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Thread: Quetta, Balochistan

  1. #16
    Contributor 1980s's Avatar
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    19 Jul 08
    I wonder if the increase in violence in Qandahar (Afghanestan) and Quetta (Baluchestan) recently is a coincidence or perhaps linked in some-way.

    Assassination spike threatens new Pakistan flashpoint
    By Maaz Khan (AFP) – 21 hours ago

    QUETTA, Pakistan —
    Targeted killings happen so often in Pakistan's city of Quetta, they have become almost routine. Assassins drive up, fire a hail of bullets and melt into shadows as their victims bleed to death.

    Heading to and from work, or nipping to the shops, fear grips professional men and women in the southwestern province of Baluchistan, where a sharp increase in assassinations is being blamed on separatist rebels.

    An upsurge in killings threatens to ignite the southwestern tinder box, with possible consequences for neighbouring Iran and Afghanistan, and heavyweight allies China and the United States.

    Last week Nazima Talib became the most high-profile female victim, shot dead at point blank range as she got into a rickshaw to go home after another long day teaching mass communication at Balochistan University.

    A mother of one, she was the third member of staff killed in the past two years. Now others wonder whether they will return home at the end of a day's work.

    "Gunmen are roaming around killing teachers.... They have left us at the mercy of terrorists. I won't go to the university under these circumstances," said Farkhanda Aurangzaib, a professor in the English department.

    Police say sectarian and ethnic targeted killings in Baluchistan have claimed 87 lives and injured 303 people in 168 incidents so far this year.

    The killings embarrass the police, who concede that none of the assassins has been arrested, have forced some teachers to flee and fanned insecurity.

    Hundreds of people have died since Baluch rebels rose up in 2004 demanding independence and control of profits from natural resources in their region.

    Baluchistan, which makes up 40 percent of the country's landmass, is rich in oil and gas -- both desperately needed in energy-starved Pakistan.

    For decades, its people have felt excluded or marginalised by the central government and the province has long been a fertile breeding ground for Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked militants as well as separatist rebels.

    The Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), a banned group fighting for an independent Baluchistan, claimed responsibility for Talib's death, threatened more killings and accused Pakistani security forces of mistreating Baluch women.

    The group says its assassinations of Punjabis avenge the deaths of Baluch rebels and civilians at the hands of the military, whose ranks and top brass are dominated by Pakistan's richest and most populous province, Punjab.

    Although Pakistan's weak civilian government has sponsored a reconciliation process with Baluch nationalists, it has limited control over the powerful military, blamed for the disappearance of hundreds of Baluch activists.

    The surge in violence threatens to torpedo the prospects of political reconciliation, warns Ali Dayan Hasan of Human Rights Watch.

    Targeted killings and disappearances underscore "political breakdown" in Baluchistan with assassinations an "instrument of political warfare," he said.

    "It is placing large sections of the non-Baluch population in a state of anxiety and fear and will lead to greater instability and violence in the province," he told AFP.

    "It is a rebellion against the Pakistani state but it has regional and international strategic and security implications, and there are many countries that stand to be affected or benefit from development in Baluchistan."

    The Chinese have economic investments in the province. Baluchistan shares an extensive border with Iran, which is in turn keen that Pakistan does not become a staging ground for unrest among Iranian Baluch.

    Militants crossing to and from Afghanistan also give Kabul and the United States a stake as they wage a nine-year war against the Afghan Taliban.

    The militia's one-eyed leader, Mullah Omar, is reported to have carved out a haven in Quetta and its leadership council has been dubbed the Quetta Shura.

    The Pakistani military fears that intensifying US-led operations against the Taliban in southern Afghanistan this summer will see militants flee across the border into Baluchistan, posing further problems to law and order.

    For those at risk, there is little reprieve. "By living your everyday life you can simply be shot dead and it doesn't matter if you've been in Baluchistan 10, 20 years, half a century or longer," said Hasan.

  2. #17
    Contributor 1980s's Avatar
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    19 Jul 08
    As ive been suspecting for awhile now, slowly but surely people from the Baluch and Pashtun communities are starting to clash in and around Quetta as the treat of Talibanisation looms over the city and the Baluch people. While the clashes among the students has been attributed to a minor incident, the revelation that it escalated to such a serious level does appear to indicate the boiling-over of some serious underlying tensions between the two communities. It should be mentioned that the "BSO (Azad)" is a body that is a vocal supporter of the Baluch nationalist rebels (or so it has often been reported) which in turn are opposed to radical Islamists.

    It is also noteworthy to mention here that recently both the British and American governments have either formally requested to establish consulates in Quetta or have proposed it but not yet made a formal request.

    The United States is also proposing to open a new consulate in Quetta, in southwestern Pakistan, where the C.I.A. would likely have a sizable presence.

    U.S. to Press Pakistan on Bomb Plot Inquiry -
    The Deputy High Commissioner of UK based in Karachi, Robert Gibson, has disclosed that his government was reviewing to open up its consulate in Quetta to “facilitate the people.” He said that implementation of the proposal would be started soon.

    UK to soon open consulate in Quetta
    I doubt that this is a coincidence. Perhaps it is apart of what NATO is planning ahead for after Qandahar this summer. If so, good for them.

    Big things may yet to come in that city as it relates to the WoT.

    VIEW: Talibanisation creeping into Balochistan —Jan Assakzai

    Talibanisation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA seems to have penetrated further south in its neighbouring region of Balochistan. Its manifestation came from the recently written letters by Taliban to several girls’ schools in the provincial capital, Quetta. The letters warned teachers and administrators of dire consequences if they failed to observe purdah in schools and did not remove Western-style clothes. Taliban militancy is likely to thrive in Balochistan because of its geography, demography, and the crisis of governance. Balochistan’s northern areas, including capital Quetta, is predominately inhabited by Pakhtuns.

    The capital Quetta and adjacent districts are known for a conservative mixture of religion and tribalism in their local culture. It is quite similar to the culture in Pakistan’s other Pakhtun areas. The Pakhtun belt in the northern Balochistan province is strategically important, because it is directly located opposite to the Taliban stronghold areas in Afghanistan. Pakhtuns straddle the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

    The insurgency in the south of Afghanistan has a direct bearing on the province. The Afghan Taliban have close links with Pakhtun society. Pakistan’s right-wing religious political parties have a strong presence in Balcohistan’s Pakhtun areas. It is believed that some of their supporters openly help the Afghan Taliban in hiding, fund-raising and recruitment to fight the NATO and US forces in Afghanistan. Sometimes injured Taliban are treated in some of Quetta’s private houses and hospitals.

    Taliban chief Mullah Muhammad Omar is believed to be hiding in the same area. Worse still, some al Qaeda operatives, under pressure from military operations and drone attacks in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA, may have crossed into Balochistan and found refuge with a network of thousands of religious seminaries set up and funded by Saudi oil money during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

    Balochistan is also transiting mostly non-lethal supplies (such as food, fuel and building materials) to the US forces in Afghanistan. The shorter, southern route passes through Sindh to the Balochistan-Chaman border crossing into southern Afghanistan. The longer and more commonly used northern route passes through Sindh, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and the Torkham border, crossing into central and northern Afghanistan. The US is also known to have flown drone aircraft from a desert strip in Balochistan besides undertaking special operation missions against the Taliban, al Qaeda and drug barons on the border areas (December 21, 2009, The Guardian).

    There have been no known Pakistani Taliban outfits operating from Balochistan so far. But it is likely that some of them have been spurred and encouraged by the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and their successes in the tribal belt and their ability to strike at the army in Punjab. This might explain why the Taliban in Balochistan decided to move to the next level: challenging the writ of Islamabad and trying to establish their formal presence. Their threats and method of intimidation are like those of the militants in Swat and other parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA.

