Book Review In Afghanistan’s Shadows: Baluch Nationalism and Soviet Temptation By: Dostain Baloch

image_pdfimage_print

The book, In Afghanistan’s Shadows: Baluch Nationalism and Soviet Temptation, is written by Selig S. Harrison who is an American journalist and specialist on the political issues of South and Southeast Asia. Harrison had been covering this area for more than three decades. The author had covered the Baluch
nationalist movement in Pakistan and Iran.
The book is the product of the well researched work which presents the independent, on-the-spot, factual reporting, and analysis of the Baluch struggle for the regain of the lost sovereignty in its early stages. Therefore, the author had accessed to 340 primary sources which includes Baluch leaders, political and armed, residing in Baluchistan or in exile, and the
underground guerrilla leaders.
With respect to the Baluch nationalist movement, the author focuses the attention of the governments of Pakistan and Iran as well as United States and the larger international communities. The author begins presentation of the Baluch struggle with the first Baluch resistant movement which had begun in 1948; headed by Prince Abdul Karim Khan, the younger brother of last Khan of Kalat, Ahmed Yar Khan; and reaches till the fourth Baluch resistance movement began which
had begun in 1973.
The author had interviewed the leaders of the Baluch independence movement in Pakistan which includes Khair Bux Marri, Attaullah Mengal and Ghaus Bux Bizenjo. These leaders were interviewed regarding the development, hurdles in Baluch nationalist movement
and gain of aid from the world powers for it.
The Baluch nationalist movement in Pakistan, the author depicts its picture through three Baluch organizations; The Baluch People’s Liberation Front (BPLF), the Baluch Students organization (BSO) and The Pakistani National Party (PNP), currently known as
the National Party.


With the policies of these Baluch organizations, the author observes and analyzes the influence and the successive policies and measurements taken by them in the independence movement against the occupying
state of Pakistan.
Harrison displays the picture of the Baluch nationalist movement in Iran via the period of the restraining relationship between the Pahlavis and the Baluch. When the Iranian regime intensifies its military operations against the Baluch nationalist movement, then the movement goes underground. The author had shown the image of this period by directly contacting
the Baluch leaders of the movement.
The author observes the period the Baluch movement in Iran after the dethroning of the Shah. Despite that, the connection of the Baluch movement with Iraq and
the Arab world are seen thoroughly.
The Baluch nationalist movement was extremely influence by the communism; therefore, the author tries to analyze the Soviet policy towards Baluch nationalism, strength of communist in Baluchistan and the relationship of the Afghan communist with
Baluchistan.
One of the most important perspectives of this book is the depiction of views of Islamabad and Tehran with respect to Baluch nationalism in Pakistan and Iran along with the talks with the Pakistani and Iranian civil
and army officials.
Finally, the author depicts on those issues which are related to the Baluch independence movement. Harrison tries to explain them with the help of the observation on the issues of the demographic muddle, tribalism and nationalism, and the expected development of future, and the national interests of Moscow and Washington with respect to the future of
Baluchistan