Banned Baloch group commander Bungulzai surrenders, urges others to follow suit

Published December 20, 2023
Sarfraz Ahmed Bungulzai addressed a press conference in Quetta alongside Balochistan Information Minister Jan Achakzai. — DawnNewsTV
Sarfraz Ahmed Bungulzai addressed a press conference in Quetta alongside Balochistan Information Minister Jan Achakzai. — DawnNewsTV

Sarfraz Ahmed Bungulzai, a commander of the banned militant group Baloch National Army (BNA), announced his surrender on Wednesday alongside 70 of his associates.

The announcement was made at a press conference in Quetta, with provincial Information Minister Jan Achakzai also in attendance.

During the press conference, Bungulzai said that he thought his armed struggle was for Baloch rights but later realised that the blood of the Baloch was being sacrificed for people’s own interests.

“India is involved in all these conspiracies […]. Keeping in mind all this, we have decided to join the national mainstream. Me and 70 of my associates have joined the national mainstream,” he said.

He further said that in 2014, the blood of 155 innocent Baloch was spilled in Awaran after they refused to pay extortion money. He said that thousands of Baloch had been killed over the past 20 years.

“These people are only working on foreign agendas,” he said. Referring to last year’s helicopter crash in which six Pakistan army officials, including a general, were martyred, he said that it had occurred due to a technical issue but the Baloch­istan Raaji Ajoi-R-Sangar (BRAS) had taken responsibility on India’s command.

“And after taking money from India, they shed the blood of their own Baloch,” he said.

He urged the youth to follow suit and renounce violence. “My advice to parents is to give your children an education, not guns,” he said.

Bangulzai thanked the state for welcoming him and his associates, and also urged it to create a path for those who, like him, wanted to integrate into the national mainstream, saying there were many waiting to be accepted by the state.

It should be noted that earlier this year, Gulzar Imam alias Shambay, said to be the founder of the BNA, was arrested during an intelligence-based operation in the Prom area of Balochistan’s Panjgur district.

He had later offered to help the government and security forces negotiate with disgruntled Baloch militants. In his statement, he said: “The path I had chosen for achieving the rights of the people of Balochistan was not the right decision.”

Commenting on today’s development, caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar said “peace and stability” was the government’s top priority.

“The surrender of Sarfraz Bungulzai alias Mureed Baloch (the head of BNA) along with his companions/families is a very welcome development for Pakistan and Balochistan,” he said.

He noted that this had come after another major re-integration, in which Shambay, was arrested and “mainstreamed”.

“Embracing peace through inclusivity, our state and institutions are championing an accommodative approach, actively working to reintegrate estranged militants.

“This strategic move seeks lasting peace, fostering understanding, and rebuilding communities. Together, we pave the way for a harmonious and secure future for our next generations,” the premier said.

He also appreciated the efforts of the country’s law enforcers and intelligence agencies, specifically the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) which “ planned, executed and led this complicated clandestine operation“.

PML-N’s Shehbaz Sharif also termed the surrender “welcome news for the people of Balochistan”.

“It augurs well for peace in the province. Our law enforcement and intelligence agencies, especially the ISI, are doing a commendable job in the service of the nation,” he said.

“Such missions involve several complexities and demand the highest standards of professionalism. I commend all those involved in such operations including many unsung heroes, especially our ISI for their remarkable work,” he said.

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