Betrayal of a common Baloch

Air Cdre Khalid Iqbal (R)


For a common Baloch, it has all along been a tale of deception and treachery. He has always been treated as a commodity, bought and sold at the whims of exploiting tribal chiefs. While the Baloch Sardars have had a history of enthusiastically selling land and people of Balochistan to the British government, there was hardly any support from them for the idea of Pakistan. On the other hand, the ordinary Baloch populace gave full approval for the creation of Pakistan. Same parallel streams representing clash of interests dominate the Balochistan landscape even today— hapless common Baloch, and opportunist tribal chieftains.

Former are overwhelmingly patriot Pakistanis and the latter are always on the lookout for new buyers of Baloch people and land in exchange for paltry personal gains. In 1861, Jam of Bela allowed the British government to setup a telegraph line through his territory, thus helping the British government, substantially, in consolidating its control over large areas of Balochistan. He also took the responsibility to safeguard the telegraph line. Compensation that Jam received was less than Rs. 900 per month.

In 1883, the Khan of Kalat sold the Quetta district and adjoining territories to the British government. Alongside the land, it was also an outright sale of the people, like a herd of cattle. Heirs of Khan of Kalat were also obliged to adhere to this hire purchase arrangement. He received an annual grant of Rs. 25000 for selling the most attractive part of Balochistan to the British government. 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. Again there was no time limit to this agreement, it was in perpetuity. 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. 

Original Balochistan comprised of 4 states of Brahvis and Baloch known as Turan till 1700 AD. In 1754, Ahmad Shah Durrani, king of Afghanistan, named Nasir Khan, who was a Brahvi, as ‘Khan of Kalat’ and allowed him to rule, Kalat area. Khan is not a Baloch world; rather it is a Pushtun title. Later other Brahvi/Baloch sardars were also brought under Khan’s control. In 1854, all these 4 states went under British suzerainty in exchange for Rs 50,000 a year. In 1896, the British who had captured Afghanistan in 1876 carved out ‘British Balochistan’ by drawing Durand Line and merging some territory of Afghanistan with Marri Bugti areas and a portion of Sindh. It was directly ruled, as a Commissionerate, through an Agent to Governor General. The Baloch/Brahvi states were allowed to be run as a loose federation by the Khan of Kalat, with a British Major as ‘Resident’ in Kalat.

In 1947, old Balochistan was designated as Kalat Division. British Balochistan, alongside a part of Sindh, was designated as Quetta Division. These two divisions were ruled as part of West Pakistan till 1970. Present day Balochistan came into being once ‘One Unit’ was abolished in 1970. The Quetta and Kalat divisions were merged to name them, Balochistan. Naming of this province as Balochistan was contrary to ethic realities of the landscape, it was indeed a merger of two distinct territories each housing a distinct ethnic group. Pushtun and Baloch are co-partners in the stakes of Balochistan with almost equal numbers. Total population of Balochistan is between 7 to 8 million. This counts for 5 percent of Pakistan’s population. Landscape of Balochistan is almost half of Pakistan. This low man-to-land ratio coupled with poor rail-road infrastructure supports sustenance of exploitative socio-political structure, centred around tribal chieftains. Hence, it is not surprising that tribal chieftains oppose infrastructure and services related development projects. 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.

During the Russo-Afghan war, the Soviet Union was surprised by the ability and resourcefulness of Pakistan to generate a spontaneous resistance movement in Afghanistan. To punish Pakistan and to answer back in the same currency, Kremlin decided to create some organizations that would specialize in sabotage activities in Pakistan. One such organization was BLA (Balochistan Liberation Army), it was built around the core of BSO (Baloch Students Organization). BSO was a conglomerate of left-wing students in Quetta and some other cities of Balochistan.

