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Chronology for Baluchis in Pakistan

Publisher Minorities at Risk Project
Publication Date 2004
Cite as Minorities at Risk Project, Chronology for Baluchis in Pakistan, 2004, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/469f38c666.html [accessed 20 April 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.
Date(s) Item
Nov 1988 The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) wins the November federal government election. Benazir Bhutto is appointed Prime Minister. In Baluchistan, the PPP forms a coalition government with the Islamic Democratic Alliance (IDA). The IDA is a national coalition of parties that was Bhutto's main national rival.
Dec 1988 The Baluchistan State Assembly is dissolved, allegedly in order to prevent the PPP's coalition from likely losing an expected no-confidence vote. Analysts indicate that while this dissolution was made in accordance with the letter of the constitution, it militates against its spirit, especially given that democratic government was restored in Pakistan only two weeks earlier. The incident evokes memories of the 1973 dismissal of the assembly by Zulfikar Bhutto that precipitated the Baluchi rebellion. Strikes and protests follow this recent dismissal (Inter Press Service, 12/23/88).
Jan 1989 The Baluchistan High Court rules that the dissolution of the state assembly in November was unconstitutional. The Baluch Nationalist Alliance (BNA) takes power. (Minority Rights Group, 1990).
Jul 1989 Pakistani troops enforce a curfew in the slum area of Lyari, in the port city of Karachi. The action was taken in order to curtail violent clashes between Baluchis and activists of Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party. Eight people were killed and twenty injured by gunfire and knives during the 12 hour battle. At least 50 were injured. The violence occurred during a strike called by the Baluch Unity Movement to protest against the mysterious death last month of a Baluch political activist and campaigner against drug-peddlers. Anwar Baijan, a leader of the Unity Movement, alleged that a local PPP leader was involved in this murder. The Lyari area had previously been spared the ethnic bloodshed that has occurred in Karachi since 1986 (Reuters, 07/11/89).
Aug 1990 Pakistani President Ghulam Ishaq Khan dismisses Prime Minister Bhutto and her cabinet and dissolves the National and all provincial assemblies. Caretaker Chief Ministers are appointed at the provincial level until the next election.
Oct 1990 The Islamic Democratic Alliance (IDA) wins the scheduled elections and forms the national government along with the governments of all four provinces. Nawaz Sharif is appointed Prime Minister. In Baluchistan, the IDA forms a coalition with three other parties including the Baluchistan National Alliance and the Jamhoori Watan Party (a Baluchistan-based party which also operates at the national level).
Oct 1991 An indefinite curfew was imposed on October 12 in Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan, following three days of violent battles between Baluchis and Pashtuns. The death toll in the clashes has risen to 13, leading the government to close all educational institutions in the capital and the main provincial cities. The gunbattles arose because of a government decision to shift the location of an agricultural college from the Baluch-majority area of Kalat to the Pashtun area of Pishin near Quetta. Violence first broke out when the Baluch National Movement and the Baluch Student Organization (student arm of the Baluch National Alliance) called a strike on Thursday to protest the move and to demand the repatriation of the 1 million Afghan refugees in their province (most of these are Pashtun) (Reuters, 10/10/91; The Independent, 10/12/91; Japan Economic Newswire, 10/12/91).
May 1992 One protestor was killed and at least six others injured following a clash with paramilitary troops during a general strike in the central Baluchistan town of Khuzdar. The strike was called by the United Baluchistan Awam Alliance over the demarcation of electoral wards in the capital, Quetta. Local council elections scheduled to be held 10 days ago were postponed and Quetta had been under curfew since then. The elections were postponed following protests by Pashtuns who argued that the inclusion of some non-Pashtun areas within the city limits diluted their majority. Baluchis want current electoral wards to stand and elections to be held as soon as possible. Baluchi protestors curtailed train services by damaging railway lines as part of their strike (Reuters, 05/17/92).
Jul 1992 Fighting erupted between two sub-groups of the Achakzai tribe in the Gulistan district of Baluchistan near the Afghan border. Seven people were killed and 25 were wounded as tribesmen fought each other with rockets and mortars. The Ghaibizai and Hameedzai sub-groups have fought each other for years. It is not known what caused clash. The Afghan civil war has led to modern weapons being widely available in the region (Reuters, 07/01/92).
Jul 1992 Fierce fighting between the Bugti tribe and the Kalpar sub-tribe near Sui in Western Baluchistan results in the expulsion of the Kalpars from the area. There are no reports of the number of casualties but the houses of the Kalpars were burnt down. The clash followed the murders in May of key leaders of each tribe. A popular Kalpar leader who challenged Bugti chief Akbar Bugti's leadership was killed in May. Bugti's son and political heir was allegedly killed in revenge (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 10/18/95).
