Balochistan Issue And Its Solution Essay

Insurgency in Balochistan

Map with the Balochistan region in pink.
Date1948 – present (70 years)
Main incidents: 1948, 1958–59, 1963–69, 1973–77, 2004–2012, 2012–present (low-level insurgency)
StatusOngoing[7] low-level insurgency, political violence largely subdued; talks underway[8][9]



Baloch separatist groups

Supported by:
 India (alleged)[3][4]
 Soviet Union (alleged, until 1988)
Democratic Republic of Afghanistan (until 1992)[citation needed]

Sectarian groups
Jaish ul-Adl

Supported by:
Commanders and leaders
Liaquat Ali Khan (1949–1951)
Ayub Khan (1958–1969)
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (1971–1973)
Tikka Khan (1988–1990)
Rahimuddin Khan (1979–1988)
Pervez Musharraf (2001–2008)
Ashfaq Parvez Kayani (2007–2013)
Raheel Shareef (2013–present)
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi (1948–1979)
Ruhollah Khomeini (1979–1989)
Ali Khamenei (1989–present)

Karim Khan (POW)
Nowroz Khan (POW)
Khair Bakhsh Marri  
Balach Marri  
Brahamdagh Bugti[10]
Allah Nazar Baloch
Javed Mengal[11]

Dad Shah  
Abdolmalek Rigi  
Abdolhamid Rigi  
Muhammad Dhahir Baluch[citation needed]


BLA: 10,000[13]

Jundallah: 700[14] -2,000[15]
Casualties and losses
Pakistani security forces
3,000–3,300 killed[16]
303+ killed[17]
858+ killed[18][19][20]
164 killed (security forces and civilians)[21][22]
Baloch fighters
5,300 killed[16]
380+ killed[17]
1,076+ killed[18][19][20] ----
~6,000 civilians killed in Pakistan (1973–1977)[16]
1,628+ civilians killed in Pakistan (2004–2009)[12][17]
2,988+ civilians killed in Pakistan (2011-2018)[18][19][20]
~4,500 arrested (2004–2005)[12]
~140,000 displaced (2004–2005)[12]
3 Chinese engineers killed
4 kidnapped
5 oil tankers damaged[23]

The insurgency in Balochistan is a guerrilla war waged by Baloch nationalists against the governments of Pakistan and Iran in the Balochistan region, which covers Balochistan Province in southwestern Pakistan, Sistan and Baluchestan Province in southeastern Iran, and the Balochistan region of southern Afghanistan. Rich in natural resources like natural gas, oil, coal, copper, sulphur, fluoride and gold,[24] this is the least developed province in Pakistan.[25] Armed groups demand greater control of the province's natural resources and political autonomy. Baloch separatists have attacked civilians from other ethnicities in the province.[26] In the 2010s, attacks against the Shia community by sectarian groups — though not always directly related to the political struggle—have risen, contributing to tensions in Balochistan.[27][28]

In Pakistan's Balochistan province, insurgencies by Baloch nationalists have been fought in 1948, 1958–59, 1962–63 and 1973–77, with an ongoing and reportedly stronger, broader insurgency beginning in 2003.[29]

This insurgency has begun to weaken. In an article titled "The End of Pakistan's Baloch Insurgency" Baloch analyst Malik Siraj Akbar reported that Baloch militants began killing their own commanders.[30] However, Akbar called anger towards Chief Minister Abdul Malik Baloch "growing and often uncontrollable".[31] Baloch militants have taken some reconciliation offers from the government and offered to hand in their weapons. In April 2016, four militant commanders and 144 militants had surrendered under reconciliation.[32] 600 rebels were killed and 1025 surrendered after accepting reconciliation as of August 2016.[33] In April 2017, another 500 Baloch rebels surrendered to the state, including members of BRA, UBA, and LeB.[9]

