The Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG) has published an article entitled “Destabilizing Baluchistan, Fracturing Pakistan” written by Mr Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya who is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization, specializing in Middle Eastern and Central Asian affairs, based in Ottawa.
Since this inaccurate article on Balochistan is published by a well respected institution, it needs a response in order to assist CRG for future paper publications on Balochistan.
The article reads: So, with a purposeful focus on Baluchistan, what is Sistan-Baluchistan and where is it? The Iranian province of Sistan-Baluchistan, which is located in southeastern Iran, is in fact the blending of two different bodies, one is Sistan and the other is Baluchistan. Both were separate historical entities and Iranian provinces until they were amalgamated into one in 1959 under the reign of Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, the last shah or monarch of Iran.
It is factually inaccurate that “Both were separate historical entities and Iranian provinces until they were amalgamated into one in 1959 under the reign of Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, the last shah or monarch of Iran.”
The fact is that Iran at no time had a province called Sistan.
Another deliberate misinformation on Sistan is that in ethnic terms the people of Sistan are not Persians as stated by the writer. Sistan has a mix population of Baloch in most rural areas and Persian speaking people mainly in urban areas. The indigenous people of Sistan are Baloch, and Persian speaking people were brought to Sistan by Nadir Shah Afshar following his invasion of India.
The term province Sistan & Balochistan is a manipulated term with political impacts. The prefix Sistan was added to province of Balochistan some years before fall of Pahlavi density. The contemporary example is the attachment of prefix Sistan to the University of Balochistan (Islamic republic of Iran changed it from Balochistan University to the Sistan & Balochistan University).
Therefore, it is a distortion of history to refer Sistan as a different area from Balochistan. In Balochi Ballads and folk music Sistan is referred similar to Sarhad or Makoran; a mere region of Balochistan. All the clans and tribes in Sistan are Baloch which is a socio-ethnic barometer that Sistan is an integral region of Balochistan.
The writer, Mr Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya attempted to substantiate his finding in relation to Sistan by giving the origin of Iraq’s Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani. First of all migration has a very long history, and such conclusions are far from academic. For instance Jewish community in Iran migrated during Darius region, but they are not indigenous inhabitant of Iran. Likewise Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani and other Persian speaking of Sistan are migrant inhabitants of Sistan (Baloch views indigenous inhabitant and migrant inhabitants of Sistan as equal).
For the origin of Baloch there is no clear cut consensus among scholars. Therefore, the migration of Baloch ancestors from Kerman or else is not established apart from some writings due to some authors’ inclinations to preferential histories of those regions. The writer’s finding that “The Baluchi moved eastward to most of present-day Baluchistan from the Iranian province of Kerman or Kermania (Germania) during the period of Seljuk rule in Iran” is historically wrong since no reader in history stated such a finding (apart from contemporary Iranian writers in history).
What is clear is that Baloch lived in Balochistan since the recorded history of mankind in that region can be traced. The writer at least can refer to Ferdosi’s Shahname in relation to Baloch and see some aspects of the history of 2000 years ago.
Balochistan prior to 1928 was not part of Iran, but an independent region ruled according to the traditions with regional chieftains. At some point of time all Balochistan from Minab to Karachi and to Shaal was under Khanate of Kalat.
Balochistan was divided between Qajar Dynasty, British Balochistan and Afghanistan from Kalat confederacy due to the Great Game by the British Empire to halt Russian advancement and access to warm waters of Balochistan as Baloch were considered to be weak to resist Russia on their own.
The Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization finds that “Baluchi separatism is not a factor in Iran, but it is a real force in Pakistan. The Baluchistan People’s Front, which from Britain claims to represent the Baluchi in Iran also has no real popular base and is propped up by British and American support, whereas the Baluchistan Nationalist Party has a popular base of support in Pakistan.”
It is another deliberate attempt by the writer to distort facts on Balochistan. In 1928 Mir Dost Mohd Khan Baranzai went to war with Iran and proclaimed himself Shah of Balochistan (Western Balochistan or it is identified by writer as Iranian Balochistan). He latter was captured and executed in Tehran. In 1970’s a political party, Jebhe Tahrir Azadi Balochistan (Balochistan Liberation Front) was formed and fought against Iran for an independent Balochistan. It is a fact that Baloch fight for independence in eastern part of Balochistan which also known by the writer as Pakistani Balochistan has far greater momentum than western part of Balochistan.
At the height of Pahlavi dynsty’s glory in 1971, Balochistan Raji Zrombesh was formed to defend Baloch people’s rights. On July 4th 2009 Balochistan Raji Zrombesh too opted for an independent Balochistan. The Baloch have been seeking restoration of their sovereignty since the occupation of their Mother land, Balochistan. The writer can refer to the Conference of Gwadar where Baloch Delegation unanimously resisted any annexation of Balochistan to Qajar Dynasty despite strong pressures from the British Empire.
The Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization made some efforts to portray Baloch question as misleading the World on Balochistan by some powers. He posed the question of “do the Baluchi as a whole have aspirations to create “Free Baluchistan” or their own state?
Then the Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization without any hesitation concludes: The answer has been given as no in regards to Iran, but a mixed yes when it comes to Baluchi feelings in Pakistan.
It is clear that the Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization has no knowledge of Balochistan’s political struggles or he himself rather than others is misleading the World on Balochistan. As a matter of fact Baloch in western part of Balochistan when their sovereignty was taken away by Pahlavi of Iran, fought against Iran’s occupation. Eastern part of Balochistan as a whole remained independent, except the part which was ruled by the British Empire, until 1948. Baloch in eastern part of Balochistan fought 4 long wars against occupation of Pakistan to regain Balochistan Independence. The 5th war is being fought vigorously since 2003 with occupying forces of Pakistan. To state that Baloch have no aspirations to regain their sovereignty is a misleading notion. The Baloch fight for its rights and independence is not a new phenomena but a question with full momentum that free world no longer can afford to ignore.
Baloch are of the view that it is a long-due responsibility of the free world to express their explicit support for independent Balochistan. A free Balochistan will ensure peace and prosperity in the region and the world in general due to its geo-strategic importance and vast natural resources.
Note: The author is a political activist from western part of Balochistan who strives for independent Balochistan.