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"Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong; they are the ones to attain felicity".
(surah Al-Imran,ayat-104)
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User Name: Usman_Khalid
Full Name: Brig (R) Usman Khalid
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Balochistan News Letter – July 2013

A brief Talk of the Town Report compiled for those interested in Balochistan.

Dr Abdul Malik Baluch – Chief Minister of Baluchistan – Reluctant Visionary

 

1. Law and Order Situation, 1-5 July. The suicide bombing in the Shia-Hazara Town kn Quetta on 30 June resulted in 31 dead and over 70 wounded. For a change, the CM visited the wounded in the Military Hospital while Quetta observed a shutter down strike. On 2 July, the PM also visited Quetta and condoled with the aggrieved families besides emphasizing that lawlessness and terrorism would not be tolerated. Two shopkeepers were shot dead in Quetta by Shia activists who made good their escape. FC arrested two men bringing weapons from Chaman. A road-roller was blown up near Dera Murad Jamali. A man was kidnapped in Turbat district. An unknown man’s body was found dumped in graveyard in Quetta. A woman was killed in Kuchlak. The driver of a NATO container was shot dead by unknown persons near Khuzdar on 4 July. A shutter down strike was observed in Baloch/Brahui areas on Akhtar Mengal’s call who was protesting against local groups of Khuzdar contesting his authority and for the missing persons.

 

2. Law and Order Situation, 6-10 July.  Two shopkeepers were shot dead by unknown gunmen in Quetta. A Section Officer belonging to Hazara Shia community was kidnapped in Quetta. IGFC has been transferred. RCD Highway, which was closed by BNPM, Akhtar Mengal group, was opened by the FC and Levies. The FC arrested three suspects from Kuchlak. A man was shot dead by unknown persons in Quetta. An oil tanker was attacked and burnt near Mastung. On 8 July, three NATO containers coming from Karachi were torched near Quetta by militants. A truck driver was injured near Mastung when militants fired on his truck. Two NATO containers were attacked by motorcycle riding militants near Sibi. A man was shot and injured in Khuzdar by unknown persons. Two women were injured by a grenade attack by unknown person in Quetta. A Hindu trader was killed in Quetta. Akhtar Mengal, whose party BNPM has been accused of  perpetuating violence and whose brother Javed Mengal is leading insurgency, called on Interior Minister Ch. Nisar and PTI leader Imran Khan. He declared his wish to follow the path of democracy and complained of undemocratic and negative actions against his party. Ch. Nisar reassured Mengal asking for all political forces to come forward to resolve issues in Balochistan. Akhtar, however, has yet to take oath as MPA.

 

3. Law and Order Situation, 10-25 July.  Two men were gunned down in a shootout with the Police in Quetta while one was killed by unknown persons in Khuzdar. Fourteen Marri-Baloch militants surrendered in Kohlu to FC. On 11 July two Zehri Baloch professors of Khuzdar Degree College were gunned down by so called ‘Aman Force’ who accused the two to be working against the solidarity of Pakistan. Militants and BSO (Azad), sponsored by Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri, were quick to accuse ‘death squads’ of rival politicians and the government for the deaths. Several new names have been adopted by Baloch/Brahui militants, which now include Baloch Verna, United Baloch Army, Voice for Baloch Missing Persons, and Baloch Liberation Front etc. Pro Pakistan group ‘Baloch Peace Movement’ is becoming more active in Khuzdar area. Local Urdu newspapers obediently publish every anti-Pakistan statement by the militants. An attack by a suicide bomber at Chaman Pak-Afghan border killed 7 and injured 10. No one claimed responsibility. NATO supplies were halted for two days. Three bullet riddled bodies, claimed to be of members of ‘Aman Lashkar’ were found in Dera Bugti. On 12 July, nephew of CM’s media consultant belonging to Bulaida, Turbat, was gunned down by militants who accused him of being an informer of the CM. The same day, Bugti camp of Baloch militants at Spin Boldak, 10 miles inside Afghanistan from Chaman border, was attacked by unknown persons, allegedly by Taliban. Baloch/Brahui Militants in Pakistan and their leaders in London and Switzerland were quick to blame Pakistan for the attack. On 13 July, BNPM’s activist was attacked in Panjgur who survived but was injured. A hand grenade was thrown in Baloch/Brahui area of Quetta but no damage was done. A Shahwani Baloch teacher, who had allegedly become Shia, was kidnapped and killed in Sariab area after torture. Four Shia Hazaras were killed in target killing in Quetta  while travelling in their car. The assailants, believed to be from LeJ fled the scene. Three doctors abducted from Loralai-Zhob about a month ago were released after ransom was paid. A passenger van was looted by bandits in Dera Murad Jamali area. 

