Historical sequence

Published December 16, 2012

Huma M. Iqbal takes a look at the chronology of events in the on going conflict.

1947: At the time of Partition, Balochistan consisted of four princely states, namely Makran, Lasbela, Kharan and Kalat. The first three willingly joined Pakistan in 1947, while Ahmed Yaar Khan, the Khan of Kalat declared independence.

April 1948: Pakistani army invaded Kalat and the Khan surrendered. His brother, Prince Abdul Karim, continued to resist with around 700 guerrillas but was soon crushed.

1954: Anti-One Unit movement in Balochistan turned violent. Nawab Mir Nauroz Khan Zarakzai, chief of Zehri tribe, led a resistance of 1,000 militia against the army.

July 1960: Nauroz’s son was hanged after being convicted of treason.

1962: Nauroz died in Kohlu prison, becoming a symbol of Baloch resistance.

July 1963: Insurgents operating from 22 camps in Marri, Mengal and Bugti areas started to bomb railway tracks and ambushed convoys. The Army retaliated by destroying vast areas of Marri tribe’s land.

1969: Baloch separatists agreed to a ceasefire. Yahya Khan abolished One Unit.

1970: Balochistan was recognised as the fourth province of the then West Pakistan.

1972: The first ever elected government comprising Baloch nationalists was formed with Attaullah Mengal as CM.

1973: President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto dismissed the elected Balochistan government; this led to protests and calls for Balochistan’s secession.

April, 1973: Baloch militants began to ambush army convoys. Bhutto ordered sending more troops to the province. The fighting was more widespread than in 1950s and 1960s. Several nationalist leaders were put behind bars.

July, 1974: Baloch militants cut off roads and rail links cutting Balochistan from other provinces.

1974: Hostilities climaxed with drawn-out battles. Military support was provided by Iran against the resistance of some 50,000 Baloch fighters.

1976: Dispersed Baloch warriors formed Balochistan Peoples Liberation Front (BPLF) under the leadership of Mir Hazar Khan Marri.

1977: After the imposition of martial law by Gen. Zia ul Haq, general amnesty was declared by military governor Rahimuddin Khan.

1978: Army action ceased; development and educational policies were restarted. The conflict claimed the lives of 3,300 troops, 5,300 Baloch (militants), and thousands of civilians.

Early 1991: Khair Buksh Marri, leader of BLA, returned to Pakistan.

January 10, 2005: President Pervez Musharraf told the Baloch nationalists: “Don’t push us … it is not the 1970s, and this time you won’t even know what has hit you”.

2005: The government concentrated its attention on Dera Bugti and Akbar Bugti, after he became quite critical of the army’s presence.

Late 2005-early 2006: Pakistan military launched artillery and air strikes and sieged Dera Bugti. Many civilians were killed and 85 per cent of the 25,000-strong population fled. The town of Kohlu also came under siege; military operations occurred throughout the province.

2005: 15-point agenda presented by Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti and Mir Balach Marri.

August 2006: Akbar Bugti was killed by Pakistan Army in self-imposed hiding.

April 2009: BNM president Ghulam Mohammed Baloch and two other nationalist leaders Lala Munir and Sher Muhammad were abducted and killed; this led to riots and unrest in Balochistan.

August 2009: Khan of Kalat Mir Suleiman Dawood declared himself ruler of Balochistan and formally announced a Council for Independent Balochistan.

Mid 2010: ‘Killing the killers’ campaign against Baloch insurgents increased.

2011: 107 new cases of enforced disappearances were reported by The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.

2003-2012: Nationalists claim about 8,000 people were kidnapped by security forces in Balochistan. The government disputes the claim.

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