Conflict and Mediation
The long-standing Indian contention that the conflict is at heart a terrorist uprising led by Pakistan has been given theoretical support by actions of the United States and its coalition partners during the ongoing war against terrorism. Since independence Pakistan has suffered from internal conflict stemming from ethnonationalism and sectarianism. At the core of ethnoregional sentiment in Pakistan is the perception by Punjabis and non-Punjabis alike that the Punjabi community dominates the politics and society of the state. Ethnonational identifications roughly correspond with provincial domiciles, but the fit is imperfect owing to the effects of partition and internal migration. In the aftermath of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto's overthrow by a military coup and eventual execution, Sindhi regionalism gained a focal point, perhaps even a martyr, and has correspondingly proliferated. The Soviet-Afghan War and its aftermath complicated issues connected with Pakhtun provincialism. Balochistan is Pakistan's largest, poorest, and most sparsely settled province.