Is Balochistan betrayed by Jinnah and Nehru?

10 April, 2022 | Pravina Srivastava

2 125404 A5oOi1kk National

Each person’s desire for dignity is believed to be at the centre of their being. And the dignity of a nation-state is its independence. Unfortunately, the people of Balochistan have been deni...

Each person’s desire for dignity is believed to be at the centre of their being. And the dignity of a nation-state is its independence. Unfortunately, the people of Balochistan have been denied rights that would govern their natural life as a result of devious geopolitics.

The “conquest” of Balochistan by Pakistan began on March 26, 1948, when troops marched through the coastal towns of Pasni and Jiwani. With no relief in sight from neighbours and fearing the worst for the people of Balochistan, the Khan of Kalat, Mir Ahmad Yar Khan, signed the Instrument of Accession under duress on March 27, 1948, which was recognised by then-Governor General of Pakistan, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, on March 31, 1948.

When Jinnah realised that the partition of Bengal and Punjab was imminent, he issued a statement in the Dawn Newspaper on 1 May 1947 expressing his displeasure, stating that it was not a sound principle and that “Hindu minorities in the Punjab and Bengal wish to cut up these Provinces and cut up their own people into two,” while also writing in the same speech that “Hindu and Muslim are nations and we want a national State in our homelands, which are predominantly Muslim and coexist,” Despite Jinnah’s rhetoric of a Muslim nation, more than 60% of Muslims remained opposed to the idea of Pakistan.

India has never backed Balochistan’s independence. Its approach was based on the idea that allowing princely states to declare independence would have a domino effect. This would be disastrous for India, which was faced with the monumental job of integrating 565 princely states into the Indian Union. Furthermore, because Pakistan was already a military ally, India never intended the British to remain involved in the internal issues of South Asia.