Where is Balochistan and Why is it the Target of Iran and Pakistan Strikes?

Region is divided between three countries and has a long history of resistance against Pakistan

Balochistan is a region with a distinct cultural and historical identity that is now divided between three countries: Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan. This week, Iran and Pakistan launched strikes across each other’s borders targeting militants in the Balochistan area. The region takes its name from the Baloch tribe, who began inhabiting the area centuries ago, and has long been fought over and divided by rulers including the Persians and the British.

The largest portion of the region is in south-western Pakistan, which it joined in 1948 after independence. Though it is Pakistan’s largest province – comprising 44% of the total landmass – its arid, largely desert landscape is the country’s least inhabited and least economically developed region and has been blighted by problems for decades.

Balochistan has a long history of resistance against the government of Pakistan, and militant insurgencies by groups fighting for an independent state for the Baloch people began in 1948, emerging again in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and significantly post-2003. The people of Balochistan had long felt their region was neglected in terms of development and political representation, fuelling resentment towards the ruling establishment. Read more