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Table 1 Geographic Focus and History of Conflict

From: Impact of conflict on maternal and child health service delivery – how and how not: a country case study of conflict affected areas of Pakistan

The geographic focus of this study is on the province of Balochistan and the tribal areas of FATA. Balochistan is the largest province of Pakistan which covers an area of 347,190 km2 [12] with a population of 12,344,408 people [1]. Balochistan comprises of 26 districts where Balochs and Pashtuns are the major ethic groups. Besides the historical and political reasons, the social factors such as ethnicity and religion have also played a vital role in the continuance of the conflict. Lack of representation at the decision-making level and low quotas for political representation are the prominent factors that have added more misery to the ongoing problems. The history of the conflict in the province goes back to the independence of Pakistan in 1947. The first conflict arose in 1948, when Kalat, a part of the current Balochistan, chose independence. This was followed by further conflict in 1958–59 and 1963–69 and these conflicts were about the One Unit policy and military bases in Balochistan. In 1973–79, the provincial government of Balochistan was dismissed, which led to an armed insurgency and revolt. From 2005 to now, there have been several political and ethnic issues driving the protracted and ongoing conflict between the inhabitants of the Balochistan province and the government of Pakistan with the goal of autonomy or possibly independence.
FATA with a population of 5,001,676 people [1], comprises an area of 27,224 sq. km [13] of rugged terrain. FATA is characterized by very rich ethnic diversity, cultural heritage and strong tribal structure. FATA comprises of seven tribal agencies and six frontier regions. FATA have generally been calm and peaceful throughout Pakistan’s history but peace was ruined, as fallout of War on Terror and subsequent military operations since 2003–04. FATA people have their own “customary law” composed of traditional legal codes and legalistic, institutionalized procedure which is abided by its subjects regardless of their status and social position [14]. But with the arrival of Al-Qaeda and other foreign terrorists after the US attack on Afghanistan in 2001, the actual representation of Pashtuns was hijacked and whoever among the tribesmen that rose against the terrorists and extremists was shot dead by the militants and local leaders of the Pashtun tribes are deliberately targeted. However, with increased resistance in Afghanistan, the tribal areas have been gradually transformed into a kind of war zone. The Pakistani military launched multiple operations in FATA. In May 2018, FATA was dissolved and became part of the KP province, and the jurisdiction of the high courts is now extended to the tribes. This was part of a counterterrorism strategy, since the lack of development and access to education, infrastructure and justice has long been pointed out as something that eases the recruitment to militant movements.