Balochistan Conflict

Balochistan

The Balochistan conflict is an ongoing conflict between Baloch nationalists and the Government of Pakistan over Balochistan, a province in the western region of the country. Issues range from human rights abuses, greater autonomy, increased royalties from natural resources and provincial revenue, and in some cases full secession. Recently, militants have also clashed with the Islamic Republic of Iran over its respective Baloch region, which borders Pakistan. Baloch insurgent groups operate in the Pakistani part of the region, the Iranian part of the region and in southern Afghanistan. Shortly after Pakistan’s creation in 1947, the Pakistan Army had to subdue insurgents based in Kalat who rejected the King of Kalat’s decision to accede to Pakistan. A subsequent Baloch separatist movement gained momentum during the 1960s, and amid consistent political disorder and instability at the federal level, the government ordered a military operation into the region in 1973, assisted by Iran, and inflicted heavy casualties on the separatists. Insurgency, however, again gained strength in the 1990s and 2000s.

Balochistan is one of Pakistan’s poorest regions although it has vast natural resources. Baloch separatists allege that the central government of Pakistan is systematically suppressing development in Balochistan to keep the Balochs weak. The Baloch separatists, according to The Economist, are supported by parts of the Baloch middle class. The Balochistan Liberation Army has been accused by Pakistani state agencies of engaging in several domestic violent incidents when the attacks were however claimed by another group called Lashkar-e-Balochistan. It has been designated as a terrorist group by the Government of Pakistan. Internationally, it has been officially designated as a terrorist group by the Home Office of the government of the United Kingdom. Meanwhile the Pakistani security forces especially Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the Frontier Corps have been reported to follow a “kill and dump” campaign.[23] In the period from 2003-2012, it is estimated that 8000 people were kidnapped by Pakistani security forces in the province.

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