    Balochistan is already brewing with Baloch insurgency and sectarian violence, which has claimed hundreds of lives so far. Its governance is in throes, creating more opportunities for Taliban-style solutions to the people’s problems. Talibanisation of Balochistan will simply stretch the army to its limit. Any potential military action against the Taliban in Balochistan will not be easy, as the conservative local culture is a favourable environment for the Taliban’s ideology in the long run. If the Taliban create law and order situations, they can, in turn, easily hide among the people. This means the Pakistani army cannot hunt the Taliban quickly. Any potential military operation will thus be tantamount to winning a battle but not the war.

    Why Talibanisation is more dangerous in Balochistan is because it is not FATA where, until March 2004, the Pakistan military had never entered. Balochistan, like Swat, is Pakistan’s settled area. Besides, Balochistan has a long border with Punjab and Sindh, with Karachi housing a large Pakhtun population. Any chaos in the Pakhtun buffer territories will spill over to the core of Pakistan — Punjab and Sindh. Thus the army cannot keep the heartland along the Indus Valley secure from the chaos in the Pakhtun areas. It needs to quash Taliban militants in Balochistan before they become well entrenched.

    The writer is a London-based analyst hailing from Balochistan.
    Balochistan universities close down after clashes
    By Shahzad Baloch/Express
    May 18, 2010

    Academic activities were suspended in four public sectors universities and two colleges in Balochistan on Tuesday.

    This came after 46 students were injured in clashes between Baloch and Pakhtun student organisations in different universities of Balochistan on Monday.

    Institutes that have been temporarily closed include University of Balochistan, Khuzdar Engineering University, Lasbela University of Marine Sciences, Sardar Bahadur Khan Women University, and Bolan Medical College Quetta and Agriculture College.

    The fighting started at Quetta’s Agriculture College after a brawl between two students over a seat during a bus ride. However, the situation took an ugly turn when activists from the Baloch Students Organisation (BSO-Azad) and Pakhtun Students Organisation (PSO) used sticks and iron rods against each other, leaving 17 of the students injured, police said. Law enforcement agencies rushed to the site. They evacuated students from the college to control the situation and arrested 20 students.

    Later as news of the fighting spread, clashes erupted in the University of Balochistan (UoB), between activists of the two student groups, which left four people injured. Officials from the paramilitary Frontier Corps and police fired tear gas shells to disperse the enraged students. Officials said that some students started aerial firing on the university premises. Police arrested eight students on charges of creating law and order problems. Clashes intensified during the day and spread to other parts of the province.

    Twenty-five students were injured in clashes in the Lasbela University of Marine Sciences and Engineering University of Khuzdar. Five of the injured are said to be in critical condition. After day long clashes, police and security personnel were deployed at all major educational institutions. The Balochistan University has suspended academic activities for the next three days to avoid further unrest. Hostels at the university have been closed for an indefinite period. Meanwhile, the Agriculture College Quetta and the Engineering University Khuzdar have been closed for an indefinite period.

    In a separate incident in Quetta, at least six people – three policemen and three Bomb Disposal Squad officials – were injured in an explosion. Police said a man saw a rocket in a graveyard in Saryab and informed the police. As police and BDS officials worked to defuse the rocket, a bomb planted nearby exploded. One of the injured policemen identified as Muneer lost both his legs in the blast.

  3. #18

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    Good post. The issue reaches back to the afghan pashtun community during the Afghan-Soviet war. Quetta grew rapidly amidst a disproportionate growth of pashtuns stemming from the afghan exodus of refugees.

    They never left.

    Therein lies the simple explanation for the all-too-real Quetta shura. The area, villages, and mosques/madrassahs between Quetta and Kandahar has become an operational rear area for afghan taliban operations. Like too much else about Pakistani military operations, a sleigh of hand and wave of the veil is part and parcel to their approach. Nothing has been done to encumber afghan taliban operations. Neither the Quetta shura in Balochistan nor the various FATAville groups including Pakistani natives such as Maulvi Nazir and Hafez Gul Bahadur and afghan taliban affiliates like the Haqqani network have been attacked.

    In all liklihood, the Baloch peoples look upon the increasing encroachment of pashtun-both afghan and Pakistani- as a weapon intended to be simulaneously pointed away from the punjab heartland while aimed at their own restive Baloch aspirations.

    None of this is an accident however miscalculated the final cost of blowback may be.
    "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
    "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs

  4. #19
    Global Moderator Defense Professional JAD_333's Avatar
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    Excellent thread from start to present. Never mind that there are only two principal posters. I am sure many like myself have learned a lot from it, and as in my case, stand mute for lack of anything substantive to add to it. Very commendable, 1980 and S-2. It's interesting to trace developments since the thread began last year. Keep the followups coming. There just may be a final act.
    To be Truly ignorant, Man requires an Education - Plato

  5. #20
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    19 Jul 08


    Baluchestan is undoubtedly as entwined with the Taliban movement, radical trans-national Islamism and the present Afghan insurgency as the FATA’s are. However, in the absence of any sustained (Western) media attention (unlike the attention given to the FATA region) it remains to be a grossly underappreciated topic. So i thank you both for finding my little contributions here worthwhile. Once or twice a week (depending on how much spare time i have) i browse the net for news on this topic. And i admit, it is a quite a complex one when trying to learn pretty much from scratch and with only scant sources, many of them vague or questionable.

    In my view, the situation in Baluchestan is perhaps even more volatile than what exists in certain parts of Afghanistan, and in the long-run, perhaps of even more importance than North Waziristan is for securing Afghanistan’s relative security from cross-border Islamists, and for combating the foundations of what gave rise to the Taliban to begin with; Pakistan's dubious "religious schools".

    I think everything that S-2 mentioned in his last post is pretty much corroborated by the below article i came across today. While Waziristan and other FATA territories may be a hub of militant bases and training camps, the thousands of ideological schools that actually produced the likes of the Taliban in the first place and continue to indoctrinate (often while still young) and produce the potential jehadis and (terror) recruits of tomorrow appear to have their “hub” in Baluchestan. And the fact that Baluchestan is the “hub” for such ‘schools’ (and has been for years, decades even) like S-2 pointed out, is clearly no accident, and apparently has several intended consequences – only one of which is to dampen “resistive Baloch aspirations”, while another being to “project Pakistan’s strategic depth….” to whatever end that may be.

    Looks like the Baluch are already losing that war, ideologically. That is concerning. It is no surprise that the type of radical political Islam as propagated by Al-Qaeda has little or limited presence in Baluchestan but that the province is saturated with the type of radical Islam as patronized and acceptable to the Pakistani establishment. Afterall, around “95%” of such “schools” are under the control of an official, pro-Taliban Pakistani political party - one that has representation in the provincial assembly no less!

    Reading the below article makes me think that it is quite timely that the Americans and British are moving to open-up consulates in Quetta. The urgency is definitely there.

    Religion as a panacea for Baloch nationalism
    Malik Siraj Akbar

    Striking Quetta's Civil Hospital on April 16, 2010, a young Baloch suicide bomber, Haq Nawaz Baloch, killed at least eleven people, including two top police officials and a television journalist. This attack was dissimilar from ones previously carried out by Baloch nationalist guerrilla fighters against government installations and its security forces. Thus the largely secular Baloch society was introduced to an uncommonly new phenomenon of religious extremism and one for which it is almost totally unprepared to respond.

    Unfortunately we cannot regard this suicide bombing as a unique occurrence. Just three days before two teenage sisters were acidified in the Dalbandin town of Chagai District in Balochistan by unidentified persons riding a motorbike. The girls were punished for the "crime" of not observing strict Islamic Hijab. Hailing from an extremely poor family, the girls were rushed to a Quetta hospital. Their faces are burnt but due to the lack of proper medical facilities their medical treatment is unsatisfactory.

