by Editor | March 6, 2012 9:53 am
In extension of February 2012 meeting(Conclusions at Link), the preceptor group held a second round of in house session to discuss the Balochistan issue with a view of general perceptions among Baloch and Non Baloch. Members were tasked to dig up credible data to support their logics. The group specially considered perceptions in the media. The sharable data and some of the important discussion points are given under:
An Update of May 2012
On 17 May media reported that DG NAB Balochistan observed 23 suspects have been arrested in last 4 months. Corruption of two ministers is under probe. Only 7 to 8 % work done on development upto now. Dawn News
347,190 Sq, Kms.
Baluchistan, which straddles three countries (Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan) and borders the Arabian Sea, is a vast and sparsely populated province (6,511,000 people occupying 43 percent of Pakistan’s territory) that contains within its borders all the contradictions that affect the region, including conflict between the United States and the Taliban.
Further, although it is the most sparsely populated province of Pakistan (about 4 percent of the present population), Baluchistan is economically and strategically important. The subsoil holds a substantial portion of Pakistan’s energy and mineral resources, which is 2nd largest gas reservoir of Pakistan. It also holds large quantities of coal, gold, copper, silver, platinum, aluminum, and, above all, uranium and is a potential transit zone for a pipeline transporting natural gas from Iran and Turkmenistan to India.
One of the world’s largest copper deposits (and its matrix-associated residual gold) have been found at Reko Diq in the Chagai District of Balochistan. Reko Diq is a giant mining project in Chaghi. The deposits at Reko Diq are hoped to be even bigger than those of Sarcheshmeh in Iran and Escondida in Chile (presently, the second and the third largest proven deposits of copper in the world).
The Baluchistan coast is particularly important. It provides Pakistan with an exclusive economic zone potentially rich in oil, gas, and minerals spread over approximately 180,000 square kilometers while giving Baluchistan considerable strategic importance. Two of Pakistan’s three naval bases—Ormara and Gwadar—are situated on the Baluchistan coast. Located close to the Strait of Hormuz, at the entrance to the Persian Gulf, Gwadar is expected to provide a port, warehouses, and industrial facilities to more than twenty countries—including those in the Gulf, on the Red Sea, and in Central Asia and East Africa as well as Iran, India, and parts of northwest China. Pakistan government is building a road and rail network linking Gwadar to Afghanistan and Central Asia; the network is intended to provide these landlocked areas with an outlet to the sea.
Gwadar port, situated 725 kilometers to the west of Karachi, has been designed to bolster Pakistan’s strategic defenses by providing an alternative to the Karachi port. In fact, the Gwadar project is an integral part of a policy that seeks to diversify Pakistan’s port facilities. The construction of the Ormara base in Baluchistan, which became operational in 2000, is also a part of the same policy.
China’s presence further enhances Gwadar’s importance. Beside strategic ties, Beijing also operates the gold and copper mines in Saindak, near the borders of Afghanistan and Iran not far from the Ras Koh, the mountains where Pakistan’s nuclear tests are conducted.
Iran, which has a Baluch population of about one million, is closely monitoring these developments. Tehran is afraid of Baluch nationalism and of subversive U.S. actions on its own territory. It is also worried about competition from Pakistan in opening up Central Asia. Few Gulf states have relations with exiled Baloch leadership, rebel balochs were given refuge in Gulf states.
Reasons of Problem according to Baloch perception:
Today’s crisis in Baluchistan was provoked, ironically, by the central government’s attempt to develop this backward area by undertaking a series of large projects. Instead of cheering these projects, the Baluch, faced with slowing population growth, responded with fear that they would be dispossessed of their land and resources and of their distinct identity. Pakistan Peoples Party Senator Mir Lashkari Raisani said on February 13: “There is a long list of discrepancies not addressed yet despite the prime minister’s renewed assurances to hold talks with disgruntled Baloch leaders.” (source: ET) In addition, three fundamental issues are fueling this crisis: expropriation, marginalization, and dispossession.
Baluchistan has failed to benefit from its own natural gas deposits. The first deposits were discovered in Sui in 1953. Gas was supplied to Multan and Rawalpindi, in Punjab, in 1964; but according to Balochs, Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan, had to wait until 1986 for its share of the gas, which it received at that time only because the central government decided to extend the gas pipeline because it had decided to station a military garrison in the provincial capital.
In fact, although it accounts for 36 percent of Pakistan’s total gas production, the province consumes only 17 percent approx of its own production. The remaining 83 percent is sent to the rest of the country. In addition, the central government charges a much lower price for Baluch gas than it does for gas produced in other provinces, particularly Sind and Punjab. Reports by geological experts indicate the presence of 19 trillion cubic feet of gas and 6 trillion barrels of oil reserves in Baluchistan. They want an agreement for the equitable sharing of resources.
