The Baloch National Question


The Baloch National Question

 

 

Introduction

 

National Question is a major issue in the contemporary world, especially in the context of a post-colonial and post-Soviet era. Baloch is amongst the largest stateless nations in the world. Their homeland, Balochistan divided by the powerful forces of history, lies within the present day borders of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran. In post-colonial multi-ethnic countries, the ascendancy to power by one specific ethnic group over another tended to occur at the expense of minority nationality through the minimization of political and economic opportunities. Hostilities arise among the constituent nationalities of a multi-national state from deep-rooted socio-economic and political-cultural grievances. The redundancy of religion as a binding force among different nationalities in Pakistani context had become obvious by many events in the turbulent history of this country. It has become quite obvious that superfluous Islamic Pakistani nationalism did not serve as a means of awakening of Pakistani masses to national consciousness. If Pakistan wants a democratic solution to the Baloch question, she must imperatively amend radically her fundamental perception with a new paradigm based on the basic principles of autonomy, democracy and secularism. The present era of liberalism, tolerance, human rights and right of self-determination, which has been proclaimed by United Nations as a fundamental right to all peoples without any constraints or limitations, has brought new hopes for the long suffering Baloch people. For many, a sovereign and united Balochistan could be a stabilizing factor in the unstable and chaotic atmosphere created by Islamic fundamentalists and chauvinists in Central and South Asia.

  

Dynamics of Post -colonial Nationalism

 

In a broader context, in Asia and Africa, the emergence of national struggles was due to unnatural national boundaries in which geographic ethnic and cultural entities were ignored while forming or reforming states by colonial masters in 19th and 20th centuries. Many ancient peoples got themselves separated in many countries. Hence, these nationalities are exerting pressure for territorial revision with the object of uniting the people of same racial, linguistic and cultural origin by creating new national states.

 

The territorial states emerged in 19th and 20th centuries, began their cultural-political hegemony in the form of establishing of institutions dominated by majority nationality, designed for greater integration, and eventual assimilation of all national minorities living within the confines of a modern state thus diminishing minority national identities into sub-categories. For members of marginalized national entities the burning issues of territorial demarcation is but responses to state expansion and encroachment into social and economic spheres. As Johnston put it “Nationalism is essentially a form of alternate alignment that is shaped as a counter movement to the established state order; a counter movement that views nationalism as a strategy that responds in a territorial and political manner to processes of state expansion.”

 

In multi-ethnic countries, the majority nationality or nationalities generally keep out the minority in power structure.   According to Smith, when a people see itself disenfranchised or excluded from power structures, more often than not (especially if the perceived treatment is seen to be based on ethnic lines) a consolidation of purpose that is diametrically opposed to the centre is formed on the periphery. In many cases the existing state may in itself be viewed by the ethnic minorities as the “enemy”. The minority nationalist opposition can seek to break away from the union. Thus hostility arises among the constituent nationalities of a multi-national state from deep-rooted socio-economic and political-cultural grievances which, minority feels, cannot be redressed by any normal political means. The forms and dimensions of ethnic enmity however depend upon the nature of polity and the power and position of the threatened group vis-à-vis the dominant nationality.

 

What are the main apprehensions that particularly infuriate a national minority and cause their alienation? A minority is discontented because it is not allowed the right to use its native language. It is aggrieved when it does not enjoy liberty of conscience and of movement.  A minority is disenchanted because it does not own or possess its resources. It is disillusioned when they are exploited economically and in the process is kept away from power composition of the state.

 

‘Of all human feelings, the strongest, the mightiest and the deepest are the national feeling.’ This thought of Lenin’s, best expresses the great importance of national feeling in the lives of all peoples. A nation is a stable community, is historically formed on the basis of a common language, territory, economic life, and psychological make-up manifested in a common culture. Nationalism is the feeling of kinship, created as a result of an enlightened vision of common history. According to sociologists like Ernest Renan, a nation is a soul constituted by two things. One lies in the past, one in the present. One is the possession in common of a rich legacy of memories; the other is present day consent– the desire to live together, the will to perpetuate the value of the heritage that one has received in an undivided form. A nation is therefore a large-scale solidarity, constituted by the feeling of sacrifices that one has made in the past and of those that one is prepared to make in future for common good of its constituents.

