All You Need To Know About Balochistan And The Controversy Around It
August 24th, 2016
Image Courtesy: tarekfatah
Balochistan is one of the four provinces of Pakistan and it has a history of conflict besides it is considered important to Pakistan owing to it sharing borders with Afghanistan & Iran. Balochistan though continues to struggle economically partly due to negligence of the government and partly due to the province being at the center of conflicts, infiltration, and terror. The ongoing disturbance and conflict continue to keep the province backward and poor despite being a resource-rich region.
In total, there have been 5 conflicts in the Balochistan region, 4 of which were short duration conflicts and the fifth one continues till date, which is a long drawn one. The conflict started with the attack on Gwadar port which China intended to develop by investing billions of dollars in it. The Baloch leaders, Nawab Akbar and Mir Balach presented a 15 point agenda which sought for greater control of the province’s resources and a moratorium on the construction of military bases. In 2006 and 2009 major conflict between the Balochistan separatists and Pakistan army resulted in major loss of lives for the Pakistan Army.
Points of conflict
1. Balochistan fares very poorly among other provinces of Pakistan in many factors. This has led to discontent among the citizenry of Balochistan. The lack of skilled work force continues to attract foreign talent to the region, for instance, the construction of the Gwadar port which employs a lot of Chinese engineers has irked the locals.
2. Citing the need to recover costs, Pakistan government pays little royalties to Balochistan compared to other provinces and this has led to resentment among people and according to some has worsened the economic situation of the province.
The Pakistan government has bore the brunt of the brutality of the separatist movement in Balochistan. Many civilians and military personnel’s lives were lost in the conflict. Pakistan without much of evidence continues to blame India and occasionally the US for funding and supporting Baloch separatism in Pakistan. The United States has categorically denied the accusations of Pakistan against India citing lack of evidence to support their claim. Pakistan also claims India is using its consulate in Afghanistan to supply and support Baloch rebels in Pakistan which India has laughed it off citing lack of any evidence for their dubious claims.