India and Pakistan have always fought over Kashmir. But now there is a completely new dimension to this 69-year-old fight! That’s Balochistan. Let’s first see what Balochistan is.
It is one of the four provinces of Pakistan. But in terms of area, it’s almost half of Pakistan! Balochistan covers 44% of total area of Pakistan. The province is very rich in natural resources like oil, gas, copper and gold.
As the name suggests, Balochistan is the land of the Baloch people. Before 1947, present day Balochistan was divided in 4 princely states. They were unwilling to join Pakistan but they were forcefully acceded. So, right from the beginning, there was local opposition. Pakistani security forces crushed it. It gave rise to Balochistan Liberation Army and many other separatist groups.
While all this was going on, Pakistan was exploiting natural resources from Balochistan and locals were denied economic opportunities. As opposition grew, Pakistan started illegally detaining youngsters, women and even children. An affidavit before Pakistani Supreme court claimed that 19,000 people have been illegally detailed. There are reports that many of them have been raped and killed.
Every time there’s a blast inside Balochistan, Pakistan blames Indian intelligence agency RAW for that. India has refuted all these allegations. In fact, India didn’t talk about Balochistan as it was an internal matter of Pakistan.
But now things have changed. Indo-Pak ties are at an all-time low. And PM Modi seems to be in an aggressive mood. He thinks the moral high ground India got by keeping silence is useless. So, he brought up the Balochistan issue in his Independece day speech.
Pakistan is obviously furious. It fears that Indian will help the Baloch break away as it did during Bangladesh war. Now we are in a tit-for-tat diplomacy phase. Will this aggressive stance help India? Will it help in resolving the Kashmir issue? Well, the jury is split. Let’s wait and watch.