Thursday, 8 December 2011

Are Balochis Becoming A Minority In Balochistan?


BY SIKANDER HAYAT



Balochistan is not getting resolved and there are no signs that it will get anywhere near resolution in near to medium term. Looking from the Baloch militant's point of view,  it is very clear that they are not getting their goals nor there is any hope of achieving them. They are disrupting the march of advancement in Baloch dominated areas of the province and killing both frontier corps and ethnically non Baloch residents of the province. In all this killing, there is an exception and that exception is of Baloch militants not touching the Pashtuns of the province. According to Wikipedia, Balochistan is only 50% Baloch and the rest is mostly Pashtun with other smaller ethnicities making up the rest of the population.  If they start fighting Pashtuns, they know they will be routed and without taking on the Pashtun they cannot achieve there goal, which is primarily to make the province a Baloch dominated land. This is a catch twenty two situation and a conundrum that the militants will have to resolve soon before the Pashtun become a majority in whole of the province. 

 According to various sourses on the web, 


“Balochistan has a population of around 10 million inhabitants. Overall, the Baloch and Brohi tribes comprise 50% of the province's population. The rest are mainly Pashtuns, Hazaras and Sindhis. Baloch are concentrated in the sparsely populated north-west, west, east and south; Brohis in the centre of the province, while the Pashtuns are the majority in the north. Quetta, the capital of the province, has a Pashtun majority with Baloch, Hazaras and Punjabi minorities.
Near the Kalat region and other parts of the province there are significant numbers of Brahui speakers. Along the coast various Makrani Balochis predominate. In addition, 769,000 Afghan refugees can be found in the province including Pashtuns, Tajiks, and Hazaras. Many Sindhi farmers have also moved to the more arable lands in the east. There are also a growing number of other(s) ethnic groups consisting of Kurdish, Panjabi, Mohajir and Iranians who have made Balochistan their home in recent decades.”

“Balochistan's landscape in the 1980s changed markedly as Afghan refugee camps were established throughout the northern parts of the province. In many instances, temporary mud housing eventually became transformed into concrete structures. The refugees also caused the demographic balance to change as ethnic Pashtuns from inside Pakistan came to settle in Balochistan.”

Given the above information I believe that demographics is the issue at the heart of present unrest in Baloch areas of Balochistan. The common people have been told by the tribal chiefs that due to large number of mega projects like Gwadar port, a large body of non Baloch are moving into the area of Balochistan and soon Baloch will be a demographic minority.

It is evident from the census records that Baloch who were once the majority in Balochistan by a long way are now nearly 50% of the total population with a large number of Pashtuns living in the area as well. Other large minority are Sindhis speakers with a small number of Punjabi speakers present as well.

Hence the targeted killing of innocent non Balochis, especially Punjabis. Out of 200,000 Punjabis living in Balochistan, almost half have already left the province and the rest have sent their families to other parts of country to live with their relatives until situation settles down.

These demographic trends have emerged more by accident then design and as mentioned earlier Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, brought more than 3 million Afghan refugees into Pakistan and these people settle all along the Pakistani side of Afghanistan Pakistan border. Many of these Pashun people have settled in Pakistan and in the process changes the demographic landscape of Balochistan.

Quetta, the capital city of Balochistan is 50% Pashtun and Baloch are a minority in Quetta.


It seems to me that all three major outfits of the Baloch cause have decided that instead of taking on hard targets they should pick on soft targets and apart from killing Punjabi speakers, they have also kidnapped an innocent UN worker who has been in their captivity for last many months.



At one level, the trouble makers have found a very good way of correcting the demographic trends by killing people but it may backfire when Pakistan government will have to complete army garrison towns in parts of Balochistan to control these restive regions. 


The history of garrison towns in Pakistan suggest that once they are established and start functioning they have a habit of exponential growth in terms of civilian population and examples of this phenomenon are littered all over Pakistan. Currently there are plans to build at least three such towns in the Balochistan region. Baloch, who already are at 50% of the population see this as an attempt by the Pakistani government to bring there demographic percentage further down and eventually dilute it to the point where they do not have any claim to the cause of Baloch ethnic group.



I believe that building these cantonments will be a great stride towards providing prosperity to the Baloch region as it will bring increased investment and skills to the region. I also do not buy the argument that these garrison towns will compromise Baloch identity because Punjab has the highest number of these towns and is the most prosperous of them all. These towns bring with them prosperity and continuous employment for the local people and Punjab has experienced that phenomenon first hand.



