QUETTA: Over a hundred Baloch militants fighting against forces in insurgency-wracked Balochistan have now surrendered and pledged their allegiance to the country, officials said on Sunday.
A group of 59 militants including two key commanders appeared before the media on Sunday, along with senior politicians and government officials from the province, to announce they would end militant activities and become a “useful part” of society.
They followed a group of 47 militants on Saturday. All were given amnesty by the government.
Also read: Two militant leaders, 47 aides lay down arms.
“These people were in fact misled by the anti-state elements who are being funded by foreign spy agencies,” said Sanaullah Zehri, senior Balochistan minister.
“They have now pledged to lead a good life as true Pakistanis,” he said.
The militants who surrendered were from groups such as Baloch Republican Army (BRA), Baloch National Movement (BNM), and Lashkar-e-Balochistan (Army of Baluchistan).
“We were trapped by our leaders who said they are fighting for the rights of Balochs, but later we realised that they were enjoying their lives abroad and had pushed us and our families to a war here,” Obaidullah alias Babrak, a Lashkar-e-Balochistan commander, told reporters.
Baloch separatists demanding more autonomy and control over gas and mineral resources have frequently targeted security forces and police for years.
Pakistan's largest province — which borders Iran and Afghanistan — is also riven by sectarian strife and Islamist violence.
Its roughly seven million inhabitants have long complained they do not receive a fair share of its gas and mineral wealth.
Over a week ago, a leader of the banned United Baloch Army had surrendered to authorities along with his 50 supporters.
Wali Mohammad alias Haji Kalati, the UBA ‘commander’ for Kohlu, Kahan and Barkhan region, announced his surrender at a press conference at the residence of provincial Irrigation Minister Nawab Jangeez Khan Marri.
Take a look: Militant leader surrenders in Quetta.