Volume 7, No. 3, March. 2006


Support the Just Struggle of the Baloch People Against Pak Terror

In December 2005 the Pakistan Army began massive attacks against the Balochi nationalists. They attacked by land and air bombing villages. Using combat jets, helicopter gunships and artilary, the military has been pounding tribal guerrillas in the gas-rich and strategically crucial Balochistan since mid-December. Hundreds have so far been killed. The Sui gas fields are said to have the largest reserves in the world. The crackdown coincided with the announcement of plans to privatize two gas distribution firms in the province.
The Balochis have been facing a step-motherly treatment from the Pak rulers ever since the formation of Pakistan. The Balochi population is divided between Pakistan and Iran, but they consider themselves neither Pakistani nor Persian. In the Pakistan section they have a population of 5 lakhs. In all these years they have been deprived of all political, social, cultural and economic rights. They have little educational facilities and have been kept in a state of backwardness. There are no Balochis in the top bureaucracy and of the 52 secretary level posts 31 are from Punjab alone. According to the secretary of the Baloch Nationalist Jamuri Vatari Party, Aga Shahid, both Pakistani and Irani secret police routinely arrest and torture Balochi youth, students and political activists. Over the years thousands have been killed. In the Pakistan part of Balochistan there are over 600 check posts and over 60,000 military forces present.
Musharraf has further alienated the Balochis by sideling mainstream parties in favour of Islamists. He has alienated both the old non-religious tribal leadership as well as well as the new secular urban middle classes of balochistan, who see no economic or political place for themselves in the present military-Islamic dispensation.
Balochistan is not only rich in gas but is strategically placed; the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline will have to pass through it. The gas resources are in the control of Anglo-American consortiums. India has always been trying to fish in the troubled waters of Balochistan as part of the Indian ruler’s expansionist ambitions. While brutally suppressing al nationality movements in India they make a pretense of supporting the Baloch nationality movement with the single intention of destabilizing Pakistan. The Indian rulers and RAW have been arming and funding sections of the Balochi nationalists, to serve their interests in the region.
The origins of the problem date back to 1947. In that year the Khan of Kalat, the quasi-autonomous monarch who ruled Balochistan under the umbrella of the British Empire, chose independence. While Pakistan troops moved into the region in March 1948, the Khan of Kalat dragged his feet on signing the Document of Accession to Pakistan. Pakistan settled the issue by senbding two combat jets to strafe the Khan’s palace.
By the middle of the 1950s the Prince of Kalat launched the People’s Party representing a new Baloch nationalism that cut across tribal and linguistic lines. In 1972 the People’s Party and the NWFP-based National Awami Party allied with the Islamist Jamait-ul-Ullema-i-Islam to oppose the centralizing regime of President Bhutto. Having won the elections, the alliance sought to increase the representation of the ethnic Baloch in government and demanded greater control over development and industrialization. Bhutto resisted and matteres came to a head in 1973.
In Feb.1973, Pakistan Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) discovered a consignment of arms allegedly shipped by Iraq’s Embassy to members of Mari tribe. President Bhutto promptly dismissed the provincial government; Baloch nationalist responded with a full-blown guerrilla warfare. Led by the Marxist Balochi People’s Liberation Front and Balochi Students Organisation one 55,000-strong Baloch irregular force fought six army divisions, backed by air strikes. By the time the fighting ended, with the overthrow of the Bhutto government, an estimated 5,300 guerrillas and 3,300 soldiers were dead, along with tens of thousands of civilians. The general Zia-ul-Haq regime arrived at a political settlement with some Baloch leaders.
Over the next few decades, pipelines began carrying gas from Sui to distant Karachi, and work began on a massive port at Gwandar. But the benefits mostly went to the migrant Punjabis and Sindhis who arrived in hordes. Balochis continued to remain in a state of backwardness (e.g education of women was just 7%; the lowest in Pakistan).
Tension again began to grow when the military regime saw that Islamists came to power in the 2002 elections, further marginalizing the Balochis. The tribal leaders began to hit back. A succession of attacks by the Baloch National Ary, notably against the Chinese engineers working at Gwadar, followed the 2002 elections. Preperations to develop a full-fledged guerrilla war began. In investigative report showed that well-organised ‘farari’ camps were running, where hundreds were being trained in military skills.
Conflict again flared up in early 2005 when four Pak soldiers raped a doctor employed with by the Pakistan Petroleum at the Sui gas field. Bungti tribesmen then attacked the gas field. Other tribes joined in hitting the port of Gwandar as well as military facilities and railway lines. Pak forces retaliated ruthlessly. Fighting has been escalating since January 2005 when tribesmen stormed the Sui gas fields, which produce an estimated 45% of Pakistan’s total gas consumption. Bugti guerrillas fired 430 rockets and 60 mortars at the Pakistan Petrochemicals Ltd production facilities in Sui killing eight people and disrupting supplies for over one month.
The current military assault was provoked by a rocket attack on a rally held by President Musharraf in the town of Kohlu. A day later guerrillas opened fire on a helicopter carrying the Inspector General of the Frontier Corps, Major general Shujat Zamir Dar and his deputy. Soon after these attacks, Frontier Corps paramilitary and regular army units, backed by helicopter gunships launched a full scale attack on the guerrillas. Hundreds have so far died in the fighting, mainly civilians. The aircraft have been strafing and bombing either side of the Sui and Loti valleys. Two army brigades stationed at Sui were pressed into action and 25 tanks have also been called in. The struggle of the Balochi people for their right to self-determination including secession is a just struggle. The people of India lend support to their struggle against the terroristic Pakistani rulers, and at the same time oppose all forms of interference by the Indian double-dealing rulers in their struggle. No amount of repression can stop their struggle for self-determination. On feb.7th tribal guerrillas blew up several gas pipelines in the South-west region cutting off supplies to a US and British-owned power plant for the fourth time in one month. The main shareholders of the plant are Britain’s International Power Plc. and US firms Tenaska Inc. and GE Capital. One blast damaged a pipeline near the town of Dera Murad shutting down supply to the 586 MW Uch power plant. In other incidents, militants blew up pipelines taking gas from three wells in the Loti gas field to a nearby purification plant.

Support the proposed countrywide indefinite strike of the railway workers! Condemn anti-worker attitude of the imperialist stooge Manmohan Singh government!!



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