Balochistan (also spelled Baluchistan) is Pakistan’s westernmost province, sharing international borders
with Iran’s restive Balochistan-o-Sistan province, as well as with several southern provinces of
Afghanistan (Nimruz, Helmand, Kandahar, Zabol, Paktika). Among Pakistan’s four provinces, Balochistan
is the largest, occupying 43 percent of Pakistan’s total area of 796,000 square kilometers. (See Map 1.)
It is ethnically diverse and is home to many religious minorities, including Sikhs, Hindus, Parsees (also
known as Zoroastrians), and a diverse array of Sunni sectarian adherents, as well as Shia (Yusufzai,
2011). (See Map 2.) However, Balochistan is the country’s least populated and thus least denselypopulated province, accounting for a mere five percent of the country’s burgeoning population
(Pakistan Census, 1998a).