The Genesis of Baloch Nationalism : Politics and Ethnicity in Pakistan, 1947–1977 book cover
1st Edition

The Genesis of Baloch Nationalism
Politics and Ethnicity in Pakistan, 1947–1977

ISBN 9780367734893
Published December 18, 2020 by Routledge India
268 Pages

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Book Description

This book explores the ideological, political and military interventions of the state of Pakistan in Balochistan and traces the genesis of today’s secessionist movement. It delves into the historical question of Balochistan’s integration into Pakistan in 1947 and brings out the true political and militant character of the movement during the first three decades (1947–77) of Pakistan’s existence as a nation-state. It shows how the Baloch, as well as other minority groups, were denied the right to identify themselves as a sub-national/ethnic group in the new nation-state, compounded by a systematic exclusion from decision-making circles and structures of political and economic power. The volume also traces political resistance from within Balochistan and its subsequent suppression by military operations, leading to a widespread militant insurgency in the present day.

Drawing on hitherto unexplored sources, this book will be indispensable to scholars and researchers of South Asian history, politics, international relations and area studies.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements 1. The case of Balochistan: a self-fulfilling prophecy 2. Ideological interventions 3. Political interventions 4. Military interventions 5. Epilogue: reflections on the changing dimensions of the Baloch national movement since 1977 Appendices. Index.

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Salman Rafi Sheikh, previously a research scholar at the National Institute of Pakistan Studies, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan, is by training a political scientist, specializing in political history with focus on ethno-nationalism, identity politics and post-colonialism. He writes on Pakistan’s various socio-political issues, foreign policies of major powers towards regional issues, including Balochistan, their application and consequences, and his op-eds and insights regularly appear in highly acclaimed international and regional media such as Asia Times.


'Salman Rafi has written a book that should make all of us pause and contemplate the complex realities of political conflict in the contemporary world. In meticulously documenting the evolution of the political struggle of the Baloch ethnic-nation for rights and recognition within the state of Pakistan, Rafi forces us to think critically about the problematic of political violence in the so-called age of terror, and alerts us to the dangers of using an ahistorical lens to study conflicts between states and ethnic communities that reside within state borders. Rafi demonstrates that the growing visibility of often violent separatist elements within the wider Baloch nationalist movement raises questions about how successive Pakistani rulers have dealt with long-standing demands emanating from peripheral regions over questions of identity and power-sharing within a multi-national state. Rather than embodying a fundamentally anti-democratic and violent ethos, the Baloch movement is, in Rafi's close reading, to be seen as a case of a people being forced into an untenable position by a state that continues to view democratic assertion by historically underrepresented ethnic groups as an invitation to suppress them. Needless to say, such an approach by the state is entirely self-defeating, but, worryingly, more and more the norm in an age where any and all forms of dissent are conveniently reduced to "terrorism".' - Aasim Sajjad Akhtar, National Institute of Pakistan Studies, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan