All posts tagged: Baluchistan

A Hindu festival in southwestern Pakistan brings a mountainous region to life

A Hindu festival in southwestern Pakistan brings a mountainous region to life

HINGLAJ, Pakistan (AP) — The ascent of steep mud volcanoes marks the start of Hindu pilgrims’ religious rituals in southwestern Pakistan. They climb hundreds of stairs or clamber over rocks to reach the summit, tossing coconuts and rose petals into the shallow crater while seeking divine permission to visit Hinglaj Mata, an ancient cave temple that is the focus of their three-day worship. The dramatic surroundings of Hingol National Park in Baluchistan province are the setting for Pakistan’s largest Hindu festival, Hinglaj Yatra, which started on Friday and ends on Sunday. Organizers say more than 100,000 Hindus are expected to participate. Muslim-majority Pakistan is home to 4.4 million Hindus, just 2.14% of the population, and Hinglaj Mata is one of the few Hindu sites that continues to draw large numbers of pilgrims every year from across the country. Muslims and Hindus generally live peacefully in Pakistan, from where most of the Hindus migrated to India when it was divided by British colonialists in 1947. But there have been attacks on Hindu temples in recent years …

A bus carrying pilgrims crashes in southwest Pakistan, killing 17 people and injuring 16

A bus carrying pilgrims crashes in southwest Pakistan, killing 17 people and injuring 16

QUETTA, Pakistan (AP) — A bus carrying pilgrims crashed into a deep ditch in southwest Pakistan, killing 17 people and injuring 16 others, officials said Thursday. They were travelling to a revered religious site in Baluchistan late Wednesday, the first day of Eid Al-Fitr celebrations and a public holiday in Pakistan, said a spokesperson for the provincial government, Shahid Rind. The driver lost control of the bus in Las Bela district, just 25 kilometers from the shrine the pilgrims were heading to. Those in a serious condition, some 15 people, were shifted to a hospital in neighboring Sindh province. There were 33 people on the bus, including the driver. Baluchistan Chief Minister Mir Sarfraz Bugti expressed his regret over the crash.

Bomb Blasts Kill 27 in Pakistan Ahead of Thursday’s Elections

Bomb Blasts Kill 27 in Pakistan Ahead of Thursday’s Elections

Islamabad —  Authorities in Pakistan said Wednesday that at least 27 people are dead and dozens more injured in two bomb blasts targeting election campaign offices in southwestern Baluchistan province. The deadly bombings in Pishin and Qilla Saifullah districts have fueled security concerns ahead of Thursday’s national elections in the country of about 241 million people. “It is important to emphasize that the scheduled elections will proceed as planned,” said Jan Achakzai, the provincial government spokesman. He added that “terrorists” would not be allowed to undermine the “crucial democratic process.” No group immediately claimed responsibility for the violence, which came a week after a bomb explosion hit an election rally in another Baluchistan district and killed five people. A regional Islamic State affiliate, known as Islamic State-Khorasan, took credit for that bombing. Pakistan’s caretaker Prime Minister, Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar, condemned Wednesday’s bombings and reaffirmed his government’s commitment to ensuring peaceful elections in the country, according to a statement released by his office in Islamabad. The South Asian nation has deployed tens of thousands of police and …

Pakistan Kills 24 Insurgents in Volatile Baluchistan

Pakistan Kills 24 Insurgents in Volatile Baluchistan

ISLAMABAD —  Authorities in Pakistan said Friday that security forces killed 24 separatist militants, including key commanders, in a three-day counterinsurgency operation in turbulent southwestern Baluchistan province. The military’s media wing confirmed in a statement that the clashes in the town of Mach had also killed four security personnel and two civilians since they erupted early Tuesday when key government installations there came under insurgent attack. “These terrorists were then hunted down in the ensuing sanitization and clearance operations, which have now been concluded after clearing and securing the area,” the military said. It noted in an earlier statement that several suicide bombers were also among the slain assailants. An uptick in militant violence in the country of about 241 million people has fueled security concerns ahead of parliamentary elections scheduled for February 8. The separatist Baloch Liberation Army, or BLA, took responsibility for this week’s coordinated raid in Mach, saying it targeted Pakistani paramilitary forces’ installations in Mach. A BLA statement sent to journalists Friday said that nearly 400 of its fighters, including several …