    An underground militant group calling itself as the Baloch Gharatmand (Honored) Group had, days before launching the first staggering attack, circulated a leaflet warning women in the area that they should leave their homes without being accompanied by a male family member. According to the interpretation of the shadowy group, being unaccompanied by a male family member is "un-Islamic" and should therefore be "punished" by those who ignored the warning.

    Initially not many residents of Dalbandin took the threat very seriously as there had been no precedence of throwing acid on women. In Baloch society women usually work independently on their farms, fetch water and visit neighbors without being necessarily accompanied by male members of the family. But on April 29 in Kalat District three sisters, Sakina Bibi, 14, Saima Bibi, 16 and Fatima Bibi, 20, were attacked with acid by masked assailants.

    For a province like Balochistan that has fought against Islamabad's control on at least five occasions news about violence is not surprising. Nonetheless what is striking about these developments is the fact that they are marked by religious objectives and have been carried out by young Balochi males.

    This wave of unprecedented attacks on girls indicates an abrupt fundamentalist religious radicalization in the Baloch society. Baloch nationalists, reacting vociferously to the latest shocking developments, know where such plans are masterminded and can pinpoint who is exploited to execute these suicide bombings.

    There cannot be two views about who sponsors these radical elements. Baloch nationalists insistently argue that these developments are ultimately the culmination of covert state patronage extended to thousands of registered and unregistered religious seminaries set up to counter the progressive, liberal and secular nationalist forces in the province.

    Over the years Islamabad has attempted to impose an unappealing Islamic identity on the Balochs. These religious seminaries propagate an Islamic-***-Pakistani national identity and view Balochi nationalism as a shallow ideology imported by the "infidels".

    Around 95% of religious schools spread all over Balochistan are owned and administered by leaders of the pro-Taliban Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI). These religious schools gave birth to an alternative political force countering nationalistic politics. Soon the JUI emerged as a major power center in the province and today the JUI is an integral part of every coalition government. In the 2002 general elections the JUI took 16 seats in the Balochistan Assembly and currently the JUI has at least 11 seats in the provincial legislature. These representatives serve as a shield to conceal the suspicious activities of the religious schools operating across the province. The JUI platform also demands that the provincial government not take action against the Taliban; thus the province has become their sanctuary.

    For example, when the Baloch and Pashtun nationalists in the province welcomed an expected expansion of U.S.-led drone strikes on the hideouts of Taliban in Quetta to hunt down their reclusive leader Mullah Omar and the members of the Quetta Shura, the JUI legislators worked to have the Balochistan Assembly approve an anti-drone resolution on October 13, 2009. As a result, the world was convinced that Balochistan supported the Quetta Shura.

    Religious schools in Balochi-dominated areas, owned and administered by JUI leaders, have dramatically mushroomed in recent times. Foreign funding from various Arab sheikdoms has flooded the province. Seemingly unlimited funding has meant that both registered and unregistered religious schools promote Wahhabism. According to independent sources, they indoctrinate their students with hatred against Shias and non-Muslims. They also discourage visits by "outsiders." They do not want anyone to observe the activities that take place on their campuses.

    With the outpouring of foreign money, religious schools have expanded their constituency into the Balochistan's interior. Charging low or nominal fees, they have also established English language centers and computer labs that attract students from local communities. Interestingly, the schools' administrators motivate the introduction of computer and English language courses as necessary to promote Islam across the world and to convert non-Muslims. Thus all coursework is taught within the context of promoting Islam. They discourage nationalistic tendencies and emphasis the need for an Islamic identity.

    Interestingly the religious schools and their mentors coordinate their work to a greater extent than do the relatively moderate governmental schools and colleges. For example, one would find hundreds of students from different districts of Balochistan or neighboring countries enrolled in a religious school based in a remote district of Balochistan. On the other hand, one would hardly find a single student from distant district in a similarly situated public college. Comfortable facilities, improved accommodations, free meals and a reasonable stipend greatly contribute to the coordination between different madrassas located across the province. This also assists them in building contacts with their counterparts in neighboring Iran and Afghanistan. According to some confirmed reports dozens of Balochi teenagers, if not hundreds, participated in the second Afghan war. Some lost their lives. Trips were facilitated by the frequent guests who came from other provinces to visit the schools under varying pretexts.

    The wave of anti-Punjabi operations initiated by Balochi armed groups has claimed the lives of many Punjabi teachers and professionals in Balochistan. But this has not touched the religious schools. Teachers, preachers and students from all over Pakistan continue to flock to these madrassas, establishing a network of like-minded people throughout the country. Scores of inter- and intra-provincial exchange programs regularly take place between their students. While a host of non-local settler teachers have already left Balochistan in the wake of mounting nationalist attacks, this phenomenon has not affected the Tableegi Ijthemas (religious congregations) in Baloch areas.

    Baloch towns have recently become major hubs of the Tableegi Jamaat's gatherings in such districts as Panjgur, Gwadar, Khuzdar, Sibi, Turbat and Quetta. Mammoth congregations come together from time to time and are viewed with concern by Baloch nationalists. The Tableegi Jamaat's harsh rejection of worldly life and non-violent approach has attracted many Baloch youth. In fact we now see many young men dedicate four months, or even a year, to being Islamic preachers and traveling to different cities throughout Pakistan.

    On their return from a stint of preaching, many have reportedly turned hostile to photography, television and other forms of "worldly pleasures." They consider them "un-Islamic" or elements of distraction. They also discourage women from being educated and seek to restrict their movement.

    The April attacks on girls in Chagai and Kalat are concrete examples of this thinking. In the same way, an increase in the religious schools has given birth to more intolerance among youth who now refuse to coexist with the members of a rival religious sect. This religious militancy today overshadows a Balochi nationalistic movement of a secular hue. And now the media have turned their attention to reporting on both the acidification of girls and the increased killing of members of the minority Shia community.

    Understandably, the Baloch society remains somewhat in a state of denial over its children's' involvement in growing religious violence. Yet the acceptance of different violent cases by organizations dominated by Baloch/Bravi-speaking outfits confirms the fact that militant religious groups are rapidly gaining a stronghold. In return, visibly disunited, fragmented and polarized Baloch nationalists do not seem to have an alternative vision to counter the expansion of militant Islam. For example, hardly any nationalist political party is even organizing study circles for its activists. Studying ideological literature and history has regrettably become anathema to many young Baloch activists. It is the targeted killing of Punjabi teachers, ironically by Baloch nationalists, that is likely to be a setback for a worldly and secular education in Balochistan.

  6. #21

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    Fascinating find. I hadn't realized the depth of madrasah penetration into Baloch society.

    The acid attack is disturbing. However, I note that Kalat district is quite close to Quetta. Kandahar has had its own legacy of these attacks. I suppose my greatest surprise stems from the fact that it was a baloch group that generated the attack. OTOH, it comes as little surprise if the roots of such can be traced back to a JUI-founded muslim narrative.

    There may be some legs to GoP determination to co-opt Baloch separatism via the vehicle of pan-islamic aspirations manifested in JUI-sponsored madrassahs.
    "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
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  7. #22
    Contributor 1980s's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by S-2 View Post
    Fascinating find. I hadn't realized the depth of madrasah penetration into Baloch society.

    The acid attack is disturbing. However, I note that Kalat district is quite close to Quetta. Kandahar has had its own legacy of these attacks. I suppose my greatest surprise stems from the fact that it was a baloch group that generated the attack. OTOH, it comes as little surprise if the roots of such can be traced back to a JUI-founded muslim narrative.