If these cantonments were actually a tool of occupation then there would not have been any of them in Punjab as surely Pakistan army has not occupied Punjab! 

By the way, Pakistan Army has now said that no more garrisons will be built and any which have already been built will be handed over to the Frontier Constabulary .  Army will have no role in running these garrisons. Eventually, all problems get solved with talks and by sitting on the table with your enemies. But before that Baloch nationalists will consume all their fire power and may be this fight will go on for next 50 to 100 years but with growing population in the rest of Pakistan and Balochistan itself, cards are firmly stalked against those who want to secede from the Federation. 

This is not the first time Balochistan is facing a rebellion as there have been two rebellions before which were crushed and the way things are going, this time will be no different. The only losers in this whole exercise are the people of Balochistan who will be left further behind in development.  

It is time that Balochis understood that the real resistance to their goal of becoming a majority in the province are not the few thousand Punjabis but the Pashtun population increasing exponential in last two decades. The sooner they realize this, the sooner they will know that taking on the Pashtuns is an impossible task.




Related Posts:

1. Balochistan - Bugti, Marri & Mengal Sardars Are Keeping People in Their Areas Underdeveloped To Further Their Own Political Cause

2. Why Balochistan is Not East Pakistan?

3. Pakistan & The Provinces – The Question of Provincial Autonomy & Its Impact On Pakistan’s Future Prosperity

4. Pakistani Balochistan - Call for creation of Pashtoon province

15 comments:

  1. oh wonderful Beluchistan. Be independent soon.

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  2. Northern Balochistan including Quetta was historically part of Afghanistan. The name Quetta itself is derived from Pashto. History can neither be hidden nor re-written. By the way you are not even a true Baloch you are Brohi speaking with no identity. According to the UN Brohi is the most endangered languages and soon because of your bigoted racist minds it is likely to become extinct. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has said in a Hadith that those are not among us who alter their true identity and background.

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  3. 2.Quetta was the part of Afganistan in 18th Century when Ahmad shah Abdali (king of Qabul) and Khan Noori Naseer Khan (khan of Qalat) collectively attacked on Dehli ( Hindostan) as strategic partners and got victory against of a Mugul Emperor……..

    3.Ahmad Shah Abdali was interested to attack on Iran too, as Strategic partner (Khan Noori Naseer khan) attacked on Iran, got victory and asked Ahmad Shah Abdali to take the charge of Iran.

    4.Ahmad Shah Abdali appreciated the strategic partnership and friendship and He gifted (Quetta) to Bibi Maryam (mother of Khan Noori Naseer khan) as Shaal (chadar).

    5.Since 18th century Quetta is the part of Balochistan not Afganistan because in Baloch and Pashtoon tradition if something is gifted or given, never taken back…!!

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  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  5. 12 district in north of the province we called south pashtukhwa, yes pashtun are less in area but more in population.more than 50% are pashtun in balochistan.

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  6. in afghani bharwoon ko nikaalo balochistan se

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    Replies
    1. Sirf balochistan si nahe pori pakistan si nekalo

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    2. Not in your fifty dreams. Afghan people live there, i mean in Baluchistan since 30 years and they r already mix between Pak Pashtoons.as well in Karachi and KPk. The second thing is that Pashtun and Baluch r histrocaliy brothers since 100's of years and ever they live in peace and hermony and struggle and suffer together against PK establisment,so what is the problem now between them??? Just because the Pashtun in future may be the majority??? So what?? So petetic think in 21th century..

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    3. Not in your fifty dreams. Afghan people live there, i mean in Baluchistan since 30 years and they r already mix between Pak Pashtoons.as well in Karachi and KPk. The second thing is that Pashtun and Baluch r histrocaliy brothers since 100's of years and ever they live in peace and hermony and struggle and suffer together against PK establisment,so what is the problem now between them??? Just because the Pashtun in future may be the majority??? So what?? So petetic think in 21th century..

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  7. Northern balochistan and quetta is pashtun land.

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  8. Baluch and Pashtun histrocaliy r brothers since 100's of years. They ever live together in peace and hermony. And both r historical nations..

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  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  10. God bless Pashtoons and Baluchs brotherhood ever!!!
    They must be take a stand against Panjabi establishment deprive their rights since década...

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  11. There is a chance that with 1 million Afghan refugees moving back to Afghanistan 🇦🇫, the balance of population will once again shift in favour of Baloch. Also with the building of CPEC projects, Baloch will have more economic empowerment which will result in better human development indicators and economic growth.

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