During the partition of India, Jinnah realized that Muslims needed a separate state. For he knew that throughout history, majorities have been unkind to minorities; not out of spite, but from looking out for their own interests. The Punjab majority of Pakistan has been prolific in doing just that – looking out for themselves. As a result, the minority provinces have been plundered by the Punjab military and bureaucracy, leaving smaller ethnic groups to the vultures.
In Sindh, the population has historically relied on the fruits of the Indus River. Traditionally, 90 million cubic feet of water would run through their land. Today, it most often runs dry before reaching the Arabian Sea – a result of the northern Punjab using the Indus to power their dams. Dams are also being built in Pashtun regions which will devastate the lands of Pashtun farmers, whom already pay large taxes – Meanwhile, farmers in Punjab enjoy a near tax-free lifestyle.
The Punjab have employed even more brutal tactics in Balochistan, where the Baloch are being massacred by the thousands -The reason? The Baloch are sitting upon trillions of dollars in natural resources. Getting rid of them will allow the Punjab to get their hands on these vast amounts of oil and minerals.
The tax-system further reflects Punjabi discrimination, with legislation stating that large portions of taxes must go to the most populated province, which just happens to be Punjab. And when these taxes have been paid out to the other provinces, the remaining 55% taxes are paid out to the seat of the central government, which, again, is Punjab. Certainly, the Punjab are looking out for themselves.
Jinnah’s two-state solution was clever. But he should have gone further and realized the inevitable oppression of a Punjab government, and that Pakistan thus needed a five-state solution. This would have ensured that every ethnicity could have ruled over themselves, as Muslims were supposed to in Pakistan – because in reality, the country is not Pakistan. It is the Punjab Empire, where the ethnic majority retains a strong economy in their own land, powered by plunder from the minority provinces. It is not surprising that Bangladesh was quick to leave.
Rather, it stands clear why a multi-ethnic country such as Pakistan can’t function: A democratic system presupposes a largely homogenous population (except for in the case of immigration, to be discussed in an upcoming article), ensuring that the interests of the majority are often the best alternative for the entire country. But a democratic system is not made to accommodate a country with multiple large ethnic groups, such as Pakistan, each with their separate interests. Because inevitably, the ethnic majority will use their power to do as they please, without regard to minorities, through ‘democratic’ processes. For why would they act in solidarity with provinces far away from their homes? Their own problems will appear more urgent, and so they will elect politicians according to their own needs. And so, the Pakistani parliament is filled with corrupt bureaucrats, stealing resources from the minority provinces, and giving these to the Punjab in order to ensure votes.
This is why Pakistan has never been a true democracy, for the Punjab are enabled by ‘democracy’ to rein terror over minorities. Thus, resources from the provinces are redirected to the capital. Therefore one must wonder; how many more times will democracy be spat upon before we realize that Pakistan needs to be divided? It is the only way to enable its ethnic groups to live in freedom. Only in the creation of Balochistan, Punjabistan, Pashtunistan/Greater Afghanistan and Sindudesh, will this violent region of the world finally be properly democratized. Until then, it will continue being a machine of genocide and oppression. The world will be better off when Pakistan falls and its hostage-nations are allowed to break free.
We at the Organization of Baloch Youth in Europe have initiated Project Baloch Voices, in where we will collect Baloch testimonials of oppression at the hand of Pakistan and Iran, to be later presented to the EU and UN. If you are a Baloch with such a story, send your story to email@example.com.