    There may be some legs to GoP determination to co-opt Baloch separatism via the vehicle of pan-islamic aspirations manifested in JUI-sponsored madrassahs.
    Sorry for the delayed reply, i had not checked this topic in a few weeks.

    As for your last sentence, you probably are correct in thinking that. Take a look at this:

    Don't Enter Baloch Areas: BNM Threatens Islamic Preachers | The Baloch Hal
    Jul 12th, 2010

    QUETTA: The Baloch National Movement(BNM), a political party which supports the idea of an independent Balochistan, has warned all the non-local Islamic preachers of the Thableeji Jamat not to enter in the Baloch areas of the province.

    The announcement was made by the Quetta District President of BNM in a statement issued to the media.

    He said the Islamic preachers coming from provinces other than Baochistan promoted secterianism among the masses and undermined the ongoing Baloch nationalist movement.They should be prevented from entering the Baloch populations.

    The BNM has appealed to the local Baloch religious scholars to cooperate with it to prevent the non-local preachers from entering into Baloch areas.

    It is the first time that the Baloch nationalists have taken such a hard stance against the religious preachers who are seen by some as a tool to counter the Baloch nationalism in the region.
    In addition, within the past week, two prominent Baluch nationalist politicians have been murdered in drive-by-shootings. No word on who has been behind the hits so far.

    BBC News - Gunmen shoot dead former senator in Balochistan

    A former senator from the Pakistani province of Balochistan has been shot dead in the provincial capital, Quetta.

    Habib Jalib was killed by two unknown gunmen outside his home in the Musa colony, police said.

    He was the Balochistan National Party's secretary general. Angry supporters chanted slogans and protested against the killing in Quetta.


    Protests over the killing have forced several shops in Quetta to shut down.

    All schools and colleges, including Balochistan University, will remain closed for two days.

    A large number of police and security personnel have been deployed in the city to keep peace.
    BBC News - Gunmen shoot dead National Party leader in Balochistan

    Maula Bukhsh Dashti was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in the town of Turbat where he lived, police say. His attackers escaped on a motorbike.

    Two of Mr Dashti's companions were also injured in the shooting. No group has said it carried out the attack.

    Thousands of people attended Mr Dashti's funeral in Turbat, where shops shut in protest at his killing.
    Seems like only a matter of time now before things finally erupt over there, big time.

  8. #23
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    Some interesting insights into recent Baluch nationalist grapplings with the Pakistani state, state-backed radical Islam and the Pashtun community.

    Editorial: Separate Pashtun Areas From Balochistan | The Baloch Hal

    Like the Balochs, the Pashtuns also remained a victim of British policy of divide and rule when some of their districts were incorporated into what constitutes today the province of Balochistan following the Treaty of Gandmak in 1879.

    Ever since, the Pashutn population of Balochistan has not accepted Balochistan from the bottom of their heart as their home province. They have always demanded to be either integrated with the province of Khyber Pashtunkhawa or Afghanistan as a separate Pashtun unit. They demand the division of Balochistan. (See the editorial picture)

    This is a justified demand if the government agrees to re-demarcate provinces on ethno-linguistic lines in Pakistan in order to create more harmony in the federation.

    The Pashtun grievances are increasing day by day with their demands becoming more unreasonable with the passage of every day which indicates how difficult the coexistence of Baloch and Pashtun is turning out to become in the future. The Pashtunkhawa Milli Awami Party, the representative party of the Pashtuns living in Balochistan, has been continuously asking for “equal status” for the Pashtuns against the majority Baloch population. Irrespective of the fact as to how legitimate the Pashtun demands are, the Balochs believe such claims are unrealistic.

    Balochs are in majority in 22 districts of Balochistan while the number of Pashtun districts is hardly 8. Yet, the entire land area of all Pashtun districts remains smaller than than one Baloch District, Chagai. All natural resources such as gas (found in Dera Bugti District), petroleum (Kohlu), gold and copper (Chagai) and port (Gwadar), which give Balochistan the confidence to become economically independent and viable, are located in Baloch areas. Pashtun areas, on their part, do not contribute any such significant natural resource that makes Balochistan such an economically viberant place.

    Currently, it is no secret that both the nationalities blame each other for usurping each other’s rights and privileges. Such mistrust can only be removed by taking drastic measures to form new provinces in the country on the ethno-linguistic lines. The Baloch nationalists hailing from all divides of the political spectrum should call for the division of Balochistan, giving the Pashtuns the right to decide their fate. Pressure should be exerted on the Balochistan Assembly to pass a resolution demanding the separation of Pashtun areas from Balochistan. One cannot predict with certainty if Khyber Pashtunkhawa would be willing to incorporate the Pashtun districts of Balochistan due to their meager economic resources and huge population.

    From a Baloch perspective, the current integration of Pashtun areas with Balochistan goes to the complete disadvantage of the Balochs. While the Pashtun areas do not have any contribution in the oil, gas, gold and copper production of Balochistan, they keep asking for “equal rights” and “equal share” for whatever the province gets in terms of gas royalty and Gas Development Surcharge. It is utterly unreasonable to spend the Baloch revenue on the development of Pashtun areas, as is being demanded by Pashtunkhawa Milli Awami Party about the equal distribution of the provincial budget.

    Similarly, the government of Nawab Mohammad Aslam Raisani must not live under any illusion that the passage of Balochistan Package or the new NFC (National Finance Commission) is solely its achievement. The credit for a change in Islamabad’s mind goes to the Baloch armed fighters who have taken to the hills and compelled Islamabad to rethink its Balochistan strategy. If it was not for the activities of Baloch Sarmachars, Islamabad would never constitute parliamentary and constitutional committees to ponder over the crisis in Balochistan. After all, Mir Ghose Baksh Bizenjo, Sardar Attaullah Mengal and Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti were more competent leaders than Nawab Raisani but they failed, with their political struggle, to push Islamabad an inch backward from its stated position (of exploitation) vis-a-vis Balochistan.

    If Islamabad has finally agreed to give some jobs to the youth of the province under Aghaz-e-Haqooq-e-Balochistan, review the National Finance Commission (NFC) Award, grant more provincial autonomy under the 18th Amendment and accommodate Balochs in the federal institutions then it is also because of the sacrifices of the Baloch sons who revolted against the suppression of the federal government.

    Balochs have suffered immensely during the entire conflict and they have sacrificed their lives to get Balochistan its due rights. It is pathetic to see the fruits of Baloch struggle going to the other ethnic groups.The only towns that were bombarded during the military operation were the Baloch-populated areas while all the “missing persons” belonged to the Baloch families. Not a single non-Baloch received a minor injury in the military operations unleashed by Islamabad at least five times in the history of Pakistan.

    The Baloch leaders have to realize that their struggle will not bear fruits for the Balochs as long as the benefits of their struggle go to the non-Balochs. Worst still, the Pashtuns living in Balochistan, who do not have a single “missing person” from their ranks to indicate their contributions in the fight for the rights of Balochistan, keep holding the Balochs responsible for their plight without uttering a word about the safe heavens they provide to the Taliban in their areas.

    Afghan refugees came in millions in the aftermath of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 to create a major demographic imbalance between the majority Balochs and the Pashtuns. These refugees brought with them the scourge of drugs, weapons, lawlessness and religious radicalization. In spite of this, they enjoyed overwhelming support from Islamabad which saw Baloch nationalism as a major threat that needed to be countered from multiple fronts such as demographic changes and radicalization of the society. A thumping majority of these refugees were provided Pakistani nationality and the right to possess property to oust the Balochs from businesses.

    Once the Pashtun districts are separated from Balochistan then it can help both the nationalities to live happily as good neighbors. In politics, you cannot give your land and resources to the others for the reason that they are your ‘brothers’. You can live as brothers even without exploiting each other’s resources and interests.

