Balochistan was annexed by Pakistan Army on 1st April 1948 against the wishes of the Baloch people and Mir Ahmad Khan was forced to sign the merger agreement. Since then, Balochistan voices have been violently crushed by Pakistan’s military and its different agencies are levying atrocities on the people of Balochistan with single agenda of keeping it as part of Pakistan for exploiting the vast natural resources of Balochistan. Gross underdevelopment, poverty, illiteracy and poor living conditions in the region have given rise to a strong freedom movement, however, the voices for freedom are being forcefully silenced by the use of the regular Pak military. This has forced the Balochis to start an armed struggle.
Baloch’s experience of Pakistani statehood is structured around political excesses exemplified in the unilateral annexation of the State of Swat in 1948 by Pakistan and economic exploitation manifested through the underdevelopment of the province. As Balochistan celebrates its Independence Day on 11th August, patriotic Balochis are launching a campaign to expose Pak atrocities in Balochistan and the poor condition of Baloch people. The campaign is aimed at bringing the suffering of Balochis to the international stage for the world community to see.
The desolate province has for long been in the grip of lawlessness and its developmental mosaic has been uneven. Moreover, the tribal factor and the deployment of security forces have made it a contested ground, hampering political harmony as well as socio-economic cohesion.
More than 41 % of households in Balochistan live below the income poverty line. The region is marred by extremely poor living infrastructure and food shortages. A recent report of the UNO declared that Balochistan is considered the poorest and most neglected province in the world.
Illiteracy is one of the grave issues which is running long in Balochistan. Balochistan stands at the lowest point in illiteracy rate of other provinces and even the one who is literate in the province is not able to read and write. The illiteracy rate in Balochistan stands at a meagre 44% of the country. Moreover, in spite of the very low literacy rate, the Pakistani Government & political Stooges have no interest in improving the education sector in the region.
Balochistan is a site of infrastructural development disparities. It suffers an acute shortage of water and none of the planned hydropower plants is operational. The severity of this problem is exemplified in the acute non-availability of clean drinking water in areas located near natural gas deposits.
Unemployment rate is the highest in the country. Every year, nearly 25,000 students graduate from different universities in Balochistan. However, only 2,000 managed to secure jobs. Even in CPEC projects, jobs are given to a large number of non-Balochis, especially Punjabis, even though there is an excess in the number of unemployed Baloch engineers and technicians.
Natural Resource Curse
Balochistan is the most underdeveloped province of Pakistan, but it is also the most resource-rich region as well. Over the last many years it has supplied natural gas to the rest of the country for industrialization. It is rich in mineral resources such as gold and copper. Importantly, it can connect with Iran, Afghanistan, the Persian Gulf, and Central Asia. But still, it is the poorest of the provinces of Pakistan with the highest mortality rate.
Role of China & CPEC in Baloch Sufferings
Pakistan is turning Gwadar and other coastal areas of Balochistan into a Chinese Kaliningrad which already has the largest concentration of military cantonments and bases in the region and new bases are being built in Jiwani, Sonmiani and other areas. What is worse is that Baloch people are losing their land & their jobs for nothing in return.
Atrocities of Pakistani Army & Human Rights Violations
From 2009 onwards countless political and student activists were kidnapped, detained and extra-judicially murdered as a result of the “Kill and Dump” policy of the Pakistani establishment. More than 53,000 Baloch people have been abducted and killed in fake encounters so far. Using brutal force and launching military operations by Pak Army against unarmed Baloch people on the name of controlling insurgency had increased since 2014. The killing of Baloch leader Nawab Akbar Shahbaz Khan Bugti in 2006 and the mysterious death of Karima Baloch in 2020 expose the extent to which Pak Army can go to eliminate Baloch leaders.
Armed Rebellion by BLA & Recent Attacks
Recently BLA has upped the ante and increased armed attacks on Pak Forces making it clear that they can well fight & die for their freedom. BLA killed over 100 Pakistan soldiers and officers in two separate attacks on Frontier Corps Bases in Balochistan’s Panjgur and Noshki districts in Feb 2022 clearly showing that BLA is now a potent people’s voice and can execute decisive offensive action against the autocratic Pakistan army.
Recent National & International Protest by Baloch Organisation
Baloch supporting organisations mark March 27 as ‘Black Day’ world over. Recently strong protest marches were staged by Baloch National Movement in Germany, Netherland and South Korea in March 2022. Last month, Baloch Voice Association organised a demonstration in front of the UN Office in Geneva to highlight the atrocities being committed by the Pakistan establishment, especially the enforced disappearances.