Posted on | August 10, 2009 | 48 Comments
I had written a 16 pages long dissertation on Baloch problem with the banner: Balochistan: Cruces of History. Readers may like to read the same in this website. That piece was well appreciated by most intellectuals, my Baloch friends and even a few sensible Pakistani literati.
The recent attempt of Pakistan to internationalize its domestic failure all over the country, especially in FATA, NWFP and Balochistan has come as a shocker to many international Pakistani watchers. While the FATA and NWFP were vastly affected by the Taliban movement, growing influence of Al Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Lashkar al Zill etc Islamist militant outfits, the Baloch territory, barring certain pockets near Quetta remained free from Islamist, jihadist and Salafist aggrandizement. This goes to prove that in spite of efforts of Pakistan to turn Balochistan to Punjabistan by implanting huge Punjabi population, the legendary Baloch Sardars of Bugti and Marri and Mengel tribes and other aboriginal Baloch people remained steadfastly secular. Even the Hindu populations of Hingol (Hinglaz famous) have never felt persecuted. Minorities in other parts of Pakistan are under threat from Sunni aggrandizement. The recent incident of killing of several Christians in Punjab is a pointer. The Sindhi Hindus are treated as slaves by the Sindhi land and warlords. Contrary to this the Baloch people has maintained appreciable secular cool.
Baloch rebellion against Pakistan is as old as the contrived birth of the artificial homeland of Indian Muslims. These points have been explained in Part I of the series on Balochistan. Musharraf did the most disservice by killing Nawab Akbar Bugti on 26th August 2006 at a place near Kohlu. Though initially it was given out that his grandson Brahamdagh and Aali also died in the hands of Pakistan army, he survived and is now piloting the Baloch resistance from outside Pakistan; possibly from Afghan soil.
In 2006, 20-year-old Aali took shelter in the mountains along with his grandfather Akbar Bugti after a military operation was launched against them on December 17, 2005. Aali went into exile after his grandfather was killed in the military operation on August 26, 2006. He, along with his younger brother Talha Bugti, returned to Sui and was given a warm welcome. Later, a Bugti tribe jirga decided to choose Aali as the Bugtis’ new chief. According to the Bugti tribe’s tradition, the lords of the six branches of the tribe will preside over the ceremony (dastar bandi). Aali received his basic education from Karachi and then went to London for higher education. He married in the Nawab of Kallat’s family in London last year. Aali has been taking part in Balochistan’s politics for the last two years as president of the Jamhoori Watan Party.
Aali, younger to Brahamdagh, is the titular head of the Bugti tribes but the rebel Baloch forces working under the banner of Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) and the Balochistan Republican Army (BRA) is being directed by Brahamdagh and few other Marri and Mengel leaders.
It is necessary to understand that the BLA is not another Jihadi organisation. It represents the spirit of independence of the Baloch people in Pakistani Balochistan, which never wanted to be a part of Pakistan. This spirit has infected the Iranian Baloch people as well and the entire Baloch people dispersed in Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan to dream of a Greater Balochistan.
It is necessary to understand what the BLA is and what it stands for. First surfaced in 2000 the Balochistan Liberation Army, an armed militant Baloch nationalist group wants freedom for their territory both from Pakistan and Iran. The UK had declared the BLA as a terrorist organisation in 2006. The USA is yet to react on British queue.
Balach Marri son of Nawab Khair Baksh Marri of the Marri tribe is said to have initially organized the BLA. Some researchers give the credit to Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti of Dera Bugti. Balach was killed by Pakistan Army in November 2007, while he was in custody. The calculated elimination of Balach Marri by Pakistan Army was condemned by late Benazir Bhutto, and Pakistan Human Right Organisation. After Balach Marri’s and Akbar Bugti’s assassination the main leadership is now in the hands of Brahamdagh Bugti, and Marri brothers Harbyar, Ghazin and Zamran. The Bugti and Marri tribes were joined by the Mengel tribe in the liberation struggle. The minor tribes outside the Sardari system also follow the dictate of the BLA. Punjabis, however collaborate with the Pakistan authorities.