    Unlike the Pashtuns, no Baloch political party has formally appealed for the separation of the Pashtun areas from Balochistan but we believe all the Baloch political parties should now prioritize this demand. The current composition of the province is unnatural which does not meet the interests of both, Balochs and Pashtuns.
    I.S.I. sponsored outfit that killed Jalib is led by former federal minister's son. By Ahmar Mustikhan

    WASHINGTON DC: July 18, 2010. (PCP)
    The so-called Baloch Musallah Difa Tanzim that has claimed responsibility for the killing of Habib Jalib Baloch is a criminal gang allegedly led by a son of a former federal government minister and one of the most trusted pointmen of the Inter Services Intelligence in Balochistan.

    The slain leader who most of his friends simply called Jalib, was general secretary of the Balochistan National Party and a former chairman of the Baloch Students Organization. He was a supreme court lawyer and intellectual, and according to his comrades he was gunned down allegedly by goons on the payroll of the infamous Inter Services Inteligence on July 14 in Quetta.

    Shafiq-ur-Rahman Mengal, a son of former petroleum minister Mir Naseer Mengal, allegedly leads the I.S.I.-backed shadowy organization B.M.D.T. that has been involved in criminal activities to divert the Baloch national struggle from its main objective of freedom from Pakistan.

    Shafiq-ur-Rahman Mengal was involved in a rocket attack on the Wadh home of former Balochistan chief minister, Sardar Ataullah Mengal, in 2005 -- the same year the Pakistan military attacked the home of former governor and chief minister of Balochistan, Nawab Akbar Bugti.

    Both Ataullah Mengal and his grandson, Sardar Asadullah Mengal, who is the actual chief of the Mengal tribe though his uncle Akhtar Mengal also carries the chieftain title, were injured in the attack. The elderly politician Sardar Ataullah Mengal, who is known for his shrewdness, saw through the military ploy to eliminate him physically if he sought revenge and forgave the attacker.

    The I.S.I.-backed B.M.D.T. which also maintains close ties with the Frontier Corp, has carried out many criminal activities in recent months including a grenade attack on a cultural show of the Baloch Students Organization on March 2 that left two dead, Sikander Baloch and Junaid Baloch.

    In April the B.M.D.T. threatened the Khuzdar Press Club members not to carry any news item related to any Baloch nationalist organization or face reprisals.

    Other than physically eliminating Baloch leaders and activists, Shafiq-Ur-Rahman Mengal has also been tasked by the I.S.I. to create Taliban-style scare in Balochistan by targetting Baloch women through acid attacks. In one such attack, two sisters aged 11 and 13 were targeted in Dalbandin on April 13 and in a second attack faces of three sisters were burned by acid in Kalat on April 29.

    In those activities a second name, Baloch Ghairatmand Group, is used by the I.S.I.-group run by Naseer Mengal's son.

    "There are two names, but the individual tasked to do the job is one," said Dr. Zaffar Baloch, president of the Baloch Human Rights Council of Canada.

    The victims are the poorest among the poor.

    According to a report by Shahzad Baloch in the Express Tribune, "Thirteen-year-old Gul Begum and 11-year-old Dur Jamal, belonging to a poor family which lives in a tent, were attacked by two masked men on a motorcycle. According to Dur, “some donkeys came close to our tent and when I went out to push them away two masked men on a motorcycle appeared and threw acid on me.” Hearing her cries, her sister Gul came out of the tent and she too was attacked with acid."

    Without naming the culprit, reporter Urooj Zia wrote in The News,"The victims’ parents are extremely poor, so much so that the local community had to contribute money and gather enough funds to send the sisters to the Civil Hospital Quetta by road, where they are currently under treatment."

    "While the acid-throwers remained unidentified, residents of the area believe that this attack was carried out by the shadowy ‘Baloch Ghaeratmand Group’.

    "A few days ago, the group, whose members remain unknown even in the close-knit community of Dalbandin city, which has a population of approximately 25,000 people, had distributed flyers in the area, warning women and young girls to remain indoors.

    "The pamphlet, which is in Urdu, declared that development did not mean that the local population went against the “Baloch culture of Chaddor and Char-Deewari” for women. It also clearly warned women and girls against stepping out of their houses with their faces uncovered, or even going to a doctor unaccompanied by a man. “Acid will be thrown on the faces of women and girls who step out of their houses without covering their faces,” the flyer says.

    "Threats from relatively unknown groups, however, are not a new phenomenon in the region. Earlier this month, the Khuzdar Press Club had received threats from another new gang, the ‘Baloch Musallah Difa Tanzeem’, warning them against covering events organised by nationalist parties and groups."

    Intriguingly, Mir Naseer Mengal has also issued a statement of condemnation against the killing of Jalib, but observers said this was nothing more than crocodile tears to escape the wrath of popular outrage against the assassination.

    "But Naseer Mengal is just a name as the main actor is the I.S.I.," said Mehran Baluch, representative of the Baloch people at the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, who said the killing spree was a stark reminder there is no way out for the Baloch but to work for independence of their homeland if they want to live in peace.

    An elder son of Naseer Mengal, named Atta-ur-Rahman Mengal is also allegedly involved in criminal activities and was said to behind the kidnapping of journalist Riaz Mengal, a reporter with Daily Intekhab, after the journalist exposd him in a multimillion stolen car trafficking racket.

    Reporters Sans Frontières - Riaz Mengal escapes from his kidnappers

    It is not the first time Pakistan military has used such outfits. In addition to the Taliban, which remains a baby of the I.S.I. though the U.S. and the West have closed their eyes to this fact. During the Bangladesh war of freedom Pakistani soldiers had fostered the infamous Al-Shams and Al-Badr thunder squads to crush the liberation movement.

    A Baloch notable from Kharan, Akram Baloch, who now lives in Philadelphia, urged Baloch expats to do whatever they can to save the lives of their brethren. Baloch said he spoke with Jalib on Friday who had expressed a desire to visit the U.S

  9. #24
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    19 Jul 08
    This doesnt appear to be related to the Taliban presence in Balochistan but this incident deserves attention nontheless.

    At least 16 people killed in Pakistan violence

    At least 16 people, including five security personnel, have been killed in two separate attacks in Pakistan's troubled south-western province of Balochistan.

    In the first attack, passengers were pulled out of a bus bound for the eastern city of Lahore and shot dead.

    Later, gunmen shot a group of labourers in the provincial capital, Quetta.

    Officials say Baluch rebels are responsible. No-one has claimed carrying out the attacks.

    Baluch rebels have been fighting security forces since 2000, and are demanding complete autonomy and a greater share of resources from the mineral-rich region, says the BBC's Shoaib Hasan in Karachi.

    Point-blank range

    The labourers were returning home from work when gunmen on motor-bikes opened fire on them on Saturday afternoon. All of them died on the spot.

    Earlier in the morning, a bus on its way to the eastern city of Lahore was stopped outside Quetta.

    Gunmen made all passengers disembark. National identification cards were checked and those from the Punjab province were separated. The rest were released and sent on their way.

    A victim now being treated at a local hospital said those held back were lined up. Their captors then opened fire at point-blank range.

    Ethnic Punjabis have been regularly targeted by the rebels, who blame Pakistan's Punjabi-dominated army for their troubles.

    The rebels had already called for a Baluch boycott of the Independence Day celebrations taking place across Pakistan.

    The attacks come a day after insurgents shot dead three policemen in Quetta. Security officials say an operation has now been launched to capture those involved in the killings.