 

4. Administrative /Political Developments, 1-31 July. Provincial government has ordered preparation of academic books in local languages for schools in Balochistan. Various political leaders, the CM included, have been raising loud voices in support of teaching in local languages. There are four sub-regional languages but dialects especially of Balochi, vary very substantially. It will be a regression, rather than progress – a romantic move to please politicians. On 10 July, Women University re-opened after 24 days with a new Vice Chancellor, close circuit TV cameras and walk through gates. The students loudly demanded action against the previous VC Sultana Baloch for incompetence as she failed to provide security resulting in a terror attack causing death of 14 girl students and 15 others. Absent doctors are being suspended. Protests and road blocks all over the province to protest against power shut downs have become routine. Jamil Bugti, son of Akbar Bugti, has become very vocal against PKMAP and the government of PML(N) and NP. He is demanding separation of former federation of Kalat States from British Balochistan to form two administrative ‘units’ (provinces) in which only local ethnic officers be employed to run the administration. The CM has not been able to form a cabinet as yet although some MPAs have been sworn in as ministers. He blames the PM for the delay. Gohram Bugti, grandson of Akbar Bugti, was permitted by Interior Ministry to return to Dera Bugti along with a pro-Nawab group. This group had been camping in Islamabad for some months and seeking permission to return. Their opponents, especially Kalper Bugti, oppose the move which threatens a tribal war. That was the reason for the government not allowing their return sooner. The group arrived in Dera Bugti after 8 years on 28 July in buses provided by the federal government. Governor Achakzai said he favoured talks with militants. Electricity outstanding dues in Balochistan are Rs.79 billion and growing. Recovery from the interior of Baloch/Brahui areas is negligible. Line losses reported to be 19% are actually around 70-80% but are hidden through false billing. Even government departments have not been paying electricity bills for years. Punjab Government has announced plans to set up 2400 MW generation stations in collaboration with China at Gadani on Balochistan’s coast-line. The CM has said that the provincial and federal governments are on the ‘same page’ on terrorism, missing persons, target killing and law and order. In the same breath he said it was his top priority to bring the ‘disgruntled (angry) Baluch’ to the negotiating table for restoring peace in the province. The official website of Balochistan Government remains out of date giving information and data of 6 months ago. In president’s election on 30 July, 55 MPAs voted for Mamnoun Hussain while only one voted for the PTI candidate. Nawab Ayaz Jogizai has been welcomed back into the PKMAP.

 

5. Law and Order Situation, 16-25 July. Reportedly, four Pashtun brothers of Jamal Shah family in Shahrig who had lodged and supported the Baloch militants involved in Ziarat attack, were picked up by Levies and have not yet returned. Gas pipeline was blown up near Mach by militants on 16 July. Four electric pylons were also blown up near Mach which plunged 18 districts of Balochistan into darkness for the next 20 days. Sardar Sanaullah Zehri, MPA and leader of PML(N) in Baluchistan Assembly, tried to enter the assembly building with his 10 tribal guards who were stopped by the police. Altercation took place between Sardar Zehri and SP City; both sides drew weapons. Uniforms of police officers were torn by tribal guards. The CM showed up and suspended the SP. Humiliated, the police walked out from duty and were in a mutinous mode which was controlled by senior police officers. BHC took suo moto notice and ordered cases to be registered against the guards. CM tried to justify entry of personal guards of Sardar Sanaullah Zehri. A cache of explosives and terror related equipment was recovered by FC from Quetta’s suburbs while two militants were arrested from Panjgur area. Two Shia Hazaras were killed while travelling in a taxi in the city centre by LeJ. Police claimed to have busted a gang of extortionist in Quetta on 22 July by arresting three. Reportedly there are 73 gangs of kidnappers operating in the province. Militants torched a NATO container going to Karachi near Sibi and fled. A NATO container going to Karachi was burnt by militants near Mastung. FC rounded up a gun runner near Rakhni. A former provincial minister’s brother was gunned down near Turbat. Four, including a Levies’ person, were killed near Khuzdar by militants. FC arrested six banned organizations activists from Quetta’s suburbs and six terrorists from Gulistan area.

