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Separatist movements of Pakistan: Wikis


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There are various separatist movements of Pakistan. Pakistan has Urdu as its national language the language of the Muhajirs (refugees from India) as well as six regional linguistic groups, Punjabi, Pushto, Sindhi, Balochi, Saraiki and numerous other local linguistic minorities. Its main political parties are divided on ethnic lines, Muhajirs support the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, Sindhi the Pakistan Peoples Party Sindhi, Punjabi the Pakistan Muslim League, and in the other states local, ethnically or religiously based parties predominate.

Outright ethnic or minority insurgency in Pakistan is unlikely. Successful separatist movements are not likely in the near future. However weakening of national integration, and the stronger emphasis of ethnic, tribal and religious forms of political identities is a concern, "In this context, Pakistan might not face disaster in a big bang, but slowly erode, until it finally fractures.[1]

Akhtar Hameed Khan, blamed Pakistan's separatist ferment partly on "Punjabi greed and militarism." According to him the Punjabi neighborhoods in Sindh and Baluchistan were like the British colonies in Kenya or Zimbabwe, and that Punjabi land grabs and the use of the military to crush dissent had worsened ethnic conflicts thus threatening Pakistan's stability.[2]



Pakistan was established in 1947 as a state for Muslims of India. The driving force behind the movement for Pakistan was the educated Muslim in the Muslim minority states of United Province and Bombay Presidency, those of the Muslim majority areas such as Punjab, Sindh or Bengal, parts of which eventually formed Pakistan were less enthusiastic and joined the cause of Pakistan in the last years before independence and partition. Its formation was based on Jinnah's theory that the Indian Muslim was a distinct nation. The emphasis of India as a threat, hostility towards India and anti-Hindu sentiments are tools used to legitimise Pakistan. In 1971, in spite of the two nation theory, Muslim Bengalis fought against Muslim West Pakistan, winning their independence, resulting in the formation of Bangladesh.[1] An article in Dawn remarks that Pakistan was formed as a result of Jinnah's quest for equitable power for Muslims in the subcontinent.[3]


The name Balawaristan is used mainly by nationalists of the Gilgit, such as the Balawaristan National Front, who are seeking to define a separate identity for Gilgit, Baltistan and Ladakh regions from that of the Kashmir Valley and Jammu.

There have been claims of human rights abuses by the Pakistani forces on the locals, which has also been reported to the UN.[4] and officially, the leaders of the Balawaristan support independence, but agree they are willing to stay part of Pakistan if given proper representation in the government.[5]


Waziristan comprises the area west and southwest of Peshawar between the Tochi River to the north and the Gomal River to the south. The North-West Frontier Province lies immediately to the east. The region was an independent tribal territory until 1893, remaining outside British-ruled empire. Tribal raiding into British-ruled territory was a constant problem for the British,[6] eliciting frequent punitive expeditions between 1860 and 1945. The region became part of Pakistan in 1947.

In the rugged and remote region of Waziristan on British India's northwest border with Afghanistan, mountain tribes of Muslim fighters gave the British Army a difficult time for decades. The Northwest Frontier is now part of Pakistan, which is fighting its own war against Waziri tribesmen in the early 21st century The Waziristan Revolt of 1919–1920 was sparked by the Afghan invasion of British India in 1919. Though the British quickly defeated the Afghans, the Waziri tribesmen gave the colonial forces a very difficult fight. Many of the Waziri men were veterans of the British-led and controlled Indian Army (India and Pakistan were combined at this time as part of the British Empire), and used modern military tactics and modern Lee-Enfield rifles against the British and Indian forces sent into Waziristan. One aspect of this conflict is the effective use of air power against the Waziri fighters. This is similar to Royal Air Force tactics in suppressing the Arab Revolt in Iraq in 1920 and 1921.

On June 4, 2007, the National Security Council of Pakistan met to decide the fate of Waziristan and take up a number of political and administrative issues in order to control the "Talibanization" of the area. The meeting was chaired by President Pervez Musharraf and attended by the Chief Ministers and Governors of all 4 provinces. They discussed the deteriorating law and order situation and the threat posed to state security.

The government decided to take a number of actions to stop the "Talibanization" and to crush the armed militancy in the Tribal regions and the NWFP.

