QUETTA: Around 500 militants belonging to different banned Baloch militant organisations surrendered themselves to authorities concerned on Friday.
At a ceremony held on the lawns of the Balochistan Assembly building, the militants announced that they had abandoned the armed struggle against the government and would join mainstream politics.
The ceremony was attended by Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Zehri, Commander of Southern Command Lt Gen Aamir Riaz, Nawab Changez Khan Marri and tribal elders.
Those who surrendered themselves included 12 ‘commanders’ and 16 ‘sub-commanders’ of the militant organisations.
The militants belonged to the Baloch Republican Army (BRA), Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), Lashkar-i-Balochistan and some other Baloch militant groups.
One of the ‘commanders’, Abdul Samad alias Sarbaz Baloch, claimed to have been a spokesman for the BRA. “I had been operating from Afghanistan since 2012 as a spokesman for the BRA,” he said.
The militants were involved in attacks on security forces, national installations, targeted killings and other subversive activities in Dera Bugti, Sui, Uch, Nasirabad, Jaffarabad and Sibi districts.
Zehri says steps will be taken to withdraw cases against those abandoning fighting against the govt
Around 1,500 militants of these banned organisations have surrendered since the government announced a political reconciliation programme in the province.
Under the programme, the government is not only paying compensation to them, but also providing jobs, education and security to them.
“The government has paid compensation to 484 tribesmen who have abandoned the armed struggle, including commanders,” a senior government official told Dawn.
Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Khan Zehri, while welcoming the decision of the members of the banned organisations to join the mainstream, said that disgruntled Baloch tribesmen had decided to become a part of mainstream politics as a peaceful and shining Balochistan was waiting to welcome them.
He said that steps would be taken to withdraw cases against those abandoning fighting against the government.
Referring to insurgents, the chief minister said: “I feel sorry for them after seeing their pathetic conditions as they are deprived of even two meals a day while their masters are living a luxurious life in Switzerland and London.”
Nawab Zehri said that the CPEC would bring prosperity and development throughout the province as poverty and backwardness was not the fate of the mineral-rich Balochistan.
Addressing so-called leaders of Balochistan independence movement, the chief minister said that they should return to their respective areas to serve the masses instead of using these innocent people for their vested interests.
“These so-called leaders are using you (insurgents) as a tool to mint millions of rupees while they themselves are sitting abroad,” the chief minister said.
Speaking on the occasion, the Commander of Southern Command, Lt General Aamir Riaz, welcomed the tribesmen for abandoning the armed struggle and said: “Political and military leadership is standing with you and under the plan the government will give you full help and cooperation for your rehabilitation.”
He said that Balochistan had entered an era of development and prosperity and there were ample opportunities for jobs and other facilities in the country, but several elements, including some countries around Pakistan, did not like development and prosperity of the country and “are busy in misguiding our youths”.
He urged Baloch youths who had joined militants to come back and join their people and understand the plot that the enemies of the country wanted to block the pace of development in Balochistan and the country and they were using them for this purpose.
Earlier, militant commanders Abdul Samad, Dur Muhammad Munshi and Sher Muhammad Baloch said that their so-called leaders had misguided them and used them for achieving their nefarious designs.
“We were misguided and deceived by our leaders living abroad and enjoying a luxurious life,” Abdul Samad said, adding that “we fought against the government but now we have joined the mainstream after abandoning the armed struggle”.
Published in Dawn, April 22nd, 2017