Asymmetric Federalism and Protection of Baloch Rights

How to prevent turning natives of Balochistan into minorities in their own home province

Muhammad Zubair Khan

Muhammad Zubair Khan

This morning I read a Facebook post from our learned friend and former Senator Sana Baloch (Sanullah Baloch) where he voices concerns about the likelihood of natives of Balochistan (Baloch/Pashtuns) soon turning into minorities in view of the large population transfers and dislocations that CPEC is going to cause. He suggests that a constitutional protection/amendment is needed on the pattern of article 370 of Indian Constitution (in relation to Kashmir), which recognizes rights of natives over their land and protects them from becoming a minority through prohibition against purchase of land by and grant of domiciles / voting rights to outsiders in Balochistan.

What he is suggesting is basically the formation of Asymmetrical Federalism — a principle on which a country like Pakistan must have been founded in the first place, given the facts of its geography and demography (i.e., where 70% Punjabis occupy 30% of land and 30% other ethnic groups combined occupy 70% of the land). The smallest population of Baluchistan having the larges portion of economically the most promised land gives them legitimate right to demand such an asymmetrical federation with special protections.

There is no doubt that Pak as it exists today is the result of herding together of disparate people through coercion, fraud and deception. But that does not prevent it from reconstituting itself through a federal contract in which the contracting units are politically equal, and it is entered into through the free volition of the contracting parties.

It is important to note that the suggestion is coming from Baloch politicians who are still ready to think within the framework of Pakistan, who still see a chance that the country can remain in tact while its constituents remain in peace and harmony, ensured by a constitutional system that is based on justice and equity. He is making an appeal to the Pashtuns of Balochistan, who should not forget that their honey moon with Punjabi establishment is soon going to be over as soon as the CPEC project is up and starts running.

If Baloch moderates and Pashtun (which unfortunately do not have hardliners!) do not join hands to make a successful demand for asymmetrical federalism, then be prepared natives for being kicked out from the tent by the camel of your brown masters.

Writer: Muhammad Zubair Khan

The writer comes from Mahsud tribe of South Waziristan. He has taught law at the University of Peshawar for almost ten years as Assistant Professor. Currently, he is completing PhD from Maurer School of Law, Center of Constitutional Democracy, Indiana University USA. His areas of interest include nationalism, ethnicity, ethno-national conflicts and constitutional design for ethnically divided societies. He can be reached at

mzubair@indiana.edu

THE PASHTUN TIMES

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