Pakistan Urges Iran to Investigate ‘Horrifying’ Slayings of 9 Citizens

Pakistan Urges Iran to Investigate ‘Horrifying’ Slayings of 9 Citizens

islamabad —  Pakistan confirmed Saturday that nine of its nationals were killed by gunmen in neighboring Iran, demanding an immediate investigation into the “terrorist incident” to punish the perpetrators. Iranian media reported that the early morning shooting occurred in a home in the southeastern city of Saravan in Sistan-Baluchistan province bordering Pakistan. “It is a horrifying and despicable incident, and we condemn it unequivocally,” said Mumtaz Zahra Baloch, the Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokesperson. “We are in touch with Iranian authorities and have underscored the need to immediately investigate the incident and hold to account those involved in this heinous crime,” Baloch said. No group or individual has claimed responsibility for the deadly attack that targeted a group of Pakistanis reportedly working at an auto repair shop in the Iranian border region. Baloch said that a senior Pakistani diplomat was on the way to the hospital where several injured people were being treated, promising to arrange for an urgent repatriation of the victims’ bodies. “We are fully seized of this grave matter and are taking all …

Baluchistan: The borderlands at the heart of Pakistan and Iran’s fight

Baluchistan: The borderlands at the heart of Pakistan and Iran’s fight

Comment on this storyComment Add to your saved stories Save You’re reading an excerpt from the Today’s WorldView newsletter. Sign up to get the rest free, including news from around the globe and interesting ideas and opinions to know, sent to your inbox every weekday. A brief shooting war between Pakistan and Iran was probably not on your 2024 bingo card. But, as a sprawling set of conflicts roil the Middle East, tensions are flaring on myriad fronts. And that includes the arid wastes of Baluchistan, a region which straddles the Iranian-Pakistani border and has long been a source of friction between the two heavily armed neighbors. On Tuesday, Iranian missiles allegedly struck targets belonging to Jaish al-Adl, a Sunni fundamentalist militant group that has historically found sanctuary in Pakistan and which Iran says is linked to an Islamic State terrorist strike on a high-profile gathering in the city of Kerman that killed at least 91 people earlier this month. Tehran said it hit “strongholds” belonging to the militant group, but Pakistani authorities reported civilian …

Pakistan fires retaliatory strike at Iran over Baluchistan separatists

Pakistan fires retaliatory strike at Iran over Baluchistan separatists

Comment on this storyComment Add to your saved stories Save ISLAMABAD — Pakistan launched a series of retaliatory strikes Thursday on militants in Iran’s Sistan and Baluchistan province, its Foreign Ministry said, amid an increasingly tense situation in the Middle East that now appears to be straining relations between the nuclear-armed Pakistan and its neighbor. Iranian state media reported that at least nine people, including three women and four children, were killed in the strikes, while Pakistani officials cited only the deaths of “a number of terrorists.” The Pakistani attacks, carried out with “drones, rockets, loitering munitions and standoff weapons,” were launched in response to Iranian attacks inside Pakistan on Tuesday that killed two children, according to Pakistani officials. Both sides said they had targeted separatist militant groups that pose cross-border threats. How Israel’s war in Gaza became a tangled crisis spanning the Middle East Pakistan’s caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-haq Kakar cut short his visit to the World Economic Forum in Davos, and Pakistani officials said their military — one of the largest in the …

Iran Targets Terror Outfit Jaish Al-Adl Inside Pakistan

Iran Targets Terror Outfit Jaish Al-Adl Inside Pakistan

WASHINGTON —  Iran launched missiles and drones Tuesday into Pakistan’s Balochistan province, officially stated to be aimed at the Sunni separatist group Jaish al-Adl, or Army of Justice. Pakistan’s southwestern province of Balochistan has a porous border with Iran’s Sistan and Baluchistan province. Locals on the Pakistan side of the border say Jaish al-Adl has training camps in Kohe Sabz and the surrounding mountains in Pakistan’s Balochistan province. Fakhar Hayat Kakakhel, a Pakistan-based researcher and journalist who tracks militant groups’ violence in the region, says, “It’s an anti-Shia outfit that adheres to the Salafi ideology. Jaish al-Adl distributes its messages and propaganda on Telegram channels in the region in Persian and English. The channels operate under different names, including Jaishul Aadal, Al-Furqan and Khorasan Front.” The Salafi Muslim sect is a separate school of thought within Islamic theology that follows the teachings of the eighth-century Imam Ibn Taymiyyah and his followers. The Salafi school of thought rejects religious innovations and is considered more orthodox than most of the other currents within Muslim religious groups and …