict apparently came to an end by 1960, lack of provincial autonomy and mishandling of Nauroz Khan and family did make for a sore point between the Baluch nationalists and the Federation ultimately leading to a third conflict in 1963-69.  During this period Sher Mohammad Bijrani of the Murri tribe commenced guerrilla warfare and established bases in the Mengal, Murri and Bugti territories in response to the decision of the Federation to establish new military bases in Baluchistan.  The Baluch nationalists agreed upon cease fire in 1969-70.  However, the unrest did continue into the 1970s.  In 1973 citing treason as the reason Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto dissolved the civil governments in Baluchistan as well as the North West Frontier Province and imposed a Martial Law.  This resulted in the fourth wave of insurgency that was perhaps the bloodiest but did meet its demise after the complete dissolution of the One Unit Policy.   The so far last attempt at revolt started with the killing of Chinese engineers at Gwadar Port in 2003-4.  The Federal Government was later presented with a 15 point agenda by Nawab Akbar Bugti and Mir Balach Murri who demanded greater control over province’s resources and a moratorium on the construction of military bases.  However by 2006 this latest of attempts at revolt also came to a bitter closure with casualties on both sides.  As was the case before, this endeavour also did not enjoy support among general population and this fact was noted in a 2006 leaked cable from the American Embassy in Islamabad as well.  Following this episode of unrest the hereditary Khan of Kalat Mir Suleiman Dawood who self-exiled himself to England in 2006 proclaimed himself as the ruler of Baluchistan and formally announced a Council for Independent Baluchistan in 2009.  The said Council claims domain over Persian Sistan-Baluchistan as well as the Pakistani Baluchistan excluding the Afghan Baluch region.  Mir Suleiman Dawood is not only of the opinion that United Kingdom holds the moral responsibility to highlight the issue of ‘Occupied Baluchistan’ at the international level but has also had the audacity to express his desire to visit Tel Aviv declaring Baluch nationalists will not hesitate to accept support from any friendly party inclusive of Israel. 

People and territories do not exist in isolation; the shaping of nations and territories is an on-going historic process and by default it moves forward.  An unbiased and non-selective account of history does tend to ascertain how over a course of centuries the shaping of the region inhabited by the Baluch occurred under the influence of empires to its east and west.  The Baluch nation was never severed arbitrarily.  The tale of Baluch people ran parallel to the history of the region and the ethnic Baluch population by and large remained divided mainly between Sistan-Baluchistan in Persia and Baluchistan in Pakistan similar to the division of the Pakhtun across the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.  Hence if in the 21st century, the self-proclaimed ruler of the so-called Greater Baluchistan, i.e. the hereditary Khan of Kalat, goes as far as to claim dominion over Baluch territory that extends across the border into Iran, one cannot help but speculate if this mythical affair of ‘Greater Baluchistan’ is in fact a call for perceived liberation of Baluch people or simply the means to achieve the next goal of the Great Game.  Quite obviously dominion over Sistan-Baluchistan cannot be accomplished without subjugation of the will of sovereign Persia and that in fact says the rest especially in the context of the more recent developments in the Great Global Game.

As for the alleged perception of occupation of Baluchistan, it should suffice to say the State of Pakistan has every right to curb any revolting elements within its borders not unlike many other sovereign countries around the world that struggle with pseudo-separatist movements within their defined borders.  One can certainly not disagree that on part of the State we have witnessed continued dearth of comprehension of the dynamics at play in Baluchistan and the subsequent lack of a wholesome and proactive approach, instead only reactive measures to pacify the unrest, but to dispute Pakistan’s legal right on Baluchistan is as flagrantly erroneous as Israel’s claim to the Palestinian territory.   The inclusion of Baluch territories in Pakistan was the outcome of due political process that followed the Independence of India Act 1947; the Khan of Kalat publicly announced accession to Pakistan as did other princedoms prior to Kalat; this is a historic fact regardless of the exceedingly selective and highly twisted account of history that has been propagated to support the perception of occupation.  It is now no secret that individuals as nefarious as George Soros, the Hungarian-American Zionist who is the key force behind organizing and abetting pseudo-revolutions all around the globe, has been at work for long via various non-militant organizations and publications like the Human Rights Watch, the Radio Free Europe and the Foreign Policy Magazine among many others, to run propaganda campaigns aimed at portraying episodes of violence in Baluchistan as the sole consequence of brutality on part of the State.  Selig Harrison, of the Soros & Rockefeller funded Centre for International Policy, has blatantly made explicit calls for arming the so-called Baluch nationalists: “to counter what China is doing in Pakistan, the United States should play hardball by supporting the movement for an independent Baluchistan along the Arabian Sea and working with Baluch insurgents to oust the Chinese from their budding naval base at Gwadar.” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is yet another conspirator that has promoted the so-called cause of ‘Free Baluchistan’ and has been sponsoring the Baluchistan International Conference that is held annually in the U.S.  Available evidence, regardless of how scanty up until the revelations of the captured RAW operative Kulbhushun Yadev, now categorically points towards involvement of India and the U.S. in skilfully manipulating the circumstances in Baluchistan at different points in time.   In fact it is quite unchallenging to conclude how perfectly the clandestine effort to fuel unrest in Baluchistan falls in line with the covert underhanded tactics commonly employed by global powers to achieve objectives of the New World Order.