Baloch separatists argue they are economically marginalised and poor compared to the rest of Pakistan.[34] Being crucial for Pakistan's economic future, China has invested $46 billion in the region.[25] The Balochistan Liberation Army, designated as a terrorist organisation by Pakistan and Britain,[35] is the most widely known Baloch separatist group. Since 2000 it has conducted numerous deadly attacks on Pakistani troops, police, and civilians. Other separatist groups include Lashkar-e-Balochistan and the Baloch Liberation United Front (BLUF).[36][37][38] In 2005, a rebellion by Baloch against the Islamic Republic of Iran began. The fight over the IRI Baloch region bordering Pakistan has "not gained" as much ground as the conflict in Pakistan.[39] Human rights activists have accused nationalist militants and the Government of Pakistan of human rights abuses.[41]

Baloch militants have targeted minority communities such as Hazara Shia on the basis of their religious beliefs.[42] This inter-communal violence led to Hazara refusing to bury their dead and demanding that the Pakistani government deploy even more troops for their protection. The governor took charge and accused security forces of being "too scared or clueless to act", according to the BBC.[43] Baloch militant groups, who have pledged allegiance to ISIS, have also targeted moderate Sunnis who follow Sufi teachings. A recent attack on Sufis in Balochistan was the attack on the shrine of Shah Noorani in which 52 people, including women and children, were killed.[44][45] Iranian intelligence has also cooperated and investigated cases with Pakistani intelligence over the involvement of India's RAW agency in the Baloch region administered by the two nations, including the case of Kulbhushan Jadhav.[46]

The News International reported in 2012 that a Gallup survey conducted for DFID revealed that the majority of Baloch do not support independence from Pakistan. Only 37 percent of Baloch were in favour of independence. Amongst Balochistan's Pashtun population support for independence was even lower at 12 percent. However, a majority (67 percent) of Balochistan's population did favour greater provincial autonomy.[47] The government has since taken democratisation steps, in 2013 provincial elections were held and a Grand Alliance of the Pakistan Muslim League (N) and Pashtun and Baloch local parties were formed.[48] The Supreme court ordered local government elections to be held which by 2015 helped to further decentralise policy making for local population regarding health, education and sanitation, the ruling coalition re-affirmed its mandate in the Balochistan province and won the majority.[49]

Area of dispute[edit]

Historical Balochistan covers the southern part off Sistan o Baluchestan Province, Iran, in the west, the Pakistani province of Balochistan in the east, and, in the northwest, Afghanistan's Helmand Province. The Gulf of Oman forms its southern border. Mountains and desert make up much of the region's terrain. Most Balochis live in part that falls within Pakistan's borders.

Geographically, Balochistan Province is the largest region of Pakistan (comprising 44% of the country's total area), but it is the least inhabited, with only 5% of total population, and the least developed.[50] Sunni Islam is the predominant religion.[51]

Stuart Notholt, in his Atlas of Ethnic Conflict, describes the unrest in Balochistan as a "nationalist/self-determination conflict".[52]



The Baloch nationalist struggle is centred on the Khanate of Kalat, established in 1666 by Mir Ahmad. Under Mir Naseer Khan I in 1758, who accepted the Afghan paramountcy, the boundaries of Kalat stretched up to Dera Ghazi Khan in the east and Bandar Abbas in the west. However, in November 1839, the British invaded Kalat and killed the Khan and his followers. Afterwards, the British influence in the region gradually grew. In 1869, the British Political Agent Robert Sandeman ended up mediating a dispute between the Khan of Kalat and the Sardars of Balochistan, and established the British primacy in the region. The tribal areas of Marri, Bugti, Khetran and Chaghi were brought under the direct administration of a British Agent, eventually to become the Chief Commissioner's Province of Balochistan. Lasbela and Kharan were declared Special Areas with a different political system. The remaining areas of Sarawan, Jhalawan, Kacchi and Makran were retained as the Khanate of Kalat, supervised by a Political Agent of Kalat.