 

6. Law and Order Situation, 25-31 July. FC arrested 12 militants with weapons and explosives from near Quetta. Seven men of Coast Guard were killed and five wounded by militants in a raid on their post some 100 km west of Gwadar near Pak-Iran border. A suicide bomber, 15-16 years old, was intercepted by volunteers of Hazara Town and shot dead. Later, the Police arrived to defuse his bombs. He had successfully passed through several security check posts on way to Hazara Town. Hazaras showed serious dissatisfaction on failure of security and ‘appealed to the UN to ensure their security’. FC arrested several persons of banned organization and recovered explosives from them. An Afghan Councillor was kidnapped from Quetta on 28 July. Home Secretary has said that the Chinese nationals working in Gwadar are well protected. Police removed explosives planted on railway line near Sariab in Quetta. The CM announced formal negotiations with insurgents will start after Eid through a parliamentary committee. A bomb exploded near the gate of the under construction Cadet College in Kohlu. Rs.9 million were looted from a bank in Quetta by unknown armed men. Goods transporters expressed deep concern over continued lack of safety on highways in Balochistan even after ushering in of the new government. BHC rejected the bail plea of President Mussharaf in Akbar Bugti case. Four terrorists were killed in a shootout with FC in suburbs of Quetta. A policeman guarding polio team was killed in Pishin area. A man was shot at in Quetta and injured for no apparent reason. Three Kurd political figures who align with Baloch/

Brahui tribes, were killed and six wounded in Quetta city by unknown militants on 31 July.  A senior doctor was kidnapped from Quetta. Rockets were fired in Quetta and Turbat but no loss was reported. A Hindu trader was injured in firing in Khuzdar. A pickup and a truck belonging to a political figure of BNP (Mengal) were burnt in Khuzdar by militants. A NATO container was torched near Mastung.

 

Comments

 

7. Balochistan is now facing more frequent terror attacks even in urban areas. Crime has also increased making highways and even urban areas unsafe. FC and Police frequently report recovery of huge cache of weapons and explosives. The CM and Chief Secretary are both very weak persons due to their own peculiar backgrounds. The CM has tried to tighten his grip on perpetually absent doctors, but that’s about all. The 18th Amendment has taken away all powers from the Governor. There are no ministers as yet who can be blamed for supporting the criminals. The PM keeps harping upon ‘negotiations’ but has given no direction to turn things around.

 

8. Police in a few urban areas and Levies, a rag tag tribal militia, responsible for law and order all over the province, are totally incapable of fighting an insurgency. Both feel lack of political support characterised by non-provision of wherewithal to fight the insurgency and are apprehensive of new political masters who are suspected of links with insurgents. FC is not organised and equipped to fight an insurgency supported by global powers. Yet, it is bravely responding to the challenge despite being handicapped by lack of mobility, intelligence, firepower and political support. It is also being hounded by a judiciary led by CJ Iftikhar Chaudhary who humiliate FC on every chance.  The FC is literally fighting with hands tied behind their back.

 

9. The new governments, both at the federal and provincial levels, had generated great hopes for effective governance, especially in establishing the writ of government and bringing about peace in Balochistan. That hope is fading now. The PM and the CM keep talking about negotiating with militants completely ignoring the fact that the province is subjected to a 4th Generation War by the US, India and Afghanistan, indeed by all the military and intelligence components of ISAF, for the past 6-7 years. The insurgency and terrorism are both sponsored by foreign powers; without their direction and support the insurgency would simply cease to exist. The country needs a counter insurgency strategy at the national level and executed  with relentless vigour.  This strategy has to be formulated by the armed forces (who have the requisite experience and expertise) but the Interior Minister is disdainful of realities and prefers to put the entire blame on the FC and police.  

 

10. Negotiations with militants with foreign links will give them international credibility, time and confidence to become better organised and viable. That will further weaken the state, encourage the fence-sitters to join the militants, further demoralize civil officials and security agencies, and postpone the end of insurgency in the province. At the moment, the Civil administration, Levies and the Police look the other way in the face of insurgents. Whether due to fear or conviction, some of the provincial secretaries openly sympathize with the insurgents.

