CPEC: A Discourse on Space, Security and Development in Balochistan
After seven decades of armed rebellion and systematic violence, Balochistan, the largest province of Pakistan, has become so vulnerable today that any phenomenon –be it resource extraction, megaprojects, influx of migrant workers, real estate development, a parliamentary session, or a bus of pilgrims passing through- or any other regular human activity can spark violence. How this level of vulnerability can be explained let alone fixed?
In an attempt to explain what has actually gone wrong, this article is an exploratory research on building a multidisciplinary discourse on Balochistan in concurrence with the concepts of space, dispossession and communist geography. The study initially provides the major narratives and overviews of theoretical approaches that place the Baloch problem in the purview of spatial studies; and then puts forth determinants of vulnerability. Thematic findings include that: (a) Balochistan has become a geography of resistance –which is defined here as a space struggling to find its meaning in resistance; (b) its problems are rooted in the structural manipulation of space and the politics of spatial development; (c) the future of CPEC is wedged with the future domestic policies toward Balochistan. This discourse attempts at introducing two new concepts: the Dialectics of Asymmetric Force and Cyclical Radicalism.