Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Daily Times Editorial Sept 10, 2015

Allah Nazar killed? Balochistan Home Minister Mir Sarfaraz Bugti claimed in a press conference on Tuesday, September 8 that Dr Allah Nazar, leader of the Baloch Liberation Front (BLF) had been killed. This development, he asserted, was the result of the massive operation in his home district of Awaran. In addition, Mir Bugti claimed that a huge communication centre had been destroyed in the mountains in Dalbandin, Chaghai district, from where 600 international SIM cards, 1,000 antennas and seven militants operating the centre were seized. Regarding the purported death of Dr Allah Nazar, the home minister, after sounding confident of his claim, contradicted himself in the next breath by saying he could not confirm the news, but since there had been no sign of Dr Allah Nazar since the operation one day before Eid, he must be dead. The droll absurdity did not end there. The communication centre, Mir Bugti asserted, was being used by Baloch nationalist militants, extremist jihadi terrorists, agents of Afghan and Indian intelligence services and drug smugglers. The only name he inadvertently perhaps left out was Charlie’s aunt. The linkage sought to be created by Mir Bugti stretched credulity to the breaking point when he juxtaposed ideologically and politically opposed nationalist guerrillas with fanatical religious terrorists and criminal drug smugglers, and then attempted, as usual, to drop the whole lot into the convenient catch-all basket of India’s and Afghanistan’s intelligence agencies. While this may bring the home minister the satisfaction of neatly tying up all these disparate forces and lumping them under one umbrella, in fact it does his case little good. In fact the phantasmagorical nature of his claims in this regard cast severe doubts on his claims about Dr Allah Nazar too, even if we ignore his own ‘qualifications’ to the news of the BLF leader’s death. Rumours of Dr Allah Nazar being killed in an air strike on the purported BLF headquarters in Awaran had been doing the rounds in July but were categorically rejected by the BLF, which said he was very much alive and leading the group. There has been no reaction or response from the BLF so far to Mir Bugti’s claims now. It goes without saying that if Mir Bugti’s kite flying about Dr Allah Nazar’s death turns out to be true, it would be a big blow to the Baloch insurgency and a matter of great satisfaction for the security forces for whom he has proved a thorn in their side. Unlike most of the Baloch insurgent leaders, Dr Allah Nazar is from a middle class background. As a student of medicine, he rose to prominence in Balochistan’s nationalist student politics. He has always been considered a close follower of late Nawab Khair Buksh Marri. He was arrested in 2006 after he protested, along with so many others, the assassination of Nawab Akbar Bugti by the Musharraf regime. In 2008 he was released on promise of ‘good’ behaviour but soon joined the ranks of the insurgents and set up his own BLF. Amidst all the swirling rumours and lack of reliable information about the Baloch nationalist insurgency, one rumour of late has it that Dr Allah Nazar developed differences with Nawab Marri’s son Hyrbyar. Such rumours of the splintering of the Baloch insurgency have been rife lately, although reliance on mere rumour is not free of risk. Even if, for the sake of argument, we accept that Dr Allah Nazar has been killed, will that mean the end of the Baloch problem? Not if history is any guide. Each generation of the Baloch people has risen in revolt against the repression, injustices and deprivations that are the lot the state has reserved for them. We are witnessing the fifth insurgency in the province since independence. An essentially political issue that is Balochistan cannot be resolved by military might and repression. You can kill a man (or many men) but you cannot as easily kill an idea. It is the idea of the self-respect, dignity and rights of the people of Balochistan that cannot be crushed by force. For each insurgent killed, hundreds, if not thousands, now and in the future, will come forward to pick up the gun of their fallen comrade and intone new funeral dirges punctuated by the crackle of bullets. Political problems require, nay demand, political solutions. But how to persuade the security establishment of this self-evident truth? Therein lies both the dilemma and the answer to the Balochistan conundrum.

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