Balochistan News Letter – June 2013
This is a brief Talk of the Town Report compiled for those interested in Balochistan. Significant developments are listed hereunder.
By Usman Khalid
Brahamdagh Bugti in Geneva, Harbiar Marri in London and Akhter Mengel in Wadh (Baluchistan) implement the strategy of their sponsors orchestrated with finnese and underpinned by betrayal and duplicity
Post Election Developments- Formation of New Government, 1- June. The newly elected MPAs were sworn in on Ist June. 20 MPAs, in a House of 65, had never before been its members. The party position is: PML(N) 16, PKMAP 14, NP 11, JUI(F) 8, PML(Q) 5 and one each of Jamot Qaumi Movement, Majlis Wahdat-ul-Muslimeen. Akhtar Mengal’s BNP(M)’s three members did not take the oath citing rigging in Election as the reason. Sadiq Umrani of PPP also alleged ‘a conspiracy’ was responsible for the defeat of his party. Nawaz Sharif was given the mandate by all three sizeable Parties, PKMAP, NP and PML(N) to nominate the CM. The numbers suggested that PML(N) President Sanaullah Zehri might become the CM. However, given the aggressive stance taken against ‘sub-nationalist Baloch/Brahui Parties, Mian Nawaz Sharif Dr. Abdul Malik as CM who is a Baloch hailing from Mekran. The new CM is from NP who was elected unopposed. He took oath on 9 June, as the 14th CM. He is neither a Sardar nor does he have political background linking his father and family. He has been in politics since student days and is looked upon as a balanced but not assertive person. Jan Jamali of PML(N) was elected as Speaker and took oath on 3 June. Many MPAs addressed the PA in regional languages which was objected by Deputy Speaker. On 13 June, Muhammad Khan Achakzai, elder brother of Mahmud Khan Achakzai, and nominee of PKMAP, took oath as 22nd Governor of Balochistan. It’s after 5 years that a Pashtun has become the Governor.
Law and Order Situation, 1- 8 June. On 1 June FC arrested 4 persons from Zhob area recovering a huge quantity of arms and explosives. A man was killed on Sariab Road, Quetta by unknown persons riding a motorcycle. Two men were killed in the same area on 2 June and one was wounded by gunfire the next day. FC Commander at Dera Bugti announced that in all some 700 militants had laid down arms there in response to the government’s offer on amnesty. Three rockets were fired in Sohbatpur area with no loss. FC carried out operation against militants in Turbat area and two were killed. Electricity pylon was blown up in Rakhni area close to the area of Marri tribe. A car laden with explosives was hauled up by FC on 4 June. The same day, two FC men were killed in Noshki by militants. NP Vice President Hasil Bizenjo demanded that forced disappearances and mutilated bodies of Baloch/Brahuis must stop. Tehsildar and his Deputy were kidnapped from Dera Allah Yar. FC carried out a search operation in the suburbs of Quetta on a tip off. In an exchange of fire with terrorists belonging to LeJ, five, including a woman and a child were killed and several men from Police and FC were wounded. Police arrested an unsuccessful candidate in recent Election who led a gang of 22 persons and recovered kidnapped persons from his custody on 7 June. Akhtar Mengal blamed ‘conspiracy by intelligence agencies’ for the prevailing lawlessness.
Law and Order Situation, 9-15 June. In Quetta, a grenade was thrown at a car showroom injuring two and a dead body was found in Kharotabad area. In another shooting, two persons were killed on Thana Road. Militants fired at FC convoy near Panjgur. In retaliatory fire one militant was killed. 7 soldiers of FC were wounded in a bomb explosion when their vehicle was passing near Mastung. A trader’s son was kidnapped from Quetta. Another man was killed near Panjgur in a shootout between FC and militants. Two BNP(M) workers were killed in separate incidents by gunmen in Khuzdar. The Party said its workers were being killed systematically. On 12 June a man was killed by unknown militants near Jaffarabad while two more were killed near Bhag. One person each was killed in Quetta and Dhadar area by unknown gunmen on 14 June. Three men belonging to Pishin were killed near Afghan border when they hit a landmine and one man was killed near Jaffarabad in a similar incident.