The BLA which the Soviets created remained active during the Russo-Afghan war and then it disappeared from the surface, because its main source offunding – the Soviet Union – vanished from the global scene. In the wake of 9/11, when the United States came to Afghanistan with little preparation and less insight, it felt the need to create sources of information and action that should be independent of the control by the government of Pakistan. Most of the elements of such structures were in place, though dormant; and it was not difficult for anyone with sufficient resources to reactivate them, hence the present-day BLA was reborn.

In January 2002, the first batch of ‘instructors’ crossed over from Afghanistan into Pakistan to set-up the first training camp. It was a modest effort comprising only two Indians, two Americans, and their Afghan driver-guide. They spent the next couple of weeks in intense consultations with some Baloch activists, and then the work started for setting up a camp. Late Balach Marri was one of good boys of Soviets; he was now available for sale to indo-US nexus. Kohlu was picked as the first base because of Balach. The mountains between Kohlu and Kahan belong to the Marris.

First shipment of arms and ammunition was received from Afghanistan but as the number of camps grew, new supply routes were opened from India. The small arms and light equipment are mostly of Russian origin because they are easily available, cheap, and difficult to trace back to any single source. American defence contractors, CIA operatives, instigators in double-disguise, fortune hunters, rehired ex-soldiers and free lancers etc are playing their role in shifting money, material and men mainly from Afghanistan and India to Balochistan. By 2005, the pay structure of militants was elaborately defined. Ordinary recruits and basic insurgents got around US $200 per month, the section leaders got upward of US $300 and there were special bonuses for executing a task successfully. Presumably, now they are paid much higher sums. BLA is not the only fish in the pond. There are others as well: Baloch Ittehad, PONAM and a number of other smaller players are actively doing the bidding of their respective pay masters. Pakistani people and the federal / provincial governments need to align themselves with the common Baloch and capitalize on their good will to salvage thesituation. Starting points could be resolving the missing persons’ mystery and provision of jobs to the youth. Correcting the public perceptions onmissing persons would radiate a message of good will and provision of jobs would free the common Baloch from the exploitative clutches of the opportunist chieftains. Let’s join hands to empower a common Baloch! —The writer is international security, current affairs analyst and a former PAF Assistant Chief of Air Staff.


Are Islamabad and petty government servants our uncles to dictate against the decision of Bugti jirga

While he (Shahzain Bugti) blamed the security agencies and FC for all the ills in Balochistan, he had an unconvincing answer to the question about the rolling back last year of the Police Order of 2002 and allowing the Levies, which are under ‘Sardars’ (chieftains), to play a key role of maintaining law and order in the province.

 Shahzain Bugti said the order replacing the Levies with police was an ill-conceived decision. “We have a system and tradition in Balochistan; Islamabad cannot impose new laws and change on us.”

In reply to a question about the issue of ‘Kalpars’ (people of the Bugti sub-clan expelled from Dera Bugti), he accused the federal government of interfering in the affairs of the Bugti tribe.

“Are Islamabad and petty government servants our uncles to dictate against the decision of Bugti jirga,” Mr Shahzain said, adding that elders of the tribe representing 150,000 individuals had taken a decision to expel 700 Kalpars.

“The will of jirga and the majority has to be respected.”

Shahzain Bugti, who is currently in Islamabad, is holding meetings with leaders of political parties to discuss the Balochistan issue. On Thursday, he met a US embassy official in a hotel.

“We have a system and tradition in Balochistan; Islamabad cannot impose new laws and change on us.”

SARDAR WATCH:  Mr.Shahzain Bugti ! Does this system continues in independent Balochistan? To put it bluntly will sardari system continues?

This is the attitude of sardars, therefore we can conclude that if and when we get independence, each and every one of us who talk against sardars will be kicked out of Balochistan or make our family slaves for rest of generations. Our enemy is these sardars, who oppressed baloch people, denied education, pushed into dungeons, no economic, social development. Do you people, common baloch, educated, moderate support or bet our lives and future in the hands of such senseless, illiterate sardar morons?

