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Political Play
Zulfiqar Shah
Sindh-Balochistan: Participation in Pakistan military and security versus Asia's largest military concentration 29 September, 2016
Asia's largest military concentration is in Sindh and Balochistan by Pakistan armed forces and services. If compared with the population vis-a-vis vast terrain in Balochistan, the military-civilian ratio in Balochistan, as well as in Sindh would be alarming.
Ethnic composition of armed forces and services: If Pakistani Armed Forces, Army, Navy and Air Forces, Pakistan Rangers, Frontier Constabulary, Coast Guards, and Specially Trained Commandoes in Balochsitan are combined with Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) and Military Intelligence (MI), as well as Nuclear and Missile Programs, they form Military Security Regime of Pakistan.

Pakistan's Nuclear and Missile Programs are almost non- civilian. Ethnic Punjabi overwhelming majority is there in these forces, services and departments. If expenditures of these are combined, they form largest portion of Pakistan budget.

Sindh alone has been bearing these expenditures annually since last seven decades through its natural resources alone excluding Thar coal reservoirs. In fact Uranium and Plutonium from Sindh is being exploited and exported since last four decades by Pakistan authorities. Plutonium is no doubt costliest metal on the earth. Besides, Gold and Copper is being exploited from Iran bordering districts of Balochistan since over two decades.

The retired officials of three armed forces, Pakistan Rangers and Frontier Constabularies, ISI, MI, Nuclear, and Missile program take their pensions, perks and benefits from civil / non-defense budget of Pakistan. If this alone is combined, the defense budget of Pakistan overshadows and dominates the thin strip of civilian budget. Sindh is largest contributor of Pakistan economy and resources, followed by Balochistan.

If ethnic composition of the Pakistan Army, other armed forces, services and departments is reviewed Sindhi and Baloch are non-existent. Sindhi and Baloch are almost non-existent in Sindh Regiment and Baloch Regiment of the Pakistan Army. They are non-existent in EME (Army Engineering / Technical) Corps, KohPaiman (the mountain defenders); Artillery, Signals Corps, and other formations, divisions and units of Pakistan Army.

No ethnic-indigenous Sindhi has been elevated to the post of Brigadier General in Pakistan Army over seven decades, and only one Baloch General, (Lt. General retired Abdul Qadir Baloch) an exception, a few Pashtun Generals from Balochistan, and some Urdu speaking Sindhi and Sindhi of Punjabi origin Generals from Sindh have been there.

Only one Air Martial (Air Martial Daudpota) was Sindhi in Pakistan's Air Forces history. General Abdul Qadir Baloch was retired; however he was qualifying the post of Deputy Chief of Army and Air Martial Daudpota was sent to Africa although he was eligible to become Air Chief Marshal. An ethnic-indigenous Sindhi Colonel, (Col. Lakhyar), and exception, was eligible to become Brigadier General in 2006, but an ant was inserted in his record therefore he has not been elevated to the post of Brigadier General until 2012 according to the information of the writer.

The Pakistan Army informally claimed with the author that there are roughly one hundred thousand of Sindhis in the Army, which according to author's information are recruited on Sindh domiciles, not on the basis of Sindh born nor ethnic-indigenous Sindhi. According to author's assessment around fifty thousands are in the Pakistan Army's all formations, corpse, divisions, units and departments that are Sindh born out of which 81 per cent are Sindhi of Urdu and Punjabi origin.

No doubt, 19 per cent of fifty thousand are ethnic-indigenous Sindhi in Pakistan Army in general including the civil departments of the Army. A large number of them have been recruited in last ten years. An exact situation is in Balochistan, where Baloch are included in Pakistan Army after 2007.

It is mentioned here that most of the Punjabi are recruited in Pakistan Army through two processes: 1) The recruitments of formations, corps, divisions, units and departments is opened without any provincial barrier; and 2) Punjabi are recruited on the fake Domiciles and Permanent Resident Certificates (PRCs) from Sindh and to certain extent Balochistan in Pakistan Army.

Sindhi and Baloch are non-existent in Pakistan Navy although both of the provinces are coastal. Punjabi are majority in Navy although Punjab province is land locked (has non coast). Pakistan Air Force is housing the smallest number of mountainous population from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Sindh and is having majority from the plains particularly from Punjab.

Baloch are a thin minority in Frontier Constabulary - Balochistan and Sindhi are also thin minority in Pakistan Rangers - Sindh. Sindhi and Baloch can claim that both are almost non-existent in the border protecting second tier armed forces. If this is compared on the provincial scale, astonishing facts will come out.

Punjabi are majority in Pakistan Rangers-Punjab and protect their international borders with India; Pashtuns of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are majority in Frontier Constabulary - KP, Bajwar Agency Forces as well as other Tribal Security Forces, and they protect their borders with Afghanistan and China.

Indigenous Balochistani Pashtuns are majority in Frontier Constabulary - Balochistan and protect their borders with Afghanistan and Iran. Sindhi are the only indigenous majority of their historical land Sindh that are not allowed to protect their borders with India. Ethnic Punjabi protects Sindh's land borders with India; as well as protect and guard Sindh and Balochistan coasts.

