Baloch anger is not against the ethnic mix, it is rooted in poverty and the systematic denial of opportunities by the Pakistani establishment.
The November 23 attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi by Baloch separatists brought into global view, once more, the Baloch trauma. The Balochistan Liberation Army, which claimed responsibility for the attack, had warned the Chinese authorities against “exploitation of Balochistan’s mineral wealth and occupation of the Baloch territory”.
Regrettable as violence in any form is, this incident is an unfortunate reminder that Baloch complaints cannot forever be ignored. In fact, the constant refrain through Pakistan’s 70-year history is this: Balochistan appears to be on the boil again.
A photographer documents life with the Balochistan Liberation Army.
By Marc Wattrelot — Special to GlobalPost
Published: April 23, 2010 07:20 ET
Full Frame features photo essays and conversations with photographers in the field.
Balochistan extends over 350,000 square kilomaters (about the size of Germany) and is the largest province in the Pakistan Federation. About 7 million people live in Balochistan and the population comprises Iranians, Pakistanis and Afghanis. Balochistan is among the richest provinces in Pakistan, with valuable natural resources in gold, cobalt and gas. But its people are the poorest, suffering for decades under the Pakistani government. The Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) seeks to address this economic discrimination. The armed group’s resistance regularly makes headlines in the Pakistani national press.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 2, 2010A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission
PAKISTAN: More than 168 children have disappeared from Balochistan, a war crime tribunal should be constituted
Among the lists of disappeared persons from Balochistan province are the names of 168 children and 148 women. Two lists of disappeared persons were released separately, one by Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP), an NGO which works to document the cases of missing persons from the area and the other by the Provincial Interior Ministry of Balochistan. The missing people have allegedly been taken by Pakistani intelligence agencies for interrogation over their alleged link to Balochistan separatists and other militant groups in the country.