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Trapped Truth

issues and back ground realities relating to the region of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Balochistan

Economic and social situation in Balochistan.

BALOCHISTAN PARADOXES

• 44% of the country’s area, but 5% of the country’s population.
• As big as Germany; 78 % of its population doesn’t have land ownership
• Amongst the landless rural poverty is the highest in Pakistan 70%.

• The land that is unsuitable for agriculture; only 7% is arable – lack of water.
• Comprises 2-3rd of Pakistan very strategic coastline
• Abundant in natural resources: large deposits of coal, copper, lead, gold, other minerals
• It is Balochistan coal which is 40% of the pakistan national product
• It supplies 25% of natural gas for the whole of Paksitan;
• Balochistan has only 3.5%consumers
• It contributes 85 billion through gas revenues and gets around 7 billion from the federal govt.
• 78% of the population has no access to electricity
• Only 25 % villages are electrified Vs. 75 % in the Rest of Pakistan.

BALOCHISTAN THE POOREST

• The districts HDI showed 10 of the lowest HDI ranked districts (out the 20) were from Balochistan
• 13 most underfed districts were from Balochistan (minimum intake of food measured by calories (WFP 03)
• Poverty has substantially increased:
• Rural poverty in Balochistan was 21.% (1998-99), which jumped up to 57 % (2005-06) an upsurge of 200%.
• Urban Poverty also increased from 17.9% to 32.4%

DEPRIVATION

• of the ten highest deprived districts of Pakistan 9 were from Balochistan
• 92% districts are high deprivation districts
• 91% population lives in highly deprived districts
• SPDC report shows “decline in deprivation” and not a single district is from Balochsitan.

POVERTY EDUCATION NEXUS

• Poverty is the single largest barrier to Children’s Access to quality education in Pakistan
• Poverty is also shown to be concentrated in HHs where the head of the HH is illiterate
• The children belonging to such HHs are trapped in poverty and illiteracy remain out of school and/or pushed into child labor.

BALOCHISTAN EDUCATION
• Literacy: Male: 49 Female 14
• Primary NER: Girls 27 % Boys 39% boys
• 11 out of the 16 districts in Pakistan with the worst NER record belonged to Balochistan.
• 59 % of children 5-9 are out of school
• 87 % of these are the poor rural children. • Acute shortage of schools in rural areas only 23% girls enroll in rural areas


• Facilities and materials are worst due to low public spending
• 89 % school have no water and sanitation
• 74% no boundary walls
• 66% schools have no proper building
• Half of all schools in Balochistan are single teacher schools
• 1 in 5 HHs commute one hour to get to a school
• One girls primary school every 77 sqkm (boys 30)
• other than the rudimentary training from PITE no teacher development is available
• Such an environment makes learning difficult!!

POST PRIMARY

• Only 27% complete primary due to the gap in middle schools,
• middle NER for girls is 4.4%
• Secondary is 2.3%
• Socially unacceptable for girls to attend middle level or secondary with boys
• This limits their opportunity
• Fewer qualified teachers available which reduces the scope of expanding.

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There are certain issues and factors which contribute to the current insurgency in Balochistan. I would like to write them for you to better understand the entire conflict. Which would be explained in series of post. 

Historical 1947-1951: Balochistan was declared independent from the British Political Commissionary system on 11 August 1947, Balochistan held the same status as Nepal had in 1947, Baloch sustained their independence for a brief period of time, had legislative assemblies, currency and policing authority, just like any other sovereign and independent state, M.A. Jinnah Poonjah the newly unelected Governor General of the Pakistan ordered the Baloch King  (Mr. M.A. Jinnah was former attorney for the state of Kalat) to accede his country but after having a furious debate over the accession issue in the lower and upper house of Kingdom’s parliament the offer was rejected.

A newspaper cutting of 'The Evening Chronicle' (England) Dated 2nd March 1948 clearly citing Kalat State's refusal to accede to Pakistan (click to get the full image)

But eventually on 27 March 1948 Khan of Kalat Mir Ahmad Yar Khan ( The Baloch King of the Khanate or more easily you may understand a King) was forced to annexed the Kalat State or Balochistan to Pakistan by forced occupation and Military bombardment on the royal palace.

So on papers and agreement Balochistan became part of Pakistan but on the hearts and minds of the common Baloch as he was free and sovereign before, during and after the of British it was hard to digest. So a rebellion rose up under the leadership of Agha Abdul Karim Khan, the governor of Makuran at the time of forced occupation (Makuran is part of southern Balochistan where cities of gawader and turbat is located). So a rebellion was brutally crushed by the both Military and by the forced issuing of decrees, restraining any one to helping them. That concludes the part from 1947-1951 with the arrest and life-imprisonment term on Prince Agha Abdul Karim Khan.

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They certainly have a fearsome battles in Iraq, where 4400 of american soldiers lost their lives during combat operations and now they are gearing up for the next venture in Afghanistan with doubling the number of troops to have a deciding round to dismantle the afghan Taliban forces where they are getting powerful day by day.