 

The right of self-determination was formulated by European philosophers after the Renaissance, and then proclaimed by the Founding Fathers of America and by the French Revolution. The United Nations has proclaimed this right in many covenants and solemn resolutions as a fundamental right to all peoples without any constraints or limitations. This signifies equal rights of nations as an essential element in answer to the national question.  The right of self-determination means that only the nation itself has the right to determine its destiny: that no one has the right to forcibly interfere in the life of the nation, to destroy its institutions, to violate its habits and customs, to repress its language, or curtail its economic rights.  The right of self-determination means that a nation may organize its collective life in the way it wishes.  It has the freedom to enter into federal or con-federal relations with other nations and the right to complete secession. The conception aims to put an end to the policy of national oppression, thereby removing basic causes of strife amongst nations.

 

The national questions in South Asia as in the other parts of the world do not fall into a monolithic category: what distinguish the differences between them is historical, cultural, economic and geographical. In the context of Baloch National Question, the theoretical formation and existence of present territorial states in post-colonial Asia and Africa is essential for deriving conclusions in its proper socio-cultural, historical, political and geographical perspective.

 

 

Tracing Baloch Aspirations

 

One of the ancient inhabitants of central Caspian region, the Baloch trace their national identity as a tribal union for the first time in connection with their military support to forces of Iranian Monarch, Cyrus (546-529 BC) against the Medes. References by Arab and Persian chroniclers to a Koch-o-Baloch and their hold on major areas of Kerman and Seistan as far as the sea signify that these tribes had a political and administrative structure with a centralized authority which forged alliances with other tribes as well as with rulers of Persia and the Indus valley. The first conflict with the Persians after their alliance with Cyrus has been recorded during the reign of Anushervan around 531 AD. The Persian military might was brought on the Baloch with large scale massacres.  Baloch relations with Persia since Anushervan have never been cordial. They have been fighting them intermittently for the last fifteen hundred years. In late 1920s Mir Dost Muhammad Khan’s attempt to create an independent Balochistan proved abortive. For the past several decades the Persians never hesitated to use force against the Baloch.

 

Numbering over 15 million, the Baloch is one of the largest non-state nations in the present world. After a series of massive migrations due to historical events, the Baloch finally settled in the present day boundaries of Balochistan although many Baloch tribes could be found in Pakistani provinces of Punjab and Sindh. A small number has been settled in Gujrat in India.  Their homeland is divided amongst Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran. The greatest number lives in Pakistan, though a significant number of Baloch are living in Diaspora. For centuries, the Baloch, with its distinctive culture has had to confront all centralizing, and ethnically-based nationalist regimes of the host states which have little or no tolerance for expressions of Baloch national autonomy within their borders.

 

From 16th   to mid-19th century, much of Balochistan was under the rule of independent and autonomous Baloch tribal principalities. The first Baloch ruler in 17th century was Naseer Khan Ahmed-zai. The Baloch political standing was changed radically in later decades, when the British and Persian empires divided Balochistan into spheres of influences, agreeing on an artificial border in 19th century, between British Empire in India and Persian Kingdom. The still controversial Durand line gave a significant chunk of Baloch territory to the buffer state of Afghanistan. In the West the Goldsmith line gave a large portion of Baloch land to Iran. The Anglo-Afghan wars and subsequent events in Persia in respect of “great game” played between Czarist Russia and British Empire further marginalized the Baloch and compromised their national sovereignty.

 

The first Baloch national conference at Jacobabad in 1932 was amongst the basic events that continued to shape the nationalist struggle until the end of 20th century. In spite the diversity of struggle in the 20th century, the fight was for a purely nationalist agenda aiming to replace foreign rule by a native rule.

 

Fighting Baloch Nationalism

 

Balochistan went through three armed conflicts since its forcible merger with Pakistan. The first was in 1948. Later events in 1958, and 1974 were extra parliamentary reactions of an ethnic nationality perceiving the threat of subjugation. Although the central government’s political and economic incursions into the province triggered off the conflicts, the root cause lay in the unfulfilled national aspirations of the Baloch for an independent sovereign status of their own.  After annexation of the Kalat confederacy in 1948, which led to a short-lived uprising, successive Pakistani ruling elite had perceived Baloch nationalism as a grave threat to the state’s suzerainty. The incident that   strengthened the center’s threat perception in later years was the abortive attempt of the Khan of Kalat to convene a meeting of the Baloch Sardars in 1958 to work out plans to consolidate a Baloch state. The Pakistani establishment responded with oppressive measures. Discrimination against them in government services and allocation of developmental funds to the province, the state-aided settlement of Punjabis and Afghan immigrants during and after Afghan conflict with Soviet Union, in the Baloch areas in order to bring about a demographic change, exploitative attitude in harnessing natural resources, and systematic endeavors for cultural hegemony all led to a sense of relative deprivation and political disenchantment in Baloch society.

