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Tuesday May 28, 2024

Terror in Nushki

Recent mayhem happen over two separate incidents, leading to the death of at least 11 people

By Editorial Board
April 14, 2024
Rescue officials shift bodies of victims of the two firing incidents in Balochistans Nushki at Civil Hospital in Quetta on April 13, 2024. — PPI
Rescue officials shift bodies of victims of the two firing incidents in Balochistan's Nushki at Civil Hospital in Quetta on April 13, 2024. — PPI

Eid did not hinder militants and their need to spread chaos in Balochistan, as armed militant groups blocked the Quetta-Nushki-Taftan N-40 National Highway on the third day of Eid, terrorizing passengers, and killing civilians merely going about their lives. More terrifyingly, this is neither new nor is this isolated. The recent mayhem happened over two separate incidents, leading to the death of at least 11 people. In the first attack, militants shot at a car that did not comply with their stop orders, resulting in the deaths of at least two people. The second incident came as yet another reminder of the growing ethnic tensions in the country. A passenger bus was stopped and passengers’ identity cards were checked; nine of them who were from Punjab were shot dead. The unfortunate people were simple labourers but had to bear the brunt of the politics of power and inequality that have led to the creation of such armed groups. In another incident, on the same day, some militants launched rocket attacks at an FC depot in Nushki; no casualties were reported.

The country’s largest yet sparsely populated province is a case of deliberate neglect. Its descent into anarchy and unrest is a result of a lack of political will and the ill-thought-out policies of successive governments. This politics of ignorance cannot go on for long, especially in a region where a heavy military presence is a necessity to evade insurgency. While many analysts are wary of contextualizing the rise of armed groups in the region, the government needs to figure out what is making people take up arms and announce a rule of terror and chaos. There is also no doubt that much of this chaos is happily encouraged, facilitated, and even funded by India. Just a few days back, a report published in ‘The Guardian’ suggested that India’s RAW has been involved in creating chaos in Pakistan, financially supporting locals to get their targets attacked.

Such attacks highlight the myriad security challenges that Balochistan is currently facing. Importantly, action needs to be taken against separatist groups while also addressing the alienation felt by many Baloch people. While it is undeniably true that India is meddling in the province – the capture of Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav was proof enough of that – we cannot use that as an excuse to do nothing. Even if India is behind the attacks, the attacks themselves are still being carried out by locals. We also cannot deny that militant groups have bases all over the country, including in Balochistan. It is important to keep drawing international attention to India’s gross violation of our sovereignty – but without using it as an excuse for inaction at home. The only way to defeat the militant insurgency and tame the separatist movement is through smart law enforcement and understanding that we need the Baloch people to buy into this fight.