May 06, 2005

Balochistan : Puzzle of balochis

Discussion on the blog:
an excerpt says "A small tribal guerrilla war, supported by a few secret special forces [what if they got caught?] and some Dollars could [speculation again] easily escalate and lead into an independence movement in Baluchistan which would be hard to overcome by military means."

"I wonder how:
Total population of Pakistan: 160 million
Population of Baluchs: 5.6 - 7.5 million"

Here is the Response:

But remember that the military is 90% Punjabi -- the Sindhis are against it, the Seraiki speakers are not interested, and the Pushtuuns have divided loyalties. That leaves about 60 million..

However, Pakistan will not muster volunteers for this fight. So the Baloch are really fighting a mercenary occupation army whose maximum strength is 600,000 (if every soldier were moved from the frontier with India and Afghanistan and patrolling Sindh), while virtually every Baloch male will fight as a matter of honor. So the number of troops will not do much.. that leaves the question of air force, far better equipped troops, etc.

As far as the population goes, Pakistan is trying to do a demographic transformation to make the Baluch a minority in their province. But the terrain is inhospitable and Pakistanis are not likely to move from the fertile plains to a desert before infrastructure is built for them -- which is what Pakistan is trying to do in order to encourage Punjabi migration. So the Baluch have limited time to react and they know it. If they do not react, they are history as a people with a land.

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