In the 20th century, the educated Baloch middle class harboured hopes of an independent Balochistan free of the British. They formed a nationalist movement Anjuman-e-Ittehad-e-Balochistan in 1931. One of their first campaigns was to fight for the accession of Azam Jan as the Khan of Kalat and a constitutional government to be established under him. They were successful in establishing Azam Jan as the Khan but the new Khan sided with the Sardars and turned his back on the Anjuman. His successor Mir Ahmad Yar Khan was more sympathetic to Anjuman but he was averse to upsetting his relations with the British. The Anujman, transformed into the Kalat State National Party (KSNP), continued to fight for independence from the British. It was declared illegal by the Khanate in 1939 and its active leaders and activists were exiled. This paved the way for the formation of new political parties, Balochistan Muslim League allied to the Muslim League in June 1939 and Anjuman-i-Watan allied to the Indian National Congress in the same year.

During British rule Balochistan was under the rule of a Chief Commissioner and did not have the same status as other provinces of British India . The Muslim League under Muhammad Ali Jinnah in the period 1927-1947 strived to introduce reforms in Balochistan to bring it on par with other provinces of British India.

During the Pakistan Movement, public opinion in Balochistan, at least in Quetta and other small towns, was overwhelmingly in favour of Pakistan. The pro-India Congress, which drew support from Hindus and some Muslims, sensing that geographic and demographic compulsions would not allow the province’s inclusion into the newly Independent India, began to encourage separatist elements in Balochistan, and other Muslim majority provinces such as NWFP.[55]

The Khan of Kalat lent great support to the Pakistan Movement but also desired to declare independence. Lord Mountbatten, however, made it clear that the princely states with the lapse of British paramountcy would have to join either India or Pakistan, keeping in mind their geographic and demographic compulsions.[56]

On 19 July, Mountbatten called a Round Table Conference meeting between representatives of the State of Kalat and Government of Pakistan. Mountbatten discussed with them the status of the Kalat State. The representatives of Kalat argued that Kalat, as per the treaty of 1876, was an independent and sovereign state and not an Indian state. Mountbatten accepted this position only for the purpose of negotiation. Thus, Mountbatten confined the topic of discussion to the leased areas of Quetta, Nushki, Nasirabad and Bolan. He explained that Pakistan rejected Kalat’s claims that these areas should be returned to Kalat.

Pakistan’s position was that it would inherit all treaty obligations incurred by India to the foreign states. Kalat argued that the leases clearly stated that the other party besides Kalat was the British Government alone. Kalat argued that it was a personal agreement and there was no provision that the leases to the British would be inherited by others. Therefore, since the agreement was between Kalat and the British Government, Pakistan could not be the latter’s successor party.[57]

Pakistan did not agree that the agreement was personal as personal agreements by nature implied that only a particular person was involved. Mountbatten also said that according to international law, treaties such as the one being discussed were inherited by successors and not invalidated by a transfer of power. Mountbatten also suggested that in case there was no agreement the matter could be put before an Arbitral Tribunal.[58]

Kalat wished to have further discussions on the matter. Kalat also argued that in case of a vote in the leased areas between joining Kalat and joining Pakistan then the vote would go in favour of the former. Pakistan did not agree that the vote would have such a result.[59]

Kalat also expressed its deepest desire to remain on friendly terms with Pakistan and stated that it understood that Jinnah, who was anxious for a correct decision, wanted more time to study the issues between Kalat and Pakistan. Mountbatten, however, suggested that Jinnah not be brought into the discussions.[60]

Mountbatten insisted that Kalat and Pakistan sign a standstill agreement, which both countries did. The Standstill Agreement also stipulated that both parties would discuss as soon as possible about their relationship concerning Defence and External Affairs.[61] According to the Article I, 'The Government of Pakistan agrees that Kalat is an independent State, being quite different in status from other States of India'. However, the Article IV stated:

a standstill agreement will be made between Pakistan and Kalat by which Pakistan shall stand committed to all the responsibilities agreements signed by Kalat and the British Government from 1839 to 1947 and by this, Pakistan shall be the legal, constitutional and political successor of the British.

Through this agreement, the British Paramountcy was effectively transferred to Pakistan.

