06/29/2023 Pakistan (International Christian Concern) ––The Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), an ethnic separatist insurgent group, claimed responsibility for an attack in southwestern Pakistan, killing at least one police officer and wounding five others. The suicide bombing targeted a convoy of Pakistani security forces belonging to the paramilitary group known as the Frontier Corps in Turbat, Balochistan. Since the early 2000s, the BLA—designated a terrorist organization by Pakistan, the U.K., and the U.S.—has waged an insurgency based in Balochistan against the Pakistani government.
The Baloch people group inhabit an area encompassing parts of southeastern Iran, southwestern Pakistan, and southern Afghanistan. After a failed attempt to gain independence as a sovereign nation during the de-colonization period in the early 1900s, the Baloch peoples were largely incorporated into Pakistan in 1947 at the end of the British Raj. Baloch separatist groups have waged insurgencies at various points throughout the latter half of the 20th century. According to some analysts, state repression of previous insurgencies caused moderate Baloch separatists to abandon attempts for independence through the political process and instead join the insurgency.
Amid ongoing instability in Baluchistan and economic and political turmoil throughout the country, Christians in Pakistan remain in a precarious situation. Government-sanctioned persecution and social hostility towards the church are also commonplace. Islamic extremist groups such as the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which is closely tied to al-Qaida, compound the threat of persecution. International Christian Concern (ICC) previously reported on the state of the church in Pakistan in the context of restricted religious freedom in the country.
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