The BLA has an estimated strength of about 10000 active fighters, besides general tribal support to the esteemed Sardars of their respective tribes trying to establish an independent homeland. The fighting groups are organised into smaller guerrilla units of about 20-30, often organised in tribal lines and are deployed in the hill areas. They also operate in and around Quetta, Sui-Dera Bugti, Sui-Gwador, Qalat, Khazdar and Zhob etc areas. Armed with sophisticated weapons the BLA cadres are able to strike the Frontier Constabulary and Pakistan Army with precision and elements of surprise.
Pakistan alleges that initially the BLA was established in cooperation with the KGB and Indian RAW. It even alleges that RAW supports the BLA from Zahidan consulate in Iran and its consulates in Jalalabad and Mazar-e-Sharif. Debate with Pakistan on this issue would be infructuous. We would discuss this in later paragraphs. In fact, the BLA was started by Sardar Ataullah Khan Marri. After him Balach Marri had taken it over. However, the ISI assassinated him inside Afghanistan.
The Balochistan Republican Army (BRA) was started by Brahamdagh Bugti. Pakistan alleges that BRA was started by Indian RAW and it is now supported by Russia, Afghan government and India. The allegations have not been substantiated by Pakistan with any evidence. Recently the Karzai government has bunked all such wild allegations by Pakistan and denied existence of India training camp on Afghan soil. The USA and the NATO forces have also not substantiated such activities by the RAW against Pakistan from Afghan soil.
The Baloch cadres are given intensive military training and are exposed to sophisticated weapons and methodologies of Guerrilla warfare. Besides ideological orientation they are taught:
1.Baloch’s right of independence,
2.The Concept of Greater Balochistan,
3.Sabotage as a tool for political struggle,
4.Tyranny of Punjab and plight of oppressed nations,
5.Media-friendly methods of mass protest.
I have explained in Part I of the series (see this link) How Pakistan has settled Punjabis and Sindhis in Balochistan and how the major opportunities of employment are grabbed by them. Sui Gas provides 35% of Pakistan’s energy requirement. Even after prolonged negotiations Pakistan has failed to plough back the revenue from Sui Gas to the development works in Balochistan.
On the other hand, the ISI had in recent times encouraged the factions of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan to activate the Quetta urban areas and impose Sunni jingoism. Like Peshawar, Quetta was also heavily infected by the Talibanis under ISI guidance. Fortunately the ethnic Baloch had not fallen for the Taliban trap and remained steadfast in its anti-Punjabi and anti-Pakiistni exploitation campaign. The Baloch Grand Jirga had decided to resist the Talibanis and the Al Qaeda. But they were keen to pursue the agenda of independence. With such sentiments running high small cells of the BLA were established in the urban areas and incessant strikes against the Pakistani forces were carried out.
