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Pakistan's Internal Colonisation of Balochistan

Colonialism is a relationship between an indigenous majority and minority of foreign rulers/ invaders where the lives and essential decisions related to an individual is taken by the foreign rulers in their own interest. In such a scenario the colonizers are convinced of their own superiority and their ordained mandate to rule the indigenous people of the land, which we knew as a "white's man burden" rhetoric in the Indian context. However, the classification of colonialism is overlapping in terms of 'colonizers' and 'colonized' and their respective relationships. For our interest, we will discuss "internal colonialism" of Balochistan by the State of Pakistan and how their military establishment have executed tremendous human rights violations in the province of Balochistan like some colonizer suppressing the rights of their colonized puppets. Balochistan had witnessed arguably one of the oldest human settlements in the history of mankind dating to the ceramic Neolithic period (7000-5500 BCE). However, from the rise of Islam in 600 AD and subsequent conquest by Arab forces in 700 AD to the inclusion in Pakistan, it withstood all terror and unholy military expeditions against its indigenous ethnic groups which eventually changed everything for Balochistan and it's pride. Notwithstanding anything that nullifies human rights violations, the economic exploitation of Balochistan is discriminatory. The conundrum of Balochistan's economic exploitation by Pakistan echoes the institutional exploitation and discrimination in the hands of State machinery where Pakistan had taken a lot from the province but had given only a little in return. For example, only 12-15% of gas produced in the region is used by them despite covering 43% of the total area of the country. The story of the Gwadar port is no different. It is a strategically and economically important port for Pakistan in Balochistan province which is being developed by China since 2006. But local Baloch people are attacking the Chinese workers in which many of them have been unfortunately killed. The Herald, Karachi based investigation magazine, in their cover story 'The Great land robbery’ alleged that the Gwadar Megaproject has led to one of the biggest land scams in Pakistan’s history. The locals are threatened that this is another plot by the State to dismantle and destroy their identity through the medium of economic exploitation and state colonization. Balochistan is one of the most underdeveloped regions in all four provinces of Pakistan with military expeditions trumping in daylight. The Baloch people are against Pakistan's state-sponsored and controlled oppressions on locals whose only objective is to destroy the cultural identity, customs and tradition of late economic interests and social emancipation. Since 1948, Balochistan has faced five insurgencies against the military-led regime in Pakistan and their dictatorial leadership. However, the ongoing insurgency in Balochistan was started in 2004-2005 which is the longest insurgency since 1948 in which thousands of locals were killed and abducted by Pakistani Military establishment and ISI. The situation of mass kidnapping and abduction has become a new normal in Balochistan and for their own people. The picture is worse than it's imagined when Mehran Marri, the representative of Balochistan at the UNHRC and EU, stated on 13th August 2016, that “the situation in Balochistan is at the grave as ever. Pakistan military operation has been continuing unabated. The army chief and Prime minister and the stooge minister have agreed on a national action plan to further isolates Baloch activist through certain other elimination processes of genocide". According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan report titled "Balochistan- Neglected Still", total 47000 Baloch and 35000 Pashtuns are missing from the province. Similarly, 'The Guardian in its March 2020 report narrates an incident of abduction as, "Qayyum* and his family slept, 12 masked and uniformed soldiers used a ladder to scale the gate of the house, in an affluent neighbourhood of the Pakistani city of Quetta in Balochistan. The family woke as they burst in but the officers silenced them with an order: don’t scream or we will beat you". This is the reality of a rogue state called Pakistan. Disappearing, kidnapping and abduction is a booming business for ISIwhich is operating a "state within a state" in Pakistan. Also, according to the UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances, 1144 cases of allegations of enforced disappearances from Pakistan between 1980 and 2019 is reported, with 731 still missing. The irony is that in the state like Pakistan this number barely speaks the truth and most cases never reached the UN. Pakistan is invading Balochistan and it's people in the same fashion once East India Company followed by British Rule invaded Indians. The difference is only legitimate political authority. Balochistan is being colonized by its own political establishment and not by any imperial power on a conquest. The apathy of Baloch, Hindus, Pashtuns, Sikhs and other minorities is a constant reminder of our collective failures towards humanitarianism and safeguarding minority rights. Probably, the 'means' for Pakistan in dictatorship will lead it to the 'end' similar to the formation of Bangladesh.

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