However, without making any agreement with Pakistan and in violation of the Standstill Agreement the Khan of Kalat declared independence, to Jinnah’s shock. After the Indian Government refused Kalat’s request for merger with India, the ruler of Kalat unconditionally signed an Instrument of Accession with Pakistan on 27 March 1948, contrary to the wishes of his State’s Legislature.[63]

First conflict[edit]

Balochistan contained a Chief Commissioner's province and four princely states under the British Raj. The province's Shahi Jirga and the non-official members of the Quetta Municipality opted for Pakistan unanimously on 29 June 1947.[64] Three of the princely states, Makran, Las Bela and Kharan, acceded to Pakistan in 1947 after independence. But the ruler of the fourth princely state, the Khan of Kalat, Ahmad Yar Khan, who used to call Jinnah his 'father',[66] declared Kalat's independence as this was one of the options given to all of the 535 princely states by British Prime Minister Clement Attlee.[67]

Kalat finally acceded to Pakistan on March 27, 1948 after the 'strange help' of All India Radio and a period of negotiations and bureaucratic tactics used by Pakistan.[66] The signing of the Instrument of Accession by Ahmad Yar Khan, led his brother, Prince Abdul Karim, to revolt against his brother's decision[68] in July 1948.[69] Princes Agha Abdul Karim Baloch and Muhammad Rahim, refused to lay down arms, leading the Dosht-e Jhalawan in unconventional attacks on the army until 1950.[68] The Princes fought a lone battle without support from the rest of Balochistan.[70] Jinnah and his successors allowed Yar Khan to retain his title until the province's dissolution in 1955.

Second conflict[edit]

Nawab Nauroz Khan took up arms in resistance to the One Unit policy, which decreased government representation for tribal leaders, from 1958 to 1959. He and his followers started a guerrilla war against Pakistan, and were arrested, charged with treason, and imprisoned in Hyderabad. Five of his family members, sons and nephews, were subsequently hanged on charges of treason and aiding in the murder of Pakistani troops. Nawab Nauroz Khan later died in captivity.[71] Nawab Nauroz Khan fought a lone battle as the rest of Balochistan did not support the uprising.[70]

Third conflict[edit]

After the second conflict, a Baloch separatist movement gained momentum in the 1960s, following the introduction of a new constitution in 1956 which limited provincial autonomy and enacted the 'One Unit' concept of political organisation in Pakistan. Tension continued to grow amid consistent political disorder and instability at the federal level. The federal government tasked the Pakistan Army with building several new bases in key areas of Balochistan. Sher Muhammad Bijrani Marri led like-minded militants into guerrilla warfare from 1963 to 1969 by creating their own insurgent bases, spread out over 45,000 miles (72,000 km) of land, from the Mengal tribal area in the south to the Marri and Bugti tribal areas in the north. Their goal was to force Pakistan to share revenue generated from the Sui gas fields with the tribal leaders. The insurgents bombed railway tracks and ambushed convoys. The Army retaliated by destroying vast areas of the Marri tribe's land. This insurgency ended in 1969, with the Baloch separatists agreeing to a ceasefire. In 1970 Pakistani President Yahya Khan abolished the "One Unit" policy,[72] which led to the recognition of Balochistan as the fourth province of West Pakistan (present-day Pakistan), including all the Balochistani princely states, the High Commissioners Province, and Gwadar, an 800 km2 coastal area purchased from Oman by the Pakistani government.

Fourth conflict 1973–77[edit]

Further information: Baloch Insurgency and Rahimuddin's Stabilization

The unrest continued into the 1970s, culminating in a government-ordered military operation in the region in 1973.

In 1973, citing treason, President Bhutto dismissed the provincial governments of Balochistan and NWFP and imposed martial law in those areas,[73] which led to armed insurgency. Khair Bakhsh Marri formed the Balochistan People's Liberation Front (BPLF), which led large numbers of Marri and Mengal tribesmen into guerrilla warfare against the central government[74] According to some authors, the Pakistani military lost 300 to 400 soldiers during the conflict with the Balochi separatists, while between 7,300 and 9,000 Balochi militants and civilians were killed.[16]

Assisted by Iran, Pakistani forces inflicted heavy casualties on the separatists. The insurgency fell into decline after a return to the four-province structure and the abolishment of the Sardari system.

