Balochistan: Pakistan’s other war
Baloch politicians and leaders share their vision of self-determination and freedom from Pakistani rule.
In the rugged mountains of southwest Pakistan lies the country’s largest province of Balochistan. Far from the bustling cities of Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad, this remote region has been the battleground for a 60-year-long insurgency by the Baloch ethnic minority.
The Baloch people now live in a state of war. Every day, they face injustice. The army and intelligence agents kidnap our young, and we know nothing about them for years. The Baloch people live in a state of war. We will not accept any offers until we regain control over this land. They burn down our homes and then ask us for peace? We are not stupid.
The ongoing conflict is often called Pakistan’s dirty war, because of the rising numbers of people who have disappeared or have been killed on both sides.
But the uprising against Pakistan’s government has received little attention worldwide, in part because most eyes have been focused on the fight against the Taliban and al-Qaeda in other areas of Pakistan.
Bordering Iran and Afghanistan, Balochistan remains notorious for cross-border smuggling and has more recently been infiltrated by former members of the Taliban and al-Qaeda operatives. Few outsiders gain access or permission to travel in the region.
Al Jazeera’s Ahmad Zaidan travelled to Balochistan to meet with key Balochi politicians who explain the history and current circumstances of the region and to get an exclusive interview with the leader of the Balochistan rebel movement seeking secession from Pakistan.
This film offers a glimpse into a region which, in 2010, had the highest number of militant, insurgent and sectarian attacks of any province in Pakistan. It is a region torn apart with separatist organisations attacking the state, sectarian and ethnic attacks, and crime, including kidnapping for ransom.