The Pakistani Spectator

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Pashtun-Baloch Relations in Balochistan

By Guest Blogger • Dec 1st, 2009 • Category: Politics, Worth A Second Look • 27 Comments

Balochistan is the only province of Pakistan that shares boundaries with the two most strategically important countries of the world: Afghanistan and Iran. At the same time, besides Punjab, it is also the only province that has direct inland connection with all of the provinces of Pakistan. Therefore, the status of Balochistan as a prime strategic location is axiomatic. Representing the five percent of total population, Balochistan constitutes the 42 percent of total area of Pakistan.

Furthermore, it is also the only federating unit where two significant ethnicities, the Baloch and the Pashtuns, reside in almost equal proportions. This article aims at highlighting the critical dimensions of relations between both communities.

Though, at the moment both communities are at relative peace, there can be no speculations about peace in future. Each group has a history of wars and feuds, and there exists a visible crack in the socio-economic outlooks of both societies. Before delineating Pashtun-Baloch relations, it will be pertinent to have a glimpse of the comparative view of their social build-up.

The Baloch is a loosely interconnected ethnic group, majority of which is residing in Balochistan. It is divided into two major sub-groups; Sulaimani and Makrani. Contrary to this, the Pashtuns are more interconnected and divided into hundreds of larger sub-groups. The majority of Pushtun resides in NWFP. They are proud of their rich cultural identity. Except few tribes, Pashtuns speak Pashto. However, from lingual perspective, the Balochs are divided into several lingual groups in Pakistan: Seraiki speaking Baloch, Sindhi speaking Baloch, Balochi speaking Baloch, Makrani Speaking Baloch and etc.

In Balochistan, the Pashtuns are more educated and developed than the Baloch people. Overall, both populations have different socio-economic outlooks. Though, the Pashtuns have not asserted their presence on the landscape of Balochistan so far, however, the chances of their likely dominance are understandable to anyone interested in the affairs of the province.

Up till now, the Pashtuns have proved to be tolerant towards other ethnicities in Balochistan. They have never resented for Baloch-dominated governance of the province. At the moment, the highest officials of the province, the Governor and the Chief Ministers, belong to the Baloch tribes. Interestingly, since the creation of the office of chief minister in Balochistan, only one Pashtun held the office only for one year. Currently, out of thirty eight ministries, thirteen are held by the Pashtuns. And these do not include key portfolios. Despite being comparatively ignored in political terms, the Pashtun people are happy and want to live in peace.

Contrary to this, certain Baloch militant groups have manifested violent resentment to the Pashtun people. Time and again, the Baloch student federations have created mess at campuses particularly for demanding fixation of quota for the Pashtun students in all public sector universities and medical colleges in the province. Responding to this, the Pashtun student federations have stressed for open merit. On the issue of education, two decades ago, the relation between both ethnic groups saw a period of extreme stiffness when an agriculture university was shifted from Kalat to the Pashtun dominated Pishin.

Decision was taken in the view of suitability of land for agriculture experiments and research. However, the move was withdrawn later. Even today, Pashtun belt has not a single public sector university to name despite the fact that the Pashtun students constitute the majority of university students in the province.  Similarly, in business sector, the Pashtuns are restricted to conduct their activities in the areas where it is not possible for the Baloch people to bar them whereas the Baloch businessmen can carry on their businesses freely in Pashtun areas. Karachi-Quetta highway is the only road that passes through the Baloch areas and on which the Pashtun transporters can move. However, visiting Yousaf Goth bus stand in Karachi, one finds that not even a single Pashtun transport company exists to provide travel facilities from Karachi to Gawador. Likewise, whenever ships are unloaded at Gawador Port, one can feel the absence of Pashtun transport companies trucking goods across country.

During last month, education minister of Balochistan was assassinated by a certain Baloch militant group. Though, the event went unnoticed, however the Pashtuns gravely felt the brutal disappearance of their leader at the hands of the Baloch militant group. Inaction aside, there exist a thinking among the Pashtuns of being targeted by the Balochs far unjust reasons. While the names of Pashtun parties suggest that they only breathe for Pashtuns on this planet,
however, their leadership has been silent so far and has compromised the freedom and equality of Pashtuns.

