Written by Rana Banerji |New Delhi |Updated: August 31, 2019 12:02:54 am
A Watchful Eye
The ethnic origins and socio-political arc of Balochistan are contextualised in this detailed account
The Balochistan Conundrum is a cogently analysed treatise on the largest, most sparsely populated, yet most troublesome province of Pakistan. Divided into six sections, the book begins with a bird’s eye view of the geography, demography and ethnic mosaic of the land. The author looks in depth at the etymological origins of the Baloch, and the “unique demographic-cum-territorial configuration” which evolved in the province. The Brahui, of ethnic Dravidian origin from the south and central areas mingled with the Pashtuns from the north. Punjabi settlers came in to contiguous western districts. Hazaras came in from the northern parts of the North West Frontier Province and even Afghanistan, as nomads, like the Baloch themselves. But they had to unfortunately face endemic sectarian persecution at the hands of Sunni radicals, often under ill-concealed State instigation. This analysis corroborates former Pakistani diplomat Ashraf Jehangir Qazi who described it as far back as in June, 2010, as a “disastrous policy of relying on Pashtuns and non-locals to counter Baloch grievance-based aspirations”.
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