Countering Militancy in Pakistan: Domestic, Regional and
International Dimensions Conference - August 2009
Post 9/11 Balochistan in Peace : Conflict Spectrum and International
Speaker - Dr Musarrat Jabeen
Institution - University of Balochistan, Pakistan.
"Only the dead has seen the end of conflict."
George Bush, U.S. President, 1992
Balochistan’s prospects for peace and stability rely on both internal and external factors,
none of which seem to be under provincial control. Balochistan’s stability is both important
for wider system stability, but at the same time is undermined by factors determined by the
system itself. Kenneth Waltz’s systems theory - which contends that states, through their
interactions, create international structures, which they are then constrained by - affords the
best framework for unpacking and explaining the situation in Balochistan. States use their
capabilities (power) to maximize their own interests, namely self survival, drawing on and
balancing internal (economic and military capabilities, strategies) and external (strengthen
alliances, weaken others alliances).
At Balochistan’s disposal are its internal capabilities – economic and geo-strategic. It is
geo-strategically important to Pakistan, the region and international system. Balochistan is
Pakistan’s largest province and holds economic potential in its mineral reserves. It is a point
of confluence- where Central Asia, South Asia and Middle East meet - and its 770km of
coastline makes it a hub of regional geo-economic activity. Its proximity to Afghanistan
makes it a conduit through which drugs and militancy is exported to Pakistan, the region
and international system: provincial stability is, therefore, vital to international stability.
Yet Balochistan’s internal capabilities are balanced, if not outweighed, by external
constraints and internal conflict. For example, although Balochistan has great economic
potential, its ability to capitalise on this is constrained by conflicts - which are generally
considered detrimental to the economic growth process - in neighbouring areas such as
Afghanistan; conflicts determined by system wide factors beyond Balochistan’s control.
This study argues primarily that external factors influence internal rebellions It examines
the incentives system of war and peace, develops an understanding of the motivations and
coping strategies of those who wage war, as well as those who suffer from it, and through
this identify ways in which the effects of the Afghan conflict on Pakistan and Balochistan
can be minimized. From this it hopes to derive a set of ideas on conflict
resolution/minimization that can be applied to other situations
The analytical perspective chosen for this study is systems analysis focusing on the
dynamics and effects of internal and external conflicts on the international system (see Box
1), with particular emphasis on the role of and situation in Balochistan.
Box. 1 Accelerating and triggering factors
Events actions and decisions which result in the escalation of disputes into violent conflict
can be described as triggering or accelerating factors and may include:
• Economic decline.
• Changes in the degree of internal state cohesion.
• Shifts in internal control of central authority including the military.
• Shipments of (small) arms.
• Interventions of neighboring states, regional powers and organizations.
• Large movements of people and capital, manipulated by international institutions and
Triggering and accelerating factors are dynamic and it is the significant change in a factor
as well as the rapidity of its onset rather than the mere presence or absence of a factor,
which needs to be monitored.
Source: Development Assistance Committee-EU, 2007.
The study addresses the following questions:
1. What is systems theory, what does it say about conflict, and how does it apply to the
2. What are the internal dimensions in the Balochistan situations, do they cause conflict and
with what effect?
3. What are the international dimensions of the situation with particular attention to the role
and interests of global and regional players, do these produce conflict and with what effect?
4. Are external dimensions more problematic than internal and how can these be resolved?
5. Does a systems analysis of the Balochistan situation offer lessons for other conflict
causes and solutions?
The following two methodologies are used to analyze the conflict in and around
1. Indicator-based approach: it includes security indicators, social indicators, economic
indicators, political/military indicators.
2. Issue-based analytical approach, it aims to explore context, systems, institutions,
attitudes and forces for peace and conflict in order to reach strategic conclusion.
The paper is divided into five sections: Introduction; Section II, “System Wide View of
Balochistan”, Section III “Contextual Analysis of Afghan Conflict Dynamics and
Balochistan”, Section IV “International Dimensions of the Balochistan Conflict”, Section
V, “Ways to Construct Means to Manage Conflict in and around Balochistan”, and Section
VI “Learning Statement”.