Balochistan, a project in the periphery
Our drive to cover blank pages often drags us into holes as black as Balochistan. It´s a territory the size of France divided by the borders of three of the most convulse countries in the world: Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan. A Pashtun proverb says that the Baluch live in the place where God threw the rubble after creation; a group of US geologists went even further after a work visit to Iran: “It is the closest thing to Mars,” concluded the experts.
The area boasts enormous reserves of gold, gas and copper, as well as untapped sources of oil and uranium. In addition, it has an enormous strategic importance as a hub for future oil and gas pipelines and for its 620 miles of coast at the gates of the Gulf. Since the occupation of their land, ethnic Baloch insurgents have launched a series of armed uprisings against the central Pakistani government. Islamabad’s response has come through constant military operations in areas where civilians are displaced, the funneling of fundamentalist groups into Balochistan, or the so called “kill and dump” policies directed against dissidents, which sometimes include school teachers and intellectuals. Could it be otherwise when the rest of the world is not even aware of the existence of this land?
Karlos Zurutuza made a first trip to the area in 2009 and went back several times. To this day, he is one of the very few journalists who have worked in all three parts of Baluchistan (Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan) and he even received an award for it. He was excited but, as he always repeats, the important thing is to tell the story.
For over a decade, our reporter has filed dozens of articles for several newspapers and magazines all around the world. You can find a few links below:
“Afghanistan´s re-emerging Baloch” (The Diplomat)
“Inside Iran´s most secretive region” (The Diplomat)
“Cracking Pakistan´s Baloch insurgency” (The Diplomat)
“Afghanistan´s forgotten province” (The Diplomat)
“A black hole for media in Balochistan” (Al Jazeera English)
“Afghans living under the shadow of Iranian guns” (Al Jazeera English)
“Pakistani Baloch find home in Afghanistan” (Al Jazeera English)
“Pakistan´s secret war” (Deutsche Welle World)
“Taliban are Pakistani military without uniform” (Deutsche Welle World)
“Baloch groups to unite against Pakistan” (Inter Press Service)
“Iranian Balochistan is a hunting ground” (Inter Press service)
“Unseen and unheard” (Inter Press Service)
“Pakistan´s other insurgents face IS” (Inter Press Service)
“Asia´s blackest hole” (New Internationalist)
“Balochistan through the Afghan back door” (Royal Society of Asian Affairs)