The current Taliban strength in Afghanistan shoes that US and ISAF forces completely failed to stop Taliban attacks on different cities of Afghanistan, which is directly challenging the US occupation of Afghanistan, one day US controls the completely secures its position in a city the next day Taliban reemerge from the ground. This situation suggested to the US military to further enhance its number of troops in Afghanistan. The military infrastructural and arsenal build up which was seen in the past years is now starting to get operationalized soon.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (L-R), U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Mike Mullen during a change of command ceremony in Baghdad on Wednesday.U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (L-R), U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Mike Mullen during a change of command ceremony in Baghdad on Wednesday.

Pakistan Army which is seen as key ally to the ISAF forces fighting in Afghanistan is also busy in rehabilitiation after the July and August Floods in the county and they are certainly not in a position to support the ISAF forces completely to blockade the Taliban fighting entrance in Pakistan after their successful attacks as they usually do, as in Pakistani soil they get regrouped and get medical treatment to their injured ones.

The current buildup will, as suspected take its operationalized phase after three to four months as the dry winter of afghanistan will be a great advantage to the Taliban fighters in direct combat with ISAF forces.

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Facing fresh suicidal blasts and parcel attacks in countary’s northern parts including its two major city of Lahore and Peshwar, the most recent is, the one at Mengora; district headquater of much troubled area of Malakand Division. recent attacks may easily be blamed on Taliban insurgency, but on the other hand there are speculations of indian involvment, as for recent Pakistan’s foreign minster Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureishi denied to meet his indian counter part in his scheduled Saudi visit.

Back to recent blast, the new wave started suddenly with sheer strength, as there was a gap of terrorist attacks on any area of Punjab the most populated province of Pakistan it also has the most numbers of representation in Pakistani army, almost 8 out of 10 senior army commanders belong to Punjab since the partition of Indian sub continent . Attacking punjabs and too its capital city of Lahore is much more concerning  to hearts and mind of Pakistani establisment, only two days back similar kind of attck was carried out, at  a secret intelligence agency’s lahore office.

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Abdul Malik Rigi is said to be arrested by Iranian intelligence agency. Iranian Arabic TV channel announced his arrest citing Iranian intelligence ministry, Abdul Malik Rigi was top most rebel leader in Iran, he was believed to be masterminded dozens of attack on Iranian Intelligence personals, security forces and other para- military forces, last year his attack on a military gatherig  at Pashin area killed 40 people majority of them were from the Iranian armed forces, including deputy cheif of staf General Shustari. the blast sparked tention between iran and pakistan. iran vocally said that pakistani intelligence is supporting Abdul Malik Regi and by far head of Iranian army also demanded his president to grant him permission to invade Pakistan if it does not hands over rigi to Iran. 

he belonged to the Eastern Iranian province of Sistan Balochistan, which has a different cultural and ethnic background from that of other parts of Iran, Iran has long history of crushing Baloch insurgency in ethnic and sunny province of Sistan and Balochistan, this part of Balochistan was also included in rule of Khan Kalat (The Baloch Dynasty which ruled Balochistan) The Kingdom of Kalat Stretched from present day Karachi and as far as port city of Bander Abbas and Bhampor in Iran, Nemrouz and Helmand in Afghanistan till 17th centaury AD.  Persian Army captured the Bhampor in 1849, revolt of Jask was ruthlessly crushed in 1873,  Sarhad rebellion in 1888, Sardar Hussein Narui Baloch rebellion was crushed in a joint operation of Anglo Persian forces in 1898. At 1916 Bharam Khan Baloch succeeded to achieve a short lived Baloch Kingdom and also had the reorganization of then British Empire as a sole Baloch King of present day Sistan Balochistan area. 1920, Mir Dost Muhammad Khan was heir to the Bharam Khan, But in 1928, Reza came in power and started multiple operation against the Baloch kingdom with the help of British Empire, Baloch rule ended in the same year and Dost Muhammad Khan was executed by Reza Shah in Tehran.   There is still unresting insurgency in both sides of Balochistan under Pakistan and Iran occupation.


[Video aired on Iranian tv channels showing arrested Abdul Malik Rigi comming down from a Jet Plane]

Iranian regime believes that from 1950 to 1980 Arab nationalist were behind the insurgency in Balochistan specially the past Bathist Party ruled countries like Iraq, Syria and Egypt. Iraq supported Balochistan Autonomist Movement in 1980-1988 to create trouble for freshly installed Shia regime of Ayatollah Khomeini on its eastern border.

Number of such rebel figures appeared in Iranian Balochistan like Dad Shah, Eidok Bamri, Lider Nohani, Rasool Buksh and his brother Aazam, Ammanullah Mubarki, Mir Moladad Jadgal, Kamalan and more recent Abdul Malik Rigi. The long Baloch insurgency and its continuity shows that Baloch are not happy nor satisfied with Iranian and Pakistani  rule over their land and do not feel any belonging with their ruling junta, feel of oppression is evident as Baloch population area in both Iran and Pakistan lack addressing infrastructural and economy issues. Smuggling and Drug Trafficking ruined the economy of the area, which automatically diverts youth from getting education and prove them self’s for the betterment of the region, drugs are easily available in both sides. Balochistan also lies in the busiest route of drug trafficking to the entire world.

