Interior Minister Rehman Malik reiterated on Saturday that the government was not planning a military operation in Balochistan – but added that law enforcement agencies would expedite action against terrorist elements and miscreants.
In an interaction with journalists, the minister also announced that eight more groups have been outlawed. Six outfits of insurgents are already banned in the province.
He shared with journalists a list of organisations that claimed responsibility for terror attacks between January and July 2012. Most of these claims were made by the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA).
The minister also offered Brahamdagh Bugti, a grandson of slain Baloch chieftain Nawab Akbar Bugti, to return to Pakistan.
“We know he is living in Switzerland under a pseudonym. I invite him to return to Pakistan under his own terms. He will be given international guarantees of protection with full protocol,” he added.
Malik said the government was ready to talk to all ‘estranged’ Baloch leaders and a cabinet committee would visit the province for this purpose.
He welcomed Brahamdagh’s statement that his (Balochistan Republican Army) BRA was not a terrorist organisation but a political party.
“But then he (Brahamdagh) should also disown his militant commander who is hiding in Afghanistan and dissociate himself from all terrorist activities of the organisation,” Malik added.
The minister added that only parliament would take a decision about a military operation in Balochistan, while the security forces would continue action against terrorists.
“We are not oblivious to what is happening in Balochistan. Common people in the province are not anti-Pakistan as is being portrayed by certain elements,” he added.
A day earlier, Malik had shared with senators evidence of involvement of RAW and Afghanistan in terrorist activities in Balochistan. He had also listed Brahamdagh Bugti in a list of separatists who were receiving arms from both the countries.
A copy of an Afghan presidential order was shown to senators that ordered the issuance of a passport to Brahamdagh.
Besides the six already banned groups including BRA, Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), Balochistan Liberation Front (BLF), Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), newly banned organisations include Tahafuz Hadudullah, Balochistan Waja Liberation Army, Baloch Republican Party Azad, Balochistan United Army, Islam Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Islam and Balochistan National Liberation Army.
About missing persons, he cited a report of the second judicial commission formed following the Supreme Court’s orders, which said there are 36 people missing from Balochistan. “It is wrong to blame security agencies for violence in the province,” Malik added.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 5th, 2012.