Misleading the Baloch People
Since, the government of the Balochistan province announced general pardon and protection to the Baloch militants as part of reconciliation process, many insurgents and their leaders have surrendered their arms and decided to work for the development of Pakistan and the province, peace has been restored in the province. But, it is misfortune that some external and internal elements have still been misleading the Baloch people in order to fulfill the hidden agenda of some powers.
In this context, the externally-backed various Baloch separatist leaders are still opposing the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and other development projects in Balochistan.
It is notable that during the visit of the Chinese President Xi Jinping to Pakistan, on April 20, 2015, he and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif signed 51 agreements for cooperation in various fields, related to CPEC. Its establishment between deep Gwadar seaport of Balochistan and the historic Silk Road city in western regions-Xinjiang of China will connect Gilgit-Baltistan through Khunjerab Pass. Beijing would also build an international airport at Gwadar, while the roads infrastructure in Gwadar would link the communication network of rest of the country to facilitate transportation of goods.
When Gwadar seaport becomes fully operational, it would connect the landlocked Central Asian states with rest of the world. Being the commercial hub, the port is likely to increase volume of trade, bringing multiple economic and financial benefits to Pakistan as well as to the Baloch people by changing their destiny. Gwadar project will not only uplift the impoverished people of Balochistan by providing thousands of employment opportunities and is likely to develop whole the province by redressing their grievances. Coupled with other mega projects and positive measures of the government, the resulting prosperity in the province would damp the separatist sentiments among the Baloch, which have been incited by some anti-Pakistan powers.
But, the ink on Pak-China agreements related to CPEC was barely dry when some western media, especially Indian secret agency RAW started playing up the Baloch insurgency, in this respect, the propaganda campaign coincided with terror-attacks. The director of The Second Floor (T2F), a social activist Sabeen Mahmud was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in Karachi on April 24, 2015, followed by a bomb blast in Sibi, which killed several persons on April 26. However, she had left T2F after attending the session on Balochistan province, when she was targeted. She was likely to conduct a seminar at LUMS in Lahore about Balochistan. Earlier, on April 11, gunmen killed 20 laborers at a dam construction site in the Turbat district of Baluchistan. On May 29, 2015, 20 people were killed when unknown militants opened fire at the kidnapped passengers in Mastung area of Balochistan—after abduction of two buses. Particularly, on May 13, 45 people were killed when gunmen brutally opened fire on a bus of the Ismaili community in Karachi. Ahmed Marwat, a spokesman of Jundullah (God’s soldiers) which is the affiliated group of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP)—backed by RAW claimed responsibility for the bus attack.
In fact, these terror attacks which continue in some way or the other are aimed at sabotaging the CPEC by showing that if Pakistan government is not able to provide security to its citizens, how it can protect CPEC. Besides, other progressive work in Balochistan is also part of its target.
It is mentionable in the recent years—entrenched in Afghanistan, intelligence agencies like American CIA, Indian RAW and Israeli Mossad have supported bomb blasts, suicide attacks, abductions, target killings, ethnic and sectarian violence in Balochistan through their affiliated militant groups such as Baloch Republican Party (BRP), Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), Jundollah etc. to obtain the secret strategic designs of US, India and Israel at the cost of Pakistan, China and Iran. Besides martyring several personnel of law-enforcing agencies and security forces in the province, these anti-Pakistan entities kidnapped and massacred many Punjabis, Pushtuns, Shias, people of Hazara community and patriot Balochis including Iranian Shias. In the past few years, they abducted and killed many Chinese and Iranian nationals in Pakistan. On a number of occasions, these militant outfits claimed responsibility for their subversive acts. But, they have always blamed Pak Army and other security agencies for human rights violations in Balochistan.
It is of particular attention that in the recent past, Indian former Army Chief Gen. VK Singh openly confessed that during his tenure, he supervised special army unit, Tactical Support Division (TSD) on the instructions of the then defence minister to sponsor subversive acts in Pakistan, especially in Balochistan.
Recall, when during the Musharraf regime, Islamabad initiated the construction of Gwadar deep-seaport in Balochistan in March 2002 with Chinese assistance, sirens went off in the capitals of foreign countries, especially the US, India and Israel which took it as a threat to their global and regional plans.
Notably, besides Balochistan’s ideal strategic location, its abundant mineral resources like gas, coal and gold, entailing Pakistan’s close ties with China also pinches the eyes of the US, India, Israel and some western countries which intend to destabilize Pakistan for their collective aims.
It is worth-mentioning that with the help of Baloch nationalist leaders who have taken refuge in western countries; these hostile elements have launched a false propaganda campaign by spreading disinformation about natural resources, progressive works and CPEC. They mislead the Baloch people by propagating that present and future royalty of the mineral resources including income of the mega projects and CPEC are for the centre or Punjabis or the Punjabi Army and not for the Baloch people.
On the other side, patriot Baloch people have come to know the foreign conspiracy against the integration of Pakistan. They know that Pak Army has not only been successful in uprooting the anti-state elements, but also contributed a lot in socio-economic development of Balochistan. While protecting mega projects, and promoting other development works, Army set up a number of institutes in Balochistan, which have been providing particularly technical training to thousands of Balochis. Army has also been imparting military training to the Baloch youth. The purpose is to bring them in the mainstream of the country.
Undoubtedly, Army’s positive steps are increasing income of the Baloch youth and reducing their dependence on the feudal lords (Sardars), while external-backed insurgency has hampered the growth and development of the province.
Besides, the Baloch are very well-aware of the fact that instead of Sardars, royalty of the mineral resources go to the provincial government of Balochistan, and the Baloch people would be the real beneficiary of the various development projects and the CPEC.
Baloch persons know that the Sardars who have been fighting for their own so-called status, prestige and influence, do not want to give up the old system of feudalism. Therefore, with the assistance of US-led India and Israel, these anti-Pakistan entities are inciting them for against Pak Army, Punjabis and the federation.
Nevertheless, civil, federal and provincial governments are making strenuous efforts to restore peace and order in the province. For this purpose, a paramilitary committee has also been formed by the ruling party to hold negotiations with the disgruntled elements. And Chief of Army Staff Gen. Raheel Sharif also supports political settlement—general pardon to the insurgents in Balochistan, so that, development works including the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor which would bring unlimited benefits to the province and its people must be completed.
Nonetheless, while pointing out the golden opportunities related to the development projects, Pakistan’s top officials, especially the media must counter external propaganda of the hostile entities including those foreign-supported Baloch Sardars who are misleading the Baloch People through disinformation regarding the progressive works and CPEC.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations