Academic journal article Pakistan Journal of Criminology

Counterinsurgency in Balochistan in the Long View

Academic journal article Pakistan Journal of Criminology

Counterinsurgency in Balochistan in the Long View

Article excerpt

Insurgency and Counterinsurgency in Balochistan: Its Legitimacy and Legal Status in Global Perspective


According to Steven Metz, "Insurgency has existed as long as people have used violence to resist states and empires but its strategic significance has ebbed and flowed throughout history (Rich & Duyvesteyn, 2012)."A numbers of factors contribute to the growth of insurgency. In our own time, social media for instance has become a powerful tool for propagating an insurgent movement. Through social media powerful propaganda campaign can be launched, which can attract large following. Thus interconnectedness and IT data innovation afford new strategies, which have for instance been successfully deployed lately in the Middle-East. Similarly, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Pakistan insurgent groups have also used these and a number of other strategies in the course of their insurgency movements.

Balochistan has experienced a number of violent insurgencies since early 1970s. So far; the state has managed to bring the situation under control through negotiations or by deploying its troops from time to time. Historically speaking, the law and order situation in the province has been a daunting challenge for the fledging state of Pakistan. Balochistan has witnessed at least five back-to-back insurgencies and situations of unrest since independence. Poor handling, coupled with non-institutionalized approach by successive governments was the main driver of unrest (Mirza, 2013). The state had to counter these insurgencies to safeguard against erosion of territorial sovereignty. This article focuses on different aspects of insurgencies and counterinsurgency operations in Balochistan. The article is divided in four parts.

A.What is an Insurgency?

Insurgency is an organized rebellion aimed at overthrowing a constituted government through the use of subversion and armed conflict. In the conventional form of insurgency, separatists confront the state. An ethnic group or those suffering from socio-economic or religio-political challenges usually launch such a separatist movement. Over time the alienated segment turns violent and resists the state authority. The state calls its armed forces to suppress the alienated segment engaged in running a separatist movement.

There may be a disagreement in assessing the kind and gauging the magnitude of insurgencies around the world. Therefore, a number of definitions are presented to clarify the term. The official definitions of insurgency used by Western nations are based in broader political conceptualization. They normally define insurgency as a kind of war executed by insurrectionists in quest of political targets, often to snatch state power and become the state (and thus achieve the license to carry out violence). According to a study conducted by David Gompert and John Gordon, insurgency is 'war by other means' consisted of 'organized campaigns to bring down existing government by a combination of force and mass support and approval (Gompert & Gordon, 2008). This definition also pervades and reflects official thinking in the West.

It is pertinent to mention that insurgency and freedom fight are two different terminologies. Freedom fight or struggle to get freedom from the clutches of an occupied force is justified and recognized by the world community, while insurgency is mostly suppressed as a right of the concerned state. However, voices of concern and support for insurgents are often raised by rival states. They even sponsor terror and insurgency to achieve their strategic and political objectives.

The mainstream conceptualization presents insurgency as a fierce contest for mass following in a political arena. According to a research analysis supporting the British school of thought regarding counterinsurgency, deep down any counterinsurgency (COIN) drive lies one fundamental necessity that the population of the concerned land should entertain the idea or feeling or expectation that the government presents better opportunities than do insurgents (Crawshaw, 2009). …

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