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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 – December 2013


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


 


http://www.rifah.org/site/balochistan-news-letter-%e2%80%93-december-2013/


 



Gwadar Port - the end point of Kashgar-Gawadar Economic Corridor which has raised a lot of hope and excitement in Pakistan



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, 1-5 December. While doctors were still on strike protesting the kidnapping of a senior cardiologist Dr. Munaf, he was released after two months on 1st December. Allegedly the family paid Rs. 50 million as ransom. The doctors’ strike was called off after 4 days. The FC did not produce anyone before DIG CID as ordered by the CJP Choudhary Iftikhar. He, however, kept ordering attendance of IGFC and several other senior FC officers on daily basis until he retired but no one appeared. Due to ill health of IGFC, his deputy appeared in the court in civvies. The CJP severely criticized even his being in civvies and declared the missing-persons as murdered. He later also ordered transfer of IGFC. A man was killed by unknown assailants on Eastern Bypass in Quetta. The Police-Powers given to FC were extended yet again for two months. A soldier of FC was killed near Sibi by a landmine. 13 workers of Ochh Power Plant near Dera Murad Jamali were kidnapped on 4 December by militants.


2. Law and Order Situation, 6-10 December. A shopkeeper was gunned down in Quetta and a passerby injured by unknown persons. Four unopposed-elected local-government candidates belonging to the CM Dr. Abdul Malik’s party were abducted by militants in Mekran area. A motorcycle mounted bomb in Chaman killed one and injured 13. An empty trailer was attacked and damaged near Wadh, Khuzdar. An explosion took place at Gwadar but no loss was reported. A Brahui kidnapped lawyer reached home, allegedly after his family paid ransom. A local man was killed near Khad-Kocha, Mastung, by unknown gunmen. Arbab Kasi’s kidnappers demanded Rs.1billion as ransom. A kidnapped man was recovered though a raid by FC near Dera Bugti after a fire fight in which five criminals and a soldier of FC were killed. Two tankers carrying supplies for NATO forces were torched near Bolan Pass.


3. Law and Order Situation, 11-15 December. Fruit imported from Iran was found to have pages of Quran used in packing. Religious political parties agitated bringing Quetta to a standstill. Agitators used fire arms and killed two persons and injuring four. A ‘new’ leader of Ahle-Sunnat, in essence the defunct Sipah-a-Sahaba, Maulna Ramzan Mengal spearheaded the agitation. A labourer from Punjab was killed in Jaffarabad by unknown persons. A militant who attacked police was arrested after being injured. Militants set fire to a tanker near Mastung. Militants also fired at an official vehicle near Duki, injuring the driver. FC convoy coming from Sibi was attacked by a remote controlled device in Bolan Pass on 13 December causing minor damage to a vehicle. Two unknown persons were killed in Sariab area, Quetta. Militants had signalled a bus to stop near Kalat. The driver speeded up resulting in the bus turning upside down killing 7 persons and wounding several. Protesting against total lawlessness, the transporters have gone on strike again and no buses are now plying between Quetta and Karachi on RCD highway. They are demanding that the highways are cleared of dacoits, robbers and security is ensured for the passengers and drivers.


4. Law and Order Situation, 16-20 December. A man was killed and one wounded in Sibi by unknown assailants. The dead body of a man belonging to Panjgur was recovered from Bella. Panjgur went on a day-long strike to protest his death. Two mechanics were shot at and injured in Naal, near Khuzdar, by unknown gunmen. Armed men shot and wounded three drivers of coal-carrying trucks near Barkhan. An oil tanker was set ablaze near Turbat on 17 December. A tribal elder’s house was attacked with rockets by unknown persons near Khuzdar but no loss was reported. A bomb exploded near girls’ college in Chaman injuring a passerby. A bomb exploded in Pashtunabad area, Quetta, killing one and injuring 22. The Police arrested 11 students of Khuzdar Engineering University while 14 were expelled for rioting. Terrorists fired 8 rockets and rifle shots on FC in Panjgur but no loss was reported. A settlers’ house was attacked with grenades in Dalbandin by unknown persons injuring one.


5. Law and Order Situation, 21-26 December. A bomb exploded near Dera Murad Jamali but caused no loss. Militants attacked the camp of a construction company near Buleida, Mekran, injuring one FC soldier while two militants were also killed. Unknown gunmen kidnapped 8 coal miners from Shahrig, near Quetta, all belonging to Khyber Agency. A bomb was diffused by the Police in Quetta on 25 December. Two mortar bombs were found in a drain in Quetta. A suicide bomber killed three injuring 10 on the Afghan side of the Chaman border. A kidnapped transporter was recovered by Police on a tipoff from Sariab area, Quetta, while several criminals were also apprehended.