  10. #25
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    19 Jul 08

    More on the planned US consulate in Quetta:

    The Paradox of US-Baloch Relationship
    Sep 11th, 2010
    By Malik Siraj Akbar

    During her recent visit to the Baloch capital, Quetta, Anne Woods Patterson , US ambassador to Pakistan, reiterated Washington’s decision to establish a consulate in Balochistan. The announcement came weeks after rumors that the government of Pakistan, after coming under pressure from the right-wing religious parties within the Balochistan coalition government, had refused to allow the establishment of a consulate in Balochistan.

    Interestingly, Quetta never confirmed these reports officially. Only once did a pro-Taliban leader from Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI), Maulana Abdul Wasay, who is also the senior minister in Balochistan cabinet, indicated in a media interaction that Washington would not be permitted to establish its consulate in Quetta.

    While the US embassy officials have acted over-scrupulously in sharing more details about the role and responsibilities of the proposed “small consulate”, right-wing conspiracy theorists, on the other hand, have been too quick to bill it as an effort to accommodate the “ bad Blackwater guys” to stir trouble in neighboring Iran. The Iranian cultural center in Quetta has also been regularly endeavoring to create an anti-America lobby in the local media and social circles to expedite the anti-consulate propaganda.

    The establishment of an American consulate in Balochistan comes at an extraordinarily hard time when Balochistan is in the grip of worst nationalistic and sectarian violence. Not many foreign investors, non-governmental organizations and tourists are willing to visit the province because of mounting security threats. In spite of all these repellent indicators, Washington’s decision to make an official presence in Balochistan is highly encouraging. This will surely boost the shattering confidence of the provincial government which has lost charm for the foreign investors. With the setting up of a US, a lot of foreign investors and non-governmental organizations will hopefully start coming to Balochistan.

    Having said that, a US consulate in Balochistan, a province which shares borders with two countries (Iran and Afghanistan) that house a great proportion of anti-US segment, will not be totally free from threats of terrorist attacks. Taliban will make every effort to target US interests in Balochistan as they do not see the consulate in the context of developmental programs. They believe the consulate is intended to solely monitor their activities and locate their hideouts supposedly present in and around Quetta city.

    In the backdrop of this situation, the US government will obviously need supporters in Balochistan against the religious fanatics. I always wonder who the real supporters of American are in Balochistan. After all the provincial government, which is heavily dominated by the right-wing mullahs from JUI, cannot be a reliable friend of America.
    Can the Baloch nationalists become new allies of Washington?

    Very little information is available to analyze the nature of relationship and trust, if there is any, between Washington and the Baloch nationalists. Balochs may be secular and democratic; they have always looked at Moscow for ideological guidance. With the disintegration of the Soviet Union, America did come up with its New World Order but the Balochs refused to reconfigure their friends even though Moscow stopped providing any kind of moral and financial support to the Baloch nationalist movement.

    There are two schools of thought among Baloch nationalists in terms of determining US-Baloch relationship.

    Firstly, the armed groups have a calculated approach towards Washington. They may be willing to accept any kind of assistance if it is meant to fight Islamabad. In an interview with veteran journalist Najam Sethi, Nawabzada Hairbyar Marri, a London-based top Baloch leader, said it was preferable for the Balochs to live under American slavery than living as the slaves of the Punjabis, who dominate Pakistan’s military and civil adminsteration.

    On the other hand, many Balochs are unwilling to become what they call “slaves” or a colony of America in case Balochistan gets freedom from Pakistan. The most prominent face of the Baloch resistance movement, Sardar Khair Baksh Marri, sounded in an interview with a Sindhi newspaper cynical about America’s unwillingness to directly negotiate with the Balochs directly. Nawab Marri, like many Balochs, believes Balochs wouldn’t have been treated badly in Pakistan if the US had not supported the Pakistani establishment.

    It is catch-22 situation for America as the Balochs, on the one hand, still view it as a reliable supporter of Islamabad and Islamabad, on the other hand, is increasingly getting suspicious of what they see as covert American penetration in Balochistan. Conservatives in Islamabad fear Americans are secretly negotiating with the Balochs on some important matters, including the independence of Balochistan.There is no evidence to substantiate such assumptions.

    Based on the same assumption, the rightwing parties believe the sooner the Americans are prevented from setting up their mission in Quetta, the better.

    Traditionally, the Americans have pretended not to pay much attention to the Baloch insurgency in its ongoing phase. It is this reason that unlike London, Washington did not ban the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), the fiercest Baloch armed group. The Americans did not react angrily even after one of their nationals John Solecki, the Balochistan head of UNHCR was kidnapped by the Baloch Liberation United Front (BLUF).

    Political analysts believe America has given too much space to the secular Baloch nationalists in spite of their un-American style of struggle. On their part, the Baloch armed groups and pro-independence Balochistan forces have still not formally discarded their ideological commitment with Moscow and connected with liberal democratic Washington.
    Significantly, the other school of thought within the Baloch nationalists who were interested to redefine their relationship with Washington is that of the pro-parliament Balochistan National Party (BNP) and the National Party. Leaders from these parties are in fact closer to the American type of democracy. In spite of these similarities, these parties have not been able to gain much of American’s attention because Washington knows that these political parties no longer have full influence on the Baloch society.
    BNP and NP neither have a significant presence in the parliament nor in the mountains, from where the Balochs are waging an armed struggle, to meet American expectations. Therefore, Americans do not take BNP and NP very seriously.

    One such classic example of American hostility towards Baloch leaders is Washington’s continued refusal to issue a visa to former senator and member of the National Assembly Sanaullah Baloch. A former central secretary information of the BNP , Sanaullah Baloch’s visa was revoked by the Bush administration presumably on the recommendations of former military dictator General Pervez Musharraf.

    In 2000, Sana had been granted a five-year multiple US visit (non-immigrant) visa . In July 2005, he traveled to USA (on non-immigrant five year multiple B1/B2 visa, granted in 2000) in order to participate at Center for Democracy, Development and Rule of Law prestigious summer fellowship at Stanford University CA.

    In December 2005, Mr. Baloch was nominated by the U.S. Department of State’s premier professional exchange program, the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP). In order to attend the IVLP program, Mr. Baloch was issued J1 visa on 01 December 2005 by the US Embassy at Islamabad, Pakistan.

    But in March 2006, Senator Baloch’s J1 visa was revoked before leaving to the United States of America for IVLP program.

    I asked Sana about the possible causes for the revocation of his US visa, he said he believed the decision had been taken on the behest of Pakistan’s military dictator General Musharraf.

    In 2006, Sana was awarded the prestigious Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellowship by the Washington-based National Endowment for Democracy (NED). His fellowship project was entitled “Democracy, Development, and Ethnic Politics in Pakistan.”

    Though he applied for a J1 visa in September 2006 at the U.S. Embassy in Oslo (Norway) to avail his Research fellowship at the National Endowment for Democracy, Sana’s visa request was not entertained.

    Sana’s case clearly indicates that Washington is still unwilling to make friendship with the Baloch leadership at the cost of annoying Islamabad. On the other hand, the armed groups have not hinted at starting some kind of reconciliatory relationship with the Americans.

    Thus, the opening up of a new American consulate must not be mistaken for the inception of better relations between the Americans and the Balochs. Both sides have not started talking to each other about means to foster mutual understanding. They have not been very enthusiastic about developing better relationship with each other.

    If Washington wants to win the hearts of the progressive and democratic Baloch leadership then it must open up its borders for leading Baloch leaders like Sanaullah Baloch. If Washington believes in the sanctity of the ballot then it should lift unnecessary travelling restrictions on Sanaullah Baloch, who is in fact the youngest parliamentarian ever elected in the entire history of Pakistan. For the Balochs, they will have to sacrifice their old relationship with Moscow and join the US camp to explore new avenues of cooperation and mutual understanding. We do not see any quick signs of change of hearts in near future.