Following illustrative ad seriatim bullets only for 2008 would indicate the quantum of activities of the BLA and the BRA (Balochistan Republican Army):
-Baloch freedom fighters attacked Pakistani army convoy several killed and wounded 30.09.08
-Major operation in Dera Bugti, Zain koh, Naserabad and nearby areas, score’s of innocent Baloch arrested and killed, BRA claim to killed more than 2 dozen Pakistani soldiers 28.09.08
-Another Baloch women martyred by Pakistani security forces in Quetta 27.09.08
-Rocket attack and blast damaged the under construction cantonment in Kohlu 26.09.08
-Baloch Freedom fighters gunned down two police constables in Quetta 20.08.09
-Rocket attacks in Quetta 18.09.08
-BSO and Blaoch women panel protested against police firing in New Kahan. 17.09.08
-One killed and 26 injured including women and children in New Kahan (Marri Camp) Quetta by Pakistani terrorist forces 16.09.08
-Trial and terror By Peter Tatchell 12.09.08
-Baloch National army BLA, BRA, BLF announced for the suspension of their activities for unassigned period 02.09.08
-Pakistan burns prisoners alive (The Guardian) by Peter Tatchell 30.08.08
-Several attacks on Pakistani occupying forces in Balochistan on 2nd anniversary of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti
-Several Pakistani tanks entered in Dera Bugti, BRP 26.08.08
-Balochvoice team strongly condemn the attack on peaceful rally of BNF by Pakistani security forces in occupied Balochistan 26.08.08
-Anjuman Itehad Marri announced shutter down strike and black day on 26 August 25.08.08
-10 Pakistani army soldiers were killed in Dera Bugt 24.08.08
-4 Pakistani army soldiers were killed by an IED attack in Chamaling 23.08.08
-Five Pakistani army informers shot dead in Chattar area of Naseerabad 20.08.08
-We are fighting for Balochistan’s liberation, says Bramadagh Bugti 16.08.08
-Baloch national traitor Wadera Fazal Khan Bugti killed in Dera Bugti 15.08.08
-More Than 32 Attacks in 24 hours, Balochistan rocked during 14 august 15.08.08
-7 Pakistani army soldiers were killed in Kohistan Marri 14.08.08
-Three killed in Hub 14.08.08
-Scores of Pakistani army soldiers killed in Kohistan Marri and Dera Bugti, Gas pipeline blown up in Pirkoh 13.08.08
-18 Pakistani army soldiers killed and 30 injured in Dera Bugti 02.08.08
-Policeman killed in Quetta, bomb blasts in Gawadar 10.08.08
-Four Pro-government tribesmen were killed in Sibi, ISI informer killed in Turbat. 07.08.08
-Rocket attacks in Quetta was to deliver a message to Musharraf 06.07.08
-FC soldier gunned down in Quetta, Gas pipeline blown up in Dera Bugti 04.08.08
-A major gas pipeline blown up in Sui, FC soldiers injured in Khuzdar 03.08.08
-Two Policemen killed in Quetta, a major gas pipeline blown up in Sui 30.07.08
-Several attacks on occupying Pakistani forces by BLA 27.07.08
-Scores of Innocent Baloch were martyred during brutal bombardment by Pakistani Helicopters and fighter jets in Dera Bugti 27.07.08
-FC Commandant’s vehicle targeted with remote controlled bomb in Khuzdar 26.07.08
-Mastung blast a reminder to CM, says BLA 26.07.08
-Complete shutter down strike observed in Balochistan 26.07.08
-Three Coal trucks were blown up in Chamaling, Rocket attack on Quetta cantt. 24.07.08
-Chief engineer of construction company shot dead in Khuzdar 24.07.08
-Shutter-down strike in Balochistan on Friday 24.07.08
-Baloch prefer Balochistan’s sovereignty over Pakistan 23.07.08
-Clashes in various parts of Dera Bugti continue. Baloch freedom fighters shot down Pakistani army’s gunship Helicopter in Zain koh 23.07.08
-I salute to the Martyred of Uch, Says Brahimdugh Bugti 21.07.08
-power pylons blown up in Kohlu 21.07.08
-8 Punjabi-Pakistani army soldiers killed and several others wounded in Dera Bugti 21.05.08
-50 Pakistani soldiers killed in Dera Bugti
-Seven Pakistani army soldiers were killed in Kahan 18.07.08
-Scores of Pakistani army soldiers were killed in Dera Bugti, Gas pipeline blown up in Sui 17.07.08
-MI office attacked in Wadh 16.07.08
-Baloch nation observed Martyred day 16.07.08
-A main gas pipeline blown up in Dera Bugti 08.07.08
-A policeman killed in Khuzdar 07.07.08
-Three policemen killed in Kohlu, Gas pipeline blown up in Nasirabad 06.07.08
-Gas pipelines, power pylon blown up in Sui and Barkahan 05.07.08
-Six Punjabi-Pakistani soldiers were killed and scores wounded in Dera Bugti areas
-Four ISI informers and one police man were killed in Quetta 03.07.08
-Power pylon blown up in Quetta 02.07.08
-Baloch separatist graffiti surfaces on Karachi walls 02.07.08 (Source www.balochvoice.com)
-The Baloch Republican Army (BRA) killed five abducted officials including a station house officer (SHO) on Monday, and threatened to kill the remaining abducted persons if their demands were not met within 24 hours. The BRA threw the bodies on Jathhar Kelji Road. Spokesman for the BRA Sarfraz Baloch – talking to a private TV channel by satellite telephone – claimed responsibility for killing the officials including Dera Murad Jamali SHO Ahsanullah Khosa. The spokesman threatened that if the government did not release arrested Baloch leaders within 24 hours, the BRA would kill the remaining officials and laborers in their custody.
