Senator Mir Hasil Bizenjo said the interior minister and chief minister had agreed that those who were allowed to carry arms to fight against militants will be asked to surrender these weapons.
ISLAMABAD: Following a meeting in the capital, the government has resolved to disarm all armed groups in Balochistan, as part of a ‘smart and effective security policy’ outlined by Balochistan’s Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik and Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan.
The policy was devised as a counter-measure to the previous government’s move to allow groups to arm themselves as a form of protection against militants.
Balochistan Home Secretary Asad Gilani explained that political and separatist groups ‘have been told to either prepare for political dialogue or face a response’. The inability to carry weapons, according to Gilani, would help ‘establish peace in the troubled province’.
Senator Mir Hasil Bizenjo said the interior minister and chief minister had agreed that those who were allowed to carry arms to fight against militants will be asked to surrender these weapons. Some local sardars, including Shafiq Mengal, were allowed to possess weapons in Kalat, Khuzdar, Makran and some other adjacent districts of the province between 2008 and 2009, said Bizenjo. “I am convinced that this step will build peace in Balochistan – the province’s peace could be linked with peace in Afghanistan,” Bizenjo said. “If we go for fresh operations against separatist groups, our security forces will hunt down those hiding in the mountains,” he added.
Under the new security strategy, the operation will begin against the Balochistan Liberation Army, Balochistan Republican Army, Baloch United Liberation Front and Baloch Liberation Front, officials told The Express Tribune. The scope of the operation will then extend to separatist groups such as the Balochistan Bunyad Parast Army, Baloch Musalla Difa Tanzeem, Balochistan National Liberation Army, Baloch Republican Party Azad, Baloch Student Organisation Azad, Balochistan United Army (also known as the United Baloch Army), Balochistan Waja Liberation Army and Lashkar-e-Balochistan.
The chief minister informed the interior minister that there had been no headway in dialogue with Baloch leaders including the Khan of Kalat, Mir Javed Mengal, Hyrbyair Marri and Barahamdagh Bugti. The CM added that separatist groups, working in tandem with banned religious outfits, were acquiring more power.
The two-fold strategy includes a dialogue process with selected separatist armed groups and action against other separatist groups who have been involved in sectarian and ethnic killings in the province, according to a senior Frontier Corps official associated with the Balochistan home department. Officials added that the FC, assisted by local police and the army, will crack down on separatists and 13 individuals, wanted on charges of targeted and sectarian-motivated killings in the province. The government has announced Rs14.5 million as bounty for these individuals, according to a report prepared by the Home Department and provided to The Express Tribune. The report reveals that Rs2.5 million has been offered for Usman Saifullah Kurd, alias Gul Muhammad, the head of one gang. Balochistan police said Usman and another criminal, Shafiq, escaped from prison in Quetta in 2008. Other wanted individuals identified by the Home Department as having received training in Afghanistan are Attaullah alias Bomber Khan, Zia-ul-Haq alias Abdullah, Ghulam Farooq, Naseerabad, Dilshad Bangulzai, Muhammad Jan, Asghar Ali alias Juma, Naseer alias Sajjad Ali, Hafeez Wazir Ahmed alias Hakeem, Abdul Rehman alias Abid Ali, Sodanis and Khudaidad alias Karbalai. Home Secretary Asad Gilani says security will be enhanced in rural and urban areas by reducing the number of FC and police pickets in the province under the new policy, easing local resentment against this security presence.
Mohammad Ali Talpur, a columnist, criticised the strategy as ‘wishful thinking’, adding that it is ‘next to impossible to clean the province of arms’. He said “those who are fighting for freedom will not surrender” and the present government does not possess the authority to resolve the issue.
The report claims over 2,193 lives have been claimed in incidents of violence in Balochistan during the last five years, leaving 3,852 injured in over 3,232 incidents of bomb blasts and rocket attacks from 2008 to September 2013. Sectarian killings remain the province’s biggest challenge. From 2008 to 2013, some 656 were killed and 970 injured in 162 incidents of sectarian violence, added the report. The report added that the province’s crime ratio dropped by 35% since August this year, as compared to earlier in 2013, according to Home Secretary Asad Gilani.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 30th, 201