Pakistan Army soldier ready to strike in Balochistan
Insurgency: Musharraf's Snowball, Spinning Out of Control
February 4: The Balochistan situation is rapidly spinning out
of control of Pakistan's General Pervez Musharraf, partly because
of his naivety, mainly because of his arrogance.
The insurgency is snowballing beyond speed limits. Six bomb and
landmine blasts targeting key transport, communications and power
facilities on Wednesday caused widespread damage. Militants blew
up a major electricity transmission line on Tuesday night suspending
power supplies to two thirds of the troubled province, including
the capital city of Quetta where two bombs went off early on Sunday.
out of the five explosions ripped up the main railway line between
Quetta, the capital of Balochistan and Zahidan in neighboring
Iran. The track was blown up at Mustung where a powerful bomb
ripped through the wall of a police station.
the other rail blast a passenger train escaped a possible accident
when a pilot engine found part of the track missing at Dera Ghazi
Khan, in Punjab province. A 1.2 meter stretch had been blown up
by a bomb leaving a 60 cms deep crater and halting the Chiltan
express traveling from Quetta to Islamabad. In Kohlu, Balochistan
militants blew up two microwave telephone masts.
Multiple blasts destroyed an electricity transmission line tower
in Naushki. On Saturday, three power towers were blown up in Nasirabad
district, 220 km southeast of Quetta, suspending electricity supply
to parts of the province. Two weeks back gas supply was stopped
to most of Pakistan.
just two short weeks the country’s gas and power infrastructure
have been disrupted like never before, railway lines have been
blown up and bomb blasts have become a routine occurrence.
While it all started with a totally unnecessary cover up of a
doctor’s rape, just because Musharraf feared the Army may
feel humiliated if he took action, even against a rapist junior
Captain, real anger and fury was unleashed when Musharraf uttered
the “you-will-not-know-what-hit-you” remark.
politically incorrect outburst stunned the country but galvanized
the Opposition spurring even Musharraf supporters to loudly proclaim
their opposition to any military action. Parliamentarians from
the troubled province declared war, almost.
Wednesday young Senator Sanaullah Baloch, a nationalist, elaborated,
in these words: “Islamabad has missed the chance of appeasing
us… Our suggestions were turned down with all the arrogance.
Now my people would only want their recognition as equal partners
of the Federation of Pakistan. Take it or leave it.”
mysterious, but now world famous, Balochistan Liberation Army
claimed responsibility for all the actions, ignoring all warnings
and threats by Pakistan Army, including the ill timed declarations
to set up Army Garrisons at Sui and in other parts of the province.
nationalist leaders, openly conceding they would be outgunned
if attacked, joined hands forgetting their centuries old tribal
rivalries. They were also able to use the media to win sympathies
countrywide, and abroad. A report published by the World Socialist
Web said the tribal insurgency will become a "major headache"
Army arrogance did not stop from complicating the situation. While
some politicians, fearing they would become irrelevant as soon
as Army action began, tried to make some conciliatory noises,
Musharraf and his men continued to ignore and humiliate them by
situation has reached a point where Army is now ready to displace
thousands of Balochis from their homes and colonies near the gas
installations, bulldozing and demolishing their houses, in the
name of securing these assets.
BLA has declared a Red Alert and has warned they would retaliate
furiously if Army demolished any of the residential homes.
powerless politicians, mainly those supporting Musharraf, are
in sheer panic and their head honcho, Choudhry Shujaat Hussain
is talking of constitutional amendments to give more autonomy
to Balochistan. Analysts see these moves as too little and too
late since the Army is not conceding any ground as it prepares
for action. Thousands of troops, tanks and artillery, have been
moved to the Sui battleground.
leaders are talking of the ultimate sacrifice and everybody is
recalling the 1971 East Pakistan debacle, comparing Musharraf
to General Yahya Khan and his actions to the military operations
that broke up the country. Fears of foreign hands are being publicly
bankruptcy of the Army strategy has been fully exposed. Even Baloch
supporters of Musharraf like Mahim Khan and Sarwar Kakar on Wednesday
joined Sanaullah Baloch, Aslam Buledi and others in the Opposition,
to denounce it.
demand now is not of more autonomy but apparent humiliation of
the Army. While talking in separatist tones, these leaders are
asking not just for political and economic freedom, they have
almost put the precondition that troops must be withdrawn from
the province and plans for building more cantonments be abandoned
for any political dialogue to begin.
Baloch gave revealing statistics in the Senate on Wednesday calling
it the “economic, political and psychological rape of Balochistan.”
province produces 40 per cent of gas but consumes only two per
cent. Gas was discovered in 1952 but provincial capital Quetta
had first gas connection in 1986 after establishment of the Army
Corps Headquarters. Power consumption is only half a percent.
Eight per cent of sea coast is located in Balochistan but the
coast guards are 100 per cent non-Baloch.”
the ground situation, as he narrated it, means neither the Army
will concede anything nor they are looking for any face saving
formula. “The Frontier Constabulary (FC) has set up 580
check posts across the length and breadth of the province, manned
mostly by non-Balochs. These posts have become a source of extortion
and harassment. The officers supervising them have become fabulously
rich,” Baloch told the Senate. It was, in fact, typical
conduct of an occupying army.
have counted a total of 28 sardars in the province of which 24
are with the government,” he said. The provincial government
is a pack of jokers, or almost so. “An Army Brigade was
already on the march before the cabinet met to ask for Center’s
help. The day Choudhry Shujaat was talking about an autonomy package
recommended by his parliamentary committee, Army had flown journalists
especially from Islamabad to Sui, to announce plans for building
the cantonment and acquisition of 400 acres of Baloch land.”
Nothing could be more arrogant and insulting.
say this land has been forcibly taken over and no Baloch has sold
it to the Army. The charges are familiar to what the Army has
been accused of doing all over the country – grab the land.
everybody else is hearing fire alarms blaring, Musharraf and his
Generals are pretending to be deaf and looking busy in politicking.
A pathetic sight was Musharraf wearing a Sindhi cap and an Ajrak
on top of his commando jacket at an Army-sponsored public meeting
in Sindh. His outfit was an insult to both the Army Uniform and
the Sindhi cap (see pix above).
an all powerful General has to use crutches borrowed from political
nobodies, it is the clearest sign that he has no clue where he
is headed. Surely, as he predicted, he would not know what hit
him, as it certainly is not the era of the 70s.