The Balochistan Dilemma: Abundant Wealth, Scarce Political Stability

Balochistan, the largest province of Pakistan, is a land of untold riches and untapped potential. From the vast mineral deposits hidden beneath its deserts to the stunning landscapes that stretch from its rugged coastlines to the peaks of its mountains, this province is a treasure trove waiting to be unlocked. But despite its wealth, Balochistan has remained one of the most underdeveloped and marginalized regions in the country, with its people systematically excluded from the political and economic decisions that shape their lives.

This marginalization is no accident. The political landscape of Balochistan is dominated by parties and groups that are engineered from the top down by the federal government in Islamabad. These parties and groups are often little more than shells, created to do the bidding of those in power and maintain the status quo of exploitation and underdevelopment. Meanwhile, the true voices of the people of Balochistan are drowned out, their demands for justice and equality ignored.

The political landscape of Balochistan is mired in a quagmire of shifting allegiances and ever-changing political affiliations. Politicians who were once in one party today, find themselves in another tomorrow, with a lack of commitment to any particular ideology or principle. This has led to a general mistrust of the political elite and a perception that they are more concerned with their own interests than those of the people they are meant to represent. The revolving door of political affiliations, combined with the manipulation by federal powers, has resulted in a political culture characterized by dynastic and elitist tendencies. The standard of politics in Balochistan falls short of democratic ideals, much to the disappointment of its people. Political parties in the province are plagued by issues such as hierarchical tendencies, the sudden emergence of kingmaker parties, the presence of political turncoats, inconsistent policies, and corruption.


Revolving Door: Baloch Political Parties and Shifting Allegiances

After the formation of the National Action Plan (NAP), Pashtun and Baloch leaders were initially united, but the dissolution of One Unit saw the fragmentation of the alliance. Abdul Samad Khan Achakzai founded the Pashtunkhwa National Awami Party, which later merged with the Mazdoor Kisan Party to become the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PKMAP). However, PKMAP has since split into two factions.Baloch leadership also saw the formation of various parties. Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti established the Jamhuri Watan Party, which split after his death. Over time, most Baloch leaders were part of the Balochistan National Party (BNP), which eventually gave rise to the Balochistan National Movement (BNM), which was also split into two factions: the National Party (NP) led by Dr. Malik and the late Hasil Bezinjo, and the National Democratic Party (NDP) led by the late Dr. Abdul Hai Baloch. In 1996, the BNP Mengal was established, with several other nationalist parties also present in the province.



The political landscape of Balochistan is mired in a quagmire of shifting allegiances and ever-changing political affiliations…The revolving door of political affiliations, combined with the manipulation by federal powers, has resulted in a political culture characterized by dynastic and elitist tendencies.



The religious party, JUIF, also split into JUI Nazaryati, while federal parties such as the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN), the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PMLQ), and the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) were formed. Meanwhile, the leaders of the PPP have been playing hide-and-seek, with the provincial leadership accepting turncoats. The Hazara Democratic Party is no different from the rest of the parties.

The dominant elitism within political parties poses a major threat to democratic norms and values. Electables hold political parties hostage to serve their own interests, often switching affiliations to remain in power. These opportunists, who prioritize personal gain over morality and ethics, have repeatedly becometurncoats and undermine democracy within political parties. This has led to horse-trading in the Senate elections in Balochistan, where an affluent individual is elected as a senator by spending money. The situation is no different for political workers who are ignored and marginalized.

Like other political parties in Pakistan, dynastic politics in Balochistan has damaged democratic norms and values. No political party, whether federal, religious, or nationalist, is immune to dynastic influences. The absence of a strong middle class, lack of opportunities for the middle class, and hurdles for their involvement in political parties in Balochistan have defaced the pseudo-democrats of the province, leading to political instability.

The sudden emergence of kingmaker parties in Balochistan has put the credibility of political leaders at stake. For example, in the early 2000s, the PMLN Balochistan was shattered overnight and the PMLQ was formed. In 2017, the PMLN split once again, leading to the formation of the BAP. These turncoats align with ethno-centric and orthodox religious groups, as well as so-called federalist parties. These individuals are quick to offer their services to those in power, but are just as easily discarded. The lack of loyalty and integrity in the political culture of Balochistan has raised serious questions about its trustworthiness.

The province has become a stage for political maneuvering, where the pursuit of power has surpassed all moral and democratic boundaries. Politicians who switch parties at a moment’s notice have shown a serious lack of political maturity and respect for democratic norms and values.

In conclusion, the political culture in Balochistan has come under question due to the actions of the ethno-centric, orthodox religious and federalist politicians who switch parties for their own interests. The ongoing power struggle for political control has crossed every limit of morality, political culture, and democratic norms and values. The constantly changing allegiances of these politicians have eroded public trust in the political system. It is time for introspection and a reevaluation of their values, or else the residents of the province will continue to suffer the consequences of their actions. 

But there is hope. A new generation of activists, organizers, and left-wing political groups and parties are emerging, fighting against this injustice and working to build a better future for the people of Balochistan. They believe in a world where the vast wealth of this province is shared equally among all its people, where the voices of the working class and the marginalized are heard loud and clear, and where the beauty of this land is protected for generations to come. The struggle for justice in Balochistan has only just begun, but the winds of change are blowing, and the world is watching.


The Way Forward:

It is vital for politicians to engage in introspection and self-reflection to address these issues, but the responsibility also falls on the wider political community to demand accountability and ethical behavior from their elected representatives. To address this dynastic and elitist political culture, a comprehensive left-wing approach is necessary that prioritizes the interests of the working class and marginalized communities. This can be achieved through implementing policies that address income inequality, improving access to education and healthcare, and promoting political participation for all members of society. Additionally, measures must be taken to limit the concentration of power in the hands of a few families, such as campaign finance reform and term limits for elected officials.



The province has become a stage for political maneuvering, where the pursuit of power has surpassed all moral and democratic boundaries.



Dynamic left-wing groups and parties must emerge in Balochistan to provide an alternative to the existing political landscape, and mobilize a grass-roots movement for political change. These groups must prioritize community engagement, participatory decision-making processes, and a commitment to transparency and accountability.

Ultimately, it is the people of Balochistan who hold the power to shape their political future. In order to break the cycle of elitism and dynastic rule in Balochistan, a bottom-up approach that empowers the people and prioritizes their needs must be implemented. This will require a break from the status quo and a commitment to building a political system that is truly representative of the diverse population of Balochistan.Through active participation, organization, and the creation of a strong, inclusive, and ethical political culture, the residents of the province can drive positive change and ensure a more equitable and just future for all.

 Written by Naseeb Ullah Achakzai