2018: The Year of Balochistan

By Sajjad Shaukat 

It is in response to the article “2018: Not Yet Balochistan’s Year”, written by Adnan Aamir, published in “The Friday Times” on December 28, 2018, which clearly seems part of the foreign propaganda campaign to create sense of deprivation among the Baloch People. Salient of the article are as under:-

The political drama was not yet to end in Balochistan. The rebel members of PML-N formed Balochistan Awami Party (BAP). The primary manifesto point of BAP was that decisions of Balochistan will be made in Balochistan, as opposed to Raiwand or Larkana. Detractors, however, alleged that BAP was created by the establishment to take full control of the affairs of Balochistan.

BAP leaders in Balochistan’s government openly blamed the PML-N for preventing Balochistan from reaping the benefits of CPEC [China-Pakistan Economic Corridor]. Balochistan government made a strong case for the province in 8th Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) of CPEC. The provincial government demanded $500 million in socio-economic uplift projects and 10,000 scholarships for Balochistan, along-with several other infrastructure projects.

The year 2018 also witnessed the rise of Balochistan Liberation Army [BLA]–Aslam group. This Baloch insurgent group carried out a suicide blast targeting Chinese engineers in Dalbandin in August.

Under the sub-title, Same Old Balochistan, Adnan wrote, nothing changed in Balochistan—Most problems of the province, such as security situation, power shortages, share in mineral resources and the CPEC, are under the ambit of the federal government.

In fact, the main aim of the above article is to spread disinformation regarding the CPEC in a controversial and hidden style and to misguide the Baloch people against the federal government of Pakistan, while some foreign anti-Pakistan entities are already misguiding the general masses of the province. In this regard, by ignoring facts and ground realities, in one way or the other, Adnan Aami has became part of these external forces.

However, from the very beginning, terrorism-related terror attacks in Pakistan’s largest province of Balochistan have coincided with a continuous propaganda campaign against Pakistan’s federation and its security forces as part of the conspiracy—whose aim is also to incite the feelings of the Baloch people against the key institutes of the country.

When during the Musharraf regime, with the Chinese assistance, Pakistan initiated the construction of Gwadar deep-seaport in the Balochistan province in March 2002; sirens went off in the capitals of foreign countries, especially of the US, India and Israel who took it as a threat to their global and regional plans. After the shift of the Great Game from Central Asia to Pakistan’s Balochistan, in the past, intelligence agencies of these countries, including British MI6 supported target killings, suicide attacks, hostage-takings, sectarian and ethnic violence, particularly kidnappings of the Chinese and Iranian nationals through the Baloch separatist elements.

Taking cognizance of the deteriorating situation of the Balochistan province, Pakistan’s political and military leaders started focusing their attention on the rapid development of Balochistan to redress the grievances of the people in order to castigate the conspiracy of the external enemies. In this regard, the then Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had declared 2012 the ‘Year of Balochistan.’ While in his address to a rally, leader of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan (Now Prime Minister) had apologized to the Baloch people for the national misgivings which were being manipulated by the foreign enemies of Pakistan.

In the recent years, Pakistan’s civil and military leadership has made strenuous efforts to develop the infrastructure in Balochistan, providing the people employment opportunities to bring the Balochis in the mainstream of the country. In this regard, Pak Army has not only established schools and colleges in Balochistan, but also set up technical and industrial institutes in the province, besides giving military training to the youth.

While addressing, the passing-out parade in Quetta on October 11, 2011, Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani pointed out various efforts of the Pak Army in alleviating the people of Balochistan. He appreciated the then Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani Kayani for ensuring best possible training to bring the youth into the national mainstream. Gilani highlighted development projects in Balochistan, aimed at the socio-economic uplift of its people. He said that the federal government would also provide 30 percent of its shares from the Saindak Project to the Balochistan government, adding that under the NFC award, fund transferring had been increased from 5.1 to 9.09 percent.