  11. #26
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    19 Jul 08
    VIEW: Balochistan: endless despair —Mohammad Akhtar Mengal

    Although the British Raj ended in 1947, under Pakistan’s ethnically structured and politically over-centralised state, the concept and practice of second-class citizenry remains a common practice by the dominant group against the underprivileged people.

    Initially, the East Pakistani population was the prime victim of this policy of systematic second-class citizenry; they were discriminated against because of their ethnicity, origin, and political aspirations. They were denied legal rights, civil rights, political rights and overall economic opportunities in a country that came into being through the extraordinary contribution of the Bengali political and intellectual elite.

    Rebuffing West Pakistan’s neo-colonial policies, the Bengalis took a non-violent path to change their destiny. They voted in favour of the Awami League and sent a clear signal to the power base in Lahore, GHQ and Islamabad that the days of institutionalised slavery are over. The dominant civil-military establishment’s hawkish response to Bengal’s political verdict was ruthless, which resulted in millions of deaths, destruction and separation of East Pakistan.

    After the fall of Dhaka, the same hawkish elite apprehended another opportunity to continue its policy of second-class citizenry, and this time the Baloch people became a soft target. Balochistan was wealth-looted, people-killed, land-grabbed for strategic use and its people were systematically kept underdeveloped.

    Furthermore, the hawkish elite and ethnically dominant policy-making institutions imposed new methods to further suppress the ‘Baloch second-class citizenry’. Thousands of people were recruited in Frontier Corps (FC) from FATA, Punjab and other provinces, denying the right of employment to the locals. The same FC established hundreds of check posts during the 1980s to date, just to restrict people’s social, economic and development movements.

    The appalling poverty, desolation, unemployment, worsening health conditions, malnourishment, tribal in-fighting, mounting corruption, support for drug barons and religious fundamentalism in historically peaceful and secular-oriented Baloch society are the domino effects of systematic policies imposed by the Islamabad super-establishment.

    Initially, the central government and its operational arms, i.e. military and paramilitary troops and security agencies, used co-option as a powerful instrument to buy sympathy for Islamabad’s colonial policies. They also practiced the policy of ‘divide and rule’ by instigating inter-ethnic and tribal rivalries to undermine the Baloch people’s logical movement for the right to self-determination.

    After successive failure in both strategies to intimidate moderate political activists and co-opt the legitimate Baloch leadership, the Centre is applying new tactics to create mass fear and eliminate forward thinking Baloch nationalists.

    This new policy is meant to serve, if continued unabatedly, two main objectives: a) getting rid of the moderate Baloch political class, which is unwilling to submit to the mighty civil-military establishment; b) to pave the way for Taliban-like fundamentalist groups, co-opted corrupt elite and mafias to influence regional security developments and serve the establishment’s broader strategic interests.

    The implementation of policy began, and continued, since the military unleashed an unjustified air and ground operation against the people of Dera Bugti and Kohlu in December 2005. The disproportionate and indiscriminate use of power by troops against the civilian population was immense. The operation resulted in loss of life, property, displacement and killing of veteran Baloch leader Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti and Mir Balaach Marri.

    In the last two years, this policy of elimination has taken a more serious twist. The government-backed serial killers are openly targeting senior Baloch leaders, and security agencies are ‘disappearing’ and then throwing the mutilated bodies of political activists on the streets.

    The cold-blooded murder of Balochistan National Party (BNP) leaders, i.e. Mr Habib Jalib Baloch in July 2010, Haji Liaquat Mengal in July 2010, Attaullah Baloch in August 2010, Mir Noordin Mengal in October 2010, and the recent target killing of National Party senior leader Maula Bakhsh Dashti in July 2010 in Turbat, BNP Karachi president Zahid Baloch in 2008, brutal daylight abductions and killing of three senior Baloch leaders in April 2009, Rasool Bux Mengal in August 2009 and assassination attempt on prominent Baloch intellectual Jan Mohammad Dashti in February 2009 and on Baloch Student Organisation vice-chairman Rasheed Baloch in Khuzdar represent a fraction of the systematic and slow-motion genocide in Balochistan.

    Enforced disappearances in Balochistan continue unabated as the situation worsens and the recovery of a number of bullet-riddled bodies in the province is at an all-time high. Twenty-one bullet-riddled bodies of missing persons, including two lawyers, have so far been found from different areas of Balochistan, including Quetta, Mastung and Khuzdar since July 4, 2010. Invariably, all victims were Baloch and were killed in a similar manner.

    The same principle, creating and supporting ‘death squads’ like Al-Shams and Al-Badar in East Pakistan during 1971-72, is being used in Balochistan. This time the security establishment is using dummy organisations such as the Baloch Musalla Defai Tanzeem (BMDT), the Sipah-e-Islam and the Ansar-ul-Islam to eliminate forward-looking Baloch nationalists. It is a known fact that these ‘killer squads’ are the brainchild of the FC and the intelligence agencies.

    The government and its armed militias, reluctant to curb Taliban activities in Balochistan, are ‘heroically’ employing the policy of ‘collective punishment’ against the innocent Baloch civilians. During a recent military operation in district Awaran’s Mashkay area, security forces burnt shops of those who had been selling cloth resembling nationalists’ flags, and torched tailors’ machines on suspicion of their sewing the flags. Moreover, they set on fire the property and houses belonging to family or clan members of political activists.

    This kind of mistreatment and incidents are not uncommon for ‘second-class citizens’. Instead of being protected by the law and the judiciary, the Baloch are actually harassed by the law enforcement and legal institutions.

    The Baloch people have lost trust and hope that Pakistan’s inbuilt discriminatory system will provide them any justice and punish or discourage perpetrators of crimes against humanity. However, the international community and international organisations, including human rights mechanisms’ negligence and silence are adding to the Baloch miseries.

    Balochistan is not only an administrative province of Pakistan but it is a vast region with more than 12 million Baloch population, spanning across into Iran and Afghanistan.

    Inattention of the international community will further aggravate the current instability and a rapidly developing Darfur and Somalia-like situation in Balochistan will have serious implications for long-term peace and stability in the region.

    The writer is president of Balochistan National Party and a former chief minister of Balochistan


    VIEW: Balochistan’s relentless quest for freedom —Lal Khan

    Passing through the streets of Quetta, one is struck by the escalating chaos, crumbling infrastructure, declining writ of the state and a malaise that hangs in the air. Even after a gap of a few months, the decline is glaringly evident. The fear of state terrorism and target killings on national and ethnic lines is very palpable. And the misery, poverty and deprivation are much worse in the rest of Balochistan.

    After more than 60 years of its annexation, the Pakistani state and its local surrogates have further exacerbated the destitution and agony of the oppressed peoples of this rugged hinterland. Life has become harsher and more harrowing.

    Because of its historical belatedness, economic inability, lack of technological development and fragile financial base, the Pakistani ruling class has failed to develop and integrate Balochistan into its newfound state. They have miserably failed to create and complete the formation of a viable modern nation state. The ‘nation’ as it stands today is far from being a united entity and is more of a half-baked or raw product as compared to the nation states of the West created by the industrial revolutions after the Renaissance.

    This has led to extremes of class and nationalist exploitation on the part of the fragile state defending the interests of an obsolete and redundant ruling elite. This ruling elite has had to rely on the remnants of feudalism on the one hand and the crumbs of its imperialist masters on the other. These factors determine its reactionary character and its despotic role in the brutalisation of the toiling classes and the oppressed nationalities.

    The conflict between the state and the oppressed nationalities has been most severe and bloody in Balochistan. The resistance of the Baloch throughout the country’s history has been astonishing and valiant. In the 1950s, 60s and 70s, the national struggle in Balochistan had a strong socialist content. There was an armed resistance against which the army had sometimes to resort to aid from the Iranian monarchy and the Pentagon.

