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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 6/19/13

Baluchistan blues!

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Two recent incidents in Baluchistan rocked Pakistan. The first; bomb explosion at the residency of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah in Ziarat that destroyed the historical monument.  A policeman outside the residency was also killed. According to reports memorial chairs, beds, and historic photographs of the founder were burnt to the ground in the resulting fire. Only the exterior structure remained intact while the terrorists escaped unhurt. Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar revealed that the residency had been attacked by five militants, who had removed the Pakistan flag and raised the BLA flag in its place. The Baluch Liberation Army (BLA), a militant separatist group, is fighting for separation of resource-rich Baluchistan; many of its purported leaders living abroad. Baluchistan Liberation Army was declared a terrorist organization in Pakistan in April 2006, after a series of attacks conducted by the group targeting security personnel, civilians and journalists. On 17 July 2006 the government of the United Kingdom listed the BLA as a terrorist outfit and banned their members from the UK.

This latest strike was "symbolic terrorism', an effort to eradicate our identity and roots. It has hit at the very base, arousing anguish and rage beyond measure in the hearts of the countrymen.

The second act of terrorism was multiple bomb and gun attacks by militants in which at least 23 people, including 14 female students and the deputy commissioner Quetta, were killed. Some reports place the total dead at 25.The suicide bombing devoured a bus carrying female students. At least 11 students died while 19 were rushed in emergency to Bolan Medical Complex, hurt. Another blast, this time at the Bolan Medical Complex, reportedly killed 11 more. This was followed by a hostage crisis at the hospital. Four FC commandants also lost their lives in the shootout that ensued. This heinous act of crime was owned by Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, as retribution for five killed in the Kharotabad Attack on 6th of June 2013.

The Lashkar-e-Jhangvi group was in fact created, according to the BBC, to counter Iran's Islamic Revolution in the 1980"-s. (Published January 11, 2013) Pakistan's Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, as well as the infamous Lashkar-e-Taiba that carried out the 2008 Mumbai, India attack killing over 160, both are affiliates of Al Qaeda, and both have been linked financially, directly to Saudi Arabia. In the Guardian's article, "WikiLeaks cables portray Saudi Arabia as a cash machine for terrorists," the US State Department even acknowledges that Saudi Arabia is indeed funding terrorism in Pakistan. (Tony Cartalucci in "Global Research' Feb. 18, 2013)

Jonathan Manthorpe, in his piece states, "In 2003, a United States Senate committee on terrorism heard testimony that in the previous 20 years Saudi Arabia had spent $87 billion on promoting Wahhabism worldwide. This included financing 210 Islamic centers, 1,500 mosques, 202 colleges and 2,000 madrassas." (Published Vancouver Sun, May 28, 2013)

The fact that the presence of Gwadar and China's strong commitment to the port along with the proposed Iran-Pak gas line in the province are major irritants for those having an interest in the region.

"Baluchistan has become a playground for international forces Pakistan should foremost take Baluch people into confidence and build bridges with aggrieved parties offering them a package within the federal scheme of Pakistan that addresses their concerns," says Raza Rumi; analyst and writer. His tweet of 15th June says, "Hope the new government realizes that it has to deal with 'favored' proxies who operate with impunity everywhere. Militant groups free to strike."

However, there are those who would definitely not agree with this thought process. Whether BLA, or LeJ or any other organization, they feel strongly about entering into a dialogue with a party or organization bent on destruction of Pakistan. The opinion is; when proxy wars are fought, no matter what you offer, is not enough. It's never enough. The stakes are much higher. They do not want a slice of the pie. They want "the' pie-the only option therefore is to fight them.

A strategy must be developed in the best interest of the nation. All effort must be put on board to resolve issues, bring harmony between different groups of people, peace above all and prosperity. "More than anything Baluchistan requires a system of deliverance in tangible terms with political ownership." (Special Baluchistan Report-Feb 2012) Any strategy to succeed in addressing terrorism must have the government and army of Pakistan on the same page.

In order to tighten the law and order situation in Baluchistan, one step that the government must immediately look into is the reinstatement of awarding the status of "A' Area (police responsibility) to Baluchistan. This was instituted by the government of Gen. Musharraf for entire Baluchistan. Later, it was reverted to "B' Area (Lavies responsibility-instead of police and appointed by the Sardars) for almost ninety five percent of the province. The present system offers no checks and balances. The "security personnel' are appointed by the local Sardars whereas the government funds them for it. At best, it's a loose system of trying to manage law and order and makes it easier for those who are involved in nefarious activities to find loopholes in the system. In a volatile situation that exists in Baluchistan, a vigilant, professional system must be in place.A daunting task; dealing with different groups with different interests, however the government must rise to the challenge. It has no other option.

The writer is a lawyer, academic and political analyst. She has authored a book, "A Comparative Analysis of Media and Media Laws in Pakistan.'   


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