- Balochistan constitutes almost half of Pakistan (44%) and is home to around 14 million people
- By virtue of its strong natural resource reserve, it is a key energy supplier to many regions
- There have been mass killings, rape and blood baths in the region which have made Balochistan call for International intervention
Sipping on some coffee, I watch an anchor from a leading portal interview Naela Qadri Baloch, the face of the Baloch struggle. She makes a rookie mistake by calling her a Pakistani. Tch Tch. The rage isn’t visible on her unreadable face but her words, “Humein Pakistani kehna hamare liye takhleef ki baat hai (It’s painful hearing someone call us a Pakistani)” elicits an apology from the interviewer. In a matter of minutes, Naela pours her heart out and talks about the struggle of the entire Balochistan. From the rapes to the 25,000 missing cases to the bodies found chopped off for Organ trafficking, her blow-by-blow account of what goes on in Balochistan will give you goosebumps and will definitely send chills down your spine.
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Activists fighting for a cause are usually backed up by a single group, but in this case, Ms. Quadri says, she has the support of an entire nation. Here are the principal facts of a soon to be an independent nation, has been penned down-
On March 27,1948, the Pakistan Army was ordered to make its move of aggression towards the coastal regions of Balochistan. There’s a lot that went about leading to that day of conquest, from Jinnah accepting the accession under the barrel of a gun to the Balochistan parliament rejecting the accession as the British Empire had given an Independent status to the then country under the Kalat reign even before India. Unfortunately, the Pakistan military occupied Balochistan and their independence lasted for about 227 days after the British withdrawal.
Understanding Balochistan’s Importance-
The land mass named Balochistan is of the size of Texas, constituting almost half of Pakistan i.e. 44 percent. Amongst a myriad of reasons, there are three well-talked areas that make Balochistan economically and strategically, an important resource for Pakistan.
I. Natural Resources
By virtue of its strong natural resource reserve, it is a key energy supplier to many regions in Pakistan. Large quantities of minerals such as copper and iron ore are found in the reservoirs. The Geographical Survey has discovered reserves of 200 million tonnes.
II. Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline
Balochistan shares its border with Iran, a major gas and oil producer and this fact has been leveraged by Pakistan. There has been a proposed 2,100km long Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline part of which will pass through Balochistan, which is estimated to be around 1500km.
III. Gwadar Port
The Gwadar port is expected to generate billions of dollars in revenue due to its strategic value. It’s the shortest route for oil supplies to China and passes more than 13 million barrel oil per day.
Current Day Balochistan-
Exploitation of its natural wealth and military atrocities has led Balochistan to follow the path of Independence like Bangladesh. Naela Qadri in her recent interview with a leading news portal said that the Pakistan army has wiped many villages by killing men or torturing them after their abduction leading to a land filled with thrown corpses. On the other hand, the Baloch women are victims of Army rape cells.
Even in the face of such horror, Balochistan’s struggle against the Pakistan rule has been relentless.
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Hue and cry about Balochistan’s plight is all over social media. With support from the Indian mass and PM Narendra Modi’s Independence Day speech on August 15, the future of Balochistan seems to be optimistic. Modi said, “Today from the ramparts of Red Fort, I want to greet and express my thanks to some people. In the last few days, people of Balochistan, Gilgit, Pakistan Occupied Kashmir have thanked me, have expressed gratitude, and expressed good wishes for me. The people who are living far away, whom I have never seen, never met – such people have expressed appreciation for Prime Minister of India, for 125 crore countrymen. This is an honour for our countrymen.”
— Faiz Baluch (@Faiz_Baluch) August 15, 2016
Meanwhile, Pakistan has been wrongfully accusing India; the Pakistan government reported a case of an Indian spy entering Balochistan with a fake Iranian passport but these claims have been refuted by Ms. Quadri.
– by Karishma Vanjani of NewsGram. Twitter: @BladesnBoots