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User Name: Usman_Khalid
Full Name: Brig (R) Usman Khalid
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Balochistan News Letter – October 2013

This is a brief Talk of the Town Report compiled for those interested in Balochistan. Significant developments are listed hereunder.


1.       Law and Order Situation, 1- 4 October. A man was shot and wounded in Quetta by unknown persons and an official was robbed of large amount of money in Turbat. Dr. Malik, the CM, appealed to international community donor agencies to help rehabilitate earthquake victims while a huge quantity of relief goods has already arrived in Awaran through 526 trucks, helicopters and PAF C-130 cargo planes. Relief goods were even dropped by PAF C-130 using parachutes. The Pakistan Navy continued to deliver relief goods. China also sent relief goods. Mobile clinics have been established to provide medical support even to small hutments spread in remote areas. But terrorists have been firing on Army, FC and medical camps engaged in relief activities and running away when troops fired back. Six Army men have so far been killed andtwo others injured. A suicide bomber killed six and injured twelve  including FC personnel at Chaman border crossing on 2 October. Police foiled a terror bid in Quetta by defusing a bomb near stadium. A dead body was found from Turbat. Two terrorists with explosives were arrested by FC near Chaman. The head of an NGO was abducted from Quetta. Dead body of a kidnapped person was found in Turbat. Twenty three Baloch militants belonging to banned BRA surrendered to IGFC in Quetta. Pakistan Foreign Secretary reported in media that evidence of Indian involvement in terrorism in Balochistan has been presented to India.


2.            Law and Order Situation, 5-10 October. While trying to rescue Dr. Munaf who was kidnapped some days ago, two kidnappers were killed, five arrested but the Dr. Munaf could not be recovered. One policeman also died in exchange of fire. A prominent leader of Jamhoori Watan Party, headed by Talal Bugti, was killed near Khuzdar while going to Karachi in a bus. A policeman was gunned down near Jhal Magsi by unknown persons. NADRA provided replacement cards to earthquake victims in Awaran free of cost. A grenade attack at Sariab Police Station, Quetta, injured eight persons while the militants sped away on a motorcycle. Militants again attacked a relief convoy near Awaran, killing one passerby. On 10 October, a remote controlled bomb was exploded outside city Police Station, Quetta, killing eight and injuring 47. Such remote controlled bombs are generally employed by Baloch/Brahui militants for mass killings but no one claims responsibility.  


      3.             Law and Order Situation, 11-15 October. The Pakistan Navy sent another 40 tons of relief goods to Awaran. A container was set ablaze by armed men near Mastung. Dr. Munaf kidnapped some two weeks ago and the looming threat to other doctors is depriving the province of the services of doctors. Many have migrated to other provinces as stated by PMA. The Doctors’ strike continues. An abducted teacher was freed in Dalbandin. US Assistant Secretary for Defence has said that terrorist’s sanctuaries in Pakistan challenge Afghan security. He did not mention that Balochistan and FATA insurgencies were being supported by Afghanistan and US by providing sanctuaries to Baloch militants and TTP in Afghanistan. TTP’s No. 2 Latif Mahsud was captured by US forces in Afghanistan while moving in a convoy of Afghan forces. Afghan President Karzai promptly protested against the US military’s action, betraying his association and support to TTP. A police van was fired upon by militants near Khuzdar on 12 October. The police returned fire; no casualty was reported. An explosion damaged the rail track south of Sibi for some hours. FC nabbed three terrorists from Dera Bugti area. A clerk was shot dead in Sunni south of Sibi. Dr. Malik, the CM, said for the first time that, “Those targeting innocent people will be brought to justice”. Militants attacked a passenger train going to Punjab near Kolpur with rockets and rifle fire killing eight and injuring twenty two persons. SHO Khuzdar, a local Mengal, was gunned down on 14 October by militants who escaped. One man was killed and one injured in Quetta in a shootout.


      4.               Law and Order Situation, 16-22 October. Two persons were killed by unknown persons in Barkhan on 16 October, the Eid Day. FC convoy narrowly missed a landmine near Dera Bugti. FC arrested miscreants from near Quetta and recovered explosives from them. A man was injured near Zhob when someone threw a grenade at his house. A local Baloch was kidnapped by armed men near Dalbandin. Two men and a woman were killed in separate incidents near Khuzdar and Duki by unknown persons. Punjab-bound Jaffar Express was bombed near Dera Murad Jamali. Several bogies were thrown off the track killing 7 and injuring 20. All out going trains from Quetta were stopped for two days while the track was being repaired. Passenger coaches and trucks plying near Khuzdar were fired upon by militants on 22 October. For two days the transporters went on strike protesting against deteriorating law and order situation on RCD highway. An Arab prince’s caravan near Turbat was attacked by militants, killing one Levies man, torching one vehicle, stealing two and taking away two official rifles.


