Poshan
Home »  Blog »   »  The Balochistan Factor

The Balochistan Factor

The current angst about India conceding ground by agreeing to incorporate a reference to Balochistan in the recent joint statement out of Egypt is misplaced. If India is in fact aiding and abetting rebels in Balochistan, then it is not automatically the moral equivalent of Pakistan's involvement in Jammu & Kashmir. Without getting into lengthy legalistic tangles about how the two might or might not be equivalent, the issue is as simple as right versus wrong.

Not all liberation movements are the same in a moral sense, and it follows that not all interference in a foreign liberation struggle is morally equivalent. The fight in Balochistan is about unfair exploitation of Balochi resources by Pakistan's dominant Punjabis, and about the disrespecting of Balochi language and culture. The fight in Kashmir is about the adoption, by a segment of the Muslim population there, of Pakistan's underlying supremacist ideology, usually known as the "two nation theory"...

The current angst about India conceding ground by agreeing to incorporate a reference to Balochistan in the recent joint statement out of Egypt is misplaced. If India is in fact aiding and abetting rebels in Balochistan, then it is not automatically the moral equivalent of Pakistan's involvement in Jammu & Kashmir. Without getting into lengthy legalistic tangles about how the two might or might not be equivalent, the issue is as simple as right versus wrong.

Not all liberation movements are the same in a moral sense, and it follows that not all interference in a foreign liberation struggle is morally equivalent. The fight in Balochistan is about unfair exploitation of Balochi resources by Pakistan's dominant Punjabis, and about the disrespecting of Balochi language and culture. The fight in Kashmir is about the adoption, by a segment of the Muslim population there, of Pakistan's underlying supremacist ideology, usually known as the "two nation theory."

This is a theory of social order that views society as groups that are pitted against each other, in which one group emerges dominant and the other is forced to be subservient. As a corollary to this world view, one must always strive to keep one's own group from being subjugated, which means striving to subjugate or even exterminate the other group. Contrasted with this ideology is pluralism, represented by India: the system is set up to enable all groups to compete for political space in a more or less civilized fashion, and when it is well-designed, creates a workable equilibrium. It is up to the groups to develop the political and organizational skills to be competitive. Further, ocassional failures in the form of violent episodes do not detract from the basic nature of the system.

At a macro level, the two-nation theory is thus inherently supremacist, boasting role models such as apartheid South Africa, pre-civil Rights America, or Nazi Germany.  Pakistan made its choice at its creation to adopt this system, and implemented it successfully by way of eliminating the Hindu minority. The subset of Kashmiri Muslims who are fighting India for azadi are votaries of this exact doctrine; it is evident both from their rhetoric and conduct as well as from their choice of a sponsor in Pakistan. Nor do the protestations of a tolerant Kashmiriat mitigate this fundamental moral choice made by the Kashmir freedom fighters, since Kashmiriat merely represents good manners and a desire to get along, both doubtless creditable in their own right, but hardly relevant to the underlying supremacist belief.

Given this moral distinction, the level of anxiety experessed in Indian circles about the Sharm-el-Sheikh declaration's reference to Balochistan seems little justified. Instead, the Indian public needs to take note of what appears to be the favourite phrase of every high Indian official from the Prime Minister on down--"what is the harm in ...", where one fills in the blanks with signing this, or fecklessly promising the other, apparently unmindful of the Indian people's security, and India's interests as a country.

They might therefore start asking, "what is the harm in asserting the innate moral depravity of Pakistan and its Indian project, or at least in rejecting any moral equivalence between an abhorrent supremacism and a humanistic if flawed pluralism?"
 

Subscribe to Outlook’s Newsletter

Download the Outlook ​Magazines App. Six magazines, wherever you go! Play Store and App Store

THE LATEST ISSUE
CLICK IMAGE FOR CONTENTS


Online Casino Betway Banner
Advertisement