For many national and regional political parties, including Pakhtun and Baloch nationalists in Balochistan, foreign intervention is the source of the entire troubles in the violence-plagued Balochistan province.
However, the speakers at the roundtable discussion on violence in Balochistan presented their own interpretation of the foreign involvement.
According to official claims, two neighbouring countries and few western powers are helping the Baloch insurgents with money and arms.
Nawabzada Lashkari Raisani, former chief minister of Balochistan, said the province’s strategic location, its oil and gas reserves as well as its gold and copper mining riches are at the root of the problem.
“All those international powers who are interested in our natural resources are involved in the Balochistan conflict in one way or the other,” said Raisani, who has remained in mainstream national politics with the PPP and the PML.
The Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M) is of the opinion that the sectarian militancy in Quetta is funded by neighbouring countries.
“Foreign intervention in Balochistan is an undeniable fact,” said the vice-president of the BNP-M Sajid Tareen. “Two Muslim countries are fighting their own sectarian war in Balochistan.”
According to BNP-M chief Sardar Akhtar Mengal, the arms and ammunitions and other resources being supplied by the United States and NATO to Pakistan to fight against the Taliban are being used against the Baloch militants.
“The then prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto during the 1970s had used the Iranian helicopters against the Baloch people who were defying him,” he recalled.
The Central Secretary General of Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP ) admitted there was foreign involvement in Balochistan, but said that such ills would continue to exists so long Pakistan does not become a true federal, parliamentary and a democratic country.
The root cause of the problem is that the Baloch, Pakhtun, Sindhi and Seraiki people are denied their economic and political rights, he said. Some of those deprived people have chosen democratic path to achieve their rights while some others have adopted armed struggle as their way and means to obtain their objective, Shah said.
JUI-F Jan Achakzai, renowned political analyst from Balochistan Ammanullah Gichki and Balochistan MPA Mir Sarfraz Bugti, separately confirmed that the Baloch militancy is backed by international forces.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 10th, 2013.
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