     5.              Law and Order Situation, 23-25 October. Former provincial president of ANP and head of Pashtun Kasi tribe, the original dwellers of Quetta valley, Abdul Zahir Kasi was kidnapped on 23 October by 4 armed persons resulting into city wide strike and protests. A man was gunned down in Buleida, near Turbat by militants. Two men were killed in Quetta city by unknown gunmen on 25 October. Three persons were killed in Panjgur by militants. Militants attacked the hunting camp of Qatar’s minister, burned his vehicles and kidnapped four locals near Turbat. A rocket fired by militants landed in the outskirts of Quetta, causing no damage. Frequent attacks with rockets and rifle fire are launched at the Army and FC carrying out relief work in earthquake affected area. The affectees who visit for help are also often attacked. Security forces are not retaliating.


6.      Law and Order Situation, 26-31 October.  FC escorting Hazara pilgrims’ buses near Dringhar, Mastung suspecting a parked vehicle stopped the convoy and approached the suspicious vehicle to check. The vehicle was indeed wired and it exploded killing two soldiers and wounding two. However, the Shia Hazaras in the buses remained safe. Rockets were fired at a security forces’ check post near Panjgur but no damage was done. A man each was killed by militants in Quetta and Awaran. CM Balochistan admitted in a press briefing that he had failed to recover ‘missing persons’. A Long March from Quetta to Karachi comprising some 30-35 persons has been commenced by an anti-Pakistan group to protest against the ‘missing persons’. A businessman was shot dead in botched up kidnapping near Chaman. Jund-Ullah, an Iranian-Baloch militant organization sponsored by CIA attacked an Iranian border check post in Seistan Balochistan near Panjgur, killing fourteen Iranian soldiers on 26 October. The very next morning Iran hanged sixteen terrorists of Jund-Ullah in their custody. A small procession was taken out against it by Baloch militants in Quetta condemning the retaliatory hangings by Iran.  In Naal, near Khuzdar, rockets were fired at FC check post but no loss was caused. In Dalbandin, a Punjabi labourer was hanged on an electric pole by militants. An unknown man was found dead in Quetta. On 30 October, a bomb went off on a busy road of Quetta city killing seven and wounding 24. No one claimed responsibility but it had the stamp of Baloch/Brahui militants. Three men and children were injured by firing in Quetta.


7.               Political/Administrative Events, 1-31 October. SC accepted bail plea of former President Gen Mussharaf on 10 October and the very next day another court on a flimsy charge ordered his arrest. This time the charge was that he ordered action against Lal Masjid in which the militant cleric Rashid Ghazi was killed. That the cleric had been indulging in militancy for over eight months, had amassed huge quantity of weapons inside the mosque and indeed, killed four Army officers and many soldiers while firing from the mosque, was ignored by the court exactly as it did in Bugti’s case. The SC also exempted Gen Mussharaf from attending ATC in Quetta for security reasons. Slow reconstruction of Quaid’s Residency in Ziarat commenced at an estimated cost of Rs.60m after 4 months of its destruction by bombing and fire at the hands of Baloch/Brahui militants. CJP Iftikhar Chaudhary while addressing inaugural ceremony of Judicial Complex on 12 October said that a dictator ambushed democracy and the constitution on 12 October 1999 but the civil society and judiciary were now a guarantee against such adventures. Eleven more MPAs were sworn in as ministers on 14 October, departments allocated and Balochistan government finally took shape. Bugti elders led by the newly sworn Home Minister Sarfraz Bugti called on the Governor declaring their allegiance to Pakistan. Custom’s men in plain clothes have been intercepting vehicles in Quetta city charging the drivers of driving non-custom paid vehicles. They often take bribe and let the vehicle go or confiscate the vehicle and sell it to the smuggled-vehicles’ showrooms, which are located now all over the city. In some cases fights and firing have been reported in attempts to thwart kidnappings for ransom. The Custom staff is generally not in uniform and go about in unmarked vehicles. There are hundreds of car showrooms, not only in Quetta, but Loralai and Chaman also, openly doing business of such vehicles under the nose of the Customs Department. Over a dozen such showrooms are within a few yards of the Collectorate of Customs, Quetta.




8.      The acts of terror, insurgency and crime all seem to have increased in Baloch/Brahui areas while in Pashtun areas only the crime seems to have increased compared with the previous month. The road travel continues to remain unsafe while attacks on trains have become more damaging and frequent. The provincial government headed by Dr. Malik, is withdrawing into a shell.  Movement on highways and running of trains is now officially restricted to daylight hours. Senior officials’ offices and residences are barricaded. The government has opted for self-imposed siege. The militants and criminals have been given freedom of movement and a free hand to terrorise, kill, kidnap and loot the public with no fear of arrest or reprisals.  


9.   95% of Balochistan remains ‘B Area’ where a ragtag tribal militia called Levies do police duties in name only. The CM has no plans to reverse the decision of Raisani Administration to cancel of ‘B Area’ to ‘A Areas’. As a result there is no police to maintain law and order in much of Baluchistan.  Ironically, the CJP has not taken ‘suo moto’ notice to order the government to make the entire province an ‘A Area’ so that a modern Police could ensure law and order. 


