Baluchistan is coming to town

by UmairJ on 2/3/2011 · 10 comments

There has been a lot of skepticism about whether there are actually individuals within the United States armed forces, as well as the academic world who are calling for an invasion of Baluchistan. Though, I myself cannot see that happening anytime soon, Selig S. Harrison, writing for the National Interest has other plans in mind. He strongly believes that the United States should assist anti-Islamist Sufi movements in Sindh, who with their network of 124,000 shrines surely are a formidable force against the TTP and other terrorist groups. Let’s move past the point that Harrison has forgotten that Sufi’s are part of mainstream Islam and that even amongst them their are those extremest that do not really like America; let us move onto the second and absolutely shocking advise he wishes to give…

Most important, it should aid the 6 million Baluch insurgents fighting for independence from Pakistan in the face of growing ISI repression. Pakistan has given China a base at Gwadar in the heart of Baluch territory. So an independent Baluchistan would serve U.S. strategic interests in addition to the immediate goal of countering Islamist forces.

What a hero. Six million insurgents fighting against Pakistan. I really want to stress on the number he has given, because that is not only false, but is blatantly misleading. Baluchistan is home to seven million residents, where in the world did he find six million Baluch insurgents? Certainly not in Baluchistan. Yes, there is no doubt that the Baluch are increasingly becoming  frustrated with the federal government, and yes there are insurgents, and Gwadar was funded by the Chinese and is becoming strategic threat to America, but if there truly were six million insurgents Pakistan would not have stationed most of its soldiers in the north. And we would certainly be seeing the effects of it in Pakistan. I bet on that.

The United States cannot afford a fragmented Pakistan at the moment, they are stuck in Afghanistan and are in need of Pakistan’s assistance, both with through the Khyber pass and through the fight against said terrorists. For Harrison to call the government to assist in the creation of a new state at such a time is not only impossible, but is ignorance on the current situation and history of the area.


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Undergrad in Political Science and History. Main area of interest include, Kashmir, Pakistan and Islam and contemporary Middle East in general.

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{ 10 comments }

Grant February 3, 2011 at 3:12 pm

‘Six million insurgents’. That’s a pretty impressive number considering that the largest insurgent forces tend to be at most 20,000. Six million wouldn’t be an insurgency, it would be the equivalent of drafting virtually every citizen in Baluchistan. And why does he think that an independent Baluchistan would be any easier to work with than Pakistan?

On another note, maybe we should put in one of those systems in place that requires people to type in letters before they can post a comment. It would help a bit in getting rid of spam like the three comments currently above this one.

UmairJ February 3, 2011 at 5:25 pm

Done.

Hektor Bim February 3, 2011 at 9:50 pm

Thesis: the movement for Kashmiri independence is equivalent to the movement for Baluchi independence.

The implications of this are distressing to most everyone, but still basically correct.

Pissal February 3, 2011 at 10:08 pm

“Thesis: the movement for Kashmiri independence is equivalent to the movement for Baluchi independence.”

Nay, the only commonality in the two issues is that Pakistan will blunt the enemies in both cases. Nothing else is shared and hence no equivalence.

Grant February 3, 2011 at 11:56 pm

In response to both Hektor Bim and Pissal:

First I’d suggest being very careful in how we draw comparisons. Plenty of people have fallen into the trap of comparing the Iraqi insurgency to the Afghan insurgency and the Vietnam insurgency while ignoring major differences in geopolitics, geography, development and recent history to name but a few points. Additionally we should be careful in asserting that there aren’t any comparisons to make. This is an issue where you should go in fully willing to take either position based on the best evidence you have.

As for the implications, I can’t see any reason to be distressed by them.

Vidyut February 4, 2011 at 3:28 am

“Thesis: the movement for Kashmiri independence is equivalent to the movement for Baluchi independence.”

They are quite different. The big glaring differences are that there is only one country involved and the desire is autonomy/freedom, while Kashmir has India, Pakistan and China involved and the desire is India/Pakistan/freedom/status quo/freedom only for Kashmir valley….. there is no consensus on what they want.

External interference has played a large part in the Kashmir valley in comparison with Balochistan.

Baloch freedom fighters are Baloch. Kashmiri freedom fighters can be Kashmiri, Azad Kashmiri, Pakistani Punjabi, Pakistani in general, and in some cases other countries totally.

The struggle for freedom isn’t associated with terrorist organizations. It is a local insurgency. Kashmir is further complicated by an alphabet soup of terrorist organizations.

State atrocities in Balochistan are along the lines of killing civilians, kidnappings, etc State atrocities in Kashmir are largely about human rights abuse and open killings. Balochistan has a low army presence and greater covert sabotage by intelligence agencies, while Kashmir is about overt projection of power.

CaoMengDe February 7, 2011 at 7:50 pm

China is involved in Kashmir as much as US, in other words, not much. Unless, of course, you include Aksai Chin and the Trans-Karakoram Tract as part of Kashmir. That’s almost equivalent of saying Ladakh is part of Tibet.

In terms of affairs of the Vale of Kashmir, Chinese involvement is rather minimal. Unless, of course, you count the occasional Uyghur jihadists who are Chinese nationals by birth but whose aim is actually to drive the Chinese state out of Xinjiang.

Baluch February 4, 2011 at 2:40 pm

Pakistanis don’t appreciate anything that benefit Baluch. However, they are not doing anything to improve their relationship with minorities. They have had this country for 63 years and still failed to create a muslim nation which they say was the purpose of creation of Pakistan.
Pakistanis should not blame anyone for bring up the facts. Instead they need to try disarming Pakistan army and creating an armed free country. This way even Baluch will be happy living at their side.

CaoMengDe February 7, 2011 at 7:56 pm

It would warm hearts of many Chinese nationalists to know that likes of Selig S. Harrison are what they will have to deal with as opposition to expansion of the Chinese power.

ammar February 7, 2011 at 10:04 pm

the army is the only entity propping up the sovereignty of pakistan at the moment. a nuclear and army free pakistan can not survive a day with U.S on one side and India on the other

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