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That Side of The World of "Balochistan" ©

By Naseeb Ullah, University Professor

On Special Assignment for the East Indian countries

Signed articles are the responsibility of the writers and not those of the publisher and editors of this publication.

Any communication concerning this site should be addressed to the webmaster. or e-mail Prof. Naseeb Ullah

All Rights reserved. Copyright 2012  © Conrad David Brillantes

But where’s Balochistan?

According to Wikipedia, Balochistan is the largest of the four provinces of Pakistan, constituting approximately 44% of its total land mass. It is bordered by Afghanistan to the north and northwest, Iran to the southwest, Punjab and Sindh to the east, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas to the northeast. The Arabian Sea borders it to the south. The largest city, Quetta, serves as its capital. The main ethnic groups in the province are Balochs, Pashtun and Brahuis, with smaller communities of Hazaras and Sindhis. The name Balochistan means "land of the Baloch" in the regional languages.  

Balochistan Artist in focus


Images tell traumatic stories of those neglected

By Naseeb Ullah, Special to The Montreal Tribune

KARACHI : The solo painting exhibition of the renowned and world-fame artist from Balochistan, Akram Dost Baloch held at the Koel Gallery in Karachi (Sindh). The title of the exhibition was ‘Shanakht’ (identification) with 32 paintings of Baloch on display, featuring faces in different colors.

M. Akram Dost Baloch has on his credit 3 solo shows in Paris (France), workshops and solo shows in the Raj Mangla University Bangkok (Thailand), arrangement of pavilion at Pakistan Expo in Japan while his art contribution has been placed in group exhibitions in Canada, United States, China, India, Bangladesh, United Arab Emirates and many other countries. He has also participated in many solo, group shows, exhibitions and workshops within Pakistan .

Akram Dost Baloch is among the founding faculty of the Fine Arts Department at University of Balochistan ( Pakistan ). He grew up with an in-depth knowledge of history, arts and crafts of his region and much of that background is incorporated in his work.


Akram has been working with wood for the sure pleasure of the process involved. His studio in Quetta (Pakistan) contains a variety of works in progress, paintings with decorative frames, screens containing painted panels and compositions of wood that reflect his different moods. His work is in reflection of his own personal aesthetic issues, assimilating nature with life and suggesting that all are endangered species.

In 2004, Akram Baloch received the President’s Pride of Performance, the highest art award in Pakistan . His Ph. D. level research covers Traditional Motifs of Balochistan.

An artist receives inspiration from his atmosphere, surroundings and the past of his nation. In this respect, the socio-political conditions of a country are reflected the most in his art, said Baloch talking exclusively to the International Correspondent, the Montreal Tribune. I have been representing these issues in my painting for a long time, he said adding that “ever since I attained the age of being politically conscious I have seen inflation, instability, disturbance of law and order, unbalanced governments, people deprived of their rights, the dominance of negative forces, the supremacy of wrong structures, the oppression of voices and the intervention of superpowers. Being a sensitive artist, I have been depicting these conditions honestly and plainly, since my days at the N.C.A., Akram Dost Baloch frankly narrated. “In the large painting made at the workshop at Gaddani (coastal town of Balochistan ) in January, we observe all these factors and elements. These paintings, although, apparently stipulates as an assemblage of some human figures and human faces, in reality are much more than that. These reveal to a discerning eye, the current socio-political situation prevalent in our country, he remarked saying that we see mask-like faces, shifting faces, weeping and deprived faces. “We see restless, headless, empty, paper-like and lifeless figures. These phenomena are but the reality we see around us”, Akram further elaborated.


The color paletter has not broken its rapport with the lonely sea-shore of Gaddani, on which the workshop was conducted. Because, one of its major purposes was to represent the soil, the sand and the sea in all the features rendered here. Thus, we can identify the pale colour of the alluvial sea-coast, the light blue of the sky and the deep blue of the deep sea. We can even identify the burning red of the setting sun of Gadani: all painted symbolically.