Fifth conflict 2004–to date[edit]

See also: Turbat killings

In 2004 an insurgent attack on Gwadar port resulting in the deaths of three Chinese engineers and four wounded drew China into the conflict.[23] In 2005, the Baluch political leaders Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti and Mir Balach Marri presented a 15-point agenda to the Pakistan government. Their stated demands included greater control of the province's resources and a moratorium on the construction of military bases.[75] On 15 December 2005 the inspector general of the Frontier Corps, Major General Shujaat Zamir Dar, and his deputy Brigadier Salim Nawaz (the current IGFC) were wounded after shots were fired at their helicopter in Balochistan Province. The provincial interior secretary later said that, after visiting Kohlu, "both of them were wounded in the leg but both are in stable condition."[76]

However, a 2006 cable from the American Embassy in Islamabad leaked by Wikileaks noted that,

“There seems to be little support in the province, beyond the Bugti tribe, for the current insurgency.”

In August 2006, Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, 79 years old, was killed in fighting with the Pakistan Army, in which at least 60 Pakistani soldiers and 7 officers were also killed. Pakistan's government had charged him with responsibility of a series of deadly bomb blasts and a rocket attack on President Pervez Musharraf.[78]

In April 2009, Baloch National Movement president Ghulam Mohammed Baloch and two other nationalist leaders (Lala Munir and Sher Muhammad) were seized from a small legal office and were allegedly "handcuffed, blindfolded and hustled into a waiting pickup truck which is in still [sic] use of intelligence forces in front of their lawyer and neighboring shopkeepers." The gunmen were allegedly speaking in Persian (a national language of neighbouring Afghanistan and Iran). Five days later, on 8 April, their bullet-riddled bodies were found in a commercial area. The BLA claimed Pakistani forces were behind the killings, though international experts have deemed it odd that the Pakistani forces would be careless enough to allow the bodies to be found so easily and "light Balochistan on fire" (Herald) if they were truly responsible.[79] The discovery of the bodies sparked rioting and weeks of strikes, demonstrations, and civil resistance in cities and towns around Balochistan.[80]

On 12 August 2009, Khan of KalatMir Suleiman Dawood declared himself ruler of Balochistan and formally announced a Council for Independent Balochistan. The council's claimed domain includes Sistan and Baluchestan Province, as well as Pakistani Balochistan, but does not include Afghan Baloch regions. The council claimed the allegiance of "all separatist leaders including Nawabzada Bramdagh Bugti." Suleiman Dawood stated that the UK had a "moral responsibility to raise the issue of Balochistan's illegal occupation at international level."[81]

The Economist writes:

"[The Baloch separatists] are supported—with money, influence or sympathy—by some members of the powerful Bugti tribe and by parts of the Baloch middle class. This makes today's insurgency stronger than previous ones, but the separatists will nevertheless struggle to prevail over Pakistan's huge army."[36]

— The Economist, April 2012

US-based exiled Baloch journalist and newspaper editor Malik Siraj Akbar writes that the ongoing Baloch resistance has created "serious challenges" for the Pakistan government, "unlike the past resistance movements", because it has lasted longer than previous insurgencies, has greater breadth—including the entire province "from rural mountainous regions to the city centers", involves Baloch women and children at "regular protest rallies", and has drawn more international attention—including a 2012 hearing by the US Congress. Islamabad has accused its neighbour India of supporting the insurgency in Balochistan.[30] However infighting between insurgent groups as of late 2014 has weakened the movement.[30]

Drop in violence (2012-present)[edit]

Many factors limit the scope of the nationalist insurgency, the Baloch themselves are divided into rival camps and often carry out tribal infighting amongst themselves. Pakistan's ISI often exploits this and brings tribal rivals into the ruling government. Balochistan province itself is of mixed ethnicity, with Baloch being 54% and the rest being Pashtuns and Sindhis, who are overwhelmingly Pakistani nationalists, this information can be seen in preliminary findings of 2011 census.[82] Sindhis vote for federalist parties such as Pakistan Peoples Party of Bhutto-Zardari family[83] and Pashtuns historically voted for conservative pro-Pakistan Islamist politicians such as Fazal-ur-Rehman (politician).[84] The Baloch practice Islam, are predominantly Sunni and speak Urdu with other ethnic groups such as Pashtuns and Sindhis, cultural traits in common with the rest of Pakistan. Government schools provide Urdu education, Baloch militants themselves stand accused of rights abuses, Human Rights Watch published a 40 page report which criticised Baloch nationalists of killing, threatening and harassing teachers.[85]