Mr. Rigi,  sometimes during his video speeches conveyed to the world that he belongs to a much deprived and socially neglected Sunni minority of Iran and on those same videos he is also seen as giving moral building speeches to his fellow comrades on the basis of Baloch rights; which clearly contradicts the first one as natinalism and islamic fundementalism do not mingle with each other. He also tried to get support from other pure Baloch militant organization as declared a new organization but failed on the very name of the it as he named it “People Resistance Movement of Iran”, A quite interesting fact is as there are other communities in Iran whom follow Sunni sect of Islam are estimated to be 9 % and there Baloch comprise of only 1 % of whole Iranian population but support from other Sunnis groups was invincible to the Sunni cause of Abdul Malik Rigi and Jandullah.

Pakistan may have helped Iran to arrest Abdul Malik Rigi, In recent years Pakistan extradited  Haider Riasani and Malik Rigi’s own brother Abdul Hameed Rigi to the iranian authorities, the initial reports suggest that Malik Rigi was flying in a aeroplane and after his plane was forced to land, after checking the plane occupants the autorities were surprized to find Abdul Malik Rigi the most wanted man in Iran. This claim is full of doubts as some reports of another government official where he is claiming Rigi was arrested after a fierce gun battle. Past arrests of foregin nationals in Pakistan is not a new phenomena the after the arrest and extradiction of Aimal Kansi for his alleged involvment in first WTC attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammad Al-Baloshi 9/11 matermind, Sheikh Al-Libi and some estimated suggests Pakistan helped America with the arrest of some 800 people belonging to other nationalities, there for their may be some strong assumptions that Paksitani intelligence may have handed over Abdul Malik Rigi to Iran.

Issue of religious fundamentalism of Jandullah, and without going to their debate  of right or wrong, their execution style of the kidnapped people was quite new to Baloch movement and that was believed to be the main reason Rigi not getting any popular support from Baloch masses.

Malik Rigi arrest may prove a temporary halt in the insurrection against the Iranian Regime but it’s very hard to completely disconnect the Baloch insurgency as history is evidence to such tendency to revolt against Iranian authority.

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Today a new air raid on afghan civilian convoy  have killed 27 people in southern province of Urzughan, casualties included women and children, according to initial reports the incident took place, when ground forces requested aerial support over a suspicious convoy.

It’s the another such major attack during the current year, on 15 February 2010 attack on a civilian building at Helmund took 12 lives with it, another mistaken attack in the province of Qandoz, where a police vehicle was hit by a missile which killed 7 police officials. Now such incidents are very common in Afghanistan and the question of American precision weaponry technology rises, support for allied forces is now much more in question and President Karzai government finds it very difficult to calm the masses.

There were almost 2,118, 2,412 civilians deaths in

Afghanistan during 2008 and 2009 respectively, it’s almost the same figure of human casual of World Trade Centre back in 2001, almost every year thousands of innocent people are being killed in Afghanistan which is clearly pointing to zeal of Taliban  resistance in Afghanistan, only intense and exhausting fight is responsible for such incidents where margin of error grows, and reconciliation efforts are being depreived of mass support.

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Recent arrest of mullah abdul ghanni brader, have seen a big step forward in the pak american relations now the demand of do more from the american establishment have been answered from the pakistani administraion quite sharply, mullah brader is believed to be second in command of taliban leadership after mullah ummer, the arrest on mulla abdul ghanni was announced on saturday, mullah abdul ghanni brader was termed as negociator or negociation facilitator for the taliban. a senior western journalist termed mullah ghani arrest as a serious backfall the current negociation with the taliban leadership.  the arrest may effect the london conference where foriegn minister of 70 countaries took part; from 28 January to 30 January 2010, where at the end of the conference participating parties called for mutual declaration and clearly decided that the importance that afghan security would be competly handed over to the aghans administration within three years or so. but the main question was still unanswered as such arrest of negociatiors would make taliban hardlined and  reconciliation with them would be more difficult. as before the arrest some eliments of talibans opposed the basic idea of negociation with the foreign forces and demanded that the first condition of the negociation would be the immediate withdrawl of foregin allied forces; now the arrest of mullah brader proved the point of view of such elements.

The situation in afghanistan may further deteriate as taliban see it a major breach of trust by the ISAF forces and their pakistani expeditor, now its very inevitable that convoys of military supply of ISAF forces may witness more and more attacks along its 900 KM route from pakistani port city of Karachi to the afghan border town of spin boldak, as this route has the poorest security arrangments as compare to those in Aghanistan, and that may also suffer the same fate as that of peshawar-jalalabad had.

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