Indian hand in Balochistan
Sayed GB Shah Bokhari
Interior Minister Rehman Malik is one man who in his capacity as head of police and civilian intelligence agencies receives the most intricate information on what goes on in the country. When he claims publicly that Indian hand is visible in fomenting acts of terrorism, there is substance to it. On the other hand, Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, in his address to a public meeting in Srinagar, the other day, denied what Malik and other Pakistani leaders have been saying about India’s involvement. Nonetheless, ground realities speak volumes that but for a strong financial support from a foreign country with vested interest the militants waging atrocities against Pakistan’s security forces could not sustain their activities for such a long period of time.
Pakistan’s intelligence setup has found irrefutable evidence to establish that the Indian spy agency, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), is working its way to the anti-state militants in Balochistan via its embassy in Kabul and the large number of her consulates located in proximity of Pak-Afghan border particularly the Kandahar consulate.
In a period of two months Balochistan has lost two ministers and a senior bureaucrat who fell prey to target killing. Balochistan’s education minister was gunned down outside his house on October 25. Earlier terrorist pursued Provincial Minister Sardar Rustam Jamali right up to Karachi and killed him in Gulshan-e-Jauhar area. On 31 October Hamid Mahmood, Secretary Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education, was critically injured by motorcycle-riding terrorists in Quetta. Non-Baloch bureaucrats who have been living in Balochistan for ages and are heading educational institutions and other development projects have been the target of the militants. Responsibility for these killings has been claimed by Baloch Liberation United Front, a rebel group known to be fully backed by New Delhi.
The modus operandi of the assailants in these three incidents, like in so many other sabotage acts in the past, suggests that the object was to target political leaders and non-Baloch bureaucrats with a view to create general unrest and despondency among the masses that would lead to destabilise Pakistan. Which country would go for destabilising Pakistan except India which has fought three wars and is encouraged by bisecting the country in 1971, after fomenting internal strife? New Delhi wishes to replay the same tactics i.e. to whip up public emotions against the government and political leadership.
Commander of US troops in Afghanistan, General Stanley Mcchrysal, in a report to the American Congress has stated that the burgeoning Indian influence in Afghanistan was a destabilising factor in the region.
Balochistan has a long porous border with Afghanistan. The Indian consulate in Kandahar, a border town, provides a firm base to train, arm and dispatch militants across the border to undertake sabotage activities in Balochistan. Indian companies have been awarded contracts on various projects to link Kabul with Balochistan near Iranian border; and in the bargain it makes the job of RAW easier. Brahamdagh Bugti, Pakistan’s most wanted rebel leader and commander of Balochistan Liberation Army, which has taken arms against security forces of the country, is sitting in Kabul whence he directs his militants on the advice of Indian military consultants. His personal expenses and that of his force, the BLA, are borne by RAW, as a quid pro quo for the former accomplishing the Indian objective of destabilising Pakistan. The para-military force, the Frontier Corps, fighting militants has seized weapons and equipment that bear Indian marking from the possession of militants killed or captured during action.
Adviser to Afghan government, Ehsanullah Aryanzai, in a recent statement disclosed that India was using Afghan soil to conduct across the border anti-Pakistan activities. Additionally, New Delhi’s widely read newspaper, Indian Express, in an article published on 31 July 2009 has revealed India’s involvement in backing terrorists in Balochistan with a view to shake the elected government there.
Anti-state elements have tried to exploit the innocent Baloch people on the basis of economic under-development, and the prevalent poverty in the province for which the federal government and dwellers of Punjab are held responsible. In actual fact, however, the shoe is on the other foot. The local tribal sardars who have exercised a no-questioned-asked sway over their tribes for years cannot withstand any measure of the government that could bring prosperity in the region and develop awakening among the masses that would lead to erosion of their draconian authority.
Insurgency in Balochistan that started in 1975, had re-emerged in 2000 when the government began exploring the province’s vast hithertofore untapped oil and natural gas fields. Instead of assisting the government the sardars instigated the locals on the ground that non-Baloch were trying to rob Balochistan of its mineral wealth. This environment provided golden opportunity to RAW to exploit the emotions of Baloch people against the government of Pakistan.
Pakistan is engaged with Iran for supply of natural gas through a pipeline that would cost 7.5 billion dollars and would overcome the energy needs of the country. The pipeline running between the two countries through Baloch territory is to see Iran supplying 750 million cuft of gas per day to Pakistan over next 25 years. India too was a partner in the deal but backed out under pressure from the United States that does not want any of its allies to establish trade relations with Iran. Tehran has also offered to Pakistan supply of 1000 megawatts of electricity at a discounted price of 6 cents per unit. Probably the happy Pak-Iran trade relations were not to the liking of India who had to do something to sabotage the friendly overtures of the two neighbours.
On 18 October a suicide attack targeted the Revolutionary Guards in Iran’s Sistan-Balochistan province. Forty-two men were killed, seven of them high-ranking members of the elite corps. Jundullah, a shadowy Baloch militant group, claimed responsibility for the attack. It may be recalled that most weapons and ammunition used by this group bear Indian marking. They also receive financial backing from New Delhi. Large-scale Indian support to militants in Swat and tribal territory of NWFP has also been witnessed.
India is expert at diverting world’s attention from its role in terrorist activities by highlighting and presenting Pakistan as exporter of terrorism. The 26/11 Mumbai attack was fully exploited to convince the world that not India but Pakistan was the mother of all sabotage acts.
During the three-day tour of US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, to Pakistan the leadership here brought to her attention the support New Delhi was providing to militants who are fighting Pakistan’s security forces and kill innocent citizens. Instead of encouraging extremist activities in Pakistan India must concentrate on her domestic affairs where a quarter of its billion plus population sleep empty stomach on open footpaths.