The fact the hereditary Khan of Kalat also alludes to ‘moral responsibility’ of the British in his plea for support for Greater Baluchistan is yet another point that betrays the authenticity of the cause of perceived liberation.  It was the British themselves that denied Baluch people the right to reforms unlike the rest of united India.  The British Administration cunningly cited the political backwardness of Baluch people and the disunited nature of Baluch territories as reasons for turning down the demand for reforms whereas it was precisely these very facets of the situation in Baluchistan that were in dire need of being addressed so as to commence the process of bringing the Baluch into the mainstream on the same footing as the rest of British India.  The truth of the matter is the British had no interest in uplifting the Baluch; their sole aim was to cash on the political backwardness and division amongst the inhabitants of the region for a long time to come.  Not to mention, the financial and political patronage afforded to the Baluch elite by the British Administration through the course of their rule in India and the deliberate tampering of the true spirit of the tribal system whereby benefit of the tribal elite no longer remained entwined with that of the tribe itself.  It is in this historic context that we now see a bunch of self-exiled Baluch elite beseech the British to become the saviour of the Baluch people.  However this is no display of Stockholm syndrome wherein the abused develops a distorted perception of the abusing authority and grows to trust the abuser.  Mir Suleiman Dawood summoned British support and articulated his keenness to accept provision from Israel, if that may be the case, in strict accordance with the designs of global powers for the establishment of the New World Order.  From an impartial perspective driven by logic the petition for support made by Mir Suleiman Dawood therefore only tends to betray the truth hidden behind the narrative of alleged Baluch nationalism and the banners of Occupied/Free/Greater Baluchistan i.e. it is not much more than a strategically employed vehicle of the New World Order with its reins safely resting in the hands of global powers and their operatives.  Neither the so called nationalist Baluch Elite (who not so surprisingly choose to live in self-exile in the power centres of the modern world and are more than welcomed as political asylum seekers by their hosts) nor their corporate sponsors or their ‘friends’ in the West’s military-industrial complex, have any interest in the welfare of the Baluch.  To the contrary, it would not be an overstatement to say none of these entities gives a hoot about ‘human rights’ or ‘liberation’ or the welfare of common people.  As with ‘democracy’, these emotional slogans are employed only to appeal to the more susceptible among the general population as well as draw in the pseudo-intellectual section of the society.

The socio-cultural spectrum in Baluchistan is undoubtedly characterized by the tribal system and a vast majority of tribal leaders is unquestionably very resistant to allow measures aimed at empowerment of ordinary people since from their standpoint permeation of positive influence at the grass-roots level may tend to undermine their authority and control over the destiny of their tribal subjects thus rendering them irrelevant.  However the bottom-line is had the rulers of Pakistan been sincere at seeking a resolution to the grievances of the Baluch over the past 70 years, we would have effectively removed, to a large extent if not fully, the seeds of discord that have been nurtured and exploited since before the birth of Pakistan.  Jinnah was too well aware of the possible perils that lay ahead both for the new born state of Pakistan and the Baluch people if the quagmire that the affair of Baluchistan presented was not handled with great deliberation, profound insight and abundance of foresight.  Hence in February 1948 when he addressed the Shahi Jirga in Sibi he went as far as saying “I may point out that Baluchistan is a deficit province already to the extent of one crore and a half and Pakistan will have to bear further financial burden to help the people as indicated above but I am hopeful that Pakistan will not hesitate to bear it for the sake of the progress and welfare of the people of Baluchistan.”  Jinnah did not hesitate to unequivocally outline more than once the welfare of Baluch people must be made one of the foremost priorities of the Federation.  Little did he know he would soon not be here to watch over the interests and the rights of the Baluch that he had been advocating for since before the partition of united India and that the rulers subsequent to him would be too compliant to question the covert agenda of the Great Game and too obedient to disengage from it due to vested self-interest.  Perhaps it is not just the Baluch who feel betrayed Jinnah himself would have had more than reason enough to feel as or more betrayed at the hands of our ruling elite.

This article has been written with the sole aim of disseminating an unbiased historic perspective on the affair of Baluchistan and its significance in the establishment of the New World Order.  As it is, one cannot truly understand how inauthentic the widely propagated myth of Greater Baluchistan is unless one has access to an impartial historic account of the happenings in the region.  Unfortunately the popularly ‘told version’ of history is almost always highly distorted, carefully constructed, and deliberately designed to achieve premeditated long term goals.