The Balochistan conflict is an ongoing conflict between Baloch nationalists and the governments of Pakistan and Iran in the Balochistan region of South Asia, which includes Balochistan Province in southwestern Pakistan, Sistan and Baluchestan Province in southeastern Iran, and the Balochistan region of southern Afghanistan.
Balochi demands include greater autonomy, increased royalties from natural resources and provincial revenue, and in some cases full independence. There have been many claims of human rights abuses. Recently, militants have clashed with the Islamic Republic of Iran over its respective Baloch region, which borders Pakistan. The belligerent groups operate in the Pakistani and Iranian parts of the region, and in southern Afghanistan. Since the 2010s, attacks against the Shia community by sectarian groups - though not always directly related to the political struggle - have been on the rise, contributing to tensions in Balochistan.
Shortly after Pakistan's independence in 1947, the Pakistan Army began operations to subdue Kalat-based insurgents who had rejected the King of Kalat's decision to accede to Pakistan. A subsequent Baloch separatist movement gained momentum in the 1960s, following the introduction of a new constitution which limited provincial autonomy and enacted the 'One Unit' concept of political organization in Pakistan. Tension continued to grow amid consistent political disorder and instability at the federal level. The unrest continued into the 1970s, cumulating with a government-ordered military operation in the region in 1973. Assisted by Iran, Pakistani forces inflicted heavy casualties on the separatists. The insurgency fell into decline after a return to the four-province structure and the abolishment of the Sardari system. In the 2000s, however, the insurgency gained strength in conjunction with the deteriorating law and order situation in neighboring afghanistan and instability at the Federal level.
Although it has vast natural resources, Balochistan is one of Pakistan’s poorest regions. Baloch separatists allege that the central government of Pakistan is systematically suppressing development in Balochistan in order to keep the Balochs weak, whilst their opponents argue that international business interests have been unwilling to invest in the region due to the continuing unrest.
The Balochistan Liberation Army, identified as a terrorist organization by Pakistan, Britain, and other governments, is the most widely-known Baloch separatist group. Since 2000 it has conducted numerous deadly attacks on Pakistani troops, police, and civilians. Other violent separatist groups include Lashkar-e-Balochistan and the Baloch Liberation United Front (BLUF).