Fissures in Balochistan
Tribalism is firmly rooted in Balochistan, as ethnic and tribal identity is a potent force for both individuals and groups in Balochistan with the result that there exists deep polarization among different groups. Each of these groups is based on different rules of social organization, which has left the province inexorably fragmented.
Majority of sardars whether pro-Pakistan or dissidents are vying with each other to have lion’s share out of enormous resources of Balochistan. Apart from political parties, many militant groups have emerged and developed linkages with other sectarian outfits and alien agencies of other countries that have rivaling eyes on the resources of Balochistan. Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), Balochistan Republican Army, Balochistan Waja Liberation Army and United Baloch Army are separatist organizations. But personal rifts and jealousies have led to fissures and cracks in Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) and United Balochistan Army (UBA).
Harbyar’s lust for power and desire to exercise absolute control over BLA to project himself as the absolute leader of BLA, and Zarman having established his own militant outfit – UBA, arguably with the blessings of Khair Bakhsh Marri are at loggerheads. Differences are widening between the two outfits led by Marri brothers, and reportedly the cause of rift between them is over funds, weapons & ammunition. Mehran (Zarman) is brother-in-law of Brahamdagh Bugti and both enjoy close relationship, which has resulted in the joint militant activities of UBA and BRA.
On the other hand there is a trust deficit between Brahamdagh Bugti and Harbyar Marri over Rs. 60 million, which Harbyar reneged. Instead of resolving this issue with other Baloch sub-nationalist leaders including his father Khair Bux Marri and his brother Zarman Marri, Harbiyar Marri reportedly relies on the counsel of Ferrari commanders working under him.
At this point in time, when election commission is all geared up to hold elections, president Pervez Musharraf and Sardar Akhtar Mengal have arrived in Pakistan arguably under an insidious plan to destabilize Balochistan. Pervez Musharraf’s arrival has provoked the Baloch dissidents. Already, a protest was staged in London by a dozen Baloch youth joined by scores of Indians demanding the arrest and trial of Pervez Musharraf.
On arrival in Pakistan, Sardar Akhtar Mengal to a question by a reporter said that “if Kashmiris could talk about self-determination then why people of Balochistan could not do so”. Mengal conveniently forgot that Kashmir was an unfinished agenda of the partition, and United Nations Security Council in its resolution of 1949 gave the people of Kashmir the right to join India or Pakistan through a plebiscite to be held under the aegis of the UN. It appears that efforts are being made to fuel the insurgency and create conditions that could warrant taking the matter to the UN, as they did in case of Libya and Syria.
In fact, after concluding the deal with Iran for IP gas pipeline, especially after the ground-breaking ceremony by President Asif Zardari and President Ahmadinejad, and handing over the operations of Gawadar to China, the US, the West and India have been unnerved, and are taking steps to sabotage the both deals.
Efforts by detractors of Pakistan were afoot for a long time to stir turmoil in Balochistan. In February 2012, US Congressman Dana Rohrabacher had introduced a resolution in the US House of Representatives calling upon Pakistan to recognize the Baloch right to self determination.
The motion was co-sponsored by House Representatives Louie Gohmert and Steve King. In a definitive spin to the current tension, the resolution asserted that “the people of Balochistan that are “currently divided between Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan, have the right to self-determination and to their own sovereign country.”
At the same time, Eileen Donahoe, U.S. Representative to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, expressed serious concern over, what she called, Pakistan’s violent response to separatists in Balochistan Province. She alleged: “Security squads in the province, under their kill-and-dispose of policy, have been targeting proponents of civic rights, local activists and their families, journalists, political workers and student leaders, as a result the Baloch society has been alienated and chances of peace there have been shrinking”.
There is a widespread perception that America’s CIA, Britain’s MI-6, India’s RAW, Israel’s Mossad, NDS and RAAM of Afghanistan are active in Balochistan. India’s RAW operates from its consulates in Afghanistan’s provinces bordering Pakistan. Efforts are also being made to denigrate Pak military with a view to paving the way for implementing their agenda for destabilizing and denuclearizing Pakistan.
Six months ago when Sardar Akhtar Mengal had come to Pakistan, Brahamdagh Bugti, Harbyar Marri and Suleiman Daood in exile in Geneva and London respectively along with other hard-line Baloch nationalist leaders were quite vexed and viewed it as a sellout to the government, and a blow to their separatist agenda. Anyhow, Sardar Akhtar Mengal had appeared in the Supreme Court and let loose a barrage of accusations before a three-member-bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. His recommendations presented in the court were: “All covert and overt military operations against the Baloch should immediately be suspended; all missing persons should be produced before a court of law; all proxy death squads operating under the supervision of ISI and MI should be disbanded and persons responsible for inhuman torture, killing and dumping of dead bodies of Baloch political leaders and activists should be brought to justice”.
Akhtar Mengal had decried killings of Baloch and Hazaras but did not make a mention of the target killings of Punjabis and Pakhtuns in Balochistan. Some political leaders and Pakistani media are mollycoddling the dissidents who openly talk about disintegration of Pakistan.
Akhtar Mengal should persuade his militants to stop and cease all terrorist training camps being run in Afghanistan; stop asking support from foreign countries and secret agencies for independent Balochistan; stop the target killings of Punjabis, Pathans, and Mohajirs; all rich Sardars should share their wealth with the common Baloch; stop sabotaging any development activity in Balochistan; and bring to justice all the terrorists who were involved in the target killing of settlers.
We hear a lot from human rights organizations who express sympathy with the insurgents, centrifugal forces and nationalists. But nobody mourns over the target killings of innocent citizens like teachers, professors, doctors and even skilled and semi-skilled workers coming from other provinces.