ISLAMABAD: Describing the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) as a ‘killing machine’, Interior Minister Rehman Malik accused extremist organisations and banned outfits in Balochistan on Thursday of acting on directives from abroad and with complete support and assistance from Afghanistan.
“The BLA is a killing machine which is overhauled in Afghanistan and all its spare parts come from Afghanistan,” the interior minister said in a speech in the Senate on the ‘law and order situation in Balochistan’.
Referring to his recent meeting with Hamid Karzai, he said the Afghan president had indirectly admitted that his country had a role in Balochistan and that the Kunar province from where most of the infiltration into Pakistan were taking place was under the control of the US and Nato forces.
The minister told the house that the Afghan president had asked him to facilitate talks with the Haqqani network and in return he would request the US and the Nato forces to stop cross-border movements from the Kunar area to Malakand and other adjacent areas.
“I told the Afghan president that there are training camps in your country and I can provide you the list of those persons who receive $468 (for it),” he said without elaborating.
“We cannot separate the Balochistan problem from the world power game. The issue is grave. If we are negligent, history will not forgive us. We will have to find a solution collectively before it is too late,” the minister said, adding that the powers which wanted to see a destabilised Pakistan had prepared a roadmap.
Mr Malik alleged that Baramdagh Bugti, a grandson of Akbar Bugti, was involved in kidnapping and killing people. Despite this, he said, he had accepted the invitation for a meeting with Baramdagh Bugti in Tajikistan, but it was cancelled at the eleventh hour by the Baloch leader.
The minister said that Mr Bugti celebrated the New Year in India and refused to meet him. He said Baramdagh Bugti had informed him from India about having received a message from the Indian establishment advising him not to see him.
The minister also criticised the US for giving special treatment to India. “We are partners in the war on terror, but India is receiving facilities,” he said.
Mr Malik said he was surprised why Washington and the United Nations were concerned about human rights violations in Balochistan whereas such violations were also taking place in the other three provinces of the country. “Why the US and the UN are interested only in the affairs of Balochistan? Why there are international seminars only on the Balochistan issue?”
The minister categorically blamed the BLA and Lashkar-i-Jhangvi for the situation in the province. He alleged that the BLA had murdered a number of workers engaged in development activities in Balochistan. Giving official figures, he said, 138 personnel of the Frontier Corps (FC), 89 policemen and 872 civilians had been killed in violent incidents in Balochistan in 2011, and the BLA had claimed responsibility for most of the killings.
Responding to criticism on FC’s role in Balochistan, he said the FC had been given under the control of the chief minister and it was there only to assist police. Moreover, he said, the FC was assisting police only in five per cent area of the province. “If criticism on the FC continues, I will withdraw the FC and send it to borders,” he threatened.
The interior minister again requested Deputy Chairman Sabir Baloch to arrange an in-camera session of the upper house in which, he said, the members would be able to get a briefing from officials of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the Foreign Office and the interior ministry on the role of foreign countries in the region.
Mr Malik also called for some changes in the Balochistan Package announced by the government two years ago.
Taking part in the debate, Farhatullah Babar of the PPP stressed the need for resolving the issues of forced disappearances and dumping of bodies to end insurgency in Balochistan.
“Although the issue has plagued the whole country there is a sinister dimension to it in Balochistan that has given rise to a perception that Baloch dissidents are being eliminated while the powers-that-be have become impervious to both sane advice and the dictates of laws,” he said.
Mr Babar said this was evident from the fact that whenever directions were issued and law-enforcement agencies were asked to recover the missing persons, dead bodies were dumped in response.
He proposed that the state should not live in a state of denial and must admit that people were disappearing in a mysterious manner.
He demanded that the report of the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances be published and its recommendations implemented. He suggested that Pakistan should sign the International Convention on Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.
The PPP senator said that according to reports a team of the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances will visit Pakistan in September. “We should facilitate the visit of the UN team and use the opportunity to remove misperception and to demonstrate that the government is serious about solving the problem,” he added.
Hasil Bizenjo of the National Party claimed that so far 400 mutilated bodies of the missing persons had been found in Balochistan. He said the Balochistan situation was similar to that of East Pakistan. He said there was a complete constitutional breakdown in the province where no government existed at all.
Leader of the Opposition Ishaq Dar of the PML-N alleged that the rulers in Balochistan were only interested in corruption and 80 per cent of the allocated development funds had gone into the pockets of different people.
The interior minister will conclude his speech on Friday.
Meanwhile, the house passed a resolution condemning the atrocities being committed against Muslims in Myanmar.