Balochistan: Pakistan And China Struggle
With Smoldering Insurgency

By Patrick Yeager, USG

Long an afterthought, Balochistan – Pakistan’s largest province geographically yet its smallest in terms of population (see Figure 1)2 – is experiencing a fifth insurgency since it was seized by Islamabad in 1948. The Baloch, a small ethnic group who seek enhanced provincial autonomy, cannot force change at the ballot box, and Islamabad will not negotiate, thus violence has resulted. CPEC and Chinese Interests in Pakistan CPEC is a key portion of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and builds upon decades of robust cooperation between Beijing and Islamabad. Pakistan is the single largest recipient of BRI financing, with $62 billion in infrastructure projects.9 Xi first announced the establishment of CPEC during a two-day visit to Islamabad in April 2015. Initially hailed as a panacea for Pakistan’s development problems, the corridor was to connect China’s Xinjiang Province to Balochistan. CPEC’s fans forgot that the current highway connection between the neighbors took 13 years to build and saw little traffic. China’s plan would bolster Pakistan’s development and further security and stability for China’s troubled neighbor. Beijing planned to broaden and deepen its investment in Pakistan’s The current fighting began in 2005 with a dispute between the government and the Bugti tribe over the distribution of revenue from the Sui natural gas field.3 During the negotiations, military personnel raped a local woman on a military base, but a Bugti triba...