The officials and laborers were working on government projects in different areas of Dera Murad Jamali when they were abducted. (Daily Times 04.08.09).
This illustrative account would indicate that though not globally publicized as events in Swat and Waziri areas Pakistan is engaged in constant military actions in Balochistan.
The Baloch activists and Asian Human Rights Organisation on the other hand allege that Baloch students and ordinary Baloch activists are routinely picked up and tortured and killed by the Pakistan Army and the Frontier Constabulary. The ISI contingents in Balochistan are reported to have established over a dozen torture chambers to treat and obtain confessions from the Baloch activists. It is alleged by the BLA and BRA sources that about 500 Baloch youth have disappeared between 2008 and till date after they were picked by the Pakistani security forces and the ISI.
According to Asian Human Rights (July 26, 2009) Pakistani army and other forces are excruciatingly torturing the Baloch youths on slightest suspicion. The HR body has given many instances, but a couple of these only can be quoted for lack of space:
“An activist of the Baloch Student Organisation-BSO (Azaad), Mr. Sami Baloch, was abducted at midnight of July 19 and 20. He was returning home from a tuition center near the Satellite Town of Quetta. He was abducted by Frontier Constabulary, a Para- military force of the Pakistani Army. Mr. Sami Baloch is a M.A. student in Geology in Balochistan University and a member of the organizing body of BSO (Azaad) Balochistan University unit. His whereabouts are still unknown and it is feared that he is undergoing brutal torture in a Pakistani army camp.
In another case, Pakistani intelligence agencies allegedly abducted another Baloch resident. This occurred in front of the Huddah district jail in Quetta, the provincial capital, on the morning of July 16, 2009. According to information received from his family, Fazal Khan Marri, 25, went to visit one of his relatives in the Hudda jail. As he came out of the main gate of the prison, he was abducted by personnel from the Pakistani intelligence agencies in a jeep with no registration number. Fazal Khan Marri is a resident of New Kahan. He is a daily wage earner and the father of two children.
Mr.Fazal Baloch, 19, son of Sher Muhammad, a student at Bolan University in the Commerce Faculty was arrested on 3rd July 2009 by F.C from Luc Pas, Quetta. Fazal Baloch, a 19 year old resident of Proom village, Punjgur district, was traveling to Punjgur by bus. He also was a member of B.S.O Azaad. According to his father, after his son was arrested, he was tortured. His physical and mental condition remains very serious. After the torture he was admitted to the Civil Hospital for two days after which he was handed over to the Crime Branch of anti terrorist force (A.T.F.) from Quetta. This took place late at night. In the hospital he told to his relatives that he was forced to confess that India is funding Baloch Liberation Army (BLA).
Mr. Iqbal Baloch, 21, a student of Khuzdar College, Khuzdar district, was arrested by frontier constabulary (FC) on 18 July, 2009. His whereabouts are unknown. The district police are denying his arrest.
Nationalist groups and family members of the disappeared persons say that the Pakistani government is arresting students and young people with the aim to get confessions from them for alleged statements against India for its involvement in Balochistan’s insurgency. Pakistan has started blaming foreign influences in Balochistan since December of last year.”
According to Peter Tatchell (http://www.petertatchell.net/), a human rights activist, who keeps constant vigil on the Baloch situation, Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani had recently proclaimed that, “It has been decided that no army action will be carried out in the province until a strategy is formulated in consultation with representatives of the provincial government to deal with the issue of law and order in the province.” In spite of his promise the Pakistan Army continue to operate in Balochistan with Tanks, APCs, Helicopter gunships and air to ground missiles.
