'RAW camps in Balochistan'

31 Aug 2004


KARACHI, Aug 30: Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Mohammad Yusuf on Monday said that involvement of external elements, including the Indian intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), in the current acts of terrorism in Balochistan could not be ruled out.

Speaking at the Meet the Press programme of Karachi Press Club, he defended the construction of Gwadar port and military cantonments, and blamed 'anti-Pakistan forces' for fomenting trouble in the strategically located Balochistan.

"Though dialogue for normalization is continuing, as long as Kashmir is not settled they will continue to create difficulties for Pakistan," said Jam Yusuf in an apparent reference to the Indian RAW.

In support of his contention with regard to foreign involvement, Jam Yusuf referred to various training camps in which, according to him, terrorists were being harboured and paid huge sums to create trouble.

He said that none of the Baloch wadera had the capacity to finance such an operation. He said that some of those involved in terrorist activities had fled to the Gulf. "Conspiracies are hatched against Balochistan by anti-Pakistan forces who do not want Gwadar port to become economic hub in the region," he said.

The Balochistan chief minister said that RAW was running terrorist camps in Iran and Afghanistan. "It has now set up 30 to 40 such camps in Balochistan, each with training facility for 30 people who are paid Rs10,000 monthly.

"The monthly expenses of each such camp are over Rs0.4 million. The money is being supplied from abroad," he alleged. He promised that names of the held terrorists would be disclosed once the ongoing investigations concluded.

He told a questioner that "Al Qaeda is not involved in these activities." He also accused terrorists, trained in Punjab, of causing sectarian violence in his province. He denied that any operation had been launched by the army in Balochistan but conceded that an 'operation cleanup' had been launched by the local administration with the assistance of Frontier Constabulary, Levies and the Navy.

"Several terrorists have been arrested in this operation and arms, ammunition, satellite phones, wireless sets, maps and anti-Pakistan literature recovered from their camps. Some terrorists have also given up voluntarily," he said.

Jam Yousuf said that nobody should object to establishment of army cantonments in Balochistan. Wherever felt necessary, cantonments would be established in the province, he said.

He pointed out that cantonments had existed at many places in the province before but no hue and cry was made. Replying to a question, he said China was a time-tested friend of Pakistan and didn't raise any unnecessary hue and cry over the killing of its engineers working on the Gwadar port project in last May.

"If US engineers were killed in Gwadar, it would have declared Pakistan a terrorist country," he added. He said that Gwadar port would become the hub of economic activity in the future and help the province in increasing revenue. He hoped that it would one day demand share in the NFC on revenue generation basis, as was being done by Sindh.

He advised the opponents of the mega project to "swallow the bitter pill" because some sacrifice had to be made for future development. He stressed that nobody would deprive the Balochis of their land but at the same time pointed out that people themselves had sold their land to investors.

Replying to a question, Jam Mohammad Yusuf maintained that he considered all Baloch politicians, including Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti as 'loyal Pakistanis' and urged them to play their role in the development of their province.

"Every Baloch is a nationalist and they love their land as much as any politician. Balochistan is not a personal property of anybody. The past governments did nothing for its development except making hollow promises.

He said that a dialogue with the opponents of mega projects had started with Baloch leaders and hoped that soon some positive outcome would emerge. "People of Balochistan want progress and development in their province but people from outside don't.

The president has given Rs5 billion for Gwadar Development Authority and assured that locals would be provided all possible opportunities. The Balochistan chief minister announced a donation of half a million rupees for the KPC.