Tribalism, A Curse

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Biased tribalism is the perennial problem and the main hurdle to counter progress in Balochistan. Education although being the paradigm of production, is the most neglected sector due to tribal system prevalent in Balochistan. Tribal structure, norms and values are strictly against co-education and female education. According to an Interview, a tribe man said,

“Our tribal system is made by our forefathers. In our tribe, our lives and status is dependent on our prestige, which is directly linked with our women so, we cannot allow our girls to go to cities to get an education or do any job, in the case of any mishap whole tribe cannot face the rest of the society. People will laugh at them and will not maintain relations with our tribe. The culturally accepted principle is that women must first fulfill their responsibility at home. Women have primary responsibility given by culture as wives and mothers” (Umer, Osman and Hassan, 2016).

Balochistan today is a hornet’s nest marked by feuds amongst its tribes, swarming with disgruntlement and resentment targeted at the federal government. The province’s population is divided into several tribes – the Raisani, Zehri, Bugti, Marri, Rind and Mengal, to name the most prominent (Javaid, 2010). Each tribe has its own chieftain and insists on asserting a separate identity, which are the major causes for insurgency. These groups have long fought each other, and the feuds tend to be longstanding.

The tribesmen are provoked to fight by the “sardars” of the tribe. The unjust “Sardari system” is the major cause of the uprisings and conflicts amongst the tribes. Baloch leaders have tried to buck the trend of historical rivalry in order to target Islamabad as the common enemy. Angry youths from different tribes have come together to take up the gauntlet against the capital.

Although, not every Baloch, is a part of the armed struggle, everyone is seething with anger against what is widely referred to as the “Punjab-dominated” federal government.

Growing issue of tribalism has also increased social problems on a larger scale. Baloch youths are becoming increasingly aggressive, and many today work to make their desire for independence as public as possible. Such a tendency was evident in the aftermath of Nawab Bugti’s assassination, when a major tribal jirga was called by the Khan of Kalat to decide on the course of action to be taken. The meeting was attended by all the local tribal heads, and an overwhelming number of young people also showed up. They attempted to pressure the elders to call for an independent Balochistan, with some threatening to otherwise set themselves afire. Eventually the elders prevailed, telling the gathered youth that it was too early for such sloganeering, which they said could end up causing more loss for the province. This marks the beginning of rebellions, causing persistent social distress. Families are commuted to the cities just for the sole purpose to get rid of the tribal restraints and constraints.

The inferior communication and transport system, illiteracy, insurgency injustice and ignorance of the personal rights are the reasons for weakened economy. The wealth and resources have never been utilized by the Sardars for the amelioration of the middle class people. They take immense amount as

royalty from the oil and gas companies in the province. Mr. S Musif Raza, the chief executive of Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL) said that operating costs in Balochistan are very high. He admitted that his company has provided diesel, medicine and other materials to the tribal chief (Ansari, 2007).

The tribal system has a colossal influence on politics. The Baloch society gives much importance to a tribe and clan. There are 17 major tribal groups and nearly 400 sub tribal groups (Hashmi, 2015). On many occasions the tribal chief has assassinated his elder brother or uncle for post. Balochistan demands equal autonomy at provincial level. The tribal chiefs are using the power of tribal integrity very well. Therefore, they resisted strongly against the central government in 1948, 1958, 1973 and 2005. Despite the strong positions of the Sardars in their tribes, most of them are illiterate, but they have respectable social statuses. The insurgency of 2005 shows that the most of the insurgent groups were from the urban cities and a large number of them were well educated, aged less than 30 years and are from middle class families (Grare, 2013).

The feudal lords and wars are hindering the development of the province. The tribal chief takes part in the elections and they decide the future of the people who are already serving under their supremacy. They issue instruction to their Takkaries (worker of Sardar) to encourage criminals and warriors. The funds provided by the central government are used for the personal development of the Sardars. The tribal chief has more than 100 armed security (Nadir, 2015). The leadership of the tribes have used the slogan of Baloch identity and have acquired ways to empower their youth. They want to protect their wealth, influence and position in the society. The inter-tribal disputes have given rise to the institution of “Mairh” or “Marka”. Usually these feuds continue for years till one party is completely destroyed or the party at fault realizes and accepts its crime. If crime is accepted, tribal elites of the accused side go to the elites of the other party to settle the issue. The elites of the other side either forgive them or impose a reasonable fine. The sending of tribal elites to the other party to settle an issue is known as Mairh. The importance of the institution of Mairh can be realized from the fact that twenty years long Marri-Bugti war was settled just in three days.

Abrupt steps should be taken to counter tribalism issues in the province. Although government is taking measures to restore the suave belletristic affability of this place, there’s much more effort that needs to be put in to eradicate the antediluvian approach to life.

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About Author

Fajar Nadeem

is currently engaged with the Social Media Department at the Voice of Balochistan. Pursuing CA as her major, she is a writer and reader by passion who is also writing a novel. She has worked for Ezine Articles and is currently also working for Act Youth Force, which is a project to ensure quality education for all. Her areas of interest are social and domestic issues. She had written extensively on women empowerment and education.

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