Balochistan Nationalism

Balochistan Nationalism

Balochistan, one of Pakistan’s four provinces, has been in a state of disorder for years as their separatist movement grows in fervor. The Pakistani Government accuses the Indian Government of exacerbating these tensions by supporting Balochistan’s nationalist groups. However, the Indian Government has rejected such claims. On March 3, 2016, Kulbhushan Jadhav, an Indian citizen, was arrested in Balochistan as he crossed the Saravan Border with Iran. He was accused of instigating terrorism and working as a spy. The charges of espionage were backed by a video in which Kulbhushan Jadhav confessed his affiliation with The Research and Analysis Wing of the Indian Government, the department which focuses on spies and foreign intelligence. The Indian government has denied these allegations and instead, offered only that he is a retired officer of the Indian Navy.

On April 10, 2017, a Pakistani Military Court announced that Kulbhushan Jadhav would face a death sentences for sabotage and inciting violence charges. The Pakistani Government compiled a list of attacks which were aided, abetted, and sponsored by Jadhav. Furthermore, the Pakistani Government declared in a statement to the public that they had sought legal assistance from the Indian Government in a series of Letters of Assistance, which have received no response from their release date on January 23, 2017. This prompted a bitter response from the Indian Government, who claimed that the court case was ‘farcical’ or ludicrous, and that the confession video was produced out of coercion. In the Indian Government’s message to Abdul Basit, the Pakistani High Commissioner situated in New Delhi, to proceed with the death penalty would be an act of ‘premeditated murder’. Kulbhushan Jadhav currently remains in the custody of the Pakistani Government. The outcomes of this case hold a great potential to destruct several important relationships Pakistan holds with neighboring nations. While this event has deposited greater strain on the already unstable relationship between India and Pakistan, the fueling of Balochistan separatists could produce further damage.

Controlling the militancy and aggression of Baloch nationalists is a focus of the Pakistani Government at the moment. Not only is it important to quell domestic instability and divisions, but Balochistan is currently an economic hotspot. Gwadar, a coastal city in the South-West of Pakistan, is under development with the aid of China. Both Pakistan and China have dedicated millions of dollars to create a port in Gwadar, in the hopes that it will serve as a lucrative resource that will bolster the economies of both nations. The repercussions of this case include an increased attention to the security of Balochistan. China, India, and Pakistan will all be impacted by the verdict of the trials and the proceeding of the charges against Kulbhushan Jadhav, making this arrest a key component to foreign relations in Southern Asia.

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