There are better options for us and for our children. My dear fellow baloch, only way to salvage is thru education and socio-economic development, not dancing to the tunes of these cunning, selfish sardars. We the middle class educated baloch must be in forefront in freedom struggle, instead of handing over control to sardars. Its is hard to imagine what these sardars will do to us in an independent balochistan. Before they consolidate their power, we must mobilize under one umbrella and start taking control and become formidable force.

We are for independent balochistan, we are for a freedom, development, education for all, equal right for all ( including sardars), religious tolerance. We at SARDAR WATCH appeal to all saner elements in balochistan, oppose vehemently these crass sardars and save our children from their sardari system imposed under the grab of democracy.

Beware of sardars, to hell with sardari system.


Sardars and Baloch nationalism


By: Momin Iftikhar | March 05, 2012 |
The gathering poignancy of the ongoing unrest in Balochistan, which has recently begun to demonstrate a strident foreign dimension, has riveted the national attention on bringing peace and stability to this strategically located province of Pakistan. The major drivers of the simmering discontent, which essentially remain political in nature, have been slowly gathering momentum over decades; feeding upon an entrenched perception of neglect by the federation, despite the province being outstandingly rich with wealth of natural resources. A few renegade scions belonging to Bugti, Marri and Mengal houses of sardars, on payroll of foreign powers and stationed abroad, are trying to become the face of Baloch nationalism. This reeks of crass opportunism because these very sardars demanding greater political rights, autonomy and control over their natural resources remain in themselves the main stumbling block to preventing the benefits of progress and the fruits of royalty of the natural resources from trickling to the masses.

The sardari system in Balochistan was abolished in the early sixties, but successive governments failed to translate it into reality due to entrenched resistance by the Baloch sardars. It is a manifestation of their unbridled power that sardars, blatantly and brazenly, maintain personal militias equipped with modern weapons and challenge the writ of the state with impunity. It is heartrending as to how they can trod upon, most inhumanely, on the fundamental rights of their followers, claiming authority drawn from traditions and custom of the Baloch. It may sound unbelievable but while dispensing justice, they can still order people to walk on fire to prove innocence, grant hand of women as compensation in feuds and levy fines amounting to lakhs on perceived misdemeanour at personal discretion. They, manifestly, are a tyrannical relic of an oppressive past, which needs to accommodate change or become extinct in the process.

The British treated Balochistan markedly different than Punjab or Sindh, whereby their interest here, primarily, was not economic, but rather of a military and geopolitical in nature. They were interested in defining the Western frontiers of their empire, station garrisons to defend these frontiers and find a safe passage through the area in case of military expeditions to Afghanistan. By 1854, the Khan of Kalat had accepted the British suzerainty for an annual salary of Rs50,000. In 1876, the Khan and all his sardars signed a treaty paving the way for the implementation of the sandeman system of administration. This system changed the status of the Khan and the Baloch sardars to that of the paid agents of the British Crown.

In return for this cessation of sovereignty, the sardars were provided with privy purses covering all their expenses, family needs, personal staff, body guards, tours, hospitality, maintenance of their residences, marriages and all family ceremonies etc. Under the new system, the sardars were now empowered to organise Levies Corps by recruiting tribal personnel and receiving their pays from the British, exercising the discretion of paying whatever salary they deemed necessary or none at all to their tribal members, if they so wished.

As the sardars were the extension of the British authority, the system bestowed unlimited powers concerning their ability to impose whatever revenue they deemed appropriate in their tribal area. Assisted by Levies, paid for by the British, the sardars perfected a system of total submission of their tribal members, causing grave economic exploitation and political degeneration of the Baloch society.

Since the British had no economic interest tied in Balochistan, they promoted the most repressive form of the jagirdari system to consolidate the authority of sardars. The land was collectively given to a tribe, as a whole in which the sardar established an intricate hierarchy of revenue collection and his own law enforcement apparatus constituting the tumandars, the muqaddams, the naibs and the maliks. These intermediaries freed the sardar from the worries of day-to-day administration and concentrate on his leisure seeking inclinations outside the Spartan environments of the harsh Baloch landscape.

