Tuesday June 18, 2024

Successful operation

By Editorial Board
May 25, 2023

The ISI and the military establishment have gained an important upper hand in their ongoing battle in Balochistan against Baloch separatist groups by their capture of Gulzar Imam alias Shambay, the founder of the banned Baloch National Army (BNA). Shambay has expressed remorse for taking up arms. Per reports, Shambay was apprehended by security forces last month and his arrest was announced in an ISPR press release on April 7. Security officials say that the news of his arrest created significant panic among various Baloch militant organizations as his arrest has been hailed as a major development in the fight against militancy in Balochistan. In his press conference, Imam alias Sambay said that the struggle for Balochistan’s rights could only be pursued through constitutional and political means. This is important because it is coming from a man who joined a terrorist group in 2009 and eventually became deputy to Brahamdagh Bugti till 2018. He had maintained contact with external elements, including some hostile intelligence agencies such as RAW.

It is no secret that hostile countries, especially India, have exploited some genuine grievances of the Baloch and used militancy and terrorism in the province to destabilize Pakistan. It should be remembered that Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav was caught by our security forces in Balochistan when he was trying to cross into Pakistan from Iran. Jadhav has reportedly been involved in terrorism in Balochistan and evidence has been presented by Pakistan about this. Ever since the fall of Kabul, we have seen a sudden spike in terrorism in the country. Many experts have pointed out that the Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and its affiliate groups have made inroads in Balochistan also. Director-General (DG) of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Ahmed Sharif Chaudhry had also revealed that contacts between the TTP and militant Baloch organizations and foreign intelligence agencies have been proven. This shows that the TTP and Baloch militants are also using terrorism as a means to destabilize the country and target our security forces as well as high-profile leaders. Just last week, Jamaat-e-Islami chief Sirajul Haq narrowly escaped a suicide attack on Friday when his convoy was targeted in Zhob, Balochistan. The arrest of Shambay will surely pave the way for a crackdown on militant leaders and their affiliated groups.

Balochistan is an integral part of Pakistan. That hostile agencies and countries like India are targeting a resource-rich province shows their insecurity and nefarious designs. There is also a need to win the hearts and minds of the Baloch. It is only when Balochistan sees itself as an equal part of Pakistan that we can hope for continuous calm in an often restive area and the end to a situation where enemy agents from across the border make an effort to create trouble in the area. It is important that the rights of the Baloch are given through a constitutional and political process all the while dismantling the crippling militancy in the province.