One of the four provinces of Pakistan, located in the southwestern region of the country. covers an area of 347,190 square kilometers (134,050 sq. mi). It is Pakistan’s largest province by area, constituting 44% of Pakistan’s total land mass. Its provincial capital and largest city is Quetta. It shares borders with Punjab and the Federally administered tribal areas to the northeast, Sindh to the southeast, the Arabian sea to the south, Iran to the west, and Afghanistan to the north. Balochistan is noted for its unique culture, extremely dry desert climate, and the Suleiman mountains.
Most of the province’s residents are Balochs, Pushtuns and Brahuis though there are smaller communities of Iranian Balochs, Hazaras, Sindhis, Punjabis, and other settlers such as the Uzbeks, and Turkmens. The name Balochistan means “the land of the Baloch” in many regional languages. Although largely underdeveloped, the provincial economy is dominated by natural resources, especially its natural gas fields, which supply the entire country. Gwadar Port also plays a significant role in the economic development of the province.
Atmospheric conditions of the upper highlands are pervading by very cold winters and hot summers. Winters vary from extremely cold in northern districts Ziarat, Quetta, Kalat, Muslim Baagh and Khanozai to milder conditions closer to the Makran coast. The record highest temperature, 53 °C (127 °F), was recorded in Sibi on 26 May 2010.
The economy of Balochistan is largely based upon the production of natural gas, coal and other minerals. Other important economic sectors include fisheries, mining, manufacturing industries, trade and other services being rendered by public and private sector organizations. While having vast natural resources Balochistan is one of Pakistan’s poorest regions.
Balochistan has been called a “neglected province where a majority of population lacks basic necessities”. Since the mid-1970s the province’s share of Pakistan’s GDP has dropped from 4.9 to 3.7%, and as of 2007 it had the highest poverty rate and infant and maternal mortality rate, and the lowest literacy rate in the country, factors some allege have contributed to the insurgency. However, in 7th NFC awards Shahbaz Sharif Chief Minister Punjab contributed to increase Balochistan share more than its entitled population based share, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said the NFC had effectively addressed the sense of deprivation of provinces and their dissatisfaction with the federation and now the provinces believed that they also had a right over the resources of Pakistan. He said that NFC would have a positive impact on Balochistan and Balochistan’s share had been increased because it had been kept backward in the past. 7th NFC award as a remarkable achievement of the government.
There is an ongoing conflict between Baloch nationalists and the govt of Pakistan and Iran in the Balochistan region of South-West Asia, Baloch demands include self-government, increased royalties from natural resources and provincial revenue, and in some cases full independence. There have been many claims of human rights abuses. The militant groups operate in the Pakistani and in southern Afghanistan.
In Balochistan, uprising by Baloch nationalists have been fought in 1948, 1958–59, 1962-63 and 1973-77 with a new ongoing and reportedly stronger, broader insurgency beginning in 2003. Because of foreign involvement (financially, physically) Insurgents had attacked almost all prime premises of the Pakistani government including the airports, Quetta cantonment attach, target killing of senior politicians, army personals and government officers, now the Government of Pakistan has approached United Nations to take up the matter of foreign involvement.
The most conflicted areas are southern part of Sistan o Balochistan, Iran, in the west, the Pakistan province of Balochistan in the east and the Helmand province of Afghanistan, largest region of Pakistan least inhabited and least developed.
There were 4 princely states in Balochistan under British Raj, in 1947 nawabs of Makran, Lasbela and Kharan willingly joined Pakistan unlike The Khan of Kalat (Ahmed Yar Khan) who chooses independence, In April 1948 government of Pakistan sent the army who asked Mir Ahmed Yar Khan to give up on his state, Mir Ahmed signed an acquisition agreement ending Kalat’s existing independence, First conflict has started when Mir Ahmed Yar’s brother Prince Karim khan has decided to continue fighting against the Pak Army, Prince Karim based himself in Afghanistan and conducted guerrilla warfare against the Pakistan army, later Prince Karim got killed in clashes with army.