Law and Order Situation, 15-20 June. Quaid’s Residency in Ziarat, some 130 years old iconic symbol of Balochistan was destroyed by explosives and fire during the night 15/16 June. Baluchistan Liberation Army (BLA) a Baloch/Brahui insurgent group sponsored by CIA and RAW, accepted responsibility. A policeman was also shot dead by the raiders.. By midday on 16 June, another bomb was exploded by a suicide female bomber belonging to LeJ in the bus of Women University in Quetta. When the wounded were taken to Bolan Medical College, another suicide bomber exploded himself in the Casualty Ward. Three more militants kept firing on law enforcing agencies. By the evening when peace was established, 29 persons had been killed including four young girls of the University, Deputy Commissioner of Quetta, his assistant, five doctors and nurses, 4 FC personnel and some pedestrians. The University was closed for a week. Federal Interior and Information Ministers visited the next day and were quick to blame the security agencies. The Interior Minister severally criticized security agencies and just stopped short of blaming them for the incidents. However, he did not condemn the militants and did not mention even in passing the foreign conspiracies. He also promised to rebuild the Residency in 3 months. Two persons were killed near Kalat in an explosion. A dead body was found near Chaman. Three Magsi elders on their way to Quetta to receive the dead body of University girl student were kidnapped. On 20 June, Islamabad HC judge – Shoukat Aziz Siddique – declared the Amnesty Scheme for smuggled vehicles in Balochistan to be unlawful. This was noisily protested by thousands of affected people who blamed the Federal Government to have made them pay billions and then cancel the Amnesty. MPAs have asked the CM to plead the case. A NATO container travelling to Karachi was fired at and damaged by militants near Mastung, another was burnt near Kalat. A grenade was thrown at a house in Mach injuring a woman.
Balochistan’s Budget, 20-27 June. The CM presented the Budget. While the total income generation of the province is estimated at Rs.6.4 billion, the budget is pegged at Rs.198.4 billion with Rs.43.9 billion for development and Rs. 35 billion for education. The deficit is expected to be met by the Federal Government. While there is a gross deficiency of teachers in all institutions all over the province, another 300 new schools are optimistically planned to be opened while the same number will be upgraded. Interestingly, JUIF walked out from PA in protest. They never protested while they were in power since 1972, especially during the previous regime of PPP when anarchy was being allowed to spread and billions were being taken away by MPAs, JUI(F) included. The Budget was passed without any amendment on 27 June.
Balochistan Politics, 20-30 June. The CM invited Baloch/Brahui armed groups for dialogue, and abolished discretionary and secret funds. He declared maintenance of law and order and removal of corruption as his top priorities and considered ‘general amnesty’ against the temperament of Baloch/Brahui. He also blamed bad governance and corruption on the last government which has brought Balochistan to its present state. On 25 June, PKMAP suspended MPA Nawab Ayaz Jogizai’s basic membership without announcing the reason. PM’s announcement for trial of former President Musharraf has been received by mixed feelings. The politicians mostly hailed it as a ‘great step’, most common people are indifferent. However, most people considered the rule by President Musharraf to be far better than what has followed during the past five years of Democracy. The Defence Counsel of ex-President and some opposition parties, notably the MQM, demand the trial of former President for his action on 12 October 1999, which they hope would incriminate the CJ Iftikhar Chudhary. The CM has started bringing about some administrative improvement by ordering attendance of doctors in hospitals and removal of encroachments in Quetta. Anti-encroachment operation has also been started in Quetta with the help of Police. However, the pace is too slow and half-hearted.
