In the past when the Baloch Sardars were enthusiastically selling Balochistan to the British government, there was no support to the idea of Pakistan whereas the ordinary Baloch gave full approval for Pakistan. Any positive development in Balochistan would go against the interests of Sardars and only a fool would expect them to do anything for the good of their people. Bear in mind that Marri and Mengal Sardars first stood up against the Pakistan government when the law was passed to abolish Sardari system in Balochistan to free the ordinary Baloch from the clutches of their tribal leaders.
Except for Balochistan, rest of Pakistan is useless for Americans, assert the two former agents of the KGB.
A GLOBAL GAME TO CAPTURE BALOCHISTAN
By Tariq Saeedi in Ashgabat, Sergi Pyatakov in Moscow, Ali Nasimzadeh in Zahidan, Qasim Jan in Kandahar and SM Kasi in Quetta
Question: OK. This sounds plausible. But what interest could Russia have in helping Pentagon in this trouble-Balochistan project?
Sasha: Russia has its own policy goals and as far as the present phase of creating trouble in Balochistan is concerned, American and Russian goals are not in conflict with each other. Russia wants to maintain its monopoly over all the energy resources of Central Asia.
At present, the Central Asian countries are dependent entirely on Russia for export of their gas projects proceeds, it would open the floodgates of exodus. Central Asian countries would understandably rush to the market that pays 100% in cash and pays better price than Russia. It is therefore very clear that by keeping Balochistan red hot, Russia can hope to discourage Trans-Afghan pipeline or any other similar projects. Russian economy in its present form is based on the monopoly of Gazprom and if Gazprom goes under, so will the Russian economy at some stage.
Question: So far, there is some sense in what you have said but how would you explain Indian involvement in the Balochistan revolt?
Sasha: India has its own perceived or real objectives. For instance, India would go to great lengths to prevent Pakistan from developing a direct trade and transportation route with Central Asia because it would undermine the North-South corridor that goes through Iran. Also, while the acute shortage of energy may have compelled India to extend limited cooperation to Pakistan, the preferable project from Indian point of view still remains the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline.
Misha: Moreover, you cannot ignore the fact that India is preparing to use Afghanistan as its main artery system to connect with Central Asia and it would not allow Pakistan to share this sphere if it can.
Question: What about Iran? Why should Iran be a party to it?
Iran has incurred great expenses to develop its Chah Bahar, the port is supposed to be the Iranian answer to Pakistani ports of Gwadar and Pasni. Iran has also done lot of work to create excellent road link between Herat and Chah Bahar. All this would go to waste if Pakistani route comes on line because it is shorter and offers quick commuting possibilities between Central Asia and Indian Ocean.
Misha: Iran has incurred great expenses to develop Chah Bahar, the port that is supposed to be the Iranian answer to Pakistani ports of Gwadar and Pasni. Iran has also done lot of work to create excellent road link between Herat and Chah Bahar. All this would go to waste if Pakistani route comes on line because it is shorter and offers quick commuting possibilities between Central Asia and Indian Ocean.
Sasha: At the same time you need to allow certain margin of unreliability when dealing with Iran. You cannot be sure whether they mean what they are saying and you cannot be sure whether they would keep their promises. They do what suits them best and to hell with any commitments. I am sorry but that is how I judge Iran.
Question: While both of you have given some explanation of American, Russian, Iranian and Indian involvement in Balochistan, what is the role of Afghanistan?
Sasha: There are many influential circles in Afghanistan that are deadly opposed to Pakistan for one reason or the other. While Afghanistan as a country may not be harboring any ill will against Pakistan, yet it is difficult to rule out the possibility that some power circles would not be inclined to damage Pakistan wherever they can. It is clear from the recent developments that as India, Iran and Afghanistan have made great strides to form some kind of economic, trade and transportation alliance, all efforts have been made to exclude Pakistan from any such deal.
Question: While BLA is being used by a number of power players for their own objectives, does it have any potential, even as a byproduct, to serve the cause of Baloch people?
Misha and Sasha: BLA is not the only fish in the pond. There is Baloch Ittehad and there is PONAM and there is lots of small fry out there. But none of them can be expected to do any good to the Balochi people because the command this time is mostly in the hands of Baloch Sardars and they have no past record of bringing any benefit to their own people. If anything, they are known to sell their own people down the river.
