Pakistani military is allegedly planning to conduct a Swat style operation in Balochistan, The Balochistan Post has learnt.
Pakistani Army launched a full scale military operation on May 16, 2009 in Swat a town in Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa province of Pakistan. To get the area completely free from Taliban control, massive aerial and land strikes were carried out in the town. The intense military operation killed thousands of people and resulted in exodus of more than 200,000 civilians. Almost all the buildings in the city were destroyed due to aerial strikes by Pakistani forces.
The operation in 2009 was internationally commended for being against religious extremists. However, The Balochistan Post (TBP) has learnt from reliable sources that now a similar operation is to be conducted in Makuran, Balochistan, where unlike Taliban, secular militants are fighting against Pakistani forces for the ‘liberation of Baloch land’.
Recent killing of FWO personnel by Baloch fighters will be used as a stimulus for the full-scale operation. At least 20 personnel of Frontier Works Organisation, a subsidiary of Pakistan Army commissioned to provide manpower for CPEC project, were killed by Baloch Liberation Front within two days.
According to TBP sources, a high level meeting was held in Turbat between senior officials of Pakistani military, Chief Minister of Balochistan Sanaullah Zehri and former Chief Minister Dr Malik Baloch. It was decided that Swat style military operation is the ultimate solution to the security risks, the Chinese funded Multi-billion CPEC project is exposed to.
It was decided in the meeting that any kind of dialogue process with the armed groups shall be immediately halted and a large scale ‘grand operation’ will instead be initiated.
CM Sanaullah Zehri and National Party chief Dr. Malik are said to be the main proponents of the military operation.
The meeting, in which the commissioner of Makuran Division, Inspector General FC Balochistan, IG FC South region and others also participated, mutually concluded that military operation will be conducted in both urban as well as rural mountainous regions of Makuran. Other than the militants, the supporters and well-wishers will also be targeted in the military operation.
The military officials were directed to contact religious and Pakistani political parties to take them into confidence regarding the decisions of the said meeting.
The Other side of the story
The Balochistan Post (TBP) spoke exclusively with Khalil Baloch, the Chairman of the largest Baloch political organisation that supports independence of Balochistan, Baloch National Movement (BNM), to take his views regarding the recent developments.
He told TBP that, Balochistan is already experiencing military operations that are even worse than the ones in Swat for many years now. Pakistani Army has been using military jets and gunship helicopters to target civilians killing many Baloch including women and children for more than a decade.
“Dr. Malik and his team’s proposal of full-scale military operation is nothing new to us as it was during tenure of their government when APEX committee was formed to intensify Baloch genocide,” Chairman Khalil said.
He added: ‘Dr. Malik and Hasil Biznejo are once again trying hard to prove their loyalty to the Pakistani Military Junta so that they succeed in gaining military’s support for another time before the next elections.’
“Additionally, The population that Dr. malik is asking to target through military operations does not support his political party as was evident in May 2013 elections. Only 3% of the total electorate cast their votes in the region. Even of that 3% many votes were later found to be bogus,” he said.
The chair of BNM continued: “I had termed the 2013 elections as a referendum on Baloch land, even though these elections were conducted under supervision of Pakistani Army. Now, to get better results in expected elections of 2018, Dr. Malik and group are pitching the idea of a brutal operation.”
To one of TBP’s questions, Chairman Khalil replied that CPEC carries paramount importance to the very survival of both China and Pakistan. However, Baloch forces have manage to resist against the project to quite an extent. Despite huge security apparatus deployed for the project and after numerous military operations, which have resulted in displacing more than 200,000 Baloch civilians, Pakistani security forces and FWO personnel working on the CPEC project continue to be targeted by Baloch armed forces in the region. This makes it quite evident that this multi-billion project is destined to fail.
He added: China wants to increase its influence and establish its monopoly in the region both economically and militarily. It wants to continue its expansionist designs and it is using Pakistani terrorist state for of its objectives as Pakistani Army is readily available for hire.
Chairman Khalil said, “we have since long maintained that, due to these activities of China and Pakistan, there is a human crisis in Balochistan and we have continuously requested UNO and the international community to play their due role not to just save the Baloch nation but the whole region from this human crisis.
He added: this whole idea of intensifying military operations is a big plan to destroy Baloch nation and make CPEC project successful. The recent killings of 20 FWO workers is being used as a mere excuse. However, this will prove to be another unsuccessful attempt to deceive the international community.
TBP also obtained views of Baloch leader and former Chairman of BSO-Azad, Chairman Basheer Zeb on the issue. Mr. Zeb told TBP that National Party has not only been a supporter of such military operations but has always been practically involved in these operations. National Party was awarded the government by ISI and other intelligence agencies in 2013 solely because of National Party’s unconditional support for Pakistani Army.
Mr. Zeb added that for petty benefits and amenities, National Party immersed itself completely in Baloch genocide. Today, it has turned into a massive force in civilian clothes that does not only support Pakistan Army against Baloch nation politically but also on armed fronts.
He said that my request to the workers of National Party is that they should distance themselves from this party that claims to struggle for Baloch rights but in reality is fully involved in their genocide.