In 2011, I visited Balochistan along with other journalists. I saw a number of institutes, set up by army, and these were providing especially technical training to thousands of the Balochis. I had also a trip to far-flung areas of the province and witnessed various mega projects and mineral sites, protected by the army. I was greatly surprised that no military operation was going on in Balochistan, as propagated by the external elements. People told me that some subversive events are taking place by the minority separatist elements so as to create instability in the province.

It is notable that armed forces of Pakistan have successfully broken the backbone of the foreign-backed terrorists by the successful military operations Zarb-e-Azb and Radd-ul-Fasaad which have also been extended to other parts of the country, including Balochistan. And Pakistan’s primarily intelligence agency, ISI has broken the network of these terrorist groups by capturing several militants, while thwarting a number of terror attempts. But, in the recent past and during the election-campaign of 2019, blasts in Balochistan and other regions of the country showed that the US-led India, Afghanistan and Israel have again started acts of sabotage especially to weaken Pakistan and to damage the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which is part of China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative or BRI. Washington and New Delhi has already opposed this project.

It is mentionable that foiled terror attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi on November 23, last year was part of the same scheme. In another terror-related incident, on the same day, at least 35 people were killed and 50 wounded in a blast in Kalaya area of lower Orakzai district in Hangu (Pakistan).

It is noteworthy that the separatist group of the Balochistan, BLA claimed responsibility of the failed terror attempt on the Chinese consulate in Karachi through a tweet.

Pakistan’s media and reliable sources revealed that in a major development pertaining to attack on Chinese consulate in Karachi, Pakistan’s Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) on November 24, 2018 learned that attack was funded by India’s notorious RAW and Afghanistan’s intelligence agency National Directorate of Security (NDS). Earlier, LEAs arrested three alleged facilitators in connection with assault on Chinese Consulate in Karachi. Sources privy to LEAs disclosed that local facilitators had assisted the BLA’s terrorists in carrying out the appalling attack. The attack was “planned by banned BLA commander Aslam alias Achhu who was under treatment at Max Hospital in New Delhi, after being injured in an operation by Pakistani security forces near Sibi…Achhu had several times travelled to India from Afghanistan on fake passport”. Recently, he died in India.

Undoubtedly, it shows the connections of the Indian RAW with NDS in relation to the foiled attempt at the Chinese consulate of Karachi.

Notably, with tactical support of CIA and Mossad, India is also using Afghan soil to destabilize Balochistan to slow down the growth of the CPEC and pulling Afghanistan away from joining the CPEC.

In this respect, propaganda of external entities, followed by meetings and arranging protests in the US and some European countries such as UK and Geneva by the Baloch Sub-Nationalists against the integrity of Pakistan is also part of the same campaign to destabilize the country, especially Balochistan by criticizing Beijing and Islamabad in connection with the CPEC project.

In this connection, RAW and CIA arrange a meeting of Baloch Sub-Nationalists, SSNs (Sindhi-Sub- Nationalists) and the USNs (Uyghur Sub-Nationalists of China) on the termination of 35th Session of Human Rights Counsel in Geneva from 12-14 June 2017. The agenda was; planning against the CPEC/Pak-China’s interests in the region. Mehran Marri attended the conference and delivered a speech (reportedly prepared by RAW) alleging CPEC as exploitation projects and Baloch cultural genocide by Pakistan and China. Represents of World Sindh Congress (WSC) attended the said forum as well. Uyghur human rights activists, Rebiya Kadeer and Dolikun Aeysa were also present in the said conference.