Law and Order, 21-26 June. A man abducted from Quetta was recovered by FC from Dalbandin area. A bomb exploded in Dera Murad Jamali. A suicide bomber carrying a bomb got killed when it detonated near Muslim Bagh. FC post was attacked near Duki by Marri militants. Six terrorists were killed near Dera Bugti in exchange of fire with FC. Near Washak, a small village in the middle of province, militants fired at Levies and killed the driver. Two men were killed by militant in Quetta in Satellite Town area. FC recovered huge quantity of explosives and weapons from a truck near Quetta coming from Chaman. A grenade was thrown at a Punjabi official’s residence but no damage was done. A bomb exploded near Dera Murad Jamali with no loss of life. The CM suspended DC and DPO of Ziarat and asked all to be vigilant. Near Awaran, a roadside bomb exploded on 26 June, killing one official of FC and wounding several. Three Czech ladies travelling to Iran were kidnapped, possibly by TTP. A dead body was found from the suburbs of Quetta.
Law and Order, 27-30 June. A suicide bomber exploded accidently killing him and another passerby near Kuchlak. A teacher was killed near Sariab by unknown gunmen. A dead body was recovered by the Police from Sariab area and two oil tankers were set on fire near Mastung. A man died in a mine blast near Sohbatpur. The CM formed a tribal Jirga of local elders to settle the ongoing bloody feud between Akhtar Mengal and Shafiq Mengal in Khuzdar area. Shafiq Mengal son of former federal minister Nasir Mengal is pro-Pakistan and Akhtar Mengal is the son of Attaullah Mengal and brother of insurgent Javed Mengal. Their feud is seen as a fight between pro and anti-Pakistan forces of Mengal tribe. Two men were killed in Kharan. Three dead bodies were found dumped near a graveyard in Quetta. On 30 June, a suicide bomber struck at Shia Hazara colony in the evening killing 28 and injuring over 80. This is the second major attack in a month in Quetta on Shia Hazaras. The 28 hours long road block near Khuzdar at Wadh on RCD Highway, home town of Akhtar Mengal, resulted in two children dying due to heat stroke. Later, unknown gunmen fired at stationery buses, killing three including a driver. This resulted in transport strike and agitation in Quetta. Akhtar Mengal’s BNP(M) was quick to blame FC and “death-squads” of Shafiq Mengal for the killings although the blockade was carried out in his own hometown.
The pre-election peace which was the result primarily of the presence of Army in Baloch/Brahui areas, was shattered almost immediately as the Army withdrew to cantonments after the elections. While the crime had continued without any reduction, insurgency and sectarian killings have returned with a vengeance. It has now become difficult to separate crime from insurgency and militancy. Indeed, sectarian killings, militancy, insurgency and crime seem to be orchestrated by the same masterminds who choose the target and the time with planning not only provincial but also national level.
After the Ziarat attack and bombing of Women’s University, the Interior Minister Choudhary Nisar was quick to condemn the security and intelligence agencies, rather than condemning ‘BLA’ and LeJ. Similarly, the determination of the federal government to ‘negotiate with the TTP’ has only encouraged the militants. A counter insurgency policy for Balochistan is not even being discussed. The focus seems to be on reviling the Army whether through ministerial outbursts or eagerness to carry out the trial of former President Musharraf. The judiciary also appears eager to settle scores.
In Afghanistan, where even wedding parties are attacked by US jets killing women and children, no one believes that Baloch/Brahui insurgent’s camp and movement goes unnoticed by Us Drones. Therefore, deep resentment and hatred is brewing against America among patriotic Pakistanis. The insurgents in Balochistan seem to have received fresh instructions to intensify attacks from their sponsors – the CIA, India, and President Karzai.
Destruction of Quaid’s Residency at Ziarat was felt like a physical blow by most Pakistanis; the Pashtun especially felt very hurt. There are apprehensions that anti-Pakistan professionals are selecting such soft targets which are highly vulnerable and capable of creating psychological effects. Rather than trying to protect every soft target, the source must be attacked and destroyed by military force. Talk of ‘negotiations’ encourages insurgents.
The responsibility for attack on Ziarat was claimed by ‘the BLA’. However, it , it is believed that it was helped locally by the General Secretary of PKMAP, Akram Shah – a Pashtun, who gave them asylum in Shahrig, some 25 km south. This is the first known connivance of a Pashtun with militant Baloch/Brahuis. PKMAP therefore, ought to be kept under observation. Insurgency has now spread to Western Balochistan. Due to continuous absence of the writ of government, even the Pashtun areas which had always remained peaceful and safe, are now witnessing growing crime. However, most of the perpetrators are from FATA and Afghanistan. Their movement ought to be watched.
