Indian Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi, on August 15, 2016, said, “The people of Kashmir, Gilgit and Balochistan who haven’t seen me, who don’t know me, are praying for me.” The latest attack in Quetta, disturbance in Kashmir and this statement of the Indian PM are interlinked. Internationalising of the Kashmir issue by Pakistan, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), and a team of UN human rights officials prohibited by Indian authorities in India from visiting Kashmir seems to be disturbing the Indian premier. But it is not so simple. There are more than 130 Baloch tribes and sub-tribes based in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran. Their heads called tumandars are based in Pakistan. The Bugtis are divided into different sub-clans, which include Rahija, Mandwani, Kalpar, Nauthani, Masuri and Ferozani. Nawab Akbar Bugti, the former chieftain of the Rahija clan, had established his monarch-like control over their native lands. He was even alleged to have killed the son of the Kalpar leader, Khan Muhammad Kalpar, in May 1992 for attempting to forge an alliance between the Kalpars and Masuris, and later he refused to vacate Dera Bugti. About 100,000 Kalpar and Masuri — another sub-tribe of which Akbar Bugti did not approve of — were expelled from their native lands by him. Nawab Akbar Bugti realised that the new head of the state was trying to build state authority in the land. Bugti launched an anti-state movement in the name of Boloch rights. Still, the state never championed the cause of those Baloch who faced atrocities at the hands of this so-called champion of Baloch rights. Meanwhile, it was not clear where the royalties given to the late Nawab Bugti were being spent, as the region remained extremely under-developed. History took a strange twist when the Pakistan army fought with the miscreants from Dera Bugti and Sui, and Akbar Bugti was killed during the military operation. The state government resettled the Kalpars and Massuris back in their native land, and made them part of development projects. The region saw another migration of at least 170,000 people due to intra-tribal animosity and clashes with the state. After the death of Akbar Bugti, a vacuum was created in the leadership, and there were differences between his grandsons and sons. Talal Bugti, his son, took the opportunity and hijacked the political party of his father — the Jamhoori Watan Party — by using his influence. Brahumdagh Bugti, grandson of Akbar Bugti, and an Aitchison College graduate, received very little support from the Bugti tribesmen to become their chief as his grandfather had wanted. As the majority of the Bugti tribesmen were in favour of his elder brother, Mir Aali Bugti, Barhumdagh established his own group, the Baloch Republican Army, under the banner of his newly launched party, the Baloch Republican Party. Later, he announced war against the state of Pakistan for an independent Balochistan. Even though Nawab Akbar Bugti’s actions were opposed to the state, he had never opted for separation from Pakistan. Many incorrectly see him as a separatist leader. He was one of those who welcomed the founder of Pakistan Mohammad Ali Jinnah in Balochistan. He knew that the struggle for an independent Balochistan was impractical, and even if it were to become a reality, he and all the other separatists would not be able to survive as influential leaders of Balochistan. Hence, he always sided with the Pakistani government during the insurgency by Baloch nationalist forces led by the Marris and Mengals, and backed by the Soviet-led Afghan government and the Indian intelligence agency. Akbar Bugti personally volunteered in military operations conducted by the Pakistan army by ordering his followers to join the Pakistan army. He was also the governor of Balochistan during the military operation. Even today, the majority of the Bugtis do not favour Brahumdagh. Shahzain Bugti, son of Talal Bugti, follows the steps of his grandfather, Akbar Bugti, by distancing himself from the call of independence given by his cousin, Brahumdagh Bugti. On the other hand, Mir Aali Bugti, the current chieftain of the Rahijan Bugti clan, is a strong supporter of the Pakistani state, and has been working for the development of his area. This leaves Brahumdagh in isolation, with some hundreds of his followers. There have been allegedly many unsuccessful attempts by Brahumdagh’s Baloch Republican Army to capture their previous strongholds in Dera Bugti and Sui. Khair Bakhsh Marri, a senior politician, voted in favour of Pakistan, and stayed with Pakistan until 1973. He refused to sign the constitution, complaining that it was silent on provincial autonomy. He was a nationalist, but he didn’t want an independent Balochistan until his political party got banned by the government of Pakistan for alleged relations with RAW and the Soviet-led Afghan government. Marri joined the younger brother of the Nawab of Kalat who took arms against the Pakistan army and his own brother for joining Pakistan, and for merging his princely state with Pakistan. Later, in the 1960s, Marri flew to the United States and France to meet people from India and Afghanistan before he took asylum in Afghanistan where he later ordered thousands of his tribesmen to join him. He remained there for a decade or more, and returned to Pakistan as President Najeebullah’s USSR-backed Afghan regime began to crumble in the early 1990s. Pakistan welcomed him back like a land welcomes its son. Two sons of Khair Bakhsh Marri, Harbiyar Marri — who was a member of the provincial assembly until the 1999 military coup — and Mehran Marri, born in Afghanistan while Khair Bakhsh Marri was in exile, are still senior leaders of the separatist movement. They reside in England with the alleged backing of India and Israel, and the support of a few hundred tribesmen. Their brother, Changez Marri, is the chief of the Marri tribe after the death of his father, is a minister for irrigation, and a patriotic Pakistani. Strangely, India is banking on these four people who are close relatives; Harbiyar Marri’s younger sister is married to Brahumdagh Bugti. These are the people who are running the separatist movement, and are praying for the Indian prime minister. They cannot go back to their own areas because of zero or little support from their tribesmen. I leave the decision on the reader to assess how much Balochistan is looking for independence, and how these few people are trying to sabotage the efforts of the rest of the 150 tribes. These people are not even supported by their own tribes and families. It is time for Modi to consider whether India is prudent to finance these abandoned leaders with a weak backbone and zero ground support. It is clear that India is backing a lost cause.