In certain aspects the Pashtun tolerance towards the Baloch response is a positive sign. However, the perennial compromise of the interests of Pashtun community may evolve into a volcano of rage and rack the already messy province. Therefore, the leadership of both communities should gauge the underpinnings of contemporary relations between the Pashtuns and the Balochs and should establish durable basis for lasting peace and harmony between them. Whoever supports anti-Pashtun attitude must bear in mind that the word Balochistan does not mean that Pashtuns deserve a secondary status in the province.

By Akbar Mayo & Havena Aslam

The Writers are students of LLM at University of the Punjab

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27 Responses »

  1. That, and the attitude which meted out to the Punjabis and Sindhis is also very shameful, even barbaric. Baloch dissident groups have pasted ads on the walls in Turbat and Mund announcing reward for anyone who kills a Punjabi. The reward goes up if someone kills a Punjabi uniform man.

    We often talk about the rights of Balochis, but what about the rights of Punjabis and Sindhis and Pashtuns in Balochistan?

  2. Pashtuns are really treated badly in Balochistan. Their leadership is silent on this issues. Mahmood Khan Achakzai never pointed towards this fact and always force us to waste our energies in other fruitless things.

  3. I believe this is not the best time to potray statements such as this. Our main focus rite now is to fight extremism out of our country rather then trying to divide ourselves we have to be united as one nation. An we need to raise our voice because that is the only way we can be heard. Our goal is to defeat the terrorist who have wrong teachings are tryin to ruin Pakistan in all ways.

  4. I agree with the above comment. I think we all should unite our voice as one whole The voice that states that we have no space for extremis in our country. This land was built for peace loving people with a healthy lifestyle. We have seen cualualities and killing of innocent civilians a lot now. This has to stop.

  5. Dear Balochis while u r fighting for the rights…dont rob the rights of others.

  6. One thing is understood that Pakistan is confronted with the challenge of fighting extremism. It doesn’t matter what part of country is it in. Baluchistan is just like the heart of Pakistan and we have to fight out terrorism from every inch of our country.

  7. Baluch land belongs to Pakhtuns, uneducated baluchi weaklings should go back to iran where they migrated from or go to punjab or sindh.

  8. This is grave injustice to Pashtun. Shame to Pashtunkhwa leadership for being silent.

  9. Every body should be given its due right. But this article is skirting the facts. On the basis of population proportion Pashtoon are far less than Baloch. Therefore they have got less presentation in governing structure of the Province. We should see these things in context of population as well. There is no bias against Pashtoon in Balochistan. I am not Pashtoon therefore I don’t know about their woes but if there are it should be considered. Baloch need to have more representation in the province as they are more in population. Pashtoon own more business than Baloch. I don’t think there is Injustice being done to Pashtoon. Well its my personal opinion. There could be, at least I am not aware f, I am more interest in Baloch issue.

  10. The minister was of Hindko origin, not pashtoon.

  11. i totally criticize this article because this article is not based on facts. and the writers don’t know the truth. they are not familiar with the Balochistan. i want to tell the writers that little knowledge is very dangerous and the writers have no information and knowledge about Balochistan. the province is named as BALOCHISTAN because of the fact that 80% of population of province is Baloch and Pakhtuns are only 15% and the territory of Pakhtuns is only 9% of total area of Balochistan. and Baloch Nation is a peaceful nation but the Pakhtuns want to destroy the peace of Balochistan but The Balochs are not weak that they bear the unfairness of Pakhtuns. I want to tell the Ppakhtuns that Balochistan is the homeland of Balochs since many hundreds of years and he is that Baloch who fought against Britain and every one know the bravery and soliditary of Baloch. they cannot be defeated and the education minister was not Pakhtun but a settler. so i advise the writers not to publish these kinds of articles which are based on myth and these type of articles are defaming the Pakhtuns. i hope that you will not repeat this mistake again.

