Balochistan Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik has refuted the perception that he is a chief executive only in the name and that the actual powers are in the hands of the provincial civil bureaucracy, headed by the chief secretary.
“It is absolutely incorrect to suggest that the chief secretary is the decision-making authority in the province and I am a powerless chief minister,” CM Malik said in an annoyed tone.
“I have all powers and authority prescribed for the provincial chief executive in the Constitution and the chief secretary is discharging his duties in accordance with the rules and procedure,” Malik said in an exclusive interview with The Express Tribune on Tuesday in Islamabad.
Recently, Senator Mir Hasil Bizenjo, acting president of the Balochistan’s ruling National Party (NP), had told the media that the provincial cabinet was a toothless body without any authority.
“We have been given the right to rule the province but we are denied decisions-making powers,” Bizenjo had said.
Dr Malik – who had also served as the president of the ruling NP till his election as the provincial chief minister in June – said that his party’s leader had been quoted by the media out of context.
An official in Quetta said the provincial chief secretary – who has been sent from Punjab – was exercising all the administrative powers and there was little role of the chief minister and his cabinet members in decision-making.
Malik defended the chief secretary against the allegations and said the chief secretary and the inspector-general of police, who was also from Punjab, were serving Balochistan with exemplary commitment and remarkable integrity.
The chief minister admitted that ‘some’ of the newly elected councilors of local bodies from Makran division had resigned their offices after they received life threats by Baloch militants.
“No doubt the newly elected councilors are still being abducted in Makran division by militants,” the CM said.
He claimed that 10 to 12 newly elected councilors resigned their offices after they were abducted by insurgents. All of them had been elected from the chief minister’s own constituency in Makran division which is also his home town.
About the improving law and order situation in the province, Malik said the December 7 elections for over 7,000 local bodies’ seats were held in a better security environment as compared to the May 11 general elections. “Over 6,500 councilors have been elected for the local governments,” he added.
by Ali Ahsan
In recent years, we have seen Balochistan become engulfed in a multi-layered conflict in Pakistan’s increasingly complex Post-9/11 predicament.
From separatist militancy (or the struggle for freedom, using the Baloch nationalist discourse), history of military operations, FC (Frontier Corps of Pakistan army) heavy handedness, human rights abuses, deliberate purging of ‘settlers’ (mostly of Punjabi, Saraiki, Sindhi and Urdu-speaking backgrounds), we have also seen an increasingly dangerous aspect of an apparent Shia genocide that has plagued the rest of Pakistan too.
One can easily say that amid violence and chaos in Balochistan, there is even more chaos and intrigue that goes far below the surface too.
One aspect is the role of the anti-Shia terror of the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) as well as its “allies” or “mentors” in the rebranded Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (formerly Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan) in Balochistan.
Initially when the reports of target killings of Shias including Hazara and non-Hazara Shias, began in the last decade in Quetta, the usual suspects, thanks to mainstream stereotypes, were the Pashtun-dominated Taliban and their LeJ-ASWJ-SSP allies whose presence in Pashtun parts of Quetta and Pashtun districts of north-east Balochistan became the talk of town.
However, the increasing intensity of the Shia genocide in Balochistan has taken a disturbing twist: a careful analysis of available information (news reports, videos, demographics) would reveal that while some acts of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi terror acts in Balochistan are caused by radicalized Pashtuns or Punjabis, most are done by local radicalized Baloch. While the masterminds may be based in Jhang or Rawalpindi, the actual footsoldiers happen to be the newly emerging sectarian breed of Balochs.
This author spoke briefly with various senior journalists from Quetta (whose name he would prefer not to disclose) many months back, and he was surprised when almost all the journalists and reporters revealed that majority of LeJ operations and planning is taking place in Baloch-concentration areas.
It was also revealed that whenever local police attempted to do search operations in wake of Shia killings in Quetta, their information almost always led them to raid the Baloch areas of Sariyab Road each and every time – and some of the killings of Shias have also taken place in that very area.
Now it is also apparent that areas like Sariyab Road are considered a hub of Baloch nationalist-separatist activity, but the LeJ dimension of Sariyab Road adds another twist in the tale.
I know that this blog (LUBP) sympathises and supports Baloch struggle for separation/freedom, however, it should also consider that anti-Shia sectarian militancy is also making inroads in Baloch nation.
A viral video has made rounds online where a Quetta bus carrying Shia pilgrims was stopped by masked terrorists in Mastung (September 2011), and where all Shias (including Hazara and non-Hazara Shias) in the bus were rounded up and shot dead in cold blood. Upon closer inspection of that video, it turns out that the killers of those Shia pilgrims were not speaking Pashtu or Punjabi – as the common stereotype is – but Brahvi mixed with some Balochi. Brahvi speaking people are an integral part of the Baloch nation.
