By Atif Abid Kech, Turbat
Baloch nationalism is a movement that claims the Baloch people, an ethno-linguistic group mainly found in Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan are a distinct nation. The movement propagates the view that Muslims are not a nation (the opposite of the concept behind the creation of Pakistan) and that ethnic loyalty must surpass religious loyalty.
The Baloch nationalist movement’s demands have ranged from greater cultural, economic and political rights, to political autonomy, to outright secession and the creation of an independent state of Balochistan. The movement is secular and heavily influenced by leftist Marxist ideology, like its other counterparts in other parts of Pakistan and India, leaning towards anti-Islamism.
Baloch nationalism in its modern form began in the form of the Anjuman-e-Ittehad-e-Balochan (Organization for Unity of the Baloch) based in Mastung in the 1920s, led by Yousaf Aziz Magsi, Abdul Aziz Kurd and others. The aim of the group was to establish political and constitutional reform in the State of Kalat; end of British imperialism; abolition of the sardari-jirga system; and for the eventual unification of all Baloch lands into an independent state. Simultaneously with the formation of the Anjuman, Baloch intellectuals in Karachi formed a nationalist organization, called the Baloch League.
In February 1937, the Anjuman re-organized and became the Kalat State National Party, carrying on the Anjuman’s political agenda of an independent united state of Balochistan. The party was dominated by more secular-minded, anti-imperialist and populist elements, such as Ghaus Bakhsh Bizenjo, Mir Gul Khan Naseer and Abdul Aziz Kurd. When parliamentary elections were held in the State of Kalat, the party was the largest winners with a considerable majority.
Baloch nationalism stems from lingual roots and is more concentrated in Brohi, Sulemani and Makrani speaking areas of Province Baluchistan. Sindhi (Jadgali Dialect), Saraiki (Khetrani dialect), Rukhshani, Dehvari, Pashto, Hazargi and Mix (Punjabi Settlers) belts population don’t support Baloch Nationalism which accounts for more than 60 % of population of Baluchistan.