Similarly, Ahmar Masti Khan’s ‘American Friends of Balochistan’ organized an event at National Press Club in Washington, DC August 2017. The speakers included, Hussain Haqqani, Former Ambassador of Pakistan, Nawab Brahumdagh Bugti, President of Baloch Liberation Army (via skpye from Switzerland), Nawab Mehran Marri, Chief of Marri Tribe & President of the Balochistan House, Hammal Haider, International spokesperson for the Balochistan National Movement, Banuk Kareema Baluch, President Baloch Students Organization (Azad). They promoted the self-created theory that Pak Army and China had ill-intentions towards CPEC, Gwadar and Balochistan’s natural resources.
Likewise, on the eve of Chinese National Day on 30 Sep 2017, Free Balochistan Movement (FBM) headed by Harbyar, organized a protest rally in Gottingen, Germany. This has been done on the Indian sponsored false propaganda about China’s new colonialism and human rights violations in Balochistan. It was said in their statements that China and Pakistan nexus is aimed to turn Baloch demography into a minority.

Nevertheless, unlike the past, protest/rallies by Baloch insurgent groups abroad have increased in order to project Balochistan issue on international forums. Baloch Student Organization-Azad (BSO) also organized a demonstration outside British Prime Minister’s residence in London on Oct 1, 2017 against alleged Pakistan war crimes in Balochistan.

Although foreign intelligence agencies such as CIA, RAW and Mossad have continued supporting various types of intrigues against Pakistan and China, yet Balochistan has become their special target and these secret agencies have accelerated their aggressive campaign, particularly to harm the CPEC project.

In this regard, 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 the CPEC. Thus, they are misguiding the Baloch people.

The agents of CIA, RAW and Mossad are well-penetrated in various NGOs and human rights organizations which are being used for a malicious propaganda against Pakistan’s security forces. In this respect, on July 31, 2011, with the help of external elements, a rally was organised by Baloch Human Rights Council in UK, in front of the US Embassy in London, which raised false accusations such as inhuman torture and extrajudicial murder of the Baloch intellectuals by the inhuman actions of the Pakistani army.

On August 3, 2011, the then ISPR spokesman, Maj-Gen Athar Abbas, while rejecting human rights groups’ reports about Balochistan as a conspiracy against Pakistan, called for probing the funding of these organizations, as “this could be traced back to those forces which want to destabilize Pakistan.”

It is noteworthy that on September 6, 2017, in a letter to Ambassador Valentin Zellweger-the permanent representative of the Swiss government at the United Nations (UN), Ambassador Farukh Amil-the permanent representative of Pakistan to the UN has taken up the matter of posters, raised in the area around Rio de Ferney in Grand Sacconex, Geneva—mentioned the name of Balochistan House (BH) as a sponsor—terming the incident as a belligerent attack on the “sovereignty and territorial integrity of Pakistan” by giving calls for ‘free Balochistan’.

According to the ambassador, a car “remained parked near [the digital poster] and seemed to be guarding [it]…the BH, the apparent sponsor of these posters is an affiliate of the BLA, which is a “listed terrorist organisation under the laws of Pakistan and other countries, including the United Kingdom.”

It is also of particular attention that patriot Baloch people have come to know the foreign plot 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. 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 been hampering 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.

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 the US-led India and Israel, these anti-Pakistan entities are inciting them against Pak Army, Punjabis and the federation.

Loyalist Baloch people are well-aware of the reality that they would be the real beneficiary of the CPEC. Completion of the CPEC-deep Gwadar seaport of Balochistan with an international airport at Gwadar and the roads infrastructure in Gwadar would link the communication networks 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. Gwadar project which is backbone of the CPEC will uplift the impoverished people of Balochistan by providing thousands of employment opportunities, especially to the less developed areas by redressing their grievances. The resulting prosperity in Balochistan would damp the separatist sentiments of the people, which the hostile elements, supported by Washington, New Delhi and Tel Aviv do not want.

It is worth-mentioning that 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 by including themselves in the mainstream of the country, and peace has been restored in the province.

But, it is misfortune that some internal entities like Adnan Aamir are still misleading the Baloch people in accordance with the hidden agenda of some foreign powers who have been trying to destabilize Balochistan.

The people residing in Balochistan must remain loyal to Pakistan so as to thwart nefarious designs against the integrity of the country.

Nonetheless, facts and ground realities endorse that ‘2018 was the year of Balochistan’.

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