6. Law and Order Situation, 27-31 December. A Hindu businessman was kidnapped from southern Quetta by unknown men. A truck was torched by militants near Wadh, Khuzdar. FC recovered a huge cache of explosives, arms and ammunition from near Chaman. Urdu newspapers reported the press releases of the insurgent groups’ BLF and BLA claiming to have killed FC soldiers. Such news appear regularly only in Urdu newspapers but are almost always false. The newspapers, in spite of the BHC order forbidding this, go on regularly printing whatever the militants demand. Some animals died due to a field mine near Dera Bugti. Some explosive was also recovered from Turbat area. A Polio team was attacked by unknown persons in Quetta injuring a baby and four persons. A BNP worker was attacked in Khuzdar by unknown persons resulting in severe criticism of the government and FC by Akhtar Mengal.


7. Administrative /Political Developments. The assumption of command of Army by Gen Raheel Sharif on 2 December received generally positive response. Gen Kiyani was almost universally criticized for his sit-back-and-watch attitude while absence of the writ of the government allowed Balochistan to slip into anarchy, lawlessness and crime over the past 6 years. Similarly, the eagerly awaited retirement of CJP Choudhary Iftikhar on 11 December was welcomed. He was universally criticized, often called ‘dajjal’, other grossly impolite names. During his last fortnight in service, he tried desperately to make some Army officers of the FC attend his court so that he could humiliate them, or possibly hold them for contempt but none appeared. He was especially bent upon calling the IGFC, as if a personal enmity had to be settled. Army transported ballot papers for local bodies’ elections all over Balochistan. Local bodies’ elections were held on 7 December without any significant disturbances. The Army provided security. Candidates who were Independent candidates won the most sets; the NP, PML(N), PKMAP and JUIF won in that order with no signs of PPP. The staff of the University of Balochistan took out several rallies to protest against non-payment of their salaries for the past two months. QESCO reported outstanding dues against the government and agriculture consumers as of 7 December, as Rs. 88 billion. The new COAS addressed the Passing out Parade of Balochistan’s recruits in Quetta on 12 December. These recruits come from all over the province, have a multi racial/ethnic background and would join various units of the Pak Army.


Jan Jamali, Speaker of the provincial assembly reiterated that ‘angry Baloch’ should be contacted and negotiations undertaken. PPP Senator Raza Rabbani while visiting Quetta on 17 December stated that efforts were on way to roll back the 18th Amendment, which in his view would threaten the Federation. Two days later, the CM Dr. Abdul Malik also repeated this view.
An official report said 23% children are out of school in Balochistan. Some 20 men, women are doing ‘long march’ to protest for the ‘missing persons’. They first went to Karachi and are now slowly moving towards Islamabad. No one seems to care but media keeps giving them full coverage near towns where the curious crowds give them a bloated profile. Contempt notice against IGFC was withdrawn by SC under the new CJP.


Several provincial ministers have expressed their serious concern on dysfunctional Health Department of Balochistan saying it has turned into a mafia where the staff is absent or doing other jobs but getting paid regularly. The Education Department is no better. 28 doctors have been killed and 16 abducted during the past 2 years. The CM has announced creation of 6 more Universities and 5 medical college ignoring that even the existing facilities are either not being properly. They are grossly understaffed; in some cases even have no students.

8. Comments

Balochistan goes on to suffer primarily due to extremely poor governance. In the tribal culture the parliamentary democracy has clearly become dysfunctional. The CM, who is not a sardar himself, is very weak and also very scared of the sitting Baloch/Brahui sardars in his cabinet. He does not even sit at the head of a table lest the other attending sardars get annoyed. His subservience towards his sardar-ministers is the prime reason for ineffective governance. He and Jan Jamali, the Speaker, make frequent references to ‘Angry Baloch’ and ‘negotiations’ which emboldens the insurgents and crime thrives. Consequently, there is no writ of the government. The killings of settlers, security personals, even settling personal scores within sub-tribes, lootings, kidnappings, attacks on trains, waylaying buses and gross corruption in the shape of ghost-employees and fake projects have not stopped.


Having said this, in comparison with the same period last year, the overall law and order situation has somewhat improved in Baloch/Brahui areas possibly because the previous CM, Mr Raisani, and his 60 or so ministers were directly involved in crime. Besides, the FC and Police appear to be more efficient now. However, the Pashtun areas, especially adjacent to Afghan border are now witnessing growth of TTP inspired militancy and crime.


Regrettably, no one held accountable for the crimes and massive looting of exchequer of the past PPP lead Government which ran into billions. A perception is developing that the PMLN and PPP had arrived at a strategic compromise for not to uncover skeletons in each other’s cupboards. Gross incompetence and lack of assertiveness are the hallmarks of even the new CM and his ministers. The provincial assembly is non-effective and members attend it sparingly.