 

Language which is undoubtedly the main carrier of ideas, sentiments, traditions, customs and religious dogma from one generation to another has been the prime target. In their assimilative efforts, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan have not allowed Balochi to be the language of instructions in schools even at primary level. Balochi publications and institutions for academic research are never encouraged.   The unique case in educational history anywhere is that in the University of Balochistan in Quetta Balochi language is taught in Masters Level but not in Primary schools or in basic educational institutions. Print and electronic media in these countries have been manipulated by people from dominant nationality and all state institutions run by non-Baloch are  assigned the task for  media management formulating policy approaches aimed at so-called ‘assimilation and integration’.  Pakistan and Iran have acquired the services of quite a number pseudo- specialists and literary figures, whose writings and discourses are aimed to target the Baloch heritage, to shade it off, to put it in doubt, or just to ignore it to give a painted picture of Baloch nationalism and its existence as a separate historical entity. Suppression of Balochi language and manipulation of religion are main endeavors for integration of Baloch nationality into broader majority nationalities of Iran and Pakistan. Baloch never incorporated either Zoroastrianism or Islam as such, in their social or political life. Instead they had been guided by centuries old cultural and traditional values in their national behavior. A liberal and tolerant mindset had been evolved among Baloch masses over centuries that are unprecedented in this part of the world which is known for its chauvinism and religious fundamentalism.

 

Yet another area where the host states are activity working is to undermine Baloch tribal solidarity and harmony. The Pakistani State has been instigating inter-tribal rivalries and encouraging tribal enmity between various tribes. These efforts inhibited growth of urban areas, retarded transformation of the society from traditional to transitional and modern and have reinforced tribal ways of life. A similar policy was adopted by the Iranians against the Baloch. Although these manipulations checkered a unified struggle as a nation, the consequent damages and suffering stimulated a deep political awareness among the masses.

 

While the modes and scale of political-cultural oppression by ruling powers have varied in time and by place, the conditions of Baloch in Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan share some important common features. First the Baloch areas overlap multi-nation-state borders; they thus acquire significance for “national security” of respective host states and are vulnerable for interference and manipulation by regional and international powers. Second, the Baloch regions of these countries are usually the poorest, least developed areas, systematically marginalized by the centers of economic powers. Third, the dynamics of assimilation, repression and the Baloch resistance in each country have affected the direction and outcome of the Baloch struggle. Fourth is the manipulation of religion as means for integration and assimilation of Baloch into broader state nationalities of Iran and Pakistan.

 

Realities of Baloch National Question

 

Since the time of   Iranian monarch Anushervan, Baloch sentiments of nationality and the love of independence have been cemented, by an impressive series of national uprisings, as well as influenced by the post-World War II wave of decolonization and the access to statehood of peoples far less important and much less advanced than the Baloch. To understand the dynamics of Baloch national question it is imperative to discuss some of the basic realities of the problem.

 

The basic truth of Baloch national question is the existence of a Baloch nation, with one homeland, Balochistan. It is an old sociological reality historically constituted, etched on the collective Baloch memory and engraved in the geography of the area. The second is the political partition of Balochistan, in the aftermath of the unjust decisions of the boundary commissions reached between British Empire, Persia and Afghanistan. Third is the fraudulent referendum in British Balochistan in June 1947 and forcible annexation of Kalat state by Pakistan in 1948. The fourth is that in the three countries where Baloch live, the states are formed on ethnic lines dominated by one majority nationality. The fifth reality is the misrepresentation and manipulation of historical events very systematically in the region by the states and their institutions, to the detriment of Baloch society and its heritage. And lastly the Baloch demand for self-rule constitutes a democratic pursuit that is incompatible with the despotism and religious-based nationalism of Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan.

 

These basic realities have, on one hand, reinforced the Baloch general feeling of frustration and on the other hand, it has led to different political and socio-economic situations in other parts of divided Balochistan. The Baloch uprisings in Iran and Pakistan had all the same background – the will of national liberation. The Baloch people believe themselves to constitute but one nation, and Balochistan, one homeland. Most of the Baloch nationalist political parties affirm the existence of one, but divided Baloch nation. These parties operating within legal limits and conscious of political impediments in their respective countries generally seek autonomist or federalist solutions to the Baloch question as a provisional political solution within the framework of the existing states.

