Dienstag, 16. Mai 2017

A Brief Introduction to Balochistan.... (Belutschistan)

Status: Due to colonial policies during the period of 1838 till 1948, Balochistan was partitioned into neighbouring countries of Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan by Colonial borders known as Goldsmith Line created in 1871 and Durand Line created in 1893.

Location: Balochistan is the homeland of the Baloch people whose national identity is deeply embedded into the region’s rich history. It is one of the most strategic regions located between the Middle East, South Asia and Central Asia, with a coastline of more than a thousand kilometres, stretching alongside the Indian Ocean, from the Strait of Hormoz to Persian Gulf, to the port city of Karachi. Balochistan geopolitical location has attracted interest and investment by regional powers like China who has established a Deep Sea Port and military base in Gwadar, in Balochistan in Pakistan. Russia China and India are investing in Chabhar in Balochistan in Iran.

West Balochistan (capital City; Zahedan) was forcefully annexed in 1928 to Iran by Reza Shah Pahlavi, after replacing the Qajar dynasty through a British backed Military Coup. Area: The total Baloch inhabited landscape is 690,000 km², of which 280,000 km² is occupied by Iran, 350,000 km² occupied by Pakistan and 60,000 km² by Afghanistan.

West Balochistant

Population: After its occupation, the ancestral Baloch homeland was divided, with parts of Balochistan being assigned to the neighbouring provinces of Kerman, Khorasaan and Hormozgaan. Put together, the Baloch population is about 4.8 million, in Iran.

Balochistan Rich in natural resources: Balochistan is rich in natural resources. In addition it has a long coast line. Balochistan's geopolitical location makes it the crossroads for oil and gas pipelines.In December 2012, the RIPI project manager for exploration of hydrate gas reserves in Sea of Oman, Naser Keshavarz, said: “Based on the latest surveys conducted in the Sea of Oman...we have discovered gas hydrate reserves equalling the country’s total conventional oil and gas reserves,”1. Beside those there are other major natural resources in Balochistan including Gold and Copper and other valuable natural resources.

Baloch People in Iran: Since 1928, the Baloch people are suffering at the hands of the Iranian state due to systematic suppression. The systematic use of discrimination and harassment of the Baloch people in Iran is a government policy. Mahmud Khalatbary, who served as Director General of the Central Treaty Organization (CENTO), in a discussion with Selig S. Harrison, recalled that: “At CENTO, we always assumed that the Baloch would attempt to create their own independent state someday, so it was desirable to keep them as politically weak, disunited, and backward as possible.” 2 The Islamic Republic of Iran has taken this statement to heart and intensified its policy of suppression.

1- Linguistic and cultural discrimination: Baloch children do not have access to education in their mother language. Human Rights Watch (HRW) has further documented the fact that the Baloch populated region has been systematically divided by successive regimes in Tehran to create a demographic imbalance. According to a HRW report from 1997, “The administrative and political districts were arranged so as to avoid the creation of any Balochi majority provinces, thus preventing locally elected officials. Immigration of non-Balochis into the area was encouraged under the Pahlavi state to the extent that almost forty percent of the population of Zahidan are non-Baloch immigrants”3 .

2- No equal access to higher education, the job market or high-ranking positions in the government for Baloch youth. By implementing a selection procedure known as Guzinesh, the state systematically limits Baloch youth's access to these areas through tests based only on Shiite religious teachings and history.

3- Demographic manipulation: By encouraging and allocating resources to the settlement of non-Baloch people in Balochistan – while Baloch people are systematically deprived of their human rights and do not have similar access to resources and facilities.

4- Balochistan is under a government-imposed military rule: Iran treats the Baloch people as a national threat to Iran. Therefore they are not trusted and always treated as second-class citizens. The security and governance structures of Balochistan are firmly in the hands of Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards which in turn are under the direct command of Iran’s Supreme Leader.

5- Large-scale human rights violations against Baloch people: The Baloch represent around 7 percent of the total population of Iran, but reliable statistic data on executions in Iran show that 25 percent of all people executed are Baloch. Accordingto Democratic Human Right Activists, the latest surge in the execution of Baloch prisoners is part of the regime’s attempt to counter growing discontent among Baloch people against the regime’s discriminatory policies. 4

6- Extra–judicial killings: The systematic use of extra-judicial killings in Balochistan is characteristic of Iran’s state policy in Balochistan. This was clearly stated by the head of MERSAAD who said: "We have not been given orders to arrest and hand over those who carry weapons. On the basis of a directive we have received, we will execute any bandits, wherever we capture them (Ettela'at, 25 February 1998)".5 MERSAAD, a special force which is part of the Iranian security forces, which in turn are under the direct command of Iran’s Supreme Leader.

The Balochistan Peoples Party (BPP) is a national democratic organization which is campaigning for the peaceful struggle for sovereignty for the Baloch people in Balochistan within a democratic, secular and federal governing structure in Iran. BPP is one of the founding and most active members of the Congress of Nationalities for a Federal Iran (CNFI), which was established in 2005 and consists of parties and organizations representing Arabs, Azerbaijani Turks, Balochs, Kurds, Turkmen and Lors. CNFI is seeking to establish a secular, democratic republic with a federal structure, based on the parity of its constituents.

Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO): Thanks to the efforts of BPP, Balochistan has become a member of UNPO. In collaborating with the UNPO Secretariat, BPP has succeeded to increasingly put an international spotlight on the Baloch’s grievances. BPP has participated in symposiums and conferences in different European countries and met with various Members of the European Parliament and Commission to inform them about human right abuses perpetrated by the Iranian government in Balochistan.


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