Pakistan fails to curtail violence in Balochistan

Last Updated: Tue, Jul 06, 2010 11:20 hrs

Six years old Rabia is the latest casualty which has shocked Quetta, the capital of Pakistan's Balochistan province, where target killings, road side bomb blasts, land mine explosions, attacks on police check posts, trains, gas pipelines and electricity lines have become a routine affair now.

Rabia, the daughter of a retired school teacher of Punjabi origin, was playing inside her house in Moosa Colony at Sariab Road when unidentified men threw a hand grenade in the house and killed her on the spot, leaving three others wounded.

Quetta's Sariab road is one of city's crowded areas where Punjabi population dominates the locals and the insurgents are active with target killing to eliminate key Punjabi population.

Punjabi teachers, doctors, engineers, religious leaders and security forces' persons are the main targets, who are being killed in direct firing, bomb blasts and hand grenade attacks everyday.

Besides, Sariab road area, Quetta's busy Sirki road, Jinnah town, Smungli town, and Baruri town are the areas where forces are getting tough time.

The Pakistan Army has deployed its heavy contingent all over the province but the districts of Khuzdar, Naushki, Kallat, Turbat, Dera Bugti, Kholu, Sui and Hub are still very difficult to control.

"The insurgency is still on the rise. This is spreading very rapidly and as you can't even count the number of attacks and casualties. They are killing at least one person in target killing every day apart from frequent bombings. The number of these incidents is continuously rising," said Chaudary Muhammad Yaqoob, former Inspector General Balochistan Police.

"The hate against Punjabis and non-Balochis is at its peak and spreading further. The insurgents have established their bunkers on important mountains and in cities and security forces have failed to counter them," Yaqoob, who fought this insurgency in Musharraf regime, told ANI.

"It is inefficiency of our forces and intelligence agencies that they are unable to control the target killing and grenade attacks by the insurgents. We need to counter this technically and politically as soon as possible, otherwise situation will be out of our control very soon, he added.

Yaqoob said that mainly four groups Baloch Republic Army, Baloch Liberation Army, Balochistan Liberation Front and Baloch Liberation United Front are active in the area which have established close links with the criminals and the Taliban who are busy in anti Pakistan activities in Southern Punjab and Wazirstan areas. They coordinate with them for the actions like target killing, grenade attacks and land mine blasts.

"Our security forces are defensive, they are not in position to launch a major operation because of political setbacks. I think we should try to talk to leaders of all these Anti Pakistan militant organizations," he said.

Pakistan government announced a 50 billion rupees reconciliation development package for Balochistan last year, but law and order situation is still worse and militant leaders are unwilling to compromise.

"This package will pacify the common people at a certain level but these militant leaders who want a separate country will not be satisfied. They want total separation and we will have to talk to them on better terms," Yaqoob said.

Chaudary Yaqoob said that the leaders have no share in the grants being given under the reconciliation package because these funds are being used through the government and all these elements are not in government.

"Mainly people from Bugti and Murree tribes are involved in the anti state activities and they are not included in the government. We should give them political and financial share to take them on board and solve the problem forever," he said.

Meanwhile, the military has launched an image building exercise and is trying to initiate a number of public welfare projects in Balochistan.

Army recruited 3,570 Balochis last year and is expected to employ a much higher number this year, having already given jobs to 3,500 young Balochis during the first 6 months of 2010.

"Army has also contributed 110 million rupees for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Ziarat district in Balochistan which was hit by earthquake in October 2008. These funds have been arranged by collecting the one month salaries of the soldiers and officers of Pakistan Army," said an official.

He said that the army is also trying to uplift women by organising training courses for beauticians, hair cutting, sewing and embroidery as well as computer courses.

"They think that all the beneficiaries of these courses will form good public opinion for them. But actually the situation at ground is worse and activists of Balochistan liberation organizations are much stronger," he said.

The southern command of Pakistan Army is also regularly organizing the familiarization trips of local and international media to the areas where they have started such projects.

"They believe that public opinion for them will improve in the province by highlighting their development projects, they are trying hard to get publicize their efforts," the official said.

The army has also announced a national flag hoisting campaign on 14th of August this year to bring harmony and promote patriotism among the people of Balochistan. By Mir Mohammad (ANI)

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