Which Balochistan?

Previously: Which Iberia?Which Alexandria?Which Albania?Which African Nation?Which Guinea?Which Thebes?Which Georgia?Which Galicia?Which Victoria?

I was wrong in thinking that this series was finished–truth be told, it can never end.

Balochistan (or Baluchistan) as a nation is a mountainous region in the Iranian plateau in Southwest Asia and South Asia that today includes part of Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. The Balochi are an Iranian people who moved into the area about a thousand years ago. It was a tribal area when the British established control over the area during the Afghan Wars. The northern areas that became under British rule with treaties in 1876, 1879 and 1891 became known as British Baluchistan (see red blob between Balochistan and Afghanistan on the inset map to the right). Some Balochi areas remained in Iran and Afghanistan.

Today, “Balochistan” is the name of a Pakistan province and part of the name of an Iranian province. And there is an ongoing struggle in Pakistan and Iran for independence for the peoples who live in those provinces (with some saying it could be another Bangladesh).

Sistan and Baluchestan Province is one province in Iran, the most underdeveloped and poorest of Iran’s regions, and also it’s largest. Most of the 2.4 million people speak Balochi as their primary language.

The Balochi areas under the actual or nominal control of the British were incorporated into Pakistan as Balochistan Province when it was founded in 1948, and then became part of West Pakistan province in 1955. It was returned to full provincial status in 1970. In 1976 the Pakistani central government revoked the authority of local chiefs to administer their own peoples, touching off a significant popular revolt against the government.

Then in Afghanistan, two provinces — Nimruz Province and Farah Province — are the regions (listed by wikipedia) as having Balochi-speaking ethnic groups. That information does not match with the borders contained in the 1980 map of the ethnicities of Pakistan that is widely used to reference Balochistan proper (and which is pink in the above map). A number of maps differ as to where the Balochi live and where the language is spoken — see slightly conflicting maps here and here.

The organizations involved in the independence struggle include the Balochistan Liberation Army, a nationalist secessionist movement designated a terroroist organization by Pakistan and the UK; the Baloch National Movement, an independence group; the Baloch National Front, a coalition of independence groups; the Baloch Republican Army, another militant organization; and many others.

About Curzon

Lord George Nathaniel Curzon (1859 - 1925) entered the British House of Commons as a Conservative MP in 1886, where he served as undersecretary of India and Foreign Affairs. He was appointed Viceroy of India at the turn of the 20th century where he delineated the North West Frontier Province, ordered a military expedition to Tibet, and unsuccessfully tried to partition the province of Bengal during his six-year tenure. Curzon served as Leader of the House of Lords in Prime Minister Lloyd George's War Cabinet and became Foreign Secretary in January 1919, where his most famous act was the drawing of the Curzon Line between a new Polish state and Russia. His publications include Russia in Central Asia (1889) and Persia and the Persian Question (1892). In real life, "Curzon" is a US citizen from the East Coast who has been a financial analyst, freelance translator, and university professor; he is currently on assignment in Tokyo.
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4 Responses to Which Balochistan?

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention ComingAnarchy.com » Which Balochistan? -- Topsy.com

  2. s says:

    of course it will never end.

    which punjab, which macedonia, which manchuria, which columbia, which isabella (and insert your columbus related place/people name), which directional capital (E/W/N/S) in china(and japan), which directional sea, which New xxxx (new spain, new mexico, new england…) ….

  3. Alfred Russel Wallace says:

    Fascinating post – Does the other part of Pakistani Baluchistan contain other ethnic groups, or is it uninhabited?? I wish the Baluchis well…

  4. Ed says:

    What would be the population of an independent and united Balochistan?

    Culturally, there is a very strong case for establishing this country. The Baluchis really do have a distinctive language and culture. But the international scene has been getting too cluttered with poor, low population, sovereign states.