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20. Pakistan/Balochistan (1947-present)

 

Crisis Phase (August 12, 1947-May 17, 1973): Mir Ahmad Yar Khan, the Khan of Kalat, declared Balochistan’s independence on August 12, 1947.  The Balochistan parliament rejected merging with West Pakistan on several occasions between December 14, 1947 and February 25, 1948.  The Khan of Kalat agreed to the accession of Balochistan into West Pakistan on March 27, 1948.  Government troops entered Balochistan on April 15, 1948.  Government troops attacked the residence of the Khan of Kalat in the city of Kalat on October 6, 1958.  Government troops arrested the Khan and several hundred Balochi political leaders on October 6, 1958.  The government declared martial law on October 7, 1958.  Nawab Nauroz Khan (Mir Naroze Khan) led a rebellion against the government beginning in October 1958.  Balochi tribesmen led by Sher Mohammad Marri rebelled against the government in the tribal areas of Mengal, Marri, and Bukti between 1963 and 1969.  The Baloch Students Organization (BSO) was established in support of Balochi independence in 1967. Government troops and Balochi rebels clashed in 1967 and 1968, and Balochi rebels were largely suppressed in 1969. Elections were held in 1970 and 1971, and the NAP won eight out of 20 seats in the Balochistan Legislative Assembly. The government announced the formation of the province of Balochistan on July 1, 1971.  Prime Minister Zulfikar Bhutto appointed Mir Ghaus Bakhsh Bizenjo of the NAP as governor of Balochistan in April 1972. Iraq and Afghanistan provided military assistance to Balochi rebels beginning in 1973.  Government officials found weapons and ammunition in the Iraqi embassy in Islamabad on February 10, 1973.  The US, France, and China provided military assistance in support of the government. Prime Minister Bhutto dismissed Governor Bizenjo and Provincial Assembly of Balochistan on February 12, 1973, and appointed Sardar Akbar Khan Bugti as governor. Some 1,000 individuals were killed during the crisis.

Conflict Phase (May 18, 1973-July 31, 1977): Some 55,000 Balochi rebels and 80,000 government troops engaged in military hostilities beginning on May 18, 1973.  Balochi rebels killed eight government policemen near Sibi on May 18, 1973. Government troops and Balochi rebels clashed near Gumbaz on August 7, 1973, resulting in the deaths of two government soldiers. Government police arrested former Governor Bizenjo and two other NAP leaders on August 15, 1973. Governor Khan Bugti resigned on October 31, 1973, and Mir Ahmad Yar Khan was appointed as governor on January 3, 1974. Samad Khan Achazai, leader of the NAP in Balochistan and a member of the Balochistan Legislative Assembly, was assassinated in Quetta on December 2, 1973. Prime Minister Bhutto declared a ceasefire and amnesty for the rebels on May 15, 1974. Iran provided military assistance and personnel in support of the government. Government troops launched a military offensive against rebels in Balochistan between August 21 and October 15, 1974, resulting in the deaths of 241 rebels and 142 government soldiers. Some 200 Balochi tribesmen fled as refugees to Afghanistan on January 12, 1975. Balochi rebels killed seven individuals near Sibi on September 12, 1975, and Balochi rebels killed 18 government soldiers south of Quetta on October 21, 1975. Balochi rebels killed 15 individuals near the Iranian border on October 28, 1975. The government suspended the Balochistan administration and provincial assembly on December 31, 1975. Four individuals were killed in a bombing in Quetta on February 10, 1976. The Balochi People’s Liberation Front (BPLF) was established by Mir Hazar Ramkhani in 1976. Iran, which has a population of Balochis on its territory, deployed troops in support of the Pakistani government in 1976. Government troops suppressed the Balochi rebellion in July 1977. Some 12,000 individuals, including 5,300 rebels and 3,300 government soldiers, were killed during the conflict.

Post-Conflict Phase (August 1, 1977-December 30, 1985): The government lifted martial law on December 30, 1985.

Post-Crisis Phase (December 31, 1985-May 31, 2000): The Balochistan State Assembly was dissolved in December 1988. Balochis and Pashtuns clashed in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan, on October 12, 1991, resulting in the deaths of 13 individuals.

Crisis Phase (June 1, 2000-present): Members of the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) bombed several locations in Quetta in June 2000, resulting in the deaths of some 26 government soldiers and 5 civilians.  BLA rebels fired motar shells into Quetta on July 22, 2000, resulting in the deaths of nine government soldiers.  BLA rebels bombed a military truck in Quetta on December 10, 2004, resulting in the deaths of eleven individuals.  BLA rebels attacked the Sui natural gas field between January 7-11, 2005.  Government troops and BLA rebels clashed on March 17, 2005, resulting in the deaths of some 50 BLA rebels and 8 government soldiers.  BLA rebels attacked and killed 42 government soldiers on November 8, 2005.  Government troops launched a military offensive against BLA rebels beginning on December 17, 2005.  Six individuals were killed by a landmine near Dera Bugti on January 25, 2006.  Government troops killed Balochi tribal leader Nawab Akbar Bugti on August 26, 2006.  Some 21 government troops were killed in clashes with BLA rebels on August 24-27, 2006.  Some 1,000 individuals have been killed, and some 150,000 individuals have been displaced during the crisis.

[Sources: Allock et al., 1992, 419-423; Associated Press (AP), July 24, 2000; British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), February 1, 2005, March 24, 2005, January 25, 2006, January 7, 2010; Butterworth, 1976, 471-472; Brogan, 1992, 228; Clodfelter, 1992, 1104; Facts on File, February 25-March 3, 1973, May 6-12, 1973, May 20-26, 1973, September 9-15, 1973, December 9-15, 1973, October 19, 1974; Keesing’s Record of World Events, May 21-27, 1973, October 1-7, 1973, June 10-16, 1974, March 17-23, 1975, February 20, 1976, August 6, 1976; New York Times (NYT), April 2, 2006; Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), April 20, 2006, August 29, 2006; Sayeed, 1980, 113-121; Terrorism Monitor, June 2, 2005, November 16, 2006.]

 

Bibliography

Sayeed, Khalid B. 1980. Politics in Pakistan: The Nature and Direction of Change. New York: Praeger Publishers.