Pakistan openly admits that it uses “religious militancy” as a foreign policy instrument, such as radical Islamist groups committing terrorist acts in India or deploying the Taliban to control, influence or, as presently demonstrated, destabilize Afghanistan.
There are over forty-five domestic or transnational terrorist and extremist groups who have been operating in Pakistan.
To quell domestic unrest, Pakistan uses Islam as a tool to replace ethnic identity with religious identity. Likewise, Pakistan supports select religious militant groups to suppress autonomy or nationalism among its disaffected minorities.
One such minority is the Baloch, a people with their own language, tribal structure and culture, whose homeland spans southwestern Pakistan, eastern Iran and southern Afghanistan.
The Baloch, who have a reputation for secularism and tolerance, are the majority in Pakistan’s largest province, Balochistan, a region rich in minerals and other natural resources, including gold, copper, chromite, and gas. Balochistan has also been the home of a festering ethnic insurgency since the partition of India in 1947, when the Baloch were promised autonomy and briefly gained independence from August 1947 to March 1948, but were then forcibly incorporated into Pakistan. Read more.