Sindhu Desh

Influenced by the separation of the province of East Pakistan and the formation of Bangladesh the Sindhi separatist movement against Punjabi domination began in 1972. Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz was the umbrella organization of several Sindhi separatist groups. Punjabis and Muhajirs, were accused of usurping land and employment opportunities in Sindh. Water distribution was also a contentious issue, it was considered unfavourable to Sindhi agriculture. Ghulam Murtaza Syed, Sindhi separatist leader, wanted his province to become an independent Sindhudesh like the then newly formed Bangladesh. The Jeay Sindh movement had abated by the mid-1970s but revives continually[2]


The Baloch Liberation Front (BLF) separatist group was founded by Jumma Khan Marri in 1964 in Damascus, and played an important role in the 1968-1980 insurgency in Pakistani Balochistan and Iranian Balochistan. The BLF had support from Arab nationalists leaders from Iraq. Mir Hazar Ramkhani, the father of Jumma Khan Marri, took over the group in the 1980s. The Balochistan Liberation Army (also Baloch Liberation Army or Boluchistan Liberation army) (BLA) is a Baloch nationalist militant secessionist organization. The stated goals of the organization include the establishment of an independent state of Balochistan free of Pakistani and Iranian rule. The name Baloch Liberation Army first became public in summer 2000, after the organization claimed credit for a series of bomb attacks in markets and railways lines. In 2006, the BLA was declared to be a terrorist organization by the Pakistani and British governments.

A report in National Post claims that "In its battle to maintain authority over the restive Baluchi people, Pakistan's central establishment has stoked the... flames (of)... drug trafficking and Islamic militancy." The report quotes Malik Siraj Akbar, the Baluchistan bureau chief for Pakistan's Daily Times, as follows, "The state of Pakistan has been in a constant state of war with the Baluchi people ever since its creation, [Baluchistan] is the most extreme case of ethnic separatism [in Pakistan], it's the most vulnerable province, and it's almost entirely controlled by the intelligence agencies.", it also quotes Malik Siraj Akbar saying "The Army directly controls the province through the Frontier Corp and the agencies, mainly by encouraging the drug mafia, if you check the Baluchistan Assembly, many of them are covertly involved in the drug trade." The same report remarks that the announced increase in counter-insurgency aid from the US military bodes ill for them (Baluchis) -much of Pakistan's scarce counter-insurgency resources are deployed here against the Baluchis, not the Taliban. The report quotes Qumbar Chakar "The bullets the Americans buy for the [Pakistan] Army are being used against us, even the handcuffs in the torture cells say ‘Made in America' on them." Qumbar Chakar is an economics student and activist in the Baluchi Student Organization (BSO). Qumbar Chakar agitated along side fellow activists - students and elders, in the form of a daytime fast and sit-in to protest the extrajudicial abductions they say are being carried out by the Pakistani intelligence agencies-in particular, the kidnappings of three senior Baluchi nationalist politicians, Ghulam Muhammad Baloch, Sher Muhammad Bugti, and Lala Munir Baloch.[7]

Another report posted on National Baloch Media Network, quotes sources that “Pakistani establishment is considering how it can face the Baluchistan situation and there is a plan under consideration in GHQ that it will be a nice step to prepare Islamic militants to counter Baloch Liberators in the name of Islam.” and according to political intellectuals “this kind of stratagem will breed horrible scenario because Baluchistan is not Bangladesh and it is 21st century not 1971.”[8]

Other parties, tribes and states

See also


  1. ^ a b Hippler, Jochen. "Problems of Democracy and Nation-Building in Pakistan". Retrieved 2009, September 26.  
  2. ^ a b .Malik, Mustafa. "Pakistan: Can U.S. Policy Save the Day?". Middle East Policy Council XVI (Summer 2009, Number 2). Retrieved 2009, September 30.  
  3. ^ Evolution of Jinnah’s politics - Dawn
  4. ^ Rights wronged in POK, UN told August 4, 2003 The Times of India
  5. ^ 'We are ready to fight against Pakistan'
  6. ^ Lawson, Alastair (2008-04-21). "Why Britons walked warily in Waziristan". BBC News. BBC. Retrieved 2008-04-21.  
  7. ^ Aikins, Matthieu (2009-05-14). "Pakistan's other war". National Post (Ontario, Canada). Retrieved 2006-10-20.  
  8. ^ Gadehi, Hussain (2009-09-14). "First it was Bangladesh now it Baluchistan". National Baloch Media Network. Retrieved 2009-10-20.  

External links



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