By Karlos Zurutuza
Journalists face major difficulties in reporting from Pakistan's troubled southwestern province.
London, United Kingdom - "It is, by far, Pakistan's most hermetic province, even more than several among the tribal areas," said Pau Miranda, a correspondent for Spain's EFE news agency. "Being caught in Balochistan without permission almost means being automatically expelled from the country."
Miranda, who has been based in Islamabad, the Pakistani capital, since 2009, was only able to set foot in restive Balochistan after last September's earthquake in what he described as "a very rare occasion to travel south".
Balochistan is Pakistan's biggest yet least populated province, sharing borders with Iran and Afghanistan. The territory, roughly the size of France, boasts enormous reserves of gold, gas and copper, as well as untapped sources of oil and uranium. In addition, Balochistan has enormous strategic importance as a hub for future oil and gas pipelines and for its 1,000km coast at the gates of the Gulf.