Baluchistan: Pakistan's Internal War

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf (center) cuts a cake on Friday after inaugurating the Zarghun Gas Field project in Quetta, the provincial capital of gas-rich Baluchistan.

Baluchistan: Pakistan's Internal War

Open warfare erupted between Baluch nationalists and the Pakistani military in December 2005 following decades of what the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan described as a "simmering insurgency." A commission investigation conducted in December 2005 and January 2006 detailed ongoing summary executions, disappearances, torture and indiscriminate bombing and artillery attacks against the people of Pakistan's southwestern province of Baluchistan. Baluch nationalist fighters, mainly from the Bugti and Marri tribes, continue to attack Pakistani military and paramilitary forces and sabotage gas pipelines and other infrastructure on a daily basis.

Gen. Pervez Musharraf's government asserts that the insurgency is an attempt by some tribal chieftains (sardars) to prevent economic development in Baluchistan and maintain their traditional power. Baluch nationalists, however, point to the ongoing expropriation of Baluchistan's natural resources, exclusion from development projects, political marginalization, transmigration and continuing militarization as reasons for the insurgency.

On April 30, the Musharraf regime banned Baluch nationalist leaders from traveling outside Pakistan. On May 1, the Baluchistan Liberation Army claimed responsibility for blowing up a railway bridge in the Kohlu district of Baluchistan, cutting the line between the provincial capital, Quetta, and Iran. In the same month, the Musharraf government banned the Baluchistan Liberation Army as a terrorist organization. On Aug. 26, the Pakistani military killed Nawab Akbar Bugti, sardar of the Bugti tribe (one of Baluchistan's largest tribes) and a leader of the Baluch national liberation movement. Hundreds of people were arrested after rioting erupted throughout Baluchistan in response to the killing.

Catalyst for War

Two incidents are widely recognized as being the catalyst for the current state of open warfare in Baluchistan. The rape of a female doctor at Sui hospital by a Pakistani army officer and several soldiers of the Defense Security Guards (charged with guarding Sui's gas installations) on Jan. 2, 2005, sparked an increase in insurgent attacks. The handling of the rape allegations by the Pakistan government only inflamed the initial sense of outrage.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16