In view of continued Army operation and attempt of the Punjabi dominated government and army to settle more Punjabis in Balochistan have generated a feeling in Baloch minds that Pakistan wants to ‘introduce cultural change’ in Balochistan by encouraging the Sunni fundamentalists to root in interior areas. In 2008 a Baloch grand jirga (assembly) decided to petition the International Court of Justice at The Hague, in a bid to get Pakistan to honour its autonomy commitments under the 1948 Instruments of Accession. Although their legal case is strong, realpolitik may deny the Baloch the justice they deserve.
The easiest and most handy scapegoat that Pakistan invents every time its domestic cancers haunt it is the demon Hindu nation India. Right from Swat, Waziristan troubles generated by Tehrik-e-Taliban, Pakistan and out Taliban outfits to Lahore attack on Sri Lankan cricket team Pakistan invented the ghost of India and accused that India had funded the Talibans and Indian commandos had carried out the Lahore attack. The International New and Nawi Waqat etc papers even accused India of attacking the Marriot hotel in Islamabad.
As far as Balochistan is concerned, if media reports and PM’s statements are to be relied upon, the Pakistan PM had broached the Balochistan issue with the Indian PM and offered a dossier on RAW involvement with the Baloch rebels. Some Indian media columnists later picked up inspired leaks, probably by the rammed bureaucrats, that Manmohan Singh had asked his FS to incorporate the Balochistan issue in the Joint Statement. Indian foreign policy had taken the second suicidal jump at Sharm al Sheikh; the first one was taken at Bandung when Nehru had signed the now infamous Panchsheel agreement with Chow.
On May 19, 2009 the Advisor to Pakistani prime minister on Interior affairs, Rehman A. Malik informed the Upper House of the Parliament that India was backing the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) for fuelling insurgency in the province and creating unrest. Winding up debate on an adjournment motion, to discuss the Balochistan situation in the wake of a recent killing of three Baloch leaders in Turbat, Rehman Malik said “BLA was raised and funded by Russia during Soviet-Afghan war when Pakistan was supporting Afghans and now India is backing its activities.”
“BLA remained dormant since the Afghan war ended, but it was reactivated after killing of Nawab Akbar Bugti, whose grandson Barhamdagh Bugti has openly sought Indian and American support for independence of Balochistan in a recent interview,” he added. He said that Indian consulate in Iranian city of Zahidan, bordering Balochistan, was also involved in activities other than granting visa to people.
The BLA Chief Barhamdagh Bugti, in his recent interview to a Pakistani channel had openly sought Indian support for independence of Balochistan, he added. “Barhamdagh Bugti is residing in Kabul just five kilometer away from President Karzai’s palace and Pakistan has continuously been asking the Afghan government for access to Barhamdagh,” the Advisor asserted.
Later the Upper House of Pakistani Parliament decided to hold an in-camera session to discuss Balochistan situation on Thursday (today). The decision was made during the winding up speech of Advisor on Interior Rehman Malik when he was reading out some secret documents before the House to support allegation of Indian involvement in Balochistan. (Courtesy: Daily Times, Pakistan).
Besides Malik the Pakistan Army chief General Kiyani had conveyed to Obama administration during discussions that Pakistan would treat ‘fight and terrorism’ as linked to ‘stopping of India’s interference in Balochistan. Quoting Kiyani the New York Time reported that Richard Holbrook had already mentioned to India about Pakistan’s concern about Indian interference in Balochistan. General Kiyani had even equated RAW with the ISI.
Pakistan had also tried to involve India with almost every act of terrorism in its territory A section of the media had alleged Indian involvement with Lashkar-e-Jhanghvi, the Sunni outfit that had attacked the Sri Lankan team. It seems impossible that India would back an obscurantist Sunni militant group known for its hatred towards India. In the March 30 attack on the Manawan police training academy Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Lahore Pervaiz Rathore had talked of Indian involvement, claiming that the perpetrators were pro-India Afghans. When his attention was drawn to Baitullah Mehsud claiming responsibility for the Manawan attack, the Lahore police chief had said: ‘it is a well-known fact that Baitullah Mehsud is paid for terrorism and he can do anything for the sake of money.’