Conflict in Iran[edit]

Main article: Sistan and Baluchestan insurgency

In 2014 there were about two million ethnic Baloch in Iran.[86]

In 1928, the new Pahlavī government of Iran was sufficiently well established to turn its attention to Baluchistan. Dost Mohammad Khan Baloch refused to submit, trusting in the network of alliances he had built up over the whole of the province south of the Sarḥadd. However, as soon as Reżā Shah's army under General Amīr Amanullah Jahanbani arrived in the area, the alliances dissolved. Dūst-Moḥammad Khan was left with a relatively small force and few allies of any consequence. The Persian army had little difficulty in defeating him. Once again Baluch political unity proved highly brittle. Dūst-Moḥammad eventually surrendered and was pardoned on condition he live in Tehran. After a year, he escaped while on a hunting trip. In due course he was recaptured, and having killed his guard in the escape was hanged for murder.[87][88] Baloch activists complained that the new governance was centralised and dominated by the Persians, "forcing the Baloch community and other minorities to fight to protect their rights."[86]

Baloch people in Iran have several grievances. The Shi'ite Islamic revolution perceived the predominantly the Sunni Baloch as a "threat". Sistan-e-Balochistan, the province where Baloch have traditionally lived in Iran, has the country's worst rates for life expectancy, adult literacy, primary school enrolment, access to improved water sources and sanitation, infant mortality rate, of any province in Iran. Despite its important natural resources (gas, gold, copper, oil and uranium), the province has the lowest per capita income in Iran. Almost 80% of the Baloch live under the poverty line.[86]

Attacks by insurgents[edit]

In the early 2000s the radical Islamist group Jundallah became active in Balochistan. The al Qaeda-linked terrorist organisation has branches in both Iran and Pakistan. From 2003 to 2012, an estimated 296 people were killed in Jundullah-related violence in Iran.[89] Attacks in Iran included bombings in Zahedan in 2007, which killed 18 people, and another bombing in 2009 that killed 20 people. In 2009, 43 people were killed in a bombing in Pishin. In July 2010, 27 people were killed in bombings in Zahedan. In 2010, a suicide bombing in Chabahar killed 38 people.

Among the deaths in the Pishin bombings were two Iranian Revolutionary Guards generals: Noor Ali Shooshtari, the deputy commander of the Revolutionary Guards' ground forces, and Rajab Ali Mhammadzadeh, the Revolutionary Guards' Sistan and Baluchistan provincial commander.[90]

In 2010 the leader of Jundallah, Abdolmalek Rigi, was killed, causing fragmentation of the group but not an end to insurgent attacks. In October 2013, the group Jaish al-Adl (JAA, Army of Justice), killed 14 Iranian border guards in an ambush in the town of Rustak, near the town of Saravan. Shortly there after, the Iranian authorities executed 16 Balochs, on charges ranging from terrorism to drug trafficking.[86] Another group, Harakat Ansar Iran (Partisan Movement of Iran, HAI) killed two Basij officers and wounded numerous civilians in a October 2012 suicide bombing against the mosque of Imam Hussein, in the port city of Chabahar (Sistan and Baluchestan Province).[86]

According to analyst Daniele Grassi, "Salafism plays an increasingly central role" for the "post-Jundallah" militants of JAA and HAI. "The rhetoric of groups such as HAI and JAA uses strongly anti-Shia tones. The two groups often refer to the Iranian Islamic Republic as a Safavid regime, in reference to the Safavid dynasty which introduced Shiism in Iran." Iran is also concerned about anti-Shia co-operation between the two groups and ISIS.[86]

Iran has accused America of supporting Jundallah "for years". The US government, which has officially designated Jundallah a terrorist organisation, has denied this charge.[91] Iran has been angered by JAA's use of Pakistani territory as a refuge, and has threatened military operations in Pakistan to counter terrorist groups "on several occasions".[86]

Drivers of insurgency[edit]

In Balochistan, Pakistan, "drivers" of insurgency have been economic, cultural, involving immigration and human rights.