Second conflict has started in 1958-1959 when Nawaz Nowroz Khan decided to fight in resistance to the “One Unit policy” designed and initiated by the government of Pakistan to disqualify cultural and provincial divides and discrimination. Nawaz Nowroz Khan and his family charged with treason and arrested and meager in Hyderabad jail.
After second conflict government of Pakistan has decided to build new garrisons in major trouble areas of Balochistan, Sher Mohammad Bijarani Marri gathered compatible militants to start a guerrilla war against the establishment of these posts by creating his own posts of insurgency spreading over 72,000 km of land from the Mengal tribal area in the south to the Marri and Bugti tribal areas in the north. They ambushed conveys bombed railway tracks, third conflict ended in 1969 when Aga Muhammad Yahya Khan (President of Pakistan) eliminate the “One Unit” policy and the Baloch tribes agreed to a ceasefire. This eventually led to the recognition of Balochistan as the fourth province of West Pakistan (present-day Pakistan) in 1970.
In 1972, major political parties united against the government of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (President of Pakistan) and formed the National Awami Party NAP and demanded more representation for the ethnic Baloch in the government. This did not sit well with Bhutto’s approach, seen by some as elitist and authoritarian. In February 1973, in the presence of news media and the Iraqi ambassador to Islamabad, the police opened a consignment of Iraqi diplomatic pouches containing arms, ammunition and guerrilla warfare literature. The Pakistani intelligence agencies claimed these arms were en route to the Baloch (Marri) insurgents of Balochistan. Citing treason, Bhutto subsequently dismissed the provincial government of Balochistan and imposed governor rule. Secretly, the intelligence agencies as well as Bhutto knew the real intended party of the arms consignment was the ethnic Balochs of Iran. This was Iraq’s response to Iran’s support for the Kurds in northern Iraq.
Dismissal of the provincial government led to armed insurgency. Khair Baksh 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.
According to several authors, the Pakistani military lost 3,000 to 3,300 soldiers during the conflict with the Balochs separatists, while the Baloch lost 5,300 men, and civilian casualties during this period are estimated at 6,000.(Source CSS Forum)
Last but major conflict has started (led by Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti and Mir Balach Marri) due to bad policies of government in 2004 when different tribes and parties including Baluchistan Liberation Army, Baluchistan Liberation Front, and People’s Liberation Army took arms against the federal government BLA killed three Chinese engineers working on the Gwadar Port. Gwadar airport was attacked by rockets at midnight on 21 May 2004. On 09 October 2004, two Chinese engineers were kidnapped in South Waziristan Pakistan, one of whom was killed later on October 14 in a mismanaged rescue operation. Government of Pakistan blamed India and Iran for provoking insurgency in Balochistan. General ® Pervaiz Musharraf claims that Balochistan Liberation Army is confidentially funded by the Afghan and Iran government, they are getting arms and ammunition through Durand line (Pak-Afghan border).
Government of Pakistan needs to bring an end to the tribal system and provide more job opportunities to the common Balochs, they feel insecure because outsiders are being settled in different parts of Balochistan turning majority of Baloch area into minorities which threats local tribesmen, excellent steps are being taken by the government of Pakistan for industrialization of the province and industrial zones are planned along the Gwadar-Karachi highway ,as we all know that Balochistan is the main beneficiary of CPEC (China Pakistan Economic Corridor) projects, Prime Minister Pakistan Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif laid the foundation stone of Mangi Dam, the Balochistan Agriculture University and Samungli Road Flyover and inaugurated the Sariab Phatak Flyover in Quetta, PM Nawaz Sharif directed the authorities concerned to prepare a plan for developing the port and the city as an economic hub, he also approved a (Pur-amn Balochistan) plan to make Balochistan completely peaceful and bringing the angry Balochs back into the national mainstream, this growth will accelerate the progress in near future and it will ease the insecurity of Balochs.