The Indian PM had specifically said that at Sharm al Sheikh Pakistani PM had not handed over any dossier of Balochistan. However, a fortnight from the Sharm-el-Sheikh meeting, well-informed sources in the Pakistani Foreign Office insisted that a detailed dossier containing evidence of Indian involvement in subversive activities in Balochistan, Swat and Waziristan regions was handed over by Gilani to Dr. Singh at Sharm-el-Sheikh. These sources claim the Indian prime minister had assured his counterpart of investigating the Pakistani claims and taking corrective action, if necessary.
They say the evidence of the Indian activities contained in the Pakistani dossier listed the safe houses that India’s premier intelligence agency RAW (Research & Analysis Wing) has in Afghanistan, where terrorists are trained and launched for subversive missions in Pakistan. The lengthier part of the dossier dealt with Indian link with the insurgents in Balochistan, particularly Brahamdagh Bugti, the rebel grandson of the deceased Baloch nationalist leader Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti and his rebel commanders. The Pakistani dossier is said to contain documentary evidence of Brahamdagh and his comrades meeting RAW operatives deployed in Afghanistan.
The dossier claimed that the Indian consulates in Kandahar and Jalalabad and their embassy in Kabul assisted clandestine activities inside Pakistan in general and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) and Balochistan in particular. The sources say the dossier further mentioned a RAW-funded terrorist training camp in Kandahar, where insurgents belonging to the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), particularly those from the Bugti clan, are allegedly trained and provided arms and ammunition for carrying out terrorist activities in Balochistan.
Interior ministry sources in Islamabad say Pakistan had expressed concern over the activities of the Indian intelligence agency in Balochistan in the past, but this was for the first time (on July 16, at Sharm-el-Sheikh) that it was encapsulated in a dossier and handed over to India. In fact, while addressing an in-camera sitting of the Senate on April 23, 2009, Interior Minister Rehman Malik had accused India of backing the Balochistan Liberation Army, which is accused of fanning unrest in the province. The prime aim behind the in-camera session of the Upper House was to show members of Parliament that foreign agencies were involved in a concerted conspiracy against Pakistan — especially Balochistan.
In the game of diplomacy, statesmanship, geopolitical and geostrategic cat and mouse syndrome is proverbial. Allegations and counter allegations would continue unabated till India and Pakistan are able to streamline their own internal issues and rectify the fault lines. Like India, Pakistan has several fault lines and India is not the only nation to exploit those weaknesses. Besides Chinese interest in Balochistan (detailed in Part I) the US and NATO interests are also rooting in for the Balochistan Hotdog served with Mustard and Tabasco sauces. We would discuss the affairs of US rooting in Balochistan after we have dealt with the Pakistan-Iran imbroglio on Balochistan.
These crucial geostrategic and geopolitical aspects require detailed examination as Balochistan’s aspiration for independence does not depend on Pakistan alone. Large Baloch inhabited areas are incorporated in Afghan and Iranian Sistan areas. Pakistani Balochistan consists of 44% of total Pakistani area. Besides being highly rich in gas, petroleum and other minerals the Chagai Hills, where Pakistan carried out nuclear tests, the entire Baloch tract is very important to Pakistan’s existence. Shorn of the Baloch tract, which obviously would inspire Sind to secede too, Pakistan would be left with Punjab and some parts of Northern Area, and some areas of FATA. The future of NWFP is also uncertain. The Pakhtunistan movement is now dormant but not dead. The rise of the Taliban (mostly Pakhtuns) in the bordering areas indicates that the ultimate goal of the Talibains is to unite with the Afghan Pakhtuns and form a separate homeland. Since political dissent is not encouraged in Pakistan the NWFP Pakhtuns have opted for armed struggle.