Economic inequality[edit]

Economic inequality, and Balochistan's status as a "neglected province where a majority of population lacks amenities" is a dimension in the conflict.[92] Since the mid-1970s Balochistan's share of Pakistan's GDP has dropped from 4.9 to 3.7%.[93] Balochistan has the highest infant and maternal mortality rate, the highest poverty rate, and the lowest literacy rate in Pakistan.[94]

On the other hand, according to a report published in the Pakistani English-language Dawn newspaper, members of Balochistan's elite society, including provincial government ministers and officials, own "pieces of land greater in size than some small towns of the country", and had luxury vehicles, properties, investments and businesses valued at millions of rupees.[92]

Development issues[edit]

Gas revenue[edit]

Balochistan receives less per/unit in royalties than Sindh and Punjab provinces, since Balochistan's wellhead price five times lower than in Sindh and Punjab (the gas wellhead price is based on per capita provincial income in 1953).[95] Furthermore, the government has returned little of the royalties owed to the province, citing the need to recover operating costs.[96] Consequently, Balochistan is heavily in debt.

Balochistan Province receives Rs 32.71 per unit on gas revenues, including a royalty of Rs 13.90, excise duty of Rs 5.09, and gas development surcharge of Rs 13.72. Many private individuals with gas deposits on their land also receive payments. Many Balochs argue that such royalties are too low.[99] In response, in 2011 Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani announced an addition of Rs. 120 billion (US$2.5 billion) to the gas development surcharge and royalty portion of the "Aghaz-e-Haqooq-e-Balochistan" package.[100] However, royalties often do not trickle down to the common people in Balochistan due to the corruption and wealth-hoarding of Baloch tribal chiefs. This has hindered the growth of infrastructure.[citation needed]

Regional inequality[edit]

Extensive road and rail links developed by British colonialists in northern parts of Balochistan province have brought greater economic development to areas mainly inhabited by ethnic Pashtuns, which has also heightened nationalism among ethnic Balochs within the province.


Another grievance is the construction of the megaport of Gwadar, which began in 2002 and is run entirely by the federal government. Baloch complain that construction of the port relies on Chinese engineers and labourers, and few Balochs have been employed. There has been little improvement in living standards for Balochs in the area. A parallel town for workers at Gwadar is being built close to the old one to segregate Balochs from the growing influx of outsiders. Government officials illegally sold much of the land around Gwadar, making massive profits at the expense of local Balochs. The Pakistani government responded to the Baloch's increased resentment and resistance to their economic marginalisation in Gwadar with a hardline approach, stationing soldiers in the area to secure it from insurgent attacks.[102][103]

The construction project resulted in the employment of a large number of non-Balochs, especially Punjabis, even though there is an excess in the number of unemployed Baloch engineers and technicians.[104]

Multiculturalism and immigration[edit]

Due to the historical shortage of skilled labour in Balochistan, skilled workers are often imported from other regions.[105] Their arrival means new industries can develop, boosting the local economy; however, nationalists argue that this creates resentment amongst the local inhabitants. Like Karachi, which after migration from Balochistan, Central Asia, Iran, East Asia and especially a large number of people arriving from other areas of Pakistan in search of daily living settled there, it has been a national financial hub in Pakistan,[106] thus the local inhabitants (Sindhis) became a minority in the largest city of their province. Nationalists argue against multiculturalism and non-Baloch immigration. Karachi city has been playing a key role as a financial hub for Pakistan and its economy has exploded to become on the major cities in Asia as a seaport. However, the city continues be a home for ethnic and sectarian violence. Balouch nationalist argue that migration leads to such events, and they are opposed to similar situation in Baluchistan. Mir Suleiman Dawood claims that the people in Balochistan remain deeply resentful of Pakistan's policies in the region and he, apart from other, rather militant, Baloch nationalist organisations have openly called for India's assistance in Balochistan's separation from Pakistan. On 12 August 2009, Khan of Kalat Mir Suleiman Dawood declared himself ruler of Balochistan and formally made announcement of a Council for Independent Balochistan. The Council's claimed domain includes "Baloch of Iran", apart from Pakistani Balochistan, but does not include Afghan Baloch regions, and the Council contains "all separatist leaders including Nawabzada Bramdagh Bugti."[107]

After the soviet invasion, around 4 million refugees from Afghanistan arrived and settled in the region which has resulted in substantial demographic imbalance.[104] Perceived marginalisation as a result of increased Pashtun migration from Afghanistan during the Afghan War drives the insurgency.