The Baluch fear that they will become a minority in their own land. If the central government’s plans succeed, the non baloch population of Balochistan will rise with Sindhi and Punjabi population.
The government is willing to construct military garrisons in the three most sensitive areas of Baluchistan—Sui, with its gas-producing installations; Gwadar, with its port; and Kohlu, the “capital” of the Marri tribe, to which most of the nationalist hard-liners belong. The Baluch, already feeling colonized by the Punjabis, feel dispossessed by these projects.
Behind these three problems, which the Baluch consider a casus belli, looms the demand for autonomy, if not for total independence. While Islamabad considers Baluchistan’s resources as national property and has acted accordingly, the Baluch are demanding that the province’s resources be used only for the benefit of the Baluch people.
Reasons of Problem according to non Baloch perception
Media Focus (Existing and being developed) for Balochistan:
The Print and electronic media of recent past mostly carry following lead lines:-
· Pak/Iran pipeline via Balochistan
Recently Interior Minister Rehman Malik said: “speaking on record I want to tell everybody that 6,000 persons had gone missing initially but now the Balochistan Chief Minister’s office has estimated that around 800 were missing after some progress has been made on the issue. The Balochistan Liberation Army claims that 900 persons are missing and the list compiled at the Supreme Court indicates that 400 persons are missing. The minister said two judicial commissions had been established, one said that 48 persons were missing while the other was still to complete the inquiry.
Foreign Support of Baloch Separatist:
“Pakistan government officially approached Afghan President Karzai with facts and figures and Kabul has formally given an assurance that infiltration of militants into the border town of Chaman will be stopped. According to Interior Minister: “There was a training camp of 5,000 people in Kandahar but it has been dismantled now and its operators have moved out of the area.” Contrary to Rehman Malik’s viewpoint, support of Baloch movement from Afghanistan is still continuing, on Saturday 3 March, an attempt to smuggle heavy explosives covered by wood failed when a truck from Afghanistan, carrying weapons and explosives over turned at Chaman.
1. The study group noted that the way forward to get out of the wretched state is not through application of security instrument alone but through adoption of all encompassing indirect strategic approach to defeat insurgency and terrorism. The discussion focused on issue like insurgents capitalize on societal problems, often called gaps; counter-insurgency addresses gaps. When the gaps are wide, they create a sea of discontent, creating the environment in which the insurgents can operate. Our successive failures to defeat insurgency in Balochistan could be attributed to our utter lack of comprehension of the Baloch tribal system and thus non-appreciation of societal problems. None ever tried to understand the strangulating environment in which common tribesmen had been suffering since long. The state never tried to comprehend the debilitating environment with a view to liberate the hapless tribesmen from their psycho-social and politico-economic woes inflicted by the few Sardars/Nawabs. Thus the tribesmen had no alternative but to submit to their absolute masters. The overall objective of the indirect approach is to win over the masses by alleviating their sufferings and effecting visible and sustainable improvements in their socio-economic, psycho-political and cultural spheres of life. Thus, my conclusions from tribal environment suggested adoption of “Indirect Approach” having ingredients of success against the Marri-dominated insurgency which aimed to:-
· Create conducive environment for development, generate large scale economic activity and employment opportunities to benefit the local people.
· Develop, strengthen and demonstrate mutuality of long-term interests in peaceful co-existence and its dividends among all the stake-holders including the Marri & Luni tribes, the Govts of Balochistan and Pakistan. Chamalang Mines is an example already discussed in the group study of Feb 2012.
· Immense benefits going directly to local Waderas, Maliks and common tribesmen will effectively negate the venomous propaganda about usurpation of mineral resources of Balochistan by outsiders and act as a strong incentive for the masses and majority of the militants thereby weakening and alienating the hard core militants/terrorists and their masters.
· The incentives must aim at creating irresistible stakes for the masses and especially for the militants, e.g. adoption of their children for good quality education, sustenance of their dependents, adequate healthcare, social sector development, human resource development, and generation of massive employment opportunities; assurance for better life to the Marris, especially the Ghazinis, persuading them to part with their self-destruct inherited militancy.
· Winning over the tribes would lead to sanitizing the insurgency plagued areas and thus alienating the Marri Farraris; an indirect and the most effective way of defeating insurgency leading to enduring peace.
· The indirect strategic approach must ultimately aim at provoking significant psycho-social and politico-economic sustainable change in the erstwhile insurgency prone and the Sardars controlled landscape of Balochistan.
· Mobilization of the people through massive media and PR campaign to subdue the nefarious propaganda that distorts the image and noble intent of the indirect approach. Let the voice of the overwhelming majority be heard and felt propelling the masses to rise against the menace in partnership with the law enforcement agencies (LEAs).
· Every effort must be made to enhance the credibility, being essence of durable relations between LEAs and the tribes. It is thus vital that we neither over-promise nor under-deliver.
Source URL: http://www.mediapoint.pk/special-balochistan-report-march-2012/
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