Balochistan has also a large population of Afghan refugees and overflow of Pakistani Pakhtuns. Though the Baloch people resent their presence they are not overtly vocal as they require weapons flow from the Talibanis and other sources in Afghanistan. The Afghan regime is not reluctant in encouraging some Pakhtun elements to help out the Bloch freedom fighters. It appears to be a tricky game.
Besides India Pakistan and Iran are also at loggerheads over the Baloch issue. Iran is a Shia country. However, the Baloch people of Iranian Sistan are Sunnis and they want their homeland to unite with the main Baloch inhabited land in Pakistan and form a greater Balochistan.
Iran alleges that the ISI had raised a mixed Baloch militant outfit called Jundullah (Army of Allah) and resourced it to carry out terrorist activities in Iranian Sistan-Balochistan. During a recent visit of the Pakistani President to Iran to sign the Iran-Pakistan pipeline (originally IPI-India Pakistan Iran pipeline) agreement it was pointed out that the Jundullah was the creation of India RAW. Obviously, taking into consideration that India has no geostrategic interest in Iran to meddle with its internal affairs the Ahmednijad government has taken the Pakistani ploy as a Jackal’s embarrassing smile. On the other hand, there are international reports that the CIA had encouraged the ISI to raise the Jundullah and partly financed it with a view to carry out sabotage and subversive activities in the territory of one of the Bush’s ‘arc of evil’ countries-Iran. There is no evidence to prove that despite his Egypt address about US policy in the Middle East and Muslim countries in general the Obama administration has discarded the Bush policy of needling Iran by any means. So, the assessment that both the CIA and the ISI are behind the Jundullah can be accepted as a highly probable geopolitical foxy games. Iran is very sore about it and the Balochistan-Sistan issue may remain stuck as the herring bone in the throat of the two Islamic nations.
A little more elaboration on Jundullah is necessary as this movement is as potent as the BLA+BRA movements. The group is led by Abdul Malak Rigi, (25) Iranian Baloch It surfaced in 2003 and is known for bold attacks against high-profile targets, especially government and security officials. In a May telephone interview with Rooz, an Iranian online newspaper, Rigi defended Jundallah’s use of violence as a just means to defend Baloch and Sunni Muslim interests in Iran and to draw attention to the plight of his people whom he describes as Iran’s poorest and the victims of genocide. Rigi styles as an Iranian. He also claims not to harbor separatist aspirations. Instead, according to Rigi, Jundallah’s goal is to improve the life of Iranian Baloch. (Courtesy: http://www.roozonline.com).
In June 2005, Jundallah claimed responsibility for the abduction of a team of Iranian security and intelligence officers traveling in a convoy in Iranian Balochistan along the Pakistani and killed on of the officials. In mid-March incident the abduction and assassination of several Iranian security officials, including members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), and aid officials affiliated with the Islamic Red Crescent had rocked Iran. A similar operation in May claimed another 12 victims. The group has also been implicated in several strikes against infrastructure in Iranian Balochistan and outside of the province (Courtesy al-Jazeera, March 22, 2009).
The official website of the Balochistan People’s Party (BPP), a movement advocating the federalization of Iran and what it describes as Baloch sovereignty within a democratic Iran, describes a recent Iranian military operation that allegedly commenced on May 15 as the “Islamic clerical regime’s atrocities towards Sunni Baloch” and included helicopter gunships and airstrikes against civilian centers in Sistan-Balochistan. The website also includes visual evidence of what it claims are innocent victims of Tehran’s crackdown and the recent killing of Sunni Baloch clerics by Iranian security forces. As stated earlier, the Jundullah still continues to be armed by the ISI and the CIA. Iran has to sort this out with Pakistan before the Pipeline agreement is enforced on the ground. The CIA has vested interest in thwarting this pipeline and may use the Jundullah and other Baloch rebels to sabotage it.
In an earlier paragraph I had stated about growing US presence in Balochistan. The US is basically engaged in a shadow war in Balochistan. The Pakistan Army and the ISI have intensified military operations and target assassination of important Baloch leaders in Israeli style. They are targeted in Karachi, Kabul and in western countries.