Education issues[edit]

A major factor in the Balouchistan conflict is education, which nationalists feel has been neglected. The government of Pakistan recognises that importing skilled labour from other regions has caused tensions in the region, and has thus sought to encourage scholarships for Balochi students so they can participate in development programmes. The quota for Baloch students in Punjab university was doubled in 2010 under the Cheema Long Scheme, on the order of CM Shabaz Sharif. The provincial governments of Sindh, Punjab and KP said they would take steps to encourage Balochistan students to enroll and benefit from 100% scholarships.[108][109] However, nationalists argue that not enough education development is taking place, and that the government has neglected its duty.

Military response[edit]

Many Balochis have not tended to look favourably on Pakistan and the army's intervention in politics as they see the military as dominated by Punjabis and the interests of the Punjabis (who make up 45% of Pakistan's population) and lacking Baloch representation.

In the insurgencies themselves, the military's "harsh response" has led to "a spiral of violence". (See Human Rights Issues below.) A report by the Pakistan Security Research Unit notes, "Islamabad's militarized approach has led to ... violence, widespread human rights abuses, mass internal displacement and the deaths of hundreds of civilians and armed personnel."[94][111]

According to the International Crisis Group the attempt to crush the insurgency as in earlier insurgencies is feeding Baloch disaffection. Moderate Balochs have been alienated from the government by the imprisonment of civilians without charges, and routine kidnapping of dissidents.[Note 1]

Foreign support[edit]

Pakistan has repeatedly accused India, and occasionally the US, of supporting Baluch rebels; both countries have denied the charge.[114][115]


british indian balochistan

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The geographical location of Balochistan as the farthest Western corner of the subcontinent grants it its unique cultural and historical attributes. Though touched by the trails of many great conquerors over the centuries, the rugged terrain has yielded very few archaeological traces of their presence. Yet Balochistan is home to the pre-Indus civilization at Mehrgarh. In 1979 archaeologists found evidence of sedentary settlements deemed to stretch back as far as the Stone Age (70,000 to 7,000 BC) along the west bank of the Bolan River on the plains of Kachhi, roughly 30 km from the town of Sibi.

Balochistan Map
Balochistan map 1905
(Rumsey Map Collection)
Early history

Balochistan is splayed across the border with Iran,…show more content…

Arab rule over Balochistan was tenuous at best, with multiple revolts till its demise in the tenth century AD.

The region was subservient to greater regional powers from both the East and West. After the fall of Arab rule, the Ghaznavids had significant control over the area, as subsequently did the Ghorids. Around 1223 AD the invasion of the Mongols by Chenghiz Khan’s son Chaghatai Khan left a lasting mark on Balochistan. Cantonments of Mongol troops were left behind, said to be the ancestors of modern day Hazaras of Balochistan and Afghanistan. In the turmoil of the Mongol invasions, tribes of Baloch migrated to Sindh, where they are settled to this day.

British policy

British Policy
Khan of Kalat and sons
(Fred Bremner)
During the expansion of British power in the subcontinent, the support of Baloch Sardars was garnered by offering them the title of Nawab, and in this way the British managed to maintain colonial power in the Western frontier of their new empire. During the Great Game, the British created buffer zones to protect its colonial interests from the French and the Russians. In 1838, it turned its attention to the rulers of Kalat, who controlled a large area of modern central Balochistan, in order to open a corridor of communication with the Afghans. Till the treaty of 1854, Kalat was treated as a vassal state of the Afghan Kingdom, but defeat in the First Anglo-Afghan War led to increased British support for the state of Kalat,

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