The CM has announced the creation of another half a dozen universities and medical colleges while his government has failed to run even the existing 6 universities and one medical college properly. Every other day the teachers are on strike asking for their salaries. The students and teachers, both are in short supply. The local political parties which actually maintain pressure-groups in universities comprising illiterate teachers and political-students do not allow teachers from other provinces to work anywhere in Balochistan while even the good local teachers have migrated in large numbers to other provinces making shortages more acute. The present Education Department is poorly staffed and cannot manage the ordinary institutions much less the higher education or the vocational institutions. Ghost employees and political appointees have become the hallmark of the Baluchistan’s officialdom in every department. The CM might succeed in erecting more buildings but little more.


The CM goes on betraying confusion. His lack of vision, contradictory priorities and desire to appease rather than extend his appeal to a broadening constituency have shown him to be not up to the job. Replacing him is neither possible nor wise. He needs to be helped by novel ideas and methodologies. Creation of an advisory board of non-politicians with insight into the region is one such idea.


The PM, contrary to expectations, has not shown focussed interest. While a number of fedral projects of national – even global – significance have been announced, the anarchy in the province dampens hopes. Due to tribal, ethnic, racial, sectarian fragmentation and massive social and democratic polarization, Balochistan can never be controlled by a CM alone, even if he is very assertive and competent. It has always needed the strength, guidance, full support and regular overseeing by the PM.
Now that foreign powers are bent upon destabilizing Balochistan and sponsoring insurgency, nothing is more important than establishing the writ of the government. Owing to low density of population it is not difficult. The insurgency is led by only three Baloch/Brahui tribes of Marri, Bugti and Mengal while scores of other tribes remain at peace. A large number of even these three tribes are indeed, peaceful and staunchly loyal to Pakistan. But criminal groups have since emerged because void of governance as the government has abdicated its responsibility to enforce the law and order.


These facts are not projected by the media or the politicians who find it easier to follow the propaganda line of anti-Pakistan forces and lament that Balochistan is being treated badly. A handful of foreign-supported traitors are active in projecting that line and are succeeding because an alternation narrative has neither been articulated and projected by the government or any political party. The public remains ignorant of ground realities.


Media, the local newspapers in particular, have become hostages in the hands of the insurgents and print or say on TV channels whatever is ordered by anti-Pakistani forces. This is especially detrimental for the youth who are subjected to this incessant propaganda. The great sacrifices of the Army, FC and Police to ensure security whether in the recent two Elections or relief after the earthquake are nearly totally ignored by the media.


That the Army and FC have been regularly desisting from taking punitive actions against a handful of insurgents, who try to fire at them and runaway, deserves to be acknowledged with greatest admiration. However, media makes no mention of it.


The so-called Long March comprising no more than some 20 persons protesting against the ‘missing persons’ is being given full media coverage. This must be stopped; it amounts to the government being complicit in propaganda against the state of Pakistan.


During the last two weeks of his tenure, the former CJP Choudhary Iftikhar made a mockery of the SC he was heading by vindictive hatred of the Army in the name of ‘missing persons’ and even threatened to arrest a serving general officer by police. With Choudhary retirement, there is a hope that the judiciary might start conducting itself gracefully. However, the test case is the so called reason case against General Musharraf.


The gaps in governance and resultant administrative instability created by the 18th Amendment have started appearing now. Education Policy and Higher Education; health policy and national health service; Minority Affairs etc need to be federal subjects if public service is the focal point of administration. However, persons like Raza Rabbani and Dr. Abdul Malik, who were in the fore front of most of the unworkable amendments, have made it a personal issue. It is time that saner members of the National Assembly should lead a campaign against the discredit the two stand alone stalwarts who converted a Federation into Confederation and continue to subvert the real spirit of ‘provincial autonomy’ least it leads to the breakup of Pakistan.


Zardari and his team were never considered patriotic Pakistanis. The people of all provinces, particularly Baluchistan, worry that no concerted action has been taken to recover the money looted or damage caused by their decisions during the five years of PPP rule.


The politically correct and insurgents’-friendly mantra of ‘negotiate with angry Baloch’ ought to be thrown into dustbin now. This government is about to complete a year but there is no results of this mantra. The PM now has the legitimacy and the credibility to take stern action. That does not mean military action; that means extension of the A area to give control to the police; more rigorous enforcement of law, close surveillance and control over inter-district movement. The handful of criminals in the payroll of the CIA and India have most been identified and most of them are on the run. Now is the time to tighten the noose not to let up. The CM should be able to see that as his own his party’s interest; the country cannot wait for ever for the ‘angry’ to come on board.


The people are more optimistic about their future because of the mega projects underway in Baluchistan. The efficacy of FC and now the Police have improved so much that they regularly apprehend criminals and uncover caches of explosives and arms. If the FC and Police become more efficient, and the Levies can be replaced by Police, there may indeed, be peace in the province, in spite of the pacifist CM, disinterested PM and the traitors supported by CIA/RAW.++


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