Fight against faceless enemy
According to a report carried by national English daily, the Supreme Court was informed that the armed forces and intelligence agencies were feeling frustrated by disparaging remarks being made about their performance although they were in the frontline fighting the militants in the strife-torn province in Balochistan. Advocate Shahid Hamid, the counsel for Balochistan after attending a high level meeting presided by Governor of Balochistan and attended by federal law enforcement agencies said: “They are virtually at war with a faceless enemy but their efforts are not being recognized by the press”. The meeting, he said had identified at least 88 Farari camps in the province and about 38 in border areas being run by banned outfits, reportedly backed by India’s RAW. On 28th December 2012, while addressing the 98th Midshipmen Commissioning term and 7th SSC Officers class, COAS Ashfaq Parvez Kayani had said, “Today, we are pitched against an amorphous enemy when the conventional threat has also grown manifold.”
Balochistan is in the throes of violence where terrorists continue killing innocent citizens. On Saturday, more than 85 people including men, women and children were killed and at least 200 wounded when a large explosion shook Quetta, the capital of restive Balochistan province. The explosion occurred near a market at the busy Kirani road area of the city, located near Hazara Town, where a large population of the ethnic Hazaras community resides. The Majlis-i-Wahdat-i-Muslimeen observed a strike in Quetta on Sunday in protest of Saturday’s blast. On 10th January 2012, at least 93 people were killed in a series of bombing, and a majority of the people killed in the Alamdar Road blasts on 10th January belonged to the Hazara Shia community. It was Pakistan’s worst sectarian attack, claimed by the banned Lashkar-i-Jhangvi. The fact of the matter is that Balochistan - the mineral-rich and strategically-located province - is very much in the rivaling international eyes, with world powers and regional countries eyeing it avariciously to push it into their own orbits of influence and domination.
According to political and defence analysts, the US, Russia, India are widening the ethnic and sectarian schisms in Balochistan and FATA. For quite some time, government functionaries have also been telling the nation that there is foreign hand behind the unrest in Balochistan, but they never name the country or agencies involved in destabilization of this province. Last year, Inspector-General (IG) Frontier Corps (FC) Major General Ubaidullah Khan told the media on last Saturday “that 20 agencies are active in Balochistan; around 121 insurgent training camps are in Balochistan and 30 in Afghanistan contributing to unrest in the province”. He claimed that the camps are being operated by Harbiyar Marri, Brahamdagh Bugti, Allah Nazar and Javed Mengal, and running concerted campaigns to defame state institutions. Brahamdagh Bugti is the leader of Balochistan Republican Party (BRP) and Harbiyar Marri of Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) – both are accused of fueling insurgency in the violence-plagued province. Since army is busy fighting the TTP militants in FATA, the centrifugal forces in Balochistan try to take advantage of the situation. Baloch dissidents had taken to the mountains in 1973, as they believed that after disintegration of East Pakistan military was demoralized.
Nevertheless, 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. Tribal group-ism has failed to integrate the state and enforce a national identity. But those who have not weaned of the poison of sham nationalism should take a look at the history of the Balkans, and the fate they met. Sardar Ataullah Mengal, in one of his interviews, said that America did not pay any attention adding that he would welcome if any country would help us to get freedom. Sardar Akhtar Mengal, Bugti and Marri sardars openly talk about disintegration of Pakistan.
The people of Balochistan have been waging struggle for their rights ever since the British left. There could have been justification for resistance when they were under strong center and unitary form of government in 1950s and 1960s. But once the One-Unit was done away with and complete provincial status was given to Balochistan, the struggle should have ended. In fact, there has been a sort of rebellion whenever there was an elected government. However, the long dormant crisis erupted into a brutal confrontation with the center in 1973 when late Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto had tried to establish educational institutions and construction of roads in Balochistan. The insurgency lasted for four years from 1973 to 1977, and it was after promulgation of Martial Law by Late General Zia-ul-Haq that sedition cases were withdrawn against Baloch sardars. However, sardars and feudal chiefs thrive even amid the centre’s injustices and the clashes between them and the security forces.
Whereas one would express sympathy with the people of Balochistan for having been neglected during British Raj, and also after independence by the federal and provincial governments for decades, but Baloch sardars are to blame in equal measure for the lack of development and the sad plight of Balochis. To blame Punjabis for their suffering and discrimination is travesty of the truth. Punjabi teachers and professors have been performing their duties in educational institutions in Balochistan, yet dozens of teachers and professors were killed by the Baloch Liberation Army, as claimed by the BLA after every gruesome incident. Dissident Baloch sardars should accept the offer for dialogue by the government, come to the negotiations’ table and participate in the forthcoming elections. Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry has emphasized the need for free, fair and impartial elections in Balochistan, and asked the government to provide a leveling field to them, as this is the only way to bring the dissident Baloch leaders into the mainstream politics.