 

 

 

The Paradox of Pakistani Identity

 

The national question in Pakistan can be interpreted by pointing to a distinction between the thematic and problematic levels of nationalist thoughts. This is especially important in the contradictory mission of Pakistani identity that has opted for transforming national cultures of different nationalities to a so-called Pakistani culture while at the same time struggling in maintaining a unique religious identity, in the greater dimension of being part of illusionary Muslim umma or solidarity. Conceived and created on the theory that religion alone can be a binding force between diverse ethnic and national entities of North West and Southeast of Indian subcontinent, Pakistan is facing the worse identity crisis since its inception. The traumatic events leading to separation of East Bengal in 1971 made religion amply redundant as a binding force for the country and its diverse peoples. The recent dissolution of ideological states of Soviet Union and Yugoslavia gave further impetus to the thinking of many saner elements in the majority nationality of Pakistan, the Punjab,   to search for a new sound and logical personality of the state, which could provide a rationale for a viable Pakistan, and to determine the parameters of relations between majority and minority nationalities.

 

Pakistan came as a unique phenomenon in modern history. Its top political leadership and bureaucracy came from northern India, having no cultural and social roots in the new-found country. It was also unique that the language of a few hundred thousand emigrants was declared as the national and official language of a sovereign state. It was not only the ruling elite but the very ‘ideology of Pakistan’, that only the religion forming the basis of any nationality, which was alien to the present nationalities comprising Pakistan. Proponent of “Pakistan ideology”, the Muslim league, (formed in 1906)   a political party that was formed and groomed by British rulers, had no popular support within the present geographical boundaries of the country, a fact fully reflected in the pre-partition general elections.

 

The state establishment in line with the illusionary religious personality of the state has to justify dictates of so-called ideology in its internal and external policy approaches for five decades with not so pleasant consequences. The paradox of Pakistani Islamic nationalism resulted in hostility both towards national aspirations of minority nationalities and propagation of a superfluous non-existing Islamic umma. It is quite obvious that Pakistani nationalism did not serve as a means of awakening of Pakistani masses to national consciousness. It was rather a misconceived mission undertaken by a particular class of intellectuals whose discourses were laden with dilemma of having no cultural roots or social bona fide in the new society which they were incidentally dominating. The state is facing the identity crisis stemming from the aforementioned paradox.

 

Such inconsistency in approaches and policies internal and external is evident in all spheres of national life. Being one of the poorest countries of the world it is maintaining a huge army equipped with nuclear weapons of mass destruction. By the policies it has been pursuing it appears that the country has a hegemonistic eye on the entire region. It wanted to rule and suppress the Bengalis. It sought to turn Afghanistan as a satellite state of theirs after Soviet withdrawal through proxy, Taliban. Pakistan is openly demanding the right of self-determination for an Indian constituent nationality, Kashmiris, and fought the Indian thrice over the land. The country supports the Palestinian right to self-rule as a matter of state policy. It also backed the Chechens against the Russians. But Pakistan impudently denies the same right to the peoples who have been waging political and in Baloch case military struggles intermittently within Pakistan during the last many decades for their right to self rule.  Pakistan never even accepts the existence of the ancient peoples like the Baloch, Pakhtoons or the Sindhis having different cultural and historical identities, within its borders. It is not willing to concede genuine democratic rights to them regardless of the clear stand it is taking on the rights of peoples all over the world to self-determination. Therefore, by all calculations Pakistan has been pursuing a contradictory position on each and every principle of governance and the rights of peoples to rule themselves as upheld by the United Nations charter and covenants.

 

The National Question in Pakistan

 

There are four distinct nations in Pakistan. These nations have their ancestral home-land, common decent of several centuries, common culture expressed in their basic values, beliefs and practices, and a collective feelings of solidarity. In Pakistan, Punjabi  is the ruling nationality  holding more than 80% leadership positions in several areas of governance such as judiciary, executive, legislature and  public administration. Therefore, the conflict between the ruling nationality and others is growing incessantly. The elite section of the ruling nation is not prepared to accept Pakistan as a multinational state rather they have been endeavoring to impose the superfluous idea of a single nation.  In their misplaced enthusiasm they are equating the Punjabi/immigrant values, beliefs and practices as the naissance or foundation of a “Pakistani culture”. This ridiculous perception had led to erroneous conclusions that the national question in Pakistan has already been resolved. In reality, this kind of thinking reflects the Punjabi chauvinistic mindset with consequential theoretical and ideological chaos creating deep and irreparable schism in Pakistani society.

