World Bulletin / News Desk
At least 11 Baloch separatists were killed in clashes with security forces in Pakistan’s southwestern Balochistan province on Monday, officials have said.
The violence occurred in Balochistan’s remote Awaran district, located some 650 kilometers south of provincial capital Quetta, where security forces carried out search operations to find militants associated with the banned Balochistan Liberation Front (BLA).
The BLA calls for the secession of the mineral-rich province from Pakistan, Khan Wasey, a spokesman for Pakistan’s paramilitary Frontier Corps, told Anadolu Agency.
Pakistan’s largest province, Balochistan is strategically important because of its rich copper, zinc and natural gas resources.
It has been beset by violence for over six decades, however, with separatists claiming it was forcibly incorporated into Pakistan at the end of British rule in 1947.
There are also large concentrations of Baloch people living in neighboring Iran and Afghanistan.
The latest spate of violence began 2006 following the death of Nawab Akbar Bugti, a former state chief minister and veteran Baloch leader, in an army operation ordered by former military dictator Gen. Pervez Musharraf.
Musharraf is now on trial for Bugti’s murder, although he is currently out on bail.
For the last decade, the province has also been beset by sectarian violence, with over 2,000 people -- mostly Shiite Muslims -- having been killed in attacks in Quetta and other parts of the province.Güncelleme Tarihi: 15 Aralık 2015, 12:02