Baloch Armed Organizations are banned; Force will be used to restore peace in Balochistan, Rehman Malik
By Shaheen Baranzai
Pakistan announced a ban on five militant groups operating in the restive province Balochistan and froze their assets, the country’s interior minister Rehman Malik said. Violence has surged this year in southwestern Baluchistan province, which borders Afghanistan and Iran. “Today five of them have been proscribed. They will not be allowed to undertake any activity, their offices will be closed and action will be taken against their office bearers,” Malik told reporters. The banned groups are the Balochistan Republican Party, Baloch Liberation Front, Baloch Liberation Army, Baloch Liberation Front and Defaee Tanzeem, Malik said.
Meanwhile Baloch resistance organization BLA and BLF in their separate statements vowed to continue the struggle for the Independence of Balochistan.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik announced that the government had decided to take stern action against miscreants in Balochistan based on the approach used to restore peace in Karachi.
Talking to reporters at the Quetta airport, Malik said the Baloch Liberation Army and Baloch Students Organization had taken the place of political parties in the province and were involved in targeted killings. He said the government would act against these groups until its writ is restored. Malik said that he had been tasked by the prime minister to revive the peace process in Balochistan based on the model applied in Karachi. “I have come here to evolve a strategy and use force where it is needed,” he added. Malik said that he had called on Baloch nationalist leader Hyrbyair Marri in London and had also talked with another nationalist leader Brahmdagh Bugti but neither had given a positive response to the government’s offer for talks to maintain peace in Balochistan.
Later, addressing a press briefing with Balochistan Home Minister Mir Zafrullah Khan Zehri at the Chief Minister’s Secretariat, the interior minister said that the government was ready to accept all the legitimate demands of nationalist leaders. Malik reiterated the offer for talks, saying the government once again invites nationalist leaders to come forward to hold talks so that peace could be secured in the province.
Saying that “Balochistan is a very essential part of Pakistan, everybody owns this”, Malik said that several FC and coastguard check posts in the province had been abolished, thousands of people had been given jobs under the Aghaz-e-Haqooq-e-Balochistan package and the province had got due share in the National Finance Commission Award. Malik claimed although the removal of FC check posts had led to an increase in arms smuggling to the provincial capital, the government did not reverse its decision in view of the demands of the people of Balochistan.
Malik opined that Balochistan would gain great prosperity if the nationalists joined the mainstream and avoided targeting innocent people. “All rights of Baloch people will be given to them besides acceptance of all legitimate demands but first of all their nationalist leadership will have to shun extremism and an inflexible attitude,” he said.
Replying to a question, he said that he was ready to probe allegations about secret agencies’ hand in the disappearance of Baloch citizens. However, he said that according to his information, many people who had been reported to be missing were actually living in Dubai, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states.
Later in the evening, Malik visited the Combined Military Hospital and inquired after those injured in a suicide bomb attack at the Al-Quds procession on Friday. He said that the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi was behind the Quetta and Lahore blasts. “We have to break up the triangle of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and al Qaeda on war footing because without this, peace cannot be restored,” he said, alleging that foreign money was being used to create anarchy in Balochistan and external forces were involved in the deteriorating law and order situation in the province.