Balochistan is located on the south west of Pakistan. In the west it fringes with Afghanistan and Iran and in the south it has the Arabian Sea. It represents a large portion of the land mass of Pakistan but just 3.6% of its aggregate populace. The region is enormously rich in natural resources, including oil, gas, copper and gold. Regardless of these colossal stores of mineral riches, the range is one of the poorest locales of Pakistan. A larger part of its populace lives in terrible conditions where they don’t have access to electricity or clean drinking water. Moreover, a lot of this poor state of affairs is down to the mismanagement by successive governments that have truthfully failed to understand the region’s dynamics and the unique complexity of the problems it faces.

Prior to the partition of India that led to the independent state of Pakistan, Balochistan comprised of four regal states under the British Raj. These were Kalat, Lasbela, Kharan and Makran. Two of these areas, Lasbela and Kharan, were custodian states put under Khan of Kalat’s rule on behalf of the British, as was Makran which was a region of Kalat. Three months previous to the creation of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah had arranged the opportunity for Balochistan under Kalat from the British to function as a part of the new Dominion. Exchanges were made about Kalat’s association with Pakistan as it was shaped. This resulted in a progression of gatherings between the Viceroy, as the Crown’s Representative, Jinnah and the Khan of Kalat. By October 1947, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah had a difference in heart on the acknowledgment of Kalat as an “autonomous and a sovereign state”, and needed the Khan to sign a form of instrument of accession as the other states which had joined Pakistan. The Khan was unwilling to desert the ostensibly accomplished free status however prepared to surrender on defense, foreign affairs and communications.

The US Ambassador to Pakistan in his dispatch home on March 23, 1948 notes that on March 18, “Kharan, Lasbela and Makran, feudatory conditions of Kalat had consented to an accession to Pakistan”. The Khan of Kalat questioned this insinuation, contending that it was an infringement of Kalat’s standstill agreement with Pakistan. On March 26, 1948, the Pakistan Army was requested to move into the Baloch coastal front area of Pasni, Jiwani and Turbat. This was the main demonstration of animosity preceding the march on Kalat by a Pakistani military detachment on April 1, 1948. Kalat surrendered on March 27 after the armed force moved into the coastal front district and it was declared in Karachi that the Khan of Kalat has consented to consolidate his state with Pakistan. The sovereign Baloch state after British withdrawal from India lasted a mere 227 days. It would be interesting to note that in the midst of these days, Balochistan had its own sovereign flag flying on its embassy in Karachi.

Though the region was made part of Pakistan, it’s problems have only compounded with mismanagement a key factor as well as other salient reasons such as a crumbling and obsolete infrastructure, insurgency and lack of opportunities for the local populace. However, recent developments such as CPEC promise to usher in a new era, an era where these problems can hopefully be confined to the annals of history rather than a recurring theme for the region.


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