Oct 1992 Six Chinese engineers were kidnapped by gunmen and are likely being held by opponents of a Baluchistan mining project which is located about 300 kilometers west of the capital. Nationalist Baluchis and some Baluchistan politicians have opposed developing projects in the province because no agreement has been reached on the issue of mineral royalty payments to the province. Six international oil companies have licenses to explore for oil in Baluchistan and they have faced serious security hazards. Further, a $1.2 billion power project in Baluchistan has been delayed because of local opposition (Japan Economic Newswire, 10/20/92).
Aug 1993 It is estimated that 23 people were killed, 20 injured, and 50 persons arrested as a result of intratribal clashes in the Jhal Magsi area of Baluchistan. The clash arose between factions of the Magsi tribe. Zulfikar Magsi, a former chief minister of Baluchistan was reportedly attacked by members from his uncle's (Yusuf Magsi) faction when he was heading to file nomination papers to contest a provincial assembly seat against his uncle. Zulfikar, who claims leadership of the Magsi, belongs to the Pakistan Muslim League of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif while his uncle Yusuf, a rival claimant to the tribal throne, is a candidate of the Pakistan People's Party of Benazir Bhutto. Their rivalry for the leadership of the Magsi tribe has lasted two years and has already claimed up to 50 lives (Agence France Presse, 08/31/93).
Sep 1993 Two rival tribal leaders have been arrested following an armed clash between their factions that claimed the lives of 23 people (see above). Zulfiqar and Yousaf Magsi were taken into custody and have promised to cooperate in apprehending those responsible for the recent deaths. This recent violence was among the worst in the runup to elections to be held in October (Xinhua General Overseas News Service, 09/03/93).
Oct 1993 Following national and provincial elections, Benazir Bhutto and the Pakistan Peoples Party form a coalition government at the center. In Baluchistan, a coalition government is formed, with the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz group) faction heading the alliance. The vote in Baluchistan is badly splintered with independent candidates receiving the most seats (9/40) followed by the PML (N) at 6 seats. Nawab Zulfiqar Ali Magsi, an independent, is elected Chief Minister of Baluchistan.
Apr 1994 More than 30 people have been killed in a tribal war between members of the Mazari and Bugti tribes. The violent clash erupted between the two rival tribes a month ago on the border between Baluchistan and Sindh. Both tribes are claiming ownership of a sand dune because of the royalties to be derived from stone crushing. The war has forced Japan's Saitagami construction company to halt work on the local Indus highway. The provincial government has deployed paramilitary frontier units to the area (Reuters, 03/07/94).
Aug 1994 A curfew was imposed in Quetta following the outbreak of hostilities between Baluchistan's largest tribes, the Bugti and the Raisani. The two hour firefight at a funeral left nine people dead and over 20 wounded. Both sides used heavy automatic weapons allegedly obtained from Afghan merchants. In 1992, the Bugti drove an entire sub-tribe, the Kalpars, out of Baluchistan by randomly killing their men and burning their homes to the ground (UPI, 08/27/94).
Sep 1994 Tribal and religious leaders are up in arms over the federal government's declaration of Islamabad as a "weapons-free" zone. A senator from Baluchistan argued that armed private bodyguards were necessary in order to protect politicians from traditional enemies. He further stated that carrying weapons was part of the traditional culture in Baluchistan (Inter Press Service, 09/17/94).
Oct 1994 A scheduled population census has been abruptly postponed by the Pakistani government in response to ethnic rivalries and hostility from provincial authorities. The census was scheduled to begin on October 23, but the federal government has begun a nationwide enumeration of housing units in preparation for the census. The last official census was taken in 1981 in Pakistan. Punjabis feel that the census would be unfair to them as they fear that other provinces might inflate their populations to obtain more federal funds (Punjab is estimated to hold 60% of the country's population). In Sindh, native-Sindhi speakers and the Mohajirs claim to outnumber each other. Baluchis felt the census should be postponed until the Afghan refugees are repatriated. Baluchis worry that the mainly Pashtun refugees could be counted in the census, thereby tilting the demographic balance in favor of local Baluchistan Pashtuns. The majority of the 1.5 million Afghan refugees are located in the North West Frontier Province where Pathans are the majority community (Agence France Presse, 10/19/94).
May 1995 12 people have died following clashes among rival members of the Rind clan in the area of Sani Soran, about 300 kilometers southeast of Quetta. The fighting reportedly began after an armed group attacked the home of Sardar Yar Mohammad, the tribal chieftain who is also a member of the federal parliament. Paramilitary forces were sent to the region to control the situation. Clashes within and between tribes are not uncommon in Baluchistan given their often conflicting interests (Agence France Presse, 05/20/95).
Jun 1995 Ethnic clashes broke out in Karachi between Mohajirs and Baluchis following the killing of two Baluchis. The violence broke out during a strike called by the Mohajir party, the MQM. No immediate casualties were reported. The MQM called the strike to protest the alleged gang-rape of a member's sister and the killing of a MQM leader the previous week (Reuters, 06/27/95).
