Articles of the year 2005

The Baluch Imbroglio
Published on January 09th, 2005

Reading the reports on Baluchistan one is concerned that the situation is threatening to get out of hand. It seems that Islamabad has not learned the lessons of the past, and continues to believe that all is well in the rest of the country.

There are a few points that are well worth considering. To start with, the Baluch have a problem not of there own making, that is the economic deprivation that is being thrust upon them. Their stand—that they are being robbed of their mineral wealth without a proper share is correct to a degree. The Sindh Govt also is of the opinion that they are being deprived. The Punjabi it seems is again the elder brother taking the bulk of the benefits, and allowing a pittance to the other 3 provinces. This may or may not be true, but it is the perception that prevails throughout the country, and presents a danger to the very existence of the Republic. The bureaucrat in Islamabad is playing a very dangerous game in exercising his power, and in thinking that as a good colonial power he can use this power to beat the colonies into submission. He does not realize that the British had to leave and so was the Creation of Bangladesh not an accident of nature but the folly of Islamabad. In persuading President Musharraf to take a hard line Islamabad is playing right into the trap that has been so well laid.

The Mengal remark " this is not the 70's" has to be looked at in reality. Today the Pakistani, Baluch and otherwise, is better armed than ever before. Iraq is already on fire. In Afghanistan the Taliban/Al Qaeda are putting up a hell of a fight, and are not allowing Karzai to settle down. Iraq gets worse by the day. Iran is next, so say the Neo-cons. Waziristan is clouded and may or may not settle. Gwadar, Quetta are already on a slow boil. The enemies of Pakistan have made their intentions clear. Mullah Omar and Osama Bin Laden still loose, they are shadows in the classic guerilla sense, and their hideouts cannot be identified.

If the Bugti area erupts our army will definitely be sucked in to a war that will fester, and bleed us. With the Mullahs having identified Musharraf as a prime target for being a nominee of Bush's, the sands of Baluchistan will serve to bring the Pakistan Army into a hostile environment where Tanks and APC's will be less useful than they are in Iraq. The rallying cry of the Taliban/ AlQaeda will be to attack the infidels, and we good Muslims will find ourselves playing the role of the Kaffir. The MMA have already indicated that they have distanced themselves from Bush, and would like Musharraf to do so. Islamabad has not yet decided to take the MMA on first, because they are giving the lead to the anti-Bush sentiments. ( The call for the expulsion of the US Ambassador was one such message.) The latest weapon in the world is the Suicide Bomber. Of this kind we have many in Pakistan. Lest Islamabad forget. Our Army has been trained to fight a traditional, Classic war. The Suicide Bomber is not new for us, but has been used by our people against others ---- infidels. Our Jawan would find it difficult to understand the Cross –labeling Who is the infidel here? .

Now a situation could develop whereby all these fronts could open up and we would be on the hunt and attack missions in all these areas. Would our Indian friends, and Afghanis not relish this opportunity to muddy the water further, and benefit from a situation causing us discomfort.? The dangers are enormous, only this time the terrain is here and the time is now. We must ensure that we maintain Peace within our borders. This is of Paramount importance. To see India bleed in Kashmir, the US in Afghanistan and now the US in Iraq, makes for a spectacle on CNN, but for Pakistan to feature regularly would be a disaster. We don't have the staying power of the US or the Indians, and so the thinkers in Islamabad must be reined in lest they lead us into yet another debacle. They would be well advised to read the Hamood ur Rahman report, for it is the same mind set that lost us half the country.