As Balochistan slides deeper into chaos, the paramilitary Frontier Corps (FC) has said that Baloch insurgents are maintaining 121 Farari (fugitive) camps in different parts of the province where they train their fighters.
“Another such 30 camps are located across the border in Afghanistan,” FC’s Inspector General Maj Gen Obaidullah Khan told a press briefing at the force’s headquarters on Saturday. He claimed that some ‘foreign powers’ were funding these camps.
Giving the break-up, Maj Gen Khan said that 40 camps were being run by the Baloch Liberation Army, 26 by the Baloch Republican Army and 19 by the Baloch Liberation Front.
He called for a political solution to the Balochistan turmoil which, he believes, is ‘purely political’ in nature. However, he warned that anti-state elements would be dealt with an iron hand.
“Tit-for-tat action will be taken against those elements which are hell bent on dismembering Pakistan,” added Maj Gen Khan.
Barahamdag Bugti, chief of Balochistan Republican Party who is currently living in self-exile in Switzerland, said in interview with the BBC on Friday that his party would not accept anything less than ‘independence’ for Balochistan.
Maj Gen Khan, however, said that “nobody will be allowed to break up Pakistan. Those who talk about dismembering Pakistan will be dealt with full force of the law.”
Giving statistics on attacks by insurgents, the paramilitary force chief said that 575 subversive attacks took place in Balochistan in 2012. Of these, 258 strikes were claimed by Baloch insurgents.
In all, 254 people, including 57 FC troops, two army soldiers and 20 policemen were killed in these attacks.
However, he claimed that the number of terrorist attacks has come down in comparison with the pa st couple of years.
Maj Gen Khan regretted that some elements were feeding a slur campaign against the law enforcement agencies disregarding their countless ‘sacrifices’. “The FC is being demoralised through this targeted propaganda campaign,” he added.
He reiterated that the Levies force, a sort of tribal police, was capable of tackling the situation – the only thing they need is training to combat the insurgents. This matter has been taken up with the provincial government, according to him.
Maj Gen Khan called upon the people of Balochistan to help his paramilitary force in restoring lasting peace in the province. “Citizens should also play their role and help the security forces in foiling the nefarious designs of anti-state elements,” he added.
The FC chief also pointed out lacunas in the judicial system and vented his frustration at low conviction rate. “In 2011, 129 suspects were arrested for their involvement in different terrorist attacks. Of these, only 4 were handed out prison sentences, 50 were released and 61 are still in on trail,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 3rd, 2012.