QUETTA: The Balochistan government has released the family of a top Baloch separatist militant commander who were detained last month while travelling illegally into Pakistan from neighbouring Afghanistan.
Home Minister Mir Sarfaraz Bugti confirmed on Friday that the security forces had arrested three women and three children – including the family of Dr Allah Nazar, the chief of the outlawed Baloch Liberation Front (BLF) – but added that all women and children had been released in keeping with the Baloch traditions.
“Security forces had detained four women and three children from Chaman on October 30. Later on, it transpired that the women and the children included wife and daughter of BLF chief Dr Allah Nazar,” Bugti told a news conference in Quetta.
“The other women included sister of Aslam, alias Acho, commander of the banned Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) who was killed in a security operation, and wife of Dileep, another leading commander of the BLF,” Bugti added.
He showed CCTV footage of the women and children crossing the Chaman border.
“Today, the security forces handed over all the women and children to Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Zehri and we have released them… Allah Nazar’s wife left for Karachi with his [Allah Nazar’s] brother Mehrullah,” Bugti told reporters.
He denied reports doing the rounds on social media about the mistreatment of the arrested women. “I have met the women and I am assuring you that they were treated with full respect and honour in accordance with the Baloch traditions,” he said.
Three women arrested for 'links' with banned outifts in Chaman
The minister said that during investigation, it was revealed that the women were involved in distributing funds to the banned outfits – BLA and BLF. “Despite committing crimes of illegally crossing border and distributing funds among terrorists, the government treated them with respect,” he said.
“This is the difference between them and us. They are killing our women by planting landmines but we present their families and women Balochi shawls and pay them respect,” he said. “There are many families of terrorists living in various cities of Pakistan and we are personally aware of their whereabouts but we are true Baloch, unlike Allah Nazar, Hyrbyair Marri and Brahamdagh Bugti.”
The minister quashed the rumours that the women were abducted. They were arrested, he insisted.
Responding to a question about a delayed response from the provincial government to the arrests, he said: “We have to check all aspects of such a high-profile case. This took three days [for us] to respond.”
144 Baloch insurgents renounce violence
Asked why the women were arrested at the border, Bugit said: “We have clear directions from the federal government for making our border management stronger. Since February 2017, more than 11,000 people have been arrested for illegally crossing the border.”
The Balochistan home minister stressed that there should be no doubt now that not only the Afghan soil was being used for terrorism in Pakistan but the Afghan state was also providing shelter to terrorists, including the outlawed Baloch groups.
“The federal government is engaged in improving relations with Afghanistan and I personally [want this] as well because Balochistan is the worst-hit by the violence emanating from Afghanistan,” he said, adding the nation should know who their actual enemy was.