 

The political dynamics of the post-September 2001 have certain characteristics that are distressing Pakistani establishment and slightly influencing its polity of religious extremism and militancy on the one hand and perpetuation of repressive policies towards national minorities on the other. The military junta and state elites in an apparent policy shift in order to affiliate the regime with the West are offering new arguments with reference to the significance of a liberal and secular identity of Pakistan. It appears that the establishment is heading towards the abandonment of Islamic ideology as a political manifesto. Islam is apparently being brought from the centre to the periphery. However, the national minorities see the official shift in policy approaches from religious to liberal is a temporary maneuver mostly   prompted by an urge to safe guard the interests of ruling elites rather than by a genuinely legitimate and sustainable interest in Pakistani identity. This is quite clear by the fact that in the recent rhetoric of tolerance and pluralism by Pakistani rulers there is no lessening of tyrannical policies towards national minorities or any mention of the fact that Pakistan is a multi-national state.

 

Since its creation, Pakistan has been passing through a transitional period, where normal constitutional life is far from being established and where the socio- political crisis has not yet been settled. It is in connection with this situation that the national question must be examined. When seeking a solution of the question we must take into account not only the situation at home but also the situation abroad. Pakistan is situated between central Asia, Middle East, and between south Asia and China. In the given situation where ruling elite is oblivious of the national question, it is quite possible, therefore, that a combination of internal and external conditions may arise in which one or another nationality in Pakistan may find it convenient to raise and settle the question of its independence unilaterally and in a violent manner.

 

The Pakistani state is compressed from the top by the drastic changes in international polity and from the bottom by the internal conflicts among various nationalities and is being increasingly and finely minced by the concomitant action of these two powerful jaws. The way out consists, first of all awareness of the new realities and of germinating and nourishing the new seeds of potential empowerment for masses of minority nationalities. The new reality exposes, in many subtle but unequivocal ways the unremitting decay and obsolescence of the state ideology. A new pragmatism must be matched by the emergence of a new paradigm that means a new, more appropriate way of seeing truth. The new paradigm should advocate the basic principles of autonomy, democracy and secularism.  

 

Resolving Baloch Question

 

The Baloch National question can be seen as an instance of a large but oppressed people, stubbornly struggling for their natural and fundamental human rights to sovereign status. The Baloch question has to be approached in the context of short term and long term solutions. The short term solution can be reached  in the Pakistani context while the long term solution can be sought keeping in mind the broader question of Baloch sovereign autonomy in  neighboring countries.

 

The kind of colonialism that the present Pakistani and Iranian state systems are practicing in Balochistan is more degrading and more harmful than ever known in this region. In the new millennium a new scenario of national governance should prevail. The attributes of the new system of governance should be harmonious partnership among nations in Pakistan and Iran. A federal structure and national autonomous provincial governing mechanisms may appropriately address the problem and offer prospects of a new pleasant partnership of trust and coexistence. The federal government should take responsibility in areas of defense, foreign affairs, and on minimum of fiscal discipline. All other state functions should be taken care of by the federating units.  Such a mechanism will generate participation, share responsibilities, and offer opportunities to all nations. Therefore, such an arrangement will provide the foundation for stronger, civilized, prosperous and proud Pakistani peoples in a multinational state with a new vision and a civilized image.

 

If Pakistan wants a democratic solution to the Baloch question, she must imperatively amend her fundamental perception and recognize, the existence of the Baloch within her boundaries as a people distinct from other nationalities comprising Pakistan, equal in collective rights and duties. For this a new constitution has to be evolved with the consent of all nationalities. Without such a constitution federal and democratic in character and essence it will be difficult to reach a solution which could be in line with internationally recognized principles of justice and equality of all peoples in a multi-national state. A democratic Pakistan recognizing the rights of minority nations within its confines will be in the best interest of the civilized world as well, which is facing increasing threat emanating from conservative and fundamentalist societies like Pakistan and Iran.

