Why Continuous Focus on Balochistan?
Although external elements have been creating unrest in various provinces of Pakistan through bomb blasts, suicide attacks, abductions, target killings, ethnic and sectarian
violence, yet situation in the province of Balochistan has deteriorated where these sinister activities have intensified. In this regard, the civil government and the Supreme Court of Pakistan have continuously been focusing on Balochistan in order to redress the grievances of the Baloch people, while paying attention on the missing persons.
On May 29, this year, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani chaired a high-level meeting about missing persons and law and order situation in Balochistan. Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani who also attended the meeting said that Army backs political solution to Balochistan, and assured full cooperation of the armed forces and Frontier Corps (FC) in relation to the missing persons. He elaborated, “not a single solider of army is involved in any military operation in the province.” However, it was decided to form a six-member steering committee to look into the growing incidents of forced disappearances in Balochistan.
During his recent visit to Balochistan, Prime Minister Gilani said that the government has opened engagement with Baloch leadership for maintenance of peace and resolution of the grievances of the people, and hopes to mainstream them in national politics. He pointed out on June 3 that they only needed opportunities by stating, “On the demand of the Balochistan government, we increased their share in the 7th National Finance Commission Award (NFC) to Rs. 120 billion from Rs. 40 billion, gave provincial autonomy under the 18th Amendment in the constitution, initiated Aghaz-e-Haqooq-e-Balochistan through which thousands of jobless youth were given jobs, and took practical steps for empowering the people of Balochistan on their resources.”
Gilani remarked that he has instructed the Balochistan chief secretary to identify 35,000 graduates of Balochistan who will be given jobs—1,500 jobs of Federal Levies Force have already been provided to Balochistan, while 1,500 more would be sanctioned for the Baloch youth. The prime minister further pointed out that the federal government has allocated Rs. 6 billion for scholarships to Baloch youth and created opportunities for them to get education in prime institutes of the country.
On October 11, last year, while addressing, the passing-out parade in Quetta, Prime Minister Gilani appreciated various efforts of the Pak Army in alleviating the people of Balochistan for ensuring best possible training to bring the youth into the national mainstream.
In fact, Pak Army set up a number of schools, colleges and institutes of technical training so as to provide thousands of Balochis with job opportunities, and to eliminate their sense of deprivation.
On the other hand, the Supreme Court was informed by the Attorney General of Pakistan Irfan Qadir on June 4 that a committee of law enforcement agencies was formed for the issues of Balochistan including the matter of missing persons. He also said that another committee was constituted to negotiate with political leaders. During the hearing, Justice Jawwad S Khawaja observed that it was a serious matter, if international agencies were defaming the FC, and urged the organisation to expose their conspiracies.
It is worth-mentioning that on June 2, FC Inspector General Maj-Gen. Obaidullah Khan Khattak informed the media that millions of rupees were being spent to spread unrest in Balochistan, adding that over 30 militant training camps had been set up across the border in Afghanistan to launch terrorist and anti-state activities in Balochistan. He revealed that teachers, doctors and many civilians have fallen prey to targeted killings—over 100,000 people had migrated from the province due to worsening law and order and about 550 incidents of terrorism have taken place in the province so far this year of which several separatist groups have claimed responsibilities. He disclosed that foreign powers had their eyes on the province as part of a well-planned conspiracy, hatched for propaganda against the FC and intelligence agencies. He explained that during the last three months, FC posts were attacked in which several soldiers lost their lives. He also said, “FC has been fighting to give normal life to people and ensure security of development projects, main highways, dams, mines and oil and gas installations.”
In fact, the agents of American CIA, Indian RAW and Israeli Mosssad are well-penetrated in the foreign and Pakistani media, various NGOs and human rights organisations which are being used for vile propaganda against Pak Army and intelligence agencies, especially Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in connection with the disappeared people. In this context, rallies are being organized intermittently by Baloch human rights groups in UK and USA, which raise false allegations such as inhuman torture and extrajudicial murder of the Baloch intellectuals by the Pakistani army and ISI.
Reality behind the human rights violations and the disappeared people in Balochistan is that a number of these persons have gone to Afghanistan and India. Some of them were murdered by foreign secret agencies in order to implicate Pak Army and ISI. Even Balach Marri was killed in Afghanistan. Notably, since 2001, a majority of Pakistanis also left for Afghanistan for Jehad purposes, without informing their families, while many Balochis also joined the Jahadi groups. Most of the people were abducted by the miscreants in Balochistan, and then taken to Afghanistan for ransom. In this respect, Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) and another group, Jundollah (God’s soldiers) which have been fighting for secession of the province gets logistic support from CIA and RAW. Their militants kidnapped and killed many innocent people. Many persons in Balochistan have also been killed in bomb blasts and suicide attacks. On a number of occasions, BLA, Jundollah and other separatist groups claimed responsibility for these criminal activities. Besides, disappeared individuals are also in the detention centres (Farrari Camps) which are being run by Baloch feudal lords (Sardars). With the support of US-led India and Israel, these Sardars are fighting for their so-called prestige, status and influence, and want to continue old system of feudalism in the province.
It is mentionable that on February 8, 2012, the hearing of the US Congress Committee on Foreign Affairs, chaired by Dana Rohrabacher discussed target killings and human rights violations in Balochistan, blaming Pakistan’s security agencies. He also favoured an independent Balochistan. It has exposed US support to the Baloch separatists who are responsible for missing persons.
Nevertheless, the case of missing persons of Balochistan is part of secret strategic game against Pakistan. Particularly, Balochistan’s geo-strategic location with Gwadar seaport, connecting rest of the world with Central Asia has irked the eyes of America and India because China has already invested billion of dollars to develop this seaport. However, it is due to multiple strategic designs that the US which signed a nuclear deal with India in 2008, seeks to control Balochistan in containing China and subduing Iran. This is also owing to the mineral resources of Balochistan—especially gold and copper that US-led India and Israel have accelerated their subversive acts in Balochistan.
It is notable that in August, 2011, US ambassador to Pakistan, Cameron Munter had requested Pakistan government for opening a US consulate in Balochistan. But knowing the real intentions of America, Islamabad had flatly rejected the offer.
This is regrettable that without taking cognisance of the facts, some leaders of political parties, particularly of PML-N have always accused Pak Army and superior agency, ISI for the disappeared persons, while focusing on Balochistan. The main aim of these political elements is to increase their vote bank by misguiding the general masses.
So, it is our misfortune that instead of stating real facts, our own media, so-called NGOs, human rights groups and some political elements spread disinformation about the missing persons of Balochistan, accusing country’s key security institutions by further strengthening the hands of the US, India and Israel which want to ‘destabilise’, ‘denuclearise’ and disintegrate Paksitan.
Notably, on June 2011, a two-member bench of the Supreme Court headed by the former Justice Javed Iqbal had remarked that NGOs exaggerated figures of missing persons, but failed to provide details about them. He elaborated that these NGOs were just spreading sensationalism. Observing the critical situation, Justice Javed Iqbal decided to visit Balochistan. Recently, he again repeated his views.
Nonetheless, it is due to anti-Pakistan external elements that they seek to keep deteriorated situation of Balochistan in limelight through their propaganda. While some of our internal entities have also created the ‘stereotypes’ among the general masses about Pak Army and ISI by continuously focusing on Balochistan regarding the aggravated law and order situation including the missing persons.
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