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Separatist movements of Pakistan

There are some separatist movements in Pakistan which are based on ethnic/regional nationalism though only a few are of much significance.[citation needed]

Map of Pakistan.



Pakistan was established in 1947 as a state for Muslims. The driving force behind the movement for Pakistan was the educated Muslim in the Muslim minority states of United Province and Bombay Presidency and the Muslim Majority areas. Its formation was based on the basis of Islamic nationalism. However, rampant corruption within the ranks of the government and bureaucracy, economic inequality between the country's two wings caused mainly by a lack of representative government and the government's indifference to the efforts of fierce ethno-nationalistic politicians like Mujeeb-ur-Rehman from East Pakistan, resulted in civil war in Pakistan and subsequent separation of East Pakistan as the new state of the People's Republic of Bangladesh.[citation needed].

In 2009, the Pew Research Center conducted a Global Attitudes survey across Pakistan, in which it questioned respondents whether they viewed their primary identity as Pakistani or that of their ethnicity. The sample covered an area representing 90% of the adult population, and included all major ethnic groups.[1] According to the findings, 96% of Punjabis identified themselves first as Pakistanis, as did 92% each of Pashtuns and Muhajirs; 55% of Sindhis chose a Pakistani identification, while 28% chose Sindhi and 16% selected "both equally"; whereas 58% of Baloch respondents chose Pakistani and 32% selected their ethnicity.[1] Collectively, 89% of the sample opted their primary identity as Pakistani.[1] Similarly in 2010, Chatham House conducted an opinion poll in the Pakistani and Indian-administered regions of Kashmir asking respondents if they favoured independence or an accession to either countries; in Azad Kashmir, 50% of respondents voted for all of Kashmir to accede to Pakistan, 44% voted for independence, and 1% voted for accession to India.[2] In the northern region of Gilgit-Baltistan, longstanding local sentiments oppose any merger of the area with Kashmir, and instead demand a constitutional integration with Pakistan.[3][4][5][6]


Flag of the Baloch Liberation Army, which is often raised by Baloch nationalists as a National flag
Location of Balochistan in Pakistan

The Baloch Liberation Front (BLF) separatist group was founded by Jumma Khan Marri in 1964 in Damascus, and played an important role in the 1968-1980 insurgency in Pakistani Balochistan and Iranian Balochistan.Mir Hazar Ramkhani, the father of Jumma Khan Marri, took over the group in the 1980s. The Balochistan Liberation Army (also Baloch Liberation Army or Baluchistan Liberation army) (BLA) is a Baloch nationalist militant secessionist organization. The stated goals of the organization include the establishment of an independent state of Balochistan separate from Pakistan and Iran. The name Baloch Liberation Army first became public in summer 2000, after the organization claimed credit for a series of bomb attacks in markets and railways lines. The BLA has also claimed responsibility for the systematic ethnic genocide of Punjabis in Balochistan (about 500 as of July 2010) as well as blowing up of gas pipelines. In 2006, the BLA was declared to be a terrorist organization by the Pakistani government.

Sindhu deshEdit

Flag of Sindhudesh
Districts of Sindh

Sindhudesh (Sindhi: سنڌو ديش‎, literally "Sindhi Country") is a concept floated by some Sindhi nationalist Parties in Pakistan for the creation of a Sindhi state, which would be independent from Pakistan.[7][8] The movement is based in the Sindh region of Pakistan and was conceived by the Sindhi political leader G. M. Syed. A Sindhi literary movement emerged in 1967 under the leadership of Syed and Pir Ali Mohammed Rashdi, in opposition to the One Unit policy, the imposition of Urdu by the central government and to the presence of a large number of Muhajir (Indian Muslim refugees) settled in the province.[9]

Sindhi separatists totally reject the parliamentary way of struggle for getting freedom and rights.[10] Therefore, no Sindhi nationalist party has been ever voted into power in Sindh at any level of government.[11][12] Some nationalist parties and associations are banned for "terrorist, anti-state and sabotage" activities by the Pakistani government.[13] A Sindhudesh rally was organised in Karachi in March 2012, which had a notably low turnout,[14] followed by a freedom march by the pro-separatist Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM) which, according to sources, gathered hundreds of thousands of people to demand independence for Sindhudesh.[7]

A strike called by the pro-separatist Jeay Sindh Muttahida Mahaz (JSMM) on 25 January 2014, resulted in a complete strike in the province, excluding some areas of Hyderabad, Tando Allahyar, Matiari and Ghotki.[15] Sindhis feel that they are a separate and full-fledged nation, so they have been struggling for self-determination of Sindh.[16]

Sindh is the member of UNPO and its declared as Occupied & Unrecognized territory by the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization and Sindh is represented in (UNPO) by the World Sindhi Congress.[17]

Gilgit-Baltistan and BalawaristanEdit

Location of Gilgit-Baltistan

The Gilgit-Baltistan United Movement (GBUM) is a political movement of Gilgit-Baltistan based in Skardu, Pakistan. It demands a fully autonomous state consisting of Gilgit and Baltistan, formerly known as the Northern Areas.[18]

The GBUM states that the Gilgit-Baltistan regions, formerly known as the Northern Areas, should be denoted "Gilgit-Baltistan" and that the Northern Areas Legislative Council should be given the status of an "Independent Constitutional Assembly" and given similar rights granted to the existing Azad Kashmir Legislative Assembly.[19]