 

11. ‘Negotiations’ has become a buzz word among the politicians, but negotiate with whom? The insurgency is sustained by four small tribal families - Marri, Bugti, Mengal tribes’ and the Nawab of Kalat family. They are all separate and independent but centrally controlled by CIA, MI6, RAW and Afghan intelligence. The traitor-leaders of the four groups live in Switzerland, the UK and USA which facilitates co-ordination of propaganda and provision of funds, weapons and explosives. Training of Baloch/Brahui militants is carried out in Afghanistan; target selection, logistic support and overall coordination are in the hands of the CIA. The leaders based abroad do not agree on a single leader. And the insurgent groups operating inside Baluchistan do not accept any of the foreign based traitors as their leader. But they all agree that they neither want peace nor a negotiated settlement because that helps to hide the fact of their mutual animosity. That is why they all insist on exclusion of all Pakistani or “pro-Pakistan” elements as pre-condition for negotiations. The Malik Administration appears ready to concede that. But the Mengals  are engaged in clever games. They hope to get power through the electoral process with the help of the new PM/CM and unite all the Baloch/Brahui tribes under their patronage and leadership before UDI. Akhtar Mengal, although elected as MPA, has yet to take oath while his brother Javed Mengal is leading the insurgency.

 

12. The government of all hues have ignored the patriotic tribes and sub-tribes which have sought the protection of the state against their treacherous sub-tribes. The pro-Pakistan tribal or sub-tribal groups are much bigger than their anti-state segments. But the press, the parliament and the establishment have ignored the patriots and have been playing the same tune on the same flute which helped a treacherous minority win power in erstwhile East Pakistan. The patriots are fighting insurgents and are making sacrifices in blood on daily basis in Kohlu (Marri area), Bugti area, Khuzdar and Turbat area. What will be the attitude of PM and CM towards them?  In their eagerness to please the ‘angry Baluch’, will the new government let down the patriotic Baluch majority once again and hand over Baluchistan to traitors. Many of these pro Pakistan Baloch/Brahui leaders are present in provincial and national assemblies. Will they be sacrificed to placate a much smaller, foreign sponsored gang of criminals?

 

13. What is more important, who will ‘negotiate’ with CIA, RAW, MI6 etc? The fountainhead of the insurgency is located abroad. Behaving like an ostrich will not help the PM or CM. The PM must set aside his all too evident aversion for seeking and relying on the expertise of the Army in countering insurgency. Fighting a foreign-sponsored insurgency demands highly professional inputs and strategy.  Soft pedalling and offers to ‘negotiate’ from a position of weakness will NOT yield success. Tribal society only respects a powerful and assertive state.

 

14. The vote in the presidential election speaks volumes about the political convictions of the members of the entire provincial assembly – not just the parties in the ruling coalition. Out of the 56 voting MPAs, 55 voted for the candidate of the party in power. This has always been the trend in Balochistan. The fragmented, polarised socio-political order prevailing in Balochistan respects only power and who can benefit or harm them. Historically, none of the elected members have ever shown ideological or long term political affiliations. The foreign inspired insurgency has continued too long and made everybody sick and tired of insurgents. The charade of victimhood of the Baluch is not tenable any longer. It is the majority of Pashtun and Baluch who are the victims of hired hands of foreign agencies. Time has come for the insurgency – ethnic as well as sectarian – to be crushed by ruthless military action and a diplomatic offensive against the foreign supporters of treacherous sub-tribe leaders. Any negotiations with the rebels would clearly be counter-productive and appear very unlikely; Baluchistan may well be saved by internal differences of its rebel leaders.

 

15. Dr Abdul Malik, the CM, clearly has a problem. He is torn between his loyalty to Baluch Nationalists and awareness that they are agents of hostile foreign forces who would only bring more death and destruction, nor empowerment and prosperity. The PM also has a benign orientation towards insurgency with the result there is no policy direction. This suggests a bleak future for peace. The new Federal and Provincial Administration must stands by the patriotic majority in Baluchistan and stop appeasing the so called “angry Baluch” who are really foreign agents. With the prospects of the economic corridor from Kashgar to Gawadar opening up virgin desolation of coastal Baluchistan and bring it directly into the 21st Century, is so excitingly within reach, obfuscation and confusion would compromise even kill those prospects. ++

 

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