[Misha thumbed through a dog-eared file and read]
Sardar Mehrulla Marri sold all mineral and petroleum rights of Khatan region to the British government in 1885 for a paltry sum of Rs. 200 per month. There was no time limit to this agreement – it was, as they say, in perpetuity.
In 1861, Jam of Bela allowed the British government to put a telegraph line through his territory, thus helping substantially the British government in consolidating its control over large areas of Balochistan. He received less than Rs. 900 per month for this disservice to his own people and took the responsibility to safeguard the telegraph line. In 1883, the Khan of Kalat sold the Quetta district and adjoining territories to the British government. This was an outright sale.
The agreement that was signed in Dasht, included the provision that the heirs and successors of Khan of Kalat would also be bound by the same agreement. He received annual grant of Rs. 25000 for selling the most attractive part of Balochistan to the British government.
In the same year, the British government paid Rs. 5500 to the Bugti Sardar for his cooperation although it was not specified as to what kind of cooperation he extended to the British government.
While the Baloch Sardars were enthusiastically selling Balochistan to the British government, there was no support to the idea of Pakistan whereas the ordinary Baloch gave full approval for Pakistan. Any positive development in Balochistan would go against the interests of Sardars and only a fool would expect them to do anything for the good of their people. Bear in mind that Marri and Mengal Sardars first stood up against the Pakistan government when the law was passed to abolish Sardari system in Balochistan to free the ordinary Baloch from the clutches of their tribal leaders.
Question: The way the things are progressing in Balochistan, what could be the likely outcome?
Misha: If no strong action is taken for another few months, the result could be bifurcation of Pakistan.
Question: Is that the only likely outcome?
Misha: No. In fact, that is the farthest possible scenario but that could eventually happen if Pakistan fails to assess, analyze and address the situation quickly. For example, I have yet to see any Pakistani effort to contact the ordinary Baloch. They are still trying to woo the same Sardars who are living on the blackmail money since the creation of Pakistan.
Sasha: I am surprised at the way Pakistan goes about tackling this problem. During my few years in Afghanistan when I was engaged with Balochistan, I found that while Baloch Sardars would sell their loyalties and anything else at the drop of a hat, ordinary Balochis are stupidly patriotic. They are hard to buy and harder to manipulate. If I were a Pakistan government functionary, I would gather enough ordinary, educated Balochis to counter the Sardar influence and deflate this whole insurgency balloon.
Question: Both of you were, let’s say, among the developers of the original BLA. Do you find any differences between the original and the present BLA?
Misha and Sasha: Plenty. Original BLA was mostly led by the young people and Baloch Sardars had very little to do with it but the present BLA is concentrated in the hands of Sardars.
The present movement in Balochistan, led by BLA, PONAM and Baloch Ittehad is a mismatched concoction of ancient and modern.
They are trying to run a modern media campaign but there are crucial gaps in that effort. Ours were different times and we could do without media support. They have created a list of Pakistani journalists who are supposed to be sympathetic to any move against the government and they are feeding them daily a mixture of truth and lies, a practice that has been perfected by the Pentagon.
They managed to bring some Baloch women in Dera Bugti but the results would be little if they cannot repeat the performance in most other areas of Balochistan.
They have built their campaign around a single incident – the Sui gang-rape – and if the Government is smart enough, it would hang the real culprits and ask the victim of the rape to announce publicly that she was satisfied with the justice meted out to the criminals and that would take all the wind out of the sails of the BLA campaign. A real hard campaign needs to be built around much broader and hard to solve issues.
Question: Hypothetically speaking, if the Pakistan government asked your advice, what would you suggest?
Sasha: The options are few. They should abolish Sardari system immediately and crack down powerfully on the private armies. As far as I know, the constitution of Pakistan does not allow Sardari system and private armies and there would be no legal questions if those laws are implemented with the full help of state power.
Misha: They should involve broadest possible range of ordinary Balochis in the dialogue. They can find enough educated youth in Marri and Mengal tribes to match the influence of tribal leaders. They should also allow the fragments of Bugti tribe to return to their ancestral lands and that would be enough to calm down the ageing and eccentric Bugti who pretends to be the leader of that tribe.
Sasha: Pakistan government should hasten the development process in the province because it would open job opportunities and that would allow the escape hatch to ordinary Balochis to distance themselves from their leaders.
Misha: They should try to cut down the sources and channels of supply of arms and cash to insurgents.
This composite report was done by News Central Asia, a private news agency of Turkmenistan http://www.newscentralasia.com/index.php
Source: South Asian tribune Cross posted at: There are no sunglasses
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