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Tuesday, 16 August 2016
Will India do a 1971 and get Independence to Baluchistan?
Will India do a 1971 and get Independence to Baluchistan?
Mohammed Rafiq Sethi
Mohammed Rafiq Sethi, I was born there.
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Pakistan with 60+ answers
Before I answer this question, let me describe Baluchistan. People here in Quora think that Baluchistan is also some territory that is similar to Bangladesh, i.e. it is teeming with millions of people who are tired of oppression from the center that is dominated by Punjabis. The Pakistani army is killing the Baluch people and their houses are being burned and destroyed, their women are being raped, the place is littered with bodies, and there are rivers of blood flowing. The schools are closed and the communication is cut off while the army and the police are killing dozens of people protesting for their rights. The Punjabis are stealing their natural resources and not giving anything back. The hospitals are full of the wounded and the orphanages don’t know what to do with parent-less children. The neighboring countries have millions of Baluch refugees and Pakistan Air Force routinely bombs their camps in Iran and Afghanistan. Some Baluch are fleeing their homeland in boats and the Arabian Sea is full of boat people trying to land on the shores of Iran, Oman, Yemen and Somalia and even beyond. Human Rights groups are condemning the Pakistani atrocities and the United Nations security Council has kicked out Pakistan.
I am not being funny or sarcastic but the truth is that hardly anyone lives there. From there I mean the Baluchistan.The following are the FACTS.
Baluchistan is a vast territory that is almost empty of human settlements. Its harsh and inhospitable environment is such that very few people live there. Over the years the Baluch tribes have migrated to the neighboring areas in search of better lands and the figures indicate that more Baluch live in Western parts of Pakistan Punjab and in Sind and Karachi than they live in the Baluchistan province. Even within Baluchistan, most of the population lives in the districts that are closer to the main part of country than in the far Western parts. In fact the parts like Kharan and Western Chagai are uninhabited. That is another reason that Pakistan has conducted its nuclear tests in the hill of Chagai because no one lives there for miles and miles on end.
This is another reason that the communications were never developed in sparsely populated parts of Baluchistan even before Independence. There was no need for the British to do anything to control a population because there was none. A railway line was built to the Afghan and the Iranian border by the British but for strategic reasons and not for anything else.
Here is Baluchistan
This is not to say that the few people who live in Baluchistan are not important but to say that a large number of Baluch people has taken up arms against the central government that a 1971 can be repeated in Pakistan is outright based on wishful hysteria that my Indian friends would very much like to believe. As if the armed insurrection has millions of soldiers. The fact is that it is not true.
The BLA (Baluchistan Liberation Army) and the likes are run by the same tribal chiefs who are disgruntled or no longer on the payroll of the Central Government as the British had them on theirs. Pakistani people have known the names like Bugti, Mengal, Bezinjo, Marri, and those names have been in the government and outside the government as well. If one Bugti is the Cheif Minister the other is a rebel. And if one Marri is cashing in his royalties, the other is sitting in Kabul telling the Indians that he can bring trouble to Pakistan.
As far as natural resources are concerned, yes Baluchistan has mountains but not all mountains are filled with gold. The area is so remote that the mineral potential of the area has never been explored. World’s fifth largest gold and copper mine, the famous Rico Dic Mine that was discovered in the eighties has yet to make Pakistan rich. There were never the insurgency that prevented mining but the ineptness of the mine owners be they Pakistanis, Canadians or Chileans, but that’s another story.
And then not ALL of Baluchistan is populated by Baluch either. In fact the map below shows the distribution of Baluch and Pashtun areas. Northeastern part of what is Baluchistan is purely Pashtun inculding the largest city Quetta. Add a few million Afghan refugees and you have the Baluch become invisible.
There are tensions between the two communities and the arrival of the Afghan Pashtun refugees has certainly tipped the balance in a way that the Baluch have been even more diluted and have become relatively lessor in numbers.
According to the Census of Pakistan and considering that only 4.96 percent of the population of Pakistan lives in Baluchistan, if you subtract the Pashtun population 2,186, 917 (based on the same census) from the figure for the whole province of 6,565,885, the remaining Baluch population of the province becomes just about 2.5 percent of the whole country of about 190 million people.
Now again even a single individual’s rights must be protected and I am by no means trying to say that the Baluch do not have rights as other Pakistanis but the hoopla that is being created in these quora is not that significant and even amounting to wishfull thinking.
This is how Baluchistan looks like in another picture.
Other factors show my reasoning at well. Not a single city in Baluch inhabited areas is larger than 75000 people. Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province (including both Baluch and Pashtun) with a population of 750 000 is NOT a 100 percent Baluch City as I noted before.
Take a look and Turbat is the largest population center with a population of 74,000 people that is at number eighty four on the list of Pakistani cities. Following is the picture of Turbet, the largest city in Baluch-inhabited Baluchistan.
Other cities where the Baluch are majority, when compared to rest of Pakistan rank at: Sibi at 111 (pop: 64,000), Gwadar at 122 (pop: 52,000), Kashmore at 186 (34,800), Pasni at 189 (33,000), Kharan at 202 (31,000), Mastung at 211 (29000), Kalat at 225 (27,000), bela at 265 (20,000), Dera Bugti at 279 (18,000) Mach at 280 (17,000), Jiwani at 292 (16,000), Dhadar at 309 (15,000), these are just a few examples. You can see the list of Pakistani cities here.
This would make the population density of Baluchistan as 18.6 persons per square kilometer. The population density of Bangladesh is 1,101 persons and the population density of India is 368. Pakistani population is diluted precisely because of largely uninhabited land mass of Baluchistan and it is 241.
Following is the map of Pakistan according to population density
As you can see that parts of Baluchistan are uninhabited like the part of Sind adjoining Rajasthan. The following map shows the arable land and it is understandable that only those areas are inhabited that are able to raise crops.
Please note that almost entire province of Baluchistan is barren and therefore cannot sustain any population. I wonder how the army of the freedom fighters who are fighting the the eleventh best army in the world are going to be victorious?