 

New World Polity and the Baloch Question

 

In agonizing circumstances of socio-cultural and political repression and economic depression throughout the Baloch land and increasing sense of national solidarity amongst the Baloch masses, Balochistan has offered valuable opportunities as a base for a national liberation struggle. That these opportunities have not been seized demonstrates the weaknesses of Baloch leadership, powerful international political and strategic interests in the region as well as intricacies of Baloch nationalism within. In Iran Persian-speaking Iranians are dominating while in Afghanistan Pakhthoons had an upper hand for many decades where Baloch have never been associated with power even in the areas where they form majority. Pakistan is an exceptional case. It ensured exclusion of Baloch and their genuine representatives from government of their state or province. Baloch are excluded in all state institutions and policy making bodies. In State services: armed forces, judiciary, civil armed forces; they can hardly find their way in. In the bi-cameral legislature, upper house, the Senate, where Baloch are equally represented, has no authority to exercise powers in budgetary, economic and other matters. In the powerful lower house Baloch form nearly 4% of the total. The state and their functionaries do ensure that even any symbolic representation in political or constitutional bodies should be individuals who have least concern for the Baloch and their interests or who can easily collude with the establishment dominated by majority nationality. Provincial governments in Balochistan which were thought to represent minimum Baloch sentiments were overthrown in 1973 and 1998 through state maneuvers. During the last 55 years of its existence the total period where a government with Baloch small representation was in power in the province of Balochistan was for only 26 months in all. [9 months in 1973 when NAP was allowed to form a government and then during 1997-8 when a Coalition Ministry of Balochistan National Party managed the provincial affairs for 15 months]   In Iran, the situation is still worse. The Baloch are completely excluded from power: political, social and economic in their own land.

 

In its true perspective the Baloch question is that of a stateless nation. The artificial political frontiers dividing Balochistan, which are in real sense inter-Baloch frontiers, would loose their raison d’être in the years to come. The issue has two dimensions: For a short term, a federalist solution could be envisaged in all parts of Balochistan, within the boundaries of the existing states. But more appropriate and lasting answer in line with internationally recognized principles of right of self determination and sovereign equality of nations will be that different parts of divided Balochistan should be equally federated between themselves, as a national sovereign entity. By its central geographical position, the Baloch is predestined to play the role of a democratic link between the neighboring nations. It will be at the heart of a kind of union between the nations of the southern tip of central Asia. Balochistan would then become a land of peace and a highway for co-operation and development in association with other liberal and democratic nations of the world.

 

However, the most outstanding reality with regard to creation of national states can not easily be over looked. That is the notion of conceding the right to national sovereignty to oppressed nationalities and subjugated national entities on the basis of the right of self determination will considerably change the entire political and geographical landscape of the globe and may not be acceptable for many. But it clearly involves unavoidable principles of sovereign equality of nations and of democracy and humanitarianism.

 

It is quite strange that the civilized worlds of Europe and America, instead of putting meaningful pressure on Pakistan, to help its transformation into a federal, secular and democratic state, are giving much encouragement and political and military sustenance to ruling elite and the trembling state system in Pakistan with all its radical dispensation and religious extremism. The West is reluctant to come out openly in support of rights of nationalities. They are unenthusiastic in supporting secular and enlightened ideals of justice and equality to all. In a cold-war perspective the US and the West viewed the Baloch aspiration for autonomy as an inappreciable extension of Soviet influence, and supported the Persian and Pakistani military and political campaigns against the Baloch. However, after September 2001, far-reaching changes are being observed in international relations in general and central and south Asia in particular. The dynamics of post September polity are bound to effect the national questions of the subjugated nations in the region. Balochistan is geographically and strategically important in respect of oil game being played in central Asia. A liberal and secular Balochistan located at the centre of three states of Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan with their fundamentalist religious ideologies and wide spread discontent among their constituent nationalities, can play a positive and balancing role. The war on fundamentalism and extremism by international community with rhetoric of human rights, multi-ethnic, broad based regimes, and declaration of war on the axis of evil by US has to a certain extent enhanced the hopes and probability for the achievement of long cherished dreams of emancipation of Baloch masses. 

 

Conclusions

 

The national question is one of the major destabilizing political factors in third world countries. The newly independent countries in Asia and Africa, with artificial boundaries created by colonial powers are facing the daunting task of accommodating the national aspirations of their various constituent nationalities. The Baloch nation with its long standing claim of autonomy is looking with new hopes of gaining its fundamental right of self-determination in a new world polity in the post-Soviet era and in the aftermath of September 11 events. The biggest questions of all in the present day world after Soviet disintegration precisely on cultural, linguistic, national and ethnic lines, is whether multi-national countries should accommodate the aspirations of their nationalities for sovereign status or the same borders of Afro-Asian and Latin American countries mostly drawn by colonial powers regardless of national sensitivities of many peoples should continue in the new millennium, is haunting the political and philosophical mind of many people. Whether the world would rise to the occasion and accepts the national demands of subjugated peoples to make it a safe place to live, is yet to be seen – Jan Muhammad Dashti.

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