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, though this view has been challenged by both the 1971 independence of East Pakistan and the discrimination many Muhajir people have historically faced within Pakistan.
A group of US congressmen have expressed support for independent Balochistan, although the official policy of the US government regards the region as a Pakistani province. Texas congressman Louie Gohmert said in 2012, "Let's talk about creating a Balochistan in the southern part of Pakistan. They'll stop the IEDs and all of the weaponry coming into Afghanistan, and we got a shot to win over there."
The News International reported in 2012 that a Gallup survey conducted for DFID revealed that the majority of Baloch do not support independence from Pakistan. Only 37 percent of Baloch were in favour of independence. Amongst Balochistan's Pashtun population support for independence was even lower at 12 percent. However, a majority (67 percent) of Balochistan's population did favour greater provincial autonomy.
Baloch ethnicity and nationalism
Baloch nationalism is mostly popular in southern and eastern parts of Balochistan.
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 movement is secular and heavily influenced by leftist Marxist ideology, like its other counterparts in other parts of Pakistan.
The 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. They demand the restoration of the ancient Khanate of Kalat, which was abolished in 1955 AD. 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.
The Balochs constitute only 5% of Pakistani population and felt that their issue not addressed by the federal government.
In 2017, the World Baloch Organisation placed advertisements on taxis in London to say #FreeBalochistan along with slogans such as "Stop enforced disappearances" and "Save the Baloch people". These were initially allowed but later denied permission by Transport for London. The World Baloch Organisation claimed that this was a result of pressure from the Pakistani Government after the British High Commissioner in Islamabad was summoned to appear before the Pakistani Foreign Secretary.
- Murtaza, Dr Niaz (23 January 2014). "The Mohajir question". DAWN.COM.
- Al Jazeera
- "37pc Baloch favour independence: UK survey". The News International. 13 August 2012.
- "India supporting Baluchistan violence: Pak". Ia.refiff.com. 6 January 2006. Retrieved 14 October 2014.
- "US bails out India from Balochistan wrangle". The Times of India. Retrieved 14 October 2014.
- Baloch Nationalism: Its Origin and Development, Taj Mohammad Breseeg, 2004
- Mortimer, Caroline (6 November 2017). "TfL removes 'Free Balochistan' adverts from London black cabs after pressure from Pakistani government". The Independent. UK. Retrieved 17 December 2017.
- 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