On the other hand Obama’s Afghan surge in troops will soon be in position. A new, US mega-base in Helmand province, in southern Afghanistan, will be operational. The base happens to be a stone’s throw from the Iran-Afghan border, and just across the border from Pakistani Balochistan. It’s the ideal, strategic base for an extended three nation domination strategy as described by General David Petraeus.
Ultra-shadowy task forces, drone war, Hellfire missiles, privatization and “covertization” of war, by using local militia is likely to change the conflict scenario in Afghanistan, Iran and Balochistan. According to Muqaddar Iqbal: “The American’s nefarious designs are proven by this one example that American think-tank prepared a world map showing Greater Balochistan while ignored the existence of Pakistan in 2015. In the context of existing geo-political situation, when Americans are sitting in Afghanistan and are threatening Iran, the importance of Balochistan is increased for Americans.” (M. Iqbal is a Baloch journalist).
The American fleet Abraham Lincoln is harboring in international sea near Gwadar to cope with any emergency situation. Americans are also constructing a new air base in Ormara Creek, while another base is also being built at Bochik in the area of Chaghi from where the US security experts will be able to monitor the developments in nearby Iran, and Afghan Taliban and Al Qaeda. They will be able to stop trafficking of Taliban and Al Qaeda between Afghanistan and Iran and Iraq. In this area, America is supporting Jundullah armed group which is involved in subversive activities in Iranian areas. Americans have increased their military strength at Shamsi Air Base in Dalbadin in terms of personnel and fighter jets. Recently, the US increased its military strength at Khalid Airbase at Quetta. The military strength is as under here:
The US wants to launch military operation at a time on both side of Pak-Afghan border to crush Taliban and Al Qaeda. Pakistan’s provincial capital Quetta and Chaman are under the threat of US operation. Although Taliban are silent in these areas but if military operation is launched here, its devastated results will come out. Taliban leadership is hiding here and all sort of planning for operations in Afghanistan are finalized in the camps and hideouts in these areas.
The Chinese are gradually increasing their presence in Gwador and SUI area and other development projects. They are supportive of Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline as the same line can later be extended to China. The USA is opposed to this ‘Pipelinistan’ connection between Iran-Pakistan and China. Obama administration is likely to use all diplomatic and military and finally dollar squeeze mechanism to prevent Pakistan from opening the Cruces of Civilization: Balochistan to China. America has its own energy interest in Balochistan.
So, my Baloch friends should realize that in the historical past their territory, which has more common with Iran and the Middle East than Pakistan was used by various civilizations and their armies to open up the horizon to Hind. Now also, as Islamabad alleges, Balochistan is not the only operations theatre of India. It is the play ground of China, USA, Iran, India, Afghanistan and even the Arab countries. The Russian bear appears to be silent. But in reality Moscow is equally interested in Balochistan, as it would not like stronger US bases to operate both from Afghanistan and Balochistan. Balochistan is not a mere ‘Pipelinistan’ conflict. It has assumed global importance in which India has a major role to play. By this I do not indicate that India is involved in dirty games to destabilise Pakistan. India has a strong geostrategic compulsion to be involved in Baloch affairs.
My friends in the BLA and BRA and the Baloch national Party may note that Pakistan is likely to intensify military operations, selected assassinations and fast ‘Punjabisation’ of the Baloch province. It may even allow the Pak Taliban and the Pakhtun population to resist the Baloch independence movement. The USA is also likely to help the Baloch separatists, as in the foreseeable future a greater independent Balochistan may be a stable US military base in the vitally important tri-junction: what I call the Cruces of History. My Baloch friends have to tread along international minefields and not merely the brutal Pakistani army and the ISI.
My friends and foes in the Indian ruling clique must be aware of these international intrigues in Balochistan; they should be, because they are paid by the nation to know. Under these circumstances was not the Shame at Sharm al Sheikh was a great blunder in Indian diplomacy and statesmanship?
I hope the readers would pass the final verdict.