The paintings on display at Koel Gallery in Karachi were depicting various angles on identification of the people deprived of their rights, and their feelings were on their faces. The artist has covered the persisting environment of the country, where people are tense due to their critical surroundings. About his art work at the exhibition, Baloch said that he subjected the feelings of common people of the country, who were stuck in various issues, including ups and downs of the country.


He highlighted the curve situation of the country and tried to initiate dialogue over it. “I tried to draw the faces of people who were targeted by trouble”, Baloch said and added “In this series of my recent work, I have delineated the faces of desperate and deprived people, who are subjugated to oppression when their displeasures are incurred. Art elucidates humanity to us. By this humanity, I mean identifying the importance of individuality, which exceptionally needs the support of education and human consciousness for welfare, but not depleting the soundness, strength, and dignity of individuals in the society.


“I have conceptualized creativity to reflect socio-political and economic reality affecting the social prosperity. I endeavor to represent blemishes caused by illiteracy, discrimination, gender differences, poverty, denial of rights, and devaluation of the crucial role played by women. Despondency has mostly plagued our society. Thus I have portrayed hopeless visages to reveal the ugly and often bitter truths pertaining to social misfortunes”.

However, in withstanding these flaws, Akram said, “I using my creative impulse, only identify the human existence, their sufferings, pains and their dire yearn for essential needs. It is remarkably of immense sensitivity when I limned facial features, depicting the desperateness confronted by women, who utterly surrender themselves to the prevalent circumstances.

Nevertheless, the eyes in each portrait appear to radiate hope. And it is this hope that retains at the hardest time, strengthening one to tackle suppression.” About response, he said, “Response is amazing as I raised the feelings of nation.”

The Montreal Tribune would continue to cover art work of Akram Dost Baloch and his renderings in the field of Art and Crafts internationally, in the coming editions. This unique and determined artist can be reached at

History of Balochistan

Balochistan has an eventful history dating back to the Stone Age. Recent research and archaeological excavations at Mehrgarh have revealed 9000 years old civilization. Human settlement pattern at Mehrgarh was unparalleled and unique, inaugurating the distinct shift from a hunting gathering to a settled life for the first time in human history. Domestication of animals, cultivation of plants, and perfume export were modern features of Mehrgarh civilization. Alexander the great passed through Balochistan in 325 B. C. After his death Balochistan came under the rule of Selecus Nicator whose descendents lost power to the Graeco-Bactrians. The province has also witnessed the march of a number of great conquerors and warriors such as Macedonians, Arabs, Ghaznavies, Mangols and Mughals in the past.

The Muslim rule began in 712 A.D. The parts of Balochistan which were ruled by the Arabs were called by them Turan (Jhallawan area) having capital at Khuzdar and Nudha or Buddha (Kachhi). In the 11th century, Balochistan fell into the hands of Nasir-ud-din Subuktagin marking the beginning of Ghaznivid dynasty. Ghorids succeeded the Ghaznivids. In 1219, it was annexed to the dominion of Sultan Mohammad Khan of Khwarizm (Khiva). The year 1223 saw the danger of the Yellow Peril, the Mongols, in the south of Mekran. In the 1595 it became a part of the Mughal Empire and later Nadir Shah of
Persia captured it . Ahmed Shah Durrani of Afghanistan was successful to establish his rule in 1747. The Khanate of Kalat emerged in 1758 when Nasir Khan-I revolted against the Afghans.

The Muslim rule was followed by the British rule in 1839. Two Afghan wars between 1839 and 1879 helped the British to consolidate their power in Balochistan. Sir Robert Sandeman, who later became the Chief Commissioner of Balochistan, was the architect of British strategy in the region and he negotiated a number of treaties with the Khan of Kalat during 1854 to 1901. Through these treaties the British Government gained control over the leased
territory of Chaghi , Bolan Pass , Quetta and other areas. The princely states of Mekran, Kharan, Lasbela and a little later Kalat state acceded to Pakistan after it came into being in 1947. In 1955, Balochistan was merged into one unit of West Pakistan . After the dissolution of one-Unit, Balochistan emerged as one of the four new provinces of Pakistan .



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