In economic terms, the system led to the stagnation of agriculture growth, since the surpluses produced by the system were not recycled to improve the infrastructure, methods or the environment. The result was that the institution of sardar, detached from the cycle of production, became a mere parasite whose splurging of the profits inhibited the flow of benefits to the peasants who till the soil with their sweat and blood.

It is apparent that the sardars’ supreme interest is to consolidate their stranglehold over the agricultural land and the mining resources of Balochistan without sharing it with the Baloch people. To this end, they would not refrain from even using the Baloch nationalism card to create unrest; even to the extent of promoting insurgency. To further their class interests, the sardars want to freeze their communities into a time warp in the name of defending the ‘true Balochi ethos’.

According to them, the Baloch do not need schools because reading is in contradiction to the sacred tribal custom of illiteracy; besides, it is argued, schools are being constructed so that the Punjabi army might use them, for accommodation. They don’t need hospitals and dispensaries, since it would expose their womenfolk to unscrupulous practices of seeing a doctor and would usher in the foreign influence. Besides, if their forefathers had lived without such encumbrances so could they! The roads are an affront to the nomadic traditions of the Baloch and would facilitate the outsiders’ ingress into their safe havens. The establishment of cantonments in the province, like in the rest of the country, is to consolidate the hold of Punjabis over the natural resources of the Baloch. In short, the Balochis have to revel in their ignorance, poverty, pestilence and disease just to sustain the ethnocentric the sardari system.

The sardari system is a legacy of the sandeman system of British subjugation of Balochistan and even as the times have drastically changed, the Baloch sardars are desperately trying to cling to this ancient relic for the sake of their personal gains and relevance. Notwithstanding that the case for Baloch nationalism is built around economic deprivation and exploitation of the Baloch masses, they themselves constitute the major stumbling block to the forces of change and progress; hijacking the direction of the legitimate Baloch aspirations and using it for securing sardars’ class interests. A new great game has begun in the region and Baloch nationalism should not become a vehicle for realising the designs of outside forces, who are intent upon exploiting the institution of Baloch sardars to accomplish their own vested interests.

    The writer is a freelance columnist.

What is common among them?

What is common among these persons in the below picture?

1. All are killed by Baloch Sardars with active hand of ISI

2. All are educated middle class Baloch leaders

KNOW THIS FACT:  Sardars HATE educated Baloch people.



We appeal to all Baloch people, never trust these opportunist Sardars. Never join their political movements be it freedom struggle, be it parliamentary politics. We the baloch middle class educated must take over the leadership of Balochistan and cut these Sardars to size. Join our hands to oppose these blood sucker sardars.

Middle Class Leaders Killed by Baloch Sardars

Middle Class Leaders Killed by Baloch Sardars

Middle class Educated Baloch people, fight now, oppose these Sardars

“If you will not fight for right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not  fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival.”  Churchill
Because we have ignored warning after warning, we are now at that place in history. Unless you do your part now, you will face a further choice, also described by Mr. Churchill. He said:
There may be even a worse fate. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than live as slaves.”


Why did Khan Kalat’s grandfather merged independent State of Kalat with Pakistan?

Once Khan Kalat’s grandfather was asked, Why did you join (an independent State of Kalat) with Pakistan? “I saw Prophet Muhamamd Sallallahu Alieh Wassalam in my dream, he ordered me to join Pakistan,” Khan of Kalat replied.

Did your grandfather came in dream and asked you to go to ICJ? Or Prophet Muhamamd Sallallahu Alieh Wassalam ordered in dream to go to London and sit? Beware, your fate will be same as King of Afghanistan.

Now his grandson, a half baked illliterate, inarticulate, having all loose habits want Kalat state back from pokistan. Entire family is with Pakistani administration, reap huge rewards, do nothing to people of balochistan.

Poll Results : If Balochistan get’s freedom now

Poll Results : If Balochistan get's freedom now