It is an open secret that the insurgency in Balochistan was fomented mainly by the USA and India as their strategic goals coincided. The UK and Afghan President Karzai co-operated being subservient. This fine tuned insurgency has thus continued due to foreign support for the past 7-8 years. The US has even increased diplomatic anti-Pakistan activities by presenting separatists in UN and allowing them to talk against Pakistan’s solidarity. Besides, their long-term plan is to destabilize Pakistan to coerce it to get favourable support for the impending drawdown of NATO/US forces from Afghanistan in 2014.
To bring peace to the province, the holding election is not enough. A CM from NP, who is a pacifist, non-sardar and has no experience of administration (other than being Education Minister once) or management of violence. Regardless of how well meaning he is, he just cannot enforce peace in Balochistan. But the election of Dr. Malik and acceptance by most without horse-trading and the bribes is a positive outcome of election. His slow but surely visible administrative actions are promising. However, he does not appear to be able to take difficult decisions, especially against insurgents and militants. So far, the multi ethnic/racial PA is staying loyal to CM without open bribes. However, Akhtar Mengal claims his ‘crown’ was taken away by Establishment’s rigging. He has already started agitation, shooting at buses, blocking RCD highway astride his hometown of Wadh and blaming the dead on FC. Unless it is checked forcefully, it will only spread to other areas with the help of foreign powers. His links with insurgents sitting abroad, his brother included, must be watched.
For the first time in the 42 years’ parliamentary history of Balochistan, JUI(F) is out of power. They are now practicing ‘walkouts’. Cracks have started appearing in PKMAP who’s most prominent MPA Nawab Ayaz Jogizai has been ousted from the party, allegedly because Mahmud Khan Achakzai appointed his own brother as the Governor rather than Nawab Jogizai who was hopeful and who protested.
The CM of Balochistan, who begins to look at life out of power becomes a weak head of government thinking of returning to turbulent tribal environment without state protection. It is the PM, therefore, who must formulate a counter insurgency policy, seeking advice from the Armed Forces who have to implement that policy. The urge for Army bashing must be resisted if peace has to be restored and stability ensured.
Shooting down a few hired guns, defusing a few IEDs, confiscating a few caches of smuggled arms may impose caution but will certainly not bring peace. Check posts, placing guards here and there is a passive watch and ward activity; it is incapable of countering insurgency sponsored by a cartel of multiple-foreign-states.
The Counter Insurgency Policy must deal with all those supporting the insurgency – directly or indirectly. This includes ethnic nationalists as well as sectarian lobbies that justify attacks on civil or military personnel as “reaction” to one action or another of the government to justify targeted assassinations or indiscriminate bombing. The media is playing an active role to glorify insurgents and discredit the military. The Government spokesmen are often found to wanting on TV screens because they are invariably pitted against persons chosen for their ability to use strong language – even vile abuse. What is needed is media blitz, underlining socio-economic projects and reaching out to pro-Pakistan elders of the three militant tribes – Marri, Bugti and Mengal – who are not militants. Ultimately, it would be necessary to destroy the hide outs and training camps, close channels of funding and logistics, eliminate leaders of insurgents living in Baluchistan or abroad and establishment of military courts to ensure deterrence of criminals and co-operation of fence-sitters. The politicians and militants alike have been accusing the government of carrying out ‘Operations’ in Balochistan. Let those begin in real earnest.
The new Federal Administration must realise and admit that a 4th Generation war has been waged on Pakistan by powerful foreign powers using the media, and six to seven young men from three disgruntled tribes of Balochistan. Zardari-Yousaf-Raisani purposefully allowed the nexus to progress by calculated apathy and inaction. The backbone of the insurgency in Balochistan has been broken; but It may revive if force is held back to quell the insurgency and resorting instead to appeasement and offer of talks to traitors living on foreign dole. If the Government appears weak in standing by friends and patriots or in dealing with insurgents with force, the criminal elements from all over the region would join in to multiply the force of rebellion. ++.