21 August 2013

Rebuttal to Untold Story of Pashtoons in Balochistan

Courtesy: Laaltain Magazine

I came across an article titled Untold History of Pashtoons of Balochistan in Laaltain magazine. I am an ardent supporter of the rights of all nationalities including Pashtoons but that article was far from reality. I have decided to write a rebuttal to that article so that readers can get to know the truth and the other side of the story. I hope no one is offended by my articles as it’s just a modest effort on my part to clear some misconceptions and state the basic facts which have been distorted.

Nationalities in Pakistan have not been given their rights since 1947 and the centralized political system is responsible for it. Pashtoons are also among the nationalities who have been deprived from their rights and it’s the federal government who is responsible for it not Baloch. Saying that 7.5 million Pashtoons are living in Balochistan is a mis-statement of mythical proportions. Entire population of Balochistan is estimated to be around 8 million out of which 65 percent are Baloch and 30 percent are Pashtoons according to the Pakistan statistical yearbook. Secondly there are 9 Pashtoon districts, 19 Baloch districts and Quetta and Sibi have mixed populations. Therefore facts should not be distorted to prove one’s case. In current day Balochistan, Baloch are in majority and Pashtoons are getting more shares in provincial setup then their population ratio.

Baloch have never denied the existence of a substantial Pashtoon population in Balochistan. However this assertion that half of population of Balochistan is Pashtoon and more than Baloch population is far from reality. Afghan refugees are not Pakistani citizens and therefore don’t counted in any such calculations. That article also contained a very racist statement that Baloch consider Punjabis and Hazaras as invaders and Pashtoons consider them guests. One has to completely discard the reality to believe on such baseless statements. The fact is that both of the mentioned communities have been living peacefully in Balochistan till Dictator Pervez Musharraf pushed Balochistan in an armed Insurgency. The Baloch civil society has always condemned the killing of innocent Punjabi settlers in Balochistan. It’s so sad that writers retort to cheap statements to prove their weak case.

It’s true that before partition current day Balochistan was divided into two parts i.e. Kalat state and Chief Commissioner’s Province or British Balochistan. Kalat state consisted 100 percent of Baloch population and British Balochistan had both Baloch and Pashtoon populations. It had Baloch districts of Naushki, Chagai, Bolan and Nasirabad and mixed population districts of Quetta and Sibi. Therefore it’s wildly untrue to say that British Balochistan was a Pashtoon only province. After partition Pashtoon districts were merged with Baloch districts to form current Balochistan but there was never a Pashtoon Only province in history of this region and this fact should not be distorted. It’s also incorrect to say that during one unit Quetta division consisted of Pashtoon majority areas only. It also had all the Baloch areas of British Balochistan as well and therefore it consisted of both Pashtoon and Baloch population. In fact in 1960, Nawab Khair Baksh Marri, A Baloch, was elected from Quetta division as member of national assembly.

As far as the question of new census is concerned, Baloch have no problem with it provided that its fair and Afghan Refugees are not included in it. However if someone believes that Afghan refugees can be used to increase the population of Pashtoons then He is wrong. Afghan Refugees are not entitled to be counted in any census and those who think otherwise are just turning their eyes, like ostriches, away from reality. Pashtoons are getting their share in government jobs and educational institutes according to their population ratio. In some cases they are getting more than that. In provincial bureaucracy also there is considerable number of Pashtoon representation. However it’s totally unfair and incorrect to say that Baloch are depriving Pashtoon of their rights because the former are themselves victims of deprivation at the hands of federal government.

No wonder Pashtoons have been deprived from their rights but it’s not the Baloch who is culprit in their case. Pashtoons are entitled to get a share in provincial setup in accordance with its population ratio. It’s totally senseless and unfair to demand equal share for Pashtoons because Baloch are in considerable Majority as compared to them. This is a fact which will always remain the cornerstone of the debate in Baloch-Pashtoon issues in Balochistan. If Pashtoons want to form their own province then Baloch have never had any problem with that. However it should not be forgotten that whatever funds and resources Pashtoon population of Balochistan is getting from the Provincial funds are mainly earned from Baloch areas such as Sui Gas, Gwadar Ports etc. Baloch and Pashtoons have always lived side by side as brothers and till today they live in harmony. There are some miscreants who want to sabotage this harmony for their personal vested interests. These persons should not be allowed to pursue their vested interests at the cost of brotherly relations of Baloch and Pashtoons.

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