10. The CM remains the biggest hurdle in establishment’s efforts to enforce the writ of government. He keeps offering negotiations to militants and lamenting his failure to produce the mysterious ‘missing persons’. The saga of ‘missing persons’ is being promoted by courts, the militants and the media. The media is scared to death and obediently prints and announces daily the story of ‘missing persons’. Most of these ‘missing persons’ have gone missing as they have either become militants, are in Afghanistan under training courtesy CIA/RAW, or have died and are being used as a reason for agitation.


11.  Not one TV channel or newspaper has tried to condemn or even highlight the militants’ attacks on relief convoys, Army, FC and doctors trying to help the dirt poor earthquake affectees. These militants have no love for the Baloch/Brahui; they are clearly more loyal to their paymasters sitting abroad. 


12.   After more than 3 months, the CM appointed 15 ministers and 5 Advisors to complete his cabinet. There is hope of good-governance because of the induction of a few fresh faces of young, patriotic ministers who are not tainted by accusations of corruption and crimes. The majority of the ministers, however, are old horses - tried and tested failures in previous governments. They hold office because of their being tribal chieftains their terrible performance as ministers notwithstanding. The elders of Bugti tribe who called on the Governor are not the only ones who have been held hostages by the insurgents. Every Baloch/Brahui tribe has a silent majority who want to rid themselves of old politics but they have been sitting on the fence because of the apathy of successive governments dominated by tribal chiefs. The people of Baluchistan have great hopes in Dr Malik who is NOT a tribal chief and they expected him to establish the writ of the government, protect the people from insurgents and bring peace and prosperity made possible by much higher budget allocation in the wake of the new NFC award. But he has done nothing except to beg for ‘talks’ with insurgent leaders. He is well positioned to ignore the foreign agents and well tried politicians and press on ahead with reforms. The writ of the state and law and order can be restored in Balochistan easier than ever before.  


13.  The rift between the US and Hamid Karzai is now in the open. Their nexus in sponsoring insurgency in Balochistan is also in the open now. Rather than negotiations with the TTP and the Baloch/Brahui insurgents, the Pakistan government should ‘negotiate’ with the US, Afghanistan and India who are sponsoring the insurgencies.


14. Ethnic cleansing by killing Punjabis and Hazaras has continued without any effective action by the government of Dr. Malik. The paid insurgents and young Baloch/Brahui men, who have been thoroughly brainwashed from their school days by the enemies of Pakistan, will not become peaceful Pakistani by mere sweet talk of the CM or the PM.


 15. War is also Terrorism but it is lawful terrorism carried out be legitimate government. With law on its side, the government has more powerful and more numerous means available to it. The state can deal effectively with terrorists in every case except when it is seen to be weak or resorts to appeasement. The state forces escalate the conflict which the terrorists cannot match. The USA, Israel and India have done it for decades. Now even Hamid Karzai has learnt the lesson. Nearer home, Iran has just done it. It is high time Pakistan followed the practice. Insurgency is a war waged by US, India and even Karzai through proxies where thousands of Pakistanis in uniform and civvies have been ruthlessly killed and continue to be killed. The TTP and the so-called ‘angry Baloch’ must suffer much heavier losses than they inflict with response being immediate and ruthless to strike terror in their hearts and of potential future recruits.


16. The regular raids, bombings and attacks clearly indicate the location of camp of insurgents in Sariab, Isplingi area, around water-holes of Bolan Pass, between Bambore Range-Bhag and Awaran-Naal area. The people in general have also been indicating these areas as camps of BLA since long. No government effort has ever been made to undertake search and clear operations to apprehend the insurgents and criminals from these places or even to restrict their sallying out from these safe havens.


17. Courts led by CJP have been knowingly entertaining false cases and making statements humiliating the Army. There is a general feeling of hope that after the retirement of CJP, there will be a reversal of witch hunting and the Judges, particular the present CJP will have to answer for deliberately reviling the armed forces. Then perhaps, ordinary people might hope to get justice unaffected by prejudices and lust for money. However, it will take a very long time for the credibility of the courts and judges to be established.


18.  Stopping the registration of non-custom paid vehicles by an IHC’s judge is being attributed to bribes. The common perception is that the local motor companies had bribed the IHC Judge Siddiqui to halt the registration started by the Zardari Administration on the orders of the CJP so that the vehicles involved in terrorism could be eliminated. The present situation facilitates the use of unregistered vehicles for terrorism.


19. The business of smuggled vehicles seems to be thriving now. Quetta, Chaman and now even Loralai are full of such smuggled vehicles, openly parked in hundreds of showrooms. Balochistan does not have the capacity to keep absorbing thousands of these vehicles. Majority of these vehicles are sent to Punjab, Sind and even Swat for selling. The present government appears to be allowing more and more smuggled vehicles into Pakistan while lower staff of Customs is busy collecting bribes, confiscating some vehicles and re-selling these to ‘showrooms’.

 The governance remains abdicated, in spite of ‘democracy’.++

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