  12. Mr Marri and Khosa, you are also not saying and portraying real figures, to whom belong the most fertile and busines wise profitable land, don;t lie my dear, this balochistan is the blessings of gora shaib to whom your elders served. If you are brave enough go and practice such activities in Iran, there you are not even allowed to speak your language and practice your customs and tradition.
    This is Pakistan My dear where har era ghera nato khera is allowed to do anything. The most brutal man’s brother was hanged and the other is waiting in iran to be hanged, who are playing is whose’s hands it is evident, as you said everything should be according to populations, you are trap in your own statment, whom should than go the power and others things in pakistan where the whole population of baluchistan is 5 % hummmmmmmmm, including the pashtuns. and one more thing, iran will eat you, if you are alone and forget about beating pastuns cause they are are pride of my country, they are second to us in pakistan in populations and one of the most brave nation, whose land is graveyard of empires. I often thought that in war against russia we helped them, our army was very much involved and all the arabs states and US, but now they showed that they can do it alone, standing firmly against one of the most sophisticated and giant powers of the world, i am ashmed that we left them alone, everyday there areas are droned but they haven;t said a single word against pakistan. I am panjabi but now i know that we looked them through ghafar khan, while they are above all.
    Balochi are killings punjabi and at the same enjoy great influence in punjab, zulfiqar khosa and the rest. I do not accept that they are few cowards who fire and run, if you are man enough come face to face.
    I am sorry i was harsh but the killings of punjabi is absolutely not acceptable like other enthnicities.

  13. hi mr marri and mr khosa
    ek hi chez hain jab haum larenge fyda dosre utyenge sochan hain soch lo
    kya fyda hain baloch pashutn k khilf like or pashtun baloch k khilf

  14. s.zaidi, i fully agree with your comments, ” come face to face ” thoda sabar karo phir sab hoga face to face hand to leg, bullets to head, thoda sabar karo .

  15. rahi baat pastu ki, we belong to the same tribe our ancestors were same, hamara ghar ki baat hai tumhara koi haq nahi banta hamare bich me apni gandi ray dene ki.

  16. mr marwat and mr zaidi tum logo ko kya problem hain
    baloch or pashtun ek dosre ko mare kuch b karah tum logo ka kya kam
    hain hamre apni ghar ki bat hain zada gand tum log na do khair isi main hain

  17. Salam,
    Baloch people buhat ache hu te hai! Haalaat unhe bura bana deta hai! Balochistan province Balochu ka hai na k pashtunes!! ye pathan log pure pakistan per kabza kerna chaahte hai!! pathan log Isreal k agent hai! aur rehee baat balochu ki tu wo ler k bhi pathano ko balochistan se bhagaay ge! Baloch jitne sindh me rehte hai utne balochistan ya iran me nhy rehte! ek tehqeek k mutabik balochistan me 80 lacs baloch tehte hai aur sindh me 1 crore 80 lacs hai!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! tu hai na sumjhne ki baat!!! thanx

  18. this atrical is wrong, me as a baloch think as pashtuns as our brothers, pashtuns that are in balochistan mostly migrated from afghanistan and we baloch welcomed them as our brothers. the issue in balochistan is that we dont want to be apart of pakistan any more because balochistan became a part of pakistan by force, none of the baloch wanted this to happen, without the will of the baloch people, and they betrayed us in the name of Islam for more than 63 years, how can u occupy a land in the name of islam when, islam prohibits occupying anything.

  19. and also most of the pashtuns are living in their on tribal area which are not a part of balochistan but they were given to balochistan by the British rule Treaty of Gandmak in 1879. and baloch are not living there. but baloch separatists have said that when balochistan becomes indepandent, the pashtun people will have the choice to either join pakistan or afghanistan.
    long live the greater balochistan

  20. Baluchistan is a big area it has problems and its problems are under the ground due to its tension with the center. and pathans have problems with every community of pakistan. there self created ego and a inferiority complex make them untolerable by others

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