Baluchistan- meaning the Baluch homeland- covers about 240,000 square miles with a coastline stretching 1000 miles from the Strait of Hormuz to Karachi in Pakistan. It occupies one of the most strategic locations in the world, linking the Middle East, Central Asia, and South Asia. It is also one of the richest lands in terms of natural resources including oil, gas, uranium, coal, gold, iron ore, and immense seabed resources in its long coast.
In addition to a common homeland, Baluch speak their own language called Baluchi, an ancient Indo-European language, have their distinct culture, share a common history, and adhere to a moderate form of Islam. Baluchistan has an estimated population of around 30 million. Like kurds, Baluch are one of the largest nations in the Middle East and South Asia without a state of their own.
Baluchistan borders are the Indus River and Punjab in the East, the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman in the West, the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean in the South, and the Iranian provinces of Kirman and Khorasan and Afghanistan in the North.
Baluchistan maintained, for the most part, its independence until the advent of British colonialism in mid-19th century. Under the British empire, Baluchistan was divided into three parts. The Goldsmid Line, drawn in 1871 and demarcated in 1896, gave the Western Baluchistan to Persia. The Baluch, however, maintained their independence until 1928 when with British approval Reza Shah Pahlavi occupied and forcefully annexed Western Baluchistan into Iran. The Durand Line, drawn also by the British in 1894, further divided Eastern Baluchistan between British India and Afghanistan. Upon the British withdrawal from the Subcontinent, Baluchistan regained its independence in 1948, but was invaded and occupied by Pakistan the same year. Ever since, the Baluch nation has been struggling to regain their lost sovereignty.
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