Before the GBUM, there was a Gilgit-Baltistan National Alliance (GBNA), promoting the same claims, together with the Balawaristan National Front (claiming the independence of a larger political entity, Balawaristan).[20]

Jinnahpur and Muhajir SoobaEdit

Location of Karachi where the mujahir movement is mostly based

Jinnahpur refers to an alleged plot in Pakistan to form a breakaway autonomous state to serve as a homeland for the Karachi based Urdu-speaking Muhajir community.[21] Mohajirs are immigrants who came to Pakistan from India in the wake of the violence that followed the independence of Pakistan in 1947. The alleged name to be given to the proposed breakaway state was "Jinnahpur", named after Mohammed Ali Jinnah. In 1992, the Pakistani military claimed it had found maps of the proposed Jinnahpur state in the offices of the Mohajir Qaumi Movement (now renamed Muttahida Qaumi Movement), despite the party's strong denial of the authenticity of the maps. Despite the party's strong commitment to the Pakistani state, at that time government of Nawaz Sharif chose to use it as the basis for the military operation against the MQM, known as Operation Clean-up.[22]

The Muhajir Sooba (literally meaning 'Immigrant Province') is a political movement which seeks to represent the Muhajir people of Sindh.[23][24] This concept floated as a political bargaining tool by the leader of Muttahida Qaumi Movement, Altaf Hussain for the creation of a Muhajir province for the Muhajir-majority areas of Sindh, which would be independent from Sindh government.


  1. ^ a b c "Pakistani Public Opinion – Chapter 2. Religion, Law, and Society". Pew Research Center. 13 August 2009. Retrieved 25 September 2017. 
  2. ^ Bradnock, Robert W. (May 2010). "Kashmir: Path to Peace" (PDF). Chatham House: 15. Retrieved 25 September 2017. 
  3. ^ Singh, Pallavi (29 April 2010). "Gilgit-Baltistan: A question of autonomy". The Indian Express. Retrieved 25 September 2017. But it falls short of the main demand of the people of Gilgit- Baltistan for a constitutional status to the region as a fifth province and for Pakistani citizenship to its people. 
  4. ^ Shigri, Manzar (12 November 2009). "Pakistan's disputed Northern Areas go to polls". Reuters. Retrieved 25 September 2017. Many of the 1.5 million people of Gilgit-Baltistan oppose integration into Kashmir and want their area to be merged into Pakistan and declared a separate province. 
  5. ^ Shaun Gregory (23 October 2015). Democratic Transition and Security in Pakistan. Routledge. pp. 147–. ISBN 978-1-317-55011-2. 
  6. ^ Rita Manchanda (16 March 2015). SAGE Series in Human Rights Audits of Peace Processes: Five-Volume Set. SAGE Publications. pp. 2–. ISBN 978-93-5150-213-5. 
  7. ^ a b "pakistan-day-jsqm-leader-demands-freedom-for-sindh-and-balochistan". Express Tribune. 24 March 2012. Retrieved 3 June 2014. 
  8. ^ "JST demands Sindh’s independence from Punjab’s ‘occupation’". Retrieved 2012-06-05. 
  9. ^ Farhan Hanif Hanif Siddiqi (4 May 2012). The Politics of Ethnicity in Pakistan: The Baloch, Sindhi and Mohajir Ethnic Movements. Routledge. pp. 88–. ISBN 978-1-136-33696-6. Retrieved 16 July 2012. 
  10. ^ "Turn Right: Sindhi Nationalism and Electoral Politics | Tanqeed". Retrieved 13 February 2017. 
  11. ^ Wright, Jr., Theodore P. (1991). "Center-Periphery Relations and Ethnic Conflict in Pakistan: Sindhis, Muhajirs, and Punjabis". Comparative Politics. City University of New York. 23 (3): 299–312. ISSN 0010-4159. JSTOR 422088. doi:10.2307/422088 – via JSTOR. (Registration required (help)). 
  12. ^ Rahman, Tariq (1997). "Language and Ethnicity in Pakistan". Asian Survey. University of California Press. 37 (9): 833–9. ISSN 1533-838X. JSTOR 2645700. doi:10.2307/2645700 – via JSTOR. (Registration required (help)). 
  13. ^ Sindh govt orders police to crack down on nationalists | Bolan Times
  14. ^ "Million march: Jeay Sindh Tehreek gathers 3,000 people, demands a Sindhu Desh". Express Tribune. 19 March 2012. Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  15. ^ Mixed response to JSMM’s strike call in Sindh - DAWN.COM
  16. ^
  17. ^ "UNPO: Sindh". Retrieved 12 February 2017. 
  18. ^ Gilgit-Baltistan leaders reject Musharraf's empowerment package, Asian News International, November 2, 2007
  19. ^ Gilgit Baltistan United Movement (GBUM) Letter to Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, October 12, 2006
  20. ^ UN asked to intervene on constitutional status for NAs, Daily Times (Pakistan), Sunday, November 02, 2003
  21. ^ "Pakistan cracks showing as Mohajir leader appeals to UN, US, India for rescue". 
  22. ^ The MQM of Pakistan: Between Political Party and Ethnic Movement, Mohammad Waseem, in Political parties in South Asia, ed. Mitra, Enskat & Spiess, pp185
  23. ^ "Altaf for 'Sindh One' and 'Sindh Two'". Jan 5, 2014. Retrieved 26 September 2014. 
  24. ^ Z, Ali (January 4, 2014). "New province: Altaf Hussain kicks up a firestorm". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 26 September 2014. 

Further readingEdit