Pakistan’s Dirty Secret War

Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-Chief
Last Modified: 20:50 PM EDT, 5 April 2012

Balochistan Man, Photo by Colonial BalochistanBALOCHISTAN, Pakistan – Recently, we wrote about the Tuareg of North Africa and the battle they are fighting in Mali for independence as an autonomous country. There is another little known group of people also fighting for their independence, as well as control over the natural resource in their region, the Baloch. These Asiatic people inhabit Balochistan which is a territory located in southwest Pakistan.

It lies in a mountainous region that is rich in natural gas. It is also Pakistan’s largest province and the area from which Pakistan imports much of its natural gas.

The Baloch, view Pakistan’s unilateral ownership of this natural resource as larceny because they are not remunerated, nor can they adequately utilize the gas because so many of their homes and villages have been razed to the ground.

Balochistan borders two conflict nations, Iran and Afghanistan. The Baloch rebels control the border crossings into Iran and Afghanistan, and in the case of the latter, this nearly inaccessible region can only be navigated with the permission and guidance of the Balochian militia.

Although it is not a common occurrence there have been reports that members of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda have joined their ranks, but this could be because these religious ideologues have fled into hiding, or they are meeting arms dealers to replenish their weaponry.

The Baloch, an ethnic minority in Pakistan, has been engaged in a 60-year-long insurgency against the government. Because America and other nations have focused on Pakistan for its tacit support and harboring of Taliban operatives, other injustices that occur in the country often go unacknowledged and definitely under-reported in the Western media.

In fact, some have even labeled this conflict as “Pakistan’s Dirty Little War.” A fact which should give America pause when Congress continues to approve economic support for this country.  In fact, America provides Pakistan nearly $1bn in foreign aid annually. (Source: Guardian UK)

As with many conflict torn areas of the world, some warring factions employ the frightening practice of kidnapping, torture, and forced disappearance of the relatives of their enemies. This occurred in Libya post-Gaddafi, in Congo, and also in Pakistan. In fact, in Pakistan, there are organizations which have been formed to help families get information about loved ones who have been kidnapped, and Amnesty International has focused extensive attention to this issue.

As with the Tuareg and other minority groups around the world who are persecuted and marginalized, the Baloch live in a constant state of conflict. They not only face violence, murder, and larceny, but they must also contend with the kidnapping of their loved ones. Often children are taken who could be trafficked into sexual slavery, pressed into war as child fighters, or outright killed.

The Baloch have refused to negotiate with the Pakistani government which they view with suspicion. During the six decade conflict the Pakistani government has failed to make a good faith effort to meet the needs and requests of the Balochians. There have been gross human rights abuses as well as the burning of homes and rape of women.

It seems the only end to this 60-year conflict will occur when the Balochian achieve the right to self-governance in a country which has seceded from Pakistan.

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About Ayanna Nahmias

Ayanna Nahmias was interviewed on Radio Netherlands Worldwide program titled 'The State We’re In,' about her life in Africa and her determination to transcend her past. She started the Nahmias Cipher Report to provide information to readers about life in emerging economies, and to provide alternative insight into the challenges faced by women and children living in these countries. The blog features stories from around the world to inspire other people to persevere and triumph in the face of great adversity. She blogs about current events in emerging economies, international politics, human rights abuses, women’s rights and child advocacy.

View all posts by Ayanna Nahmias

4 Comments on “Pakistan’s Dirty Secret War”

  1. al-Qãhırıï Says:

    I think you forgot to mention that Baluchistan straddles the Pakistan-Iran border. Around half of Baluchistan is in Iran in other words. In Iran, they face similar oppression and disenfranchisement, because they are Sunnis in a Shi’a-dominated country, and because they are non-Persians in a Persian dominated country.

    In fact, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding the Baluchistan-Iran conflict. Confessions of an accused Baluchi terrorist of his actions against the state/military and his ties to U.S.-Israeli intelligence were broadcast on PressTV, Iran’s state-sponsored international English-language news channel. The UK pounced on the opportunity and banned PressTV from being broadcast in the UK.

    More importantly, the Baluchis grievances are being exploited to weaken Iran from within by U.S.-Israeli intelligence.

    Both of these countries- i.e. Iran and Pakistan- need to get their act together. If Baluchi separatists succeed, they would lose valuable shipping lanes, have a hostile presence at their doorstep in the form of a U.S.-aid dependent newly-created country (akin to U.S. sponsorship of drug shipping hub Kosovo, or Russia-sponsored Abkhazia & South Ossetia), and they would lose a tremendous amount of natural resources that they need if they ever decide to start developing.

    There is a large community of Baluchis in Oman, where I used to live, because part of what is now Pakistani Baluchistan was once colonized by Oman, and because many Baluchis came long ago as hired soldiers (I’m told). The Pakistani Embassy in Muscat is flooded with Omani passports of ethnic Baluchis who keep ties with their ancestral homeland. They’re a great people who deserve respect, especially from their fellow Muslims.


    • Kim Says:

      Thank you for providing this side of the story, people from the west who have never been to these places nor do they understand the on ground realities and dynamics but still keep spreading their filthy propaganda and support (economic+weaponry) for the separatists in the developing world.


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