Pakistan’s Balochistan province is facing economic and security challenges that have contributed to the suffering of its population. Despite being a naturally rich region, Balochistan falls under the category of poor, and the state needs to address the reasons for this inability to bring about socioeconomic development. The growing presence of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in the province has only compounded the issues faced by the people of Balochistan. The TTP has claimed responsibility for recent attacks in Chaman, Kohlu, Zhob, and Turbat, as well as the regaining of power by the Taliban in Afghanistan, causing concern among the people of Balochistan.
The Provincial and Federal government has contributed to the population’s suffering by disregarding the needs of the people. Abbas Nasir, a former editor of Dawn, says, “how the government has dealt with the situation in Balochistan since 2006 has led to a lot of death and suffering for both the police and the people living there.” Nasir also points out that the Baloch population feels like an “alien presence on their soil” due to the treatment they have received from the government.
According to the report by the Center for Research and Security Studies (CRSS), the provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan experienced close to 376 terror attacks in the previous year. These attacks were carried out by banned organizations, including the TTP, Daish (Islamic State Khorasan), and the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA). The province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa saw a significant increase in violence and the corresponding rise in fatalities. Government officials, law enforcement officers, and civilians, including foreigners, made up the majority of victims. The study also found an unusual uptick in terrorist assaults in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan after November 28, with over twenty strikes occurring in December alone.
Given the situation in Balochistan, the Pakistani state needs to reevaluate its security calculus. The Afghani Taliban has refused to help, and the TTP is now wreaking havoc in two provinces of the country and the federal capital. It is time for a new approach to address the issues faced by the people of Balochistan and bring about much-needed change and development in the region.