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One variant of the flag used by Baloch nationalists for a proposed independent Balochistan

Baloch nationalism is the political expression of ethno-national consciousness of the Baloch people, who inhabit the ethno-linguistic region of Balochistan. The region's territory is divided between Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan. Arising in the 19th century, Baloch nationalism would be the central influence in the Balochistan conflict.

The Baloch nationalist movement's demands have ranged from cultural, economic and political rights, to political autonomy, to outright secession from Pakistan, Iran or Afghanistan. The movement is secular and heavily influenced by leftist Marxist ideology.

In Pakistan, there have been several uprisings by Baloch nationalists that have all been suppressed by the Pakistan military (see: Balochistan conflict).

The Baloch nationalist movement includes not only speakers of the Balochi language, but also Brahui people, as they are considered to share a common ethnic and cultural heritage.

The Baloch nationalist movement also receives considerable support from the Baloch diaspora in Oman, the UAE, Sweden, Norway, and other countries. Pakistan has repeatedly made claims that the Baloch nationalists have received funding from India[1], although these have been refuted by India and the US[2][3].

Modern Baloch nationalism

Baloch nationalism in its modern form began in the form of the Anjuman-e-Ittehad-e-Balochan (Organisation for Unity of the Baloch) based in Mastung in the 1920s, led by Yousaf Aziz Magsi, Abdul Aziz Kurd and others. The aim of the group was to establish political and constitutional reform in the State of Kalat; end of British imperialism; abolition of the sardari-jirga system; and for the eventual unification of all Baloch lands into an independent state[4]. Simultaneous with the formation of the Anjuman, Baloch intellectuals in Karachi formed a nationalist organisation, called the Baloch League.

In February 1937, the Anjuman reorganised and became the Kalat State National Party, carrying on the Anjuman's political agenda of an independent united state of Balochistan[4]. The party was dominated by more secular-minded, anti-imperialist and populist elements, such as Ghaus Bakhsh Bizenjo, Mir Gul Khan Naseer and Abdul Aziz Kurd. When parliamentary elections were held in the State of Kalat, the party was the largest winners with a considerable majority[4].

Independent Balochistan

The desire of Baloch nationalists to see an independent state of Balochistan became true when British rule of the subcontinent ended in 1947. The Khan of Kalat declared independence, but Jinnah insisted that it accede to Pakistan. most of Balochistan joined Pakistan,but the kalat state which was around 23% of modern baluchistan wanted to be an independent land locked state. Eventually a Standstill Agreement was reached between the two parties and the British Viceroy. Following the talks, a communique was issued on August 11, 1947 stating that:

  1. The Government of Pakistan recognizes Kalat as an independent sovereign state in treaty relations with the British Government with a status different from that of Indian States.
  2. Legal opinion will be sought as to whether or not agreements of leases will be inherited by the Pakistan Government.
  3. Meanwhile, a Standstill Agreement has been made between Pakistan and Kalat.
  4. Discussions will take place between Pakistan and Kalat at Karachi at an early date with a view to reaching decisions on Defence, External Affairs and Communications.[4]

Parliamentary elections were held in the state, in which the Kalat State National Party won a majority. However Pakistan forced the Khan to sign the Instrument of Accession on March 27, 1948. The move was condemned by the Kalat parliament, and in July 1948, the Khan's brother, Prince Abdul Karim, led the first armed revolt against the Pakistani government.

State censorship

The Pakistani government continues to censor several websites sympathetic towards the Baloch nationalist movement including:

and many others. (See also: Internet censorship in Pakistan)

See also

External links

References

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