In a startling revelation on Sunday, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said Baloch Republican Party chief Brahamdagh Bugti operated training camps in Afghanistan which were dismantled after Islamabad conveyed its concerns about the matter to Afghanistan.
Bugti had allegedly established training camps in Kandahar from where he was fuelling the insurgency in Balochistan, Malik said. He allegedly trained around 4,000 to 5,000 men for action against the Frontier Corps in the restive province.
“Bugti hired three large houses for training. We have shared these details with Afghan officials,” he told reporters at the Islamabad Press Club.
The interior minister said Pakistan had requested the Afghan president to deport Bugti after which he was forced to leave the country. After Bugti’s departure from Kabul, the situation in Balochistan is under control, the minister claimed.
Taking notice of Islamabad’s concerns, the United Nations and Afghanistan had told the self-exiled Baloch leader to take political asylum anywhere in the world after which Brahamdagh moved to Switzerland.
Malik added that Afghan President Hamid Karzai has admitted that militants from his country were fuelling tensions in Balochistan.
“President Karzai has promised to stop infiltration of militants from Afghanistan into Pakistan,” Malik said. This is the first time a senior Pakistani official has said on record that the insurgency in Balochistan is being aggravated by Afghanistan.
At a trilateral summit between Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan last month, Pakistani officials had complained to Karzai about the issue.
In response to Islamabad’s request, Kabul has formally given its assurance to stop the infiltration of militants from Kandahar to Balochistan’s border district Chaman.
But, on the other hand, Afghan security forces have also been blaming Islamabad for clandestine support to Taliban militants. Pakistani officials have accused Afghan security forces of supporting Quetta Shura – the top Taliban leadership council – for plotting terror incidents in the province.
Visas to American citizens
Pakistan will not extend visas of American citizens without substantial reasons, he added. “No American citizen will be allowed to enter Pakistan without valid documents. They will only be allowed inside Pakistan if they seek proper permission from the interior and foreign ministries.”
Check on private security firms
Malik said the interior ministry has kept a check on private security firms’ activities since he assumed charge in 2008. “Their NOCs are being verified. Heads of these firms have been asked to renew their NOCs and licences as and when they expire.”
Published in The Express Tribune, March 5th, 2012.