By Faiz M Baluch
The world is celebrating the International Women’s Day (IWD) to pay their homage to working women and to renew their pledge to continue striving for gender equality and women’s empowerment. The women in Balochistan are not only out in streets (in front of Press Clubs) demanding the release of their loved ones but they also continue to be targeted by Pakistani state and its military backed religious extremists.
Baloch women tolerate the greatest hardships in Balochistan. The pain of losing their children, brothers, fathers and husbands at the hand of Pakistani security forces is couple with the religious extremism against women. Illegal occupation of Balochistan by the fundamentalist states of Iran and Pakistan has created a perpetual sense of insecurity for Baloch society as a whole but women and children are primary casualties of this insecurity. Continue reading
by Faiz M Baluch
Balochistan, bordering Iran to the West and Afghanistan to the North, was an independent country before the British attacked and invaded it in 1839. The Baloch ruler, at the time, Mir Mehrab Khan along with hundreds of Baloch fighters died while defending Balochistan.
Later the British draw two artificial lines (borders), the Goldsmith Line (1871) and the Durand Line (1895), dividing Balochistan into three pieces. Northern Balochistan and Western Balochistan were given to Persia and Afghanistan respectively, and Eastern Balochistan (Pakistan occupied Balochistan) remained independent and maintained treaty relations with the British.
One of the treaties the British government signed with Balochistan in 1854 and later amended in 1876 reads as follows: Article 3: “Whilst on his part, Meer Khodadad Khan, Khan of Kalat, binds himself, his heirs, successors and sardars to observe faithfully the provisions of Article 3 of the treaty of 1854, the British Government on its part engages to respect the independence of Kalat, and to aid the Khan, in case of need, in the maintenance of a just authority and the protection of his territories from external attack, by such means as the British Government may at the moment deem expedient.”
The British remained in Eastern part of Balochistan until 1947 and at the time of their departure they recognised Balochistan as an independent state. Three days prior to Pakistan’s separation from India, a tripartite agreement was signed between the British, the ruler of Balochistan and the upcoming Pakistan administration accepting the sovereignty of the Baloch people. On 11 August, 1947, Eastern Balochistan declared full independence. Continue reading