Balochistan: Anti-Punjab and Anti-Army Propaganda
The ink on Pak-China agreements related to China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was barely dry when some western media, especially Indian secret agency RAW started playing up the Baloch insurgency. In this regard, 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 for Jundullah which is the affiliated group of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), claimed responsibility for the bus attack.
Like these terror attacks which continue in some way or the other, Karachi bus incident was also handy work of RAW to sabotage the CPEC by showing that if Pakistan government is not able to provide security to its citizens, how it can protect CPEC. Ismailis belong to Hunza (Gilgit/Baltistan) or have a spiritual linkage with this area, are Pakistanis. The CPEC would also originate from the same region.
Similarly, RAW was behind the assassination of Sabeen Mahmud-a well thought-out plan not only to try to harm Pak-China CPEC project, but also to accuse Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Another aim was also to drive a wedge between Balochistan and rest of Pakistan.
Meanwhile, Indian high officials themselves proved that India is sponsoring terrorism in various regions of Pakistan, particular in Balochistan. In this respect, Indian Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar, while using the Hindi phrase “kante se kanta nikalna’ (removing a thorn with a thorn) assertively said, on May 23, 2015, “We have to neutralise terrorists through terrorists only…why does my soldier have to do it…the issue could not be discussed beyond this…there are certain things that I obviously cannot discuss here.”
Indian External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj recognized, on June 1, this year that India strongly “opposes $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.”
In this respect, while addressing a ceremony during his Bangladesh tour, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi Modi openly admitted on June 7, this year that Indian forces helped Mukti Bahini to turn East Pakistan into Bangladesh. He elaborated that former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had played an active role in separating Bangladesh from Pakistan, and he had also come to Delhi in 1971 to participate in the Satyagraha Movement launched by Jana Sangh as a volunteer to garner support for the Mukti Bahini members.
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.
These blatant admissions by New Delhi endorsed that RAW has well-established its network in Afghanistan, and with the tactical assistance of some anti-Pakistan secret agencies, it is fully backing cross-border incursions and terror-activities particularly in Balochistan so as to destabilize Pakistan. It has continuously been assisting the Baloch separatist elements and anti-Pakistan groups like BLA, Jundullah and TTP including their affiliated outfits with logistic support—the militants kidnapped and killed many innocent people and the security personnel in the province through suicide attacks, bomb blasts, targeted killings and sectarian violence. They also abducted and killed many Chinese and Iranian nationals. Therefore, they are responsible for dumped bodies and extrajudicial killings and the missing persons in the province. On a number of occasions, these insurgent groups claimed responsibility for their acts of sabotage, but India and some external powers have been shifting the blame game of human rights violations in Balochistan towards Pak Army.
In this context, these entities continue a deliberate propaganda campaign against Pakistan Army by always making Army role controversial. They indicate that Punjabi Army never killed people in Punjab; carried out military operations in other provinces like Balochistan. Their main aim is to create resentment among the Baloch against Punjab and Army. In this connection, those who are building Sabeen Mehmood murder case as a campaign for Baloch rights are in fact more interested to demonize Army and ISI rather than helping the poor masses of Balochistan.
Whereas Army has not only been successful in uprooting the anti-state elements, but also contributed a lot in socio-economic development of Balochistan. It is mentionable that besides protecting mega projects, and promoting other developments works, Pak Army set up a number of institutes in Balochistan, which have been providing especially technical training to thousands of Balochis. Pak Army has also been imparting military training to the Baloch youth. The purpose is to bring them in the mainstream of the country.
As a result of the general elections 2013, the government led by a nationalist leader Chief Minister Balochistan Dr Abdul Malik Baloch was established. And on December 7, 2013; local bodies elections were largely held in a peaceful manner in Balochistan. The successful elections have greatly negated the cause of terrorist groups, who always claim to enjoy the majority support. These elections also proved that majority of the Baloch are loyal to the federation, as they have rejected the case of separatists, being projected by India and other major countries.
And a Gallup survey of the UK official body, DFID, conducted on July 20, 2012 had disclosed that the vast majority of the Baloch people oppose the idea of an independent Balochistan.
It is notable that CPEC is to be economic game changer in whole the region, which is badly hit by below average living conditions, while people of Balochistan would be the main beneficiaries of the CEPC project. Two decades down the timeline, Gwadar would be a thriving metropolitan providing economic opportunities to the youth of Balochistan.
But, RAW University New Delhi is continuously conducting research and destabilizing the region through its political and terrorist assets located in UK, Sweden, Karachi, Balochistan and Afghanistan.
It is mentionable that with the inception of new political governments both at the center and the province, a meaningful negotiation with all the armed separatist groups have been initiated by a high level reconciliation and negotiation committee, comprising seasoned Baloch, Pashtoon and Sindhi leaders to initiate dialogue with Baloch separatists.
Open offers to negotiate issues have been made to armed Baloch groups who have owned the responsibility to kill many innocent persons. On the instruction of New Delhi and some foreign anti-Pakistan entities, these groups continue to deny such offers on various reasons.
In this connection, as part of propaganda, all these anti-Pakistan entities are linking Balochistan with dismemberment of East Pakistan and Kashmir struggle which is nothing, but a deliberate effort to twist the facts. The Kashmir liberation movement is a rightful struggle and is the UN stature—unresolved agenda item. Likewise, the separation of East Pakistan was not based purely on indigenous movement or the policies of West Pakistan; it was in fact India who exploited the situation by promoting militancy in East Pakistan, and then militarily occupied it to install government of their choice. The involvement of RAW in Balochistan is the continuation of the same Indian policy to cause maximum damage to Pakistan.
As matter of fact, during its operations, natural calamities and humanitarian services, Pak Army never discriminated between Punjabis and non-Punjabis. It was due to uncontrolled violent events in Sindh, Balochistan and FATA that Army was compelled to conduct military operations, but with the public support of every segment of society including provincial and local people of those areas.
Nonetheless, our media entities must indicate that terrorists, operating in Balochistan are against Pakistan and pursuing the agenda of the vested interests of their foreign masters, especially pointing out Indian support to Baloch separatists.
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