Jul 1995 Violent clashes continued between Mohajirs and Baluchis on July 1, the second day of a strike called by the MQM. (see above). Three people were killed and five wounded in separate incidents in Kalakot district in Karachi which is a stronghold of Baluch nations who support Bhutto's PPP. Extra police were ordered into Karachi in order to held avoid a deeper ethnic clash between the Mohajirs and Baluchis. So far, the other ethnic groups in Karachi, (Punjabis, Pathans, and Baluchis) had stayed clear of the violence between the state security forces and the Mohajirs (Reuters, 07/01/95; The Independent, 06/30/95).
Jul 1995 The Pakistani Minister of State has indicated that the government will seek to ensure the protection of all Pakistani citizens during its talks with the MQM. The Minister was responding to a Baluch Member of Parliament who raised the issue of the recent clashes between the two ethnic groups. In its latest proposal to the MQM, the Pakistani government called upon the MQM to give up a "policy of ethnic cleansing" and to stop targeting other groups such as the Punjabis, Sindhis, Pashtuns, and Baluchis (Reuters, 07/13/95; BBC, 07/20/95).
Sep 1995 The Bhutto government has announced that contracts for power projects which are based on the supply of gas from "turbulent areas" will no longer be signed. This major policy decision is being viewed as ambiguous; however, turbulent areas appears to refer to areas that are not considered safe and under the control of the provincial government. This move is expected to significantly affect Baluchistan as a number of oilfields are located in the province (it is considered to have a law and order problem). In recent months, the Uch gasfield in Baluchistan has been the scene of major tribal disturbances which have disrupted gas exploration. Federal Petroleum and Natural Resources Minister Anwar Saifullah has held meetings with Baluchi tribesmen to make peace in the field areas but no agreement has been reached (International Gas Report, 09/01/95).
Oct 1995 Prime Minister Bhutto sends in 3000 paramilitary troops to break a labor strike and diffuse tribal hostilities at Sui in Western Baluchistan. Pakistan's largest natural gas reserves are located at Sui and provide 90% of the country's total production. The dispute at Sui arose when Bhutto decided to relocate 400 heavily-armed families of the Kalpar sub-tribe in the Sui area. The Kalpars were thrown out of the area by the dominant Bugti tribe in 1992. Akbar Bugti, tribal chief of the Bugtis, claims the action is an attempt to loosen his tribal hold over the region. The Bugti had been engaged in a three month strike at the gas field. 3000 members of the Frontier Constabulary have been deployed to Sui to protect the gas field. Hundred of Bugti families have fled the region, fearing a major tribal clash. Akbar Bugti is an opposition member of the National Assembly while the Kalpar tribe supports Bhutto's PPP (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 10/18/95).
Dec 1995 About 3000 supporters of the Pushtan Khuwa Milli Awami Party (PKMAP) protested in Quetta, Baluchistan, against the Afghan Taliban militia. The peaceful protesters also condemned alleged Pakistani support for the Taliban. The PKMAP commands wide support in Pashtun-dominated north Baluchistan and has four seats in the provincial and National assemblies (Agence France Presse, 12/31/95).
Mar 1997 About seventy Bangladeshis imprisoned in Baluchistan went on a hunger strike, stating that they had served their sentences for illegal entry into Pakistan and wanted to be repatriated. (Agence France Presse 3/12/97)
Dec 1997 The Kalpars, a splinter group within the Bugti tribe, were removed from the town of Sui after their three year-feud became increasingly violent and endangered the nearby gas field. The minister for petroleum and natural resources and the Bugti nawab, or tribal leader, both claimed that the Kalpars had been brought back to Sui by the Bhutto government several years earlier to try to weaken the nawab's power in the area. (London Guardian 1/15/98)
Mar 1998 An ethnic Pashtun group called a general strike to press its demand that a commission comprising representatives from Baluchistan's Pashtun and Baluch communities supervise the census in the region. Police arrested 365 demonstrators and fired teargas into the crowd. Less than a week later, suspected Pashtun gunmen broke into a provincial office and stole census records. (Agence France Presse 3/9/98 and 3/14/98)
May 1998 Members of the Baluchistan Students' Federation hijacked a Pakistan International Airlines and tried to make it land in India. India had recently tested nuclear weapons and the Baluchis wanted to protest Pakistani plans to launch retaliatory tests in Baluchistan. The threatened tests did in fact occur less than a week later. The three hijackers and the Baluchistan airport security guard who allowed them to pass were all sentenced to death for the incident. (Agence France Presse 5/25/98, AAP Newsfeed 5/30/98 and Japan Economic Newswire 8/21/98)
Jun 1999 The owners of coal mines in Baluchistan shut down their enterprises to protest an increase in the coal sales tax. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 7/1/99)
Oct 1999 The Pakistani Army staged a bloodless coup, removing Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, and placing Gen. Pervez Musharraf in charge of the country.

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