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Baloch nationalism is a movement that claims the Baloch people, an ethno-linguistic group mainly found in Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan are a distinct nation. The movement propagates the view that Muslims are not a nation (the opposite of the concept behind the creation of Pakistan) and that ethnic loyalty must surpass religious loyalty.
The Baloch nationalist movement's demands have ranged from greater cultural, economic and political rights, to political autonomy, to outright secession and the creation of an independent state of Balochistan.
The Baloch nationalist movement claims to receive 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, although these have been denied by India.
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. Simultaneously 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. 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.
Under the partition agreement, reached shortly after Mountbatten published his June 3 Plan, most of Balochistan had already joined Pakistan, by treaties or tribal referendum, but the Khan of Kalat, a state which was around 23% of modern Baluchistan, wanted to be the ruler of an independent, albeit land locked state. Eventually a Standstill Agreement was reached between the two parties and the British Viceroy. Following the talks, a communiqué was issued on August 11, 1947 stating that:
- 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 other princely states.
- Legal opinion will be sought as to whether or not agreements of leases will be inherited by the Pakistan Government.
- Meanwhile, a Standstill Agreement has been made between the Government of Pakistan and the Khan of Kalat.
- 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 (currency was not mentioned as it was understood that the Pakistani Rupee was to be used in Kalat, as a successor to its previous currency, the British Indian Rupee).
Parliamentary elections were held in the state, in which the Kalat State National Party won a majority. However, Baloch (or Kalat) nationalists insist that the government forced the Khan to sign the Instrument of Accession on March 27, 1948. The move was condemned by the Kalat parliament, which saw itself weakening as a legislative body and, in July 1948, the Khan's brother, Prince Abdul Karim, led the first armed revolt against the Pakistani government. The prince was originally a powerful governor of parts of Kalat, but that position ended with accession to Pakistan. Many former British Colonies abolished the principalities of the Colonial Era.
- Baloch Nationalism: Its Origin and Development, Taj Mohammad Breseeg, 2004
- In Afghanistan's Shadow: Baluch Nationalism and Soviet Temptations, Selig Harrison, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, New York, 1981
- Baluch Nationalism and Superpower Rivalry, Selig Harrison, International Security, Vol. 5 No. 3 (Winter 1980-1981) pp 152–163
- Knights, Not Pawns: Ethno-Nationalism and Regional Dynamics in Post-Colonial Balochistan, Paul Titus and Nina Swidler, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Vol. 32, No. 1 (Feb., 2000), pp. 47–69
- The Resurgence of Baluch Nationalism, Frederic Grare, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Paper No. 65, January 2006
- Balochistan's history of insurgency
- Pakistan: The Worsening Conflict in Balochistan, International Crisis Group, Asia Report N°119, 14 September 2006