    The overtones of revolutionary socialism in this nationalist movement had attracted not just the Baloch youth but also inspired young students from the Punjab and other areas who travelled from far and wide to join this résistance. Most of them have now capitulated to neo-liberal capitalism and so-called pragmatism, while there remain those few who still cherish their revolutionary ideals.

    One of the most prominent and legendary commanders of the armed resistance, Sher Mohammad Marri, popularly known as General Sheroff, had clearly elaborated the aims of the struggle at a clandestine meeting at Kohlu in 1978: “Our struggle is for a socialist Balochistan, but that is only a prelude to a socialist Pakistan and beyond.”

    However, after the collapse of the Soviet Union the situation changed. Not only did the movement recede but also the ideological content of the nationalist movement tilted towards the right. But it never died down completely, nor were the problems of Balochistan ever resolved. Subsequent regimes in Islamabad, whether military or civilian, continued to exploit the mineral wealth and strategic location of Balochistan. The imperialist aggression in Afghanistan also had a deep impact; the warring factions spread the conflict into Balochistan.

    The mad rush for the huge mineral resources and the route to the warm waters of the Arabian Sea at the mouth of the strategic Gulf began yet again. It has involved the multinational corporations, the Chinese state that had begun to export capital and other imperialist forces. A covert proxy war, with the continuously changing and trading of loyalties, between the Chinese and US interests, has ensued. Those sections of the nationalist movement that had degenerated along bourgeois lines have been penetrated by these conflicting interests of finance capital.

    The Pakistan Army is also a major player in this great game. As the insurgency refuses to relent, the repression and killings by the army are going on unabated. Almost the whole provincial assembly of Balochistan is in its cabinet. This government has proved to be impotent in stopping the brutalities of the army and the agencies against the Baloch people. Most of the causalities are among the poor sections of society.

    In some cases, the state tries to exploit the ethnic, tribal, clan and national rivalries to maintain its stranglehold. The ruling elites try to use Pashtun and Baloch national chauvinism to fabricate a bloody conflict whenever their despotism is threatened. The Pashtuns are a substantial part of the population in Balochistan. The vast majority of them are as impoverished as the Baloch toilers. They have lived in harmony for centuries and up till now, in spite of the tensions that have been whipped up, they have defied these evil designs. But the situation continues to get worse with the intensifying socio-economic crisis. This has now become a war of attrition without end in sight. All the ‘packages’ for Balochistan brought up by the regimes in Islamabad have become meaningless. They are seen as mere ploys and loathed by the impoverished masses.

    A new generation of youth has now risen through all this carnage that is looking for a radical solution. There are currents emerging amongst the resistance that are trying to return to the revolutionary traditions of the past with a greater understanding of Marxist internationalism. These youth are prominent in the traditional Baloch and also to some extent in the Pashtun organisations. The literature and press statements of important sections of the resistance are a clear proof of this. The strike in the Merk marker factory and struggles of the workers in railways, postal service, telecommunications, etc, have added a class dimension to the movement.

    The national oppression of the Baloch masses must be brought to an end. Their right of self-determination has to be recognised and accepted. However, genuine national liberation can only be achieved together with socio-economic emancipation. To attain this, the existing exploitative system has to be overthrown and the dictatorship of the financial oligarchy has to be abolished. The task is the convergence of the rivers of the national struggle into the ocean of the class struggle. Lenin, in his The National Programme of the RSDLP (Collected Works, Vol. 19, page 544) meticulously explained this: “The recognition of the right [to self-determination] does not exclude either propaganda and agitation against separation or the exposure of bourgeois nationalism.”

    The writer is the editor of Asian Marxist Review and International Secretary of Pakistan Trade Union Defence Campaign.

  12. #27
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    19 Jul 08

    Quite the admission:

    Top Balochistan minister alleges extrajudicial killings
    By Ahmed Raza and Riaz Sohail BBC Urdu, Islamabad and Karachi

    Pakistan's security agencies are involved in extrajudicial killings in Balochistan, the province's chief minister says.

    Sardar Aslam Raisani told the BBC some of the political killings were "definitely" by security agencies.

    Human rights organisations say kidnappings and murders of political dissidents are at an all-time high in the province.

    Balochistan has been at the centre of a decade-long insurgency.

    The chief minister's comments are not likely to be welcomed by Pakistan's security agencies, which have long denied extrajudicial killings.

    Mr Raisani, an influential tribal leader, is a member of the country's ruling Pakistan People's Party, but anti-government feeling runs high among voters in Balochistan.

    Summary executions?

    "Some of the abductions and killings are definitely carried out by security agencies," Mr Raisani told the BBC in an exclusive interview in Islamabad.

    He also stressed that some of the deaths were the responsibility of tribesmen who have been fighting for greater political autonomy.

    "They [insurgents and security agents] have been targeting each others' activists," he said.

    Human rights campaigners said they were astounded by the chief minister's candour.

    Ali Dayan Hasan, of Human Rights Watch, told the BBC: "The chief minister's casual acceptance that the military is disappearing and possibly killing citizens is preposterous and appalling.

    "He should be seeking to hold military intelligence agencies accountable rather than appearing to give them sanction for a policy of disappearances and summary execution."

    Besides being the largest of Pakistan's four provinces in terms of area, Balochistan is also rich in minerals.

    But many of its people feel they have been systematically discriminated against by the federal government.

    The province saw its first major rebellion in the 1970s, when at least 10,000 people are estimated to have died.

    Rebellion erupted again in 2000, when some of the insurgent leaders returned from exile in Afghanistan.

    'Mutilated bodies'

    It reached its peak in 2006, when Pakistani army troops killed veteran Baloch politician and tribal leader Nawab Akbar Bugti.

    Since then a crackdown has continued on insurgents across the province.

    Hundreds of Baloch people have disappeared in what human rights organisations say are state-sponsored abductions.

    The rebel leaders have repeatedly refused to talk to the government, despite several offers.

    Some of these overtures have been from the president and prime minister.

    The insurgents claim the army is really in charge and has double standards when it comes to Balochistan.

    "So many people have been killed in Karachi, but is the army carrying out an operation there?" asked Ataullah Mengal, chief of the Balochistan National Party [BNP] and former chief minister of the province.

    "In Balochistan, however, it's the army and ISI [intelligence service] who are completely in control. They detain people in broad daylight.

    "Later their mutilated bodies are found in ditches with the words 'this is an Eid [Muslim festival marking end of Ramadan] gift for Balochistan' carved on their chests."

    Mr Mengal is said to be close to the rebels; his own son was held without charge for several months by security forces.

    The opposition leader and other rebel leaders say the army has spilt too much blood for them to return.

    He says they will settle for nothing less than independence from Pakistan.

  13. #28

    Military Professional
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    11 Sep 06
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    1980s Reply

    Interesting allegations by Mr. Hasan from HRW of Mr. Raisani. That Minister Raisani has even suggested as much seems, by itself, extraordinary. That Mr. Hasan might suggest Raisani isn't doing enough appears failing to recognize the extremely difficult position of any minister from Balochistan much less one so prominent as him.
    "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
    "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs

  14. #29
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    14 Nov 10
    Pak Sarzameen
    Thanks for placing this thread in "War on terrorism" section...The best term to describe the insurgency in Balochistan.

  15. #30

    Military Professional
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    Portland, Oregon

    Pak Nationalist Reply

    "Thanks for placing this thread in "War on terrorism" section...The best term to describe the insurgency in Balochistan"

    It often cuts two ways. We comfortably accomodate allegations of state-sponsored terror here.

    "Hundreds of Baloch people have disappeared in what human rights organisations say are state-sponsored abductions."
    "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
    "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs

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