Pakistan is said to have 1 million standing Army, out of that bellow 5 per cent are Sindhi and Baloch each from Sindh and Balochistan provinces.

Asia's largest military concentration: Pano Aqil Cantonment is the largest military installation in Pakistan. And, probably is the largest standing Army in the non-bordering zone at one place in the Asia. It is also the largest military installation at the place, Sindhi, where no military conflict is underway. There are two cantonments in Karachi; one each in Ghtoki in northern Sindh; Hyderabad in Southern Sindh, Petaro in Southern central Sindh; Chhor in Umrekot of Thar desert districts.

New as well as up-gradation of / to cantonments are planned in Badin, Tando Allahyar and Sanghar districts. Divisions, Brigades, and units are installed in Nawab shah, Dadu, Noshehro, Khairpur Mirs, Larkana, Mithi, Matyari and some other parts of the Sindh. The bordering security force and agency, Pakistan Rangers - Sindh is installed in bordering districts of Badin, Mithi, Umerkot, Sanghar, Khairpur Mirs and Ghotki in Sindh. Meanwhile, they are stationed in the various districts as second tier force with certain extent of policing powers in the districts of Karachi East, Karachi West, Karachi, South, District Malir, Hyderabad, Shikarpur, Larkana, Dadu, Naushehro, Jaccobabad, Kashmor, Ghotki, Sanghar, Nawabshah, Matyari, Tando Mohammad Khan, TandoAllahyar, Thatta, Badin, Jamshoro, Mithi and Umerkot, almost all districts of Sindh.

Largest Naval installations of Pakistan Navy are in Karachi, Sindh and adjoining Lasbella district of Balochistan; however Navy is also there in some other parts of Balochistan. The Pakistan Air Force has installations in Karachi, Sukkur, Jaccobabad as well as some other parts in Sindh; meanwhile Pakistan Coast Guards - Sindh are based in Karachi and Southern towns of Balochistan.

The Pakistan Army has cantonments in Quetta, Dera-Bugi-Sibi, Kohluand Khuzdar districts of Balochi speaking Balochistan as well as cantonment for the coastal southern Balochistan, besides Pashtun majority districts of northeastern Balochistan. Pakistan Army's Brigades (formations), Divisions, and Units are in all districts of Balochistan.

Construction of some new cantonments is also underway. Frontier Constabulary - Balochistan is installed and stationed in all Afghanistan and Iran bordering districts of Balochistan. Specially trained commando units of Pakistan Army to counter freedom fighters are installed in Quetta, Khuzdar, Qalat and Panjgur. The Pakistan Air Force has also existence in Balochistan.

Balochistan's population is below 20 million and Sindh population is between 50 to 60 million according to independent estimates. If military installations in Sindh and Balochistan with reference to the number of Armed forces, and civilian population is compared, it can be validly claimed that Asia's largest military installations are in each Sindh and Balochistan.

Ethnic indigenous Sindhi and Baloch in particular and Sindh born Sindhi of Urdu and Punjabi origin in general, and ethnic indigenous Baloch and to certain extent Pashtuns are thin minority / non-existent in the armed services like Inter-Services-Intelligence (ISI), Military Intelligence (MI) / Federal Investigation Unit (FIU), Pakistan Navy Intelligence, Pakistan Air Force Intelligence, Pakistan Rangers Intelligence, and Frontier ConstabularyBalochistan intelligence, and Pakistan Coast Guard's smallest intelligence gathering section.

On the similar lines, Sindhi, Baloch and Balochistani Pashtuns are non-existent the strategic departments of defence and communications like Foreign Services / Office, Dr. A.Q. Khan Research Laboratory and other Nuclear Programs as well as Missile Programs including Pakistan Upper Space Research department.

Conclusion: The situation has four aspects:

1. Asia's largest military concentration is in each Sindh and Balochistan province in Pakistan.

2. Sindhi, Baloch and Balochistani Pashtun, especially ethnic-indigenous population are non-existent in their share in the defence, security, and civil and non-civil strategic engagements. Sindhi and Balochistani are not allowed to protect their borders, population, land, interests and take participation in strategic developments, and foreign policy.

3. Sindh and Balochistan are largest economic, financial and fiscal contributors for Pakistan, especially in the ethnic-Punjabi dominated center.

4. Sindh is the only province in Pakistan that is using civil-nuclear power house in Karachi, in which Sindhi are not employed. This facility is using Sindh reservoirs of Uranium. This Karachi based facility is in a situation that a Chernobyl like situation can happen at any time, according to a Sindhi newspapers and a Sindh High Court petition.

5. Since Sindh and Balochistan are popularly having secessionist / freedom movements, and since Sindhi-Baloch are not part of Pakistani armed forces and services as well as strategic developments, therefore people of Sindh and Balochsitan will not support Pakistan in case of any war is imposed on / waged against Pakistan.

Zulfiqar Shah is a Sindh refugee journalist, analyst and activist currently staying in Delhi, India. He for a shorter period during youth was trained by Commando Unit of Baloch Regiment, Pakistan Army as non-military and fully civilian student.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
About The Author
Zulfiqar Shah is a stateless activist, analyst, and researcher. Although he is a refugee, and living a life in exile, he is a born Sindhi and South Asian. Currently he lives in India.
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