A Photo Story From Eastern Balochistan.
Balochistan a country attacked in1839 and occupied in 1850s by the British. Then
divided into Iran (western), British Indian (eastern) and the buffer state of Afghanistan
(northern), by the British. In 1947 when Brits were forced to quit India eastern
Balochistan became an independent state but was soon occupied, in April 1948, by the
newly founded state of Pakistan, under British blessings. And western Balochistan came
under full control of Iran in 1928.
Ever since, after the occupation and division of Balochistan, Baloch people are suffering
from human rights violations such as massacres, carpet bombings, forced settlements,
public executions and many other such kind of acts by the states which occupy Baloch
Iran and Pakistan treat Baloch masses as third-rate peoples as if they are not humans.
And exploit the Baloch land, Balochistan, as they wish. They build highways, electricity
grids and deep-sea ports only for their own purpose. Like the Brits, before Pakistan and
Iran, who have made thousands of miles of railroads for military purpose to counter the
so-called advance of Tsarist Russia, in Balochistan.
As far as this Photo Story is concerned, which only deals with eastern or Pakistani
occupied Balochistan. The photos are of places and people, which are in the process of
forced industrialization of their land by the occupiers.
These are the scans of pictures that were taken in 2001-05, in a 38mm fixed lens
S.N Baloch, October 2006.
We have no cars: Poor but big heart, Balochs crossing Shal (Quetta) – Kolachi
(Karachi) highway near Las Bella. February 2003.
An abandoned mud built roadside motel, with a telephone network pole, which is
also useless. In the background is Mount Chiltan, covered in snow. One can find
these kind of motels all over eastern Balochistan along roadsides. People run
motels to earn a bread but often these are abandoned. Near Shal, February 2005.
Miree Castle, Kalat , the seat of the Khanate of Balochistan, now in ruins. Shal-
Kolachi highway is on the western flank of the Miree. February 2003.
February 2003, Wad valley. A house door locked. In Balochistan one can often see
this kind of houses, in isolated places, which’s doors are locked from outside.
When economic hardship overcomes Baloch people they leave their homes and
go to some other place in Balochistan or Sindh to earn something. Because there
is no other alternative but to migrate, there are those too who never leave their
homes at any cost. The Baloch contemporary history is full of stories of
migrations that how drought destroyed their livelihoods and forced them to
migrate to other places and Sindh. Sindhi people are not hostile towards Baloch
as compared to Iranians, Punjabis and Pashtoons.
Ghost Village: A whole village is abandoned, Dasht-e-Goran near Kalat. August
A boy Shepard in Wad valley, February 2003. Livestock and land cultivation are
the lifeline of the Baloch people. Whenever drought struck Balochistan it
destroyed the livelihood of the people. And Baloch people have no one to help
them to over come the effects of the drought. From 1998-2005 was one the biggest
droughts in Balochistan.
Near Dringhar/Kahnak, September 2003.
The Great Game: Looking westwards, rail track and the road, on the right. The rail
track was laid by the British, from Shal to Dozaap (Zahedan, in Iranian
Balochistan) it reached Noshkay (Nushki) in 1910. It is still used by the Pakistanis.
The major crop of Balochistan is wheat, which is in dire need every time. Here two
men using a traditional Baloch plough, pulled by two male cows (called Kareegar
in Balochi), before cultivating the land. Though, now days most Baloch use
tractors to cultivate their land but scenes like this are not uncommon. In one way
plough is environmental friendly as compared to tractor’s heavy sound and air
pollution. But no body pulls plough by well, it is a hard work especially under
baking sun and cold winds. We are talking of environmental friendly, now there is
no such kind of thing in Balochistan, every thing/act is environments enemy. Just
take the example of coastal highway built by the Pakistan army it runs from
Kolachi to Gwadar, a big part of it passes through wild life sanctuary of Hingol,
which is home to endangered species such as Balochi Cheetah (Acinonyx
Wad valley, February 2003.
Forced industrialization: In the foreground is a herd, feeding on dry bushes. In the
background is Pakistan army’s local headquarter and electricity grid, supplying
limited, almost none, electric power to the Baloch villages. In the far background
is Qoottee Mountain. Noshkay, February 2005.
The landscape around highways or other roads in Balochistan is doted with
Pakistani army outposts, and electricity and other purpose poles, such as this
one. Sultan Pass near Noshkay, September 2003.
These roads are not ours: A Baloch nomad family on movie towards their
destination somewhere in the mountains. Nomads travel hundreds of miles along
with their small children and all belongings. This tradition date backs from
thousands of years, it is still practical in Balochistan. Modern medical care is
almost non-existent in nomadic life, they made their own medicine, called Balochi
Darou, made from wild herbs. It is a common thing that nomads die from Snake
and Scorpion bites before reaching any nearest Pakistani run hospital, if they
reach any it not means that they will survive because there is no medical supplies.
And there is high figure of women deaths during childbirths.
Shal-Kolachi highway, near Oranach, February 2003.
An electric tower is damaged in a bomb explosion near Noshkay, April 2005.
Presently there is a fierce guerilla struggle is going on between Baloch resistance
fighters and Pakistani occupation forces. Baloch resistance fighters attack,
Pakistani assets in coordinated attacks, such as bridges, electric poles,
communication systems and many other such kind of things, which are used by
Pakistani army in Balochistan. In 2006 Pakistani interior minister told media that
they have arrested some 6,000 thousand Baloch freedom fighter from all across
Balochistan. The families of those arrested do not know that where their sons,
daughters, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, fathers and mothers have been
kept. Some of the detained Balochs have been killed during custody of Pakistanis
and their bodies have not been given to their relatives.
Posted by SNB to Radio Balochi FM