In recent times the Baloch city of Mastung – an traditional stronghold of Baloch politics – has become a hotbead of anti-Shia killings and many deadly acts of terror have been carried out against Shias in and around Mastung where the local language is both Brahvi and Balochi.
This surprising new dimension made the author approach some local Bangulzai people of Mastung (names withheld), and even they confirmed that yes, LeJ terror acts are carried out by local radicalized Baloch militants. They even said that the Mastung streets are now littered with anti-Shia wall chalkings in many localities.
The recent bold show of Muhammad Malick on Dunya with Amir Mateen talking about Shia Genocide in Balochistan also revealed that LeJ was taking hold in otherwise secular Baloch nation; he also the names of the LeJ activists roaming free and carrying out their dirty deeds – all of the names were Baloch (e.g., Saifullah Kurd and Shafeeq Rind who escaped high security anti terrorist jail in Quetta cantonment with the alleged connivance of the security agencies).
Listen to Amir Mateen in the above video at 04:30 “All of the sectarian terrorists nabbed in Balochistan are 100% Baloch. Religious extremism is being spread in the otherwise tolerant Baloch nation.”
Such revelations from diverse sources, mixed with careful examination of news reports of Shia Genocide in Balochistan, and a bit of independent research makes the Baloch-dimension of the killings become a real shocking and disturbing aspect of the country-wide Shia genocide taking place in Pakistan, right from Quetta to Gilgit and from Karachi to Parachinar.
As earlier stated, Mastung is a Baloch city and that is a LeJ-ASWJ-SSP stronghold now. Of course, several of such radicalized anti-Shia Balochs are working as mercenaries in Saudi-Bahrain suppression of pro-democracy demonstrations in Bahrain. Some of them are also aligned with Jundullah, have racist tendencies against entire Iranian nation (instead of Iranian ruling elites) and mourn when Jundullah terrorists were nabbed by Iran. Baloch Nationalist Front (BNF) and others officially declared mourning for the execution of Abdul Malik Rigi, who was Iranian version of Pakistan’s Malik Ishaq or Iraq’s version of Abu Musab Zarqawi, in hatred and murder of Shias. Here are two of several incidents of Shia genocide conducted and claimed by Jundullah: 32 Shias were killed on Imam Hussain’s birthday in Zahidan in July 2010, and another 38 were killed in December 2010 in an attack on Imam Hussain Mosque.
Balochs have been very tolerant to Shias and other minority groups. Hindus have lived most peacefully in Balochistan.. Baloch-Brahvi society always been heterogenous, all-welcoming. I knew plenty in real life, they are lovely folk. However, radicalized Balochs do not represnt all Balochs; same way a few Punjabi/Pashtun degenerates do NOT represent all Pashtuns and Punjabis. I am NOT judging whole of Baloch nation as “sectarian monsters” as I dont judge Pashtuns Punjabis either.
We recently spoke with Dr. Baloch of the National Party about the challenges his coalition government in Quetta must overcome for peace in Pakistan’s restive province. Excerpts:
How does one quell the violence in Balochistan?
Balochistan’s problems are multidimensional. There is the Baloch insurgency, sectarianism, target killings, and then the large number of kidnappings. I am in the process of preparing a twofold solution: a political and an economic one. The political solution will stress on the need to reconcile with the insurgents. As a first step we will immediately need to rehabilitate families displaced from [areas under the traditional control of the Marri and Bugti tribes] and Quetta.
In your opinion, is Balochistan on the verge of seceding from the federation?
There is no doubt that a school of thought has always existed in Balochistan which believes in separatism. But honestly, I don’t think we have reached a stage where there is no other solution. Let’s not give up. It’s time we negotiate with those who want to secede.
How accurate or inaccurate are claims that Pakistan’s military agencies are responsible for the violence and separatist sentiment in Balochistan?
Hopefully the agencies will work with us and use their power over those they command.
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has suggested India’s involvement in fomenting trouble in Balochistan. What involvement, if any, do you see of foreign countries in creating tensions in your province?
We are in a war zone. To our west is Afghanistan, and NATO is still there, so you cannot rule out the possibility of foreign interference. Now if you ask me who all are involved and to what extent, I have no way of knowing. But in the case of sectarianism, I think we all know. It is quite clear.
It is widely believed that Mullah Omar is alive and running the Afghan Taliban through the Quetta Shura. What can you share about the presence of the Taliban and its affiliates in Balochistan?
I have no idea. I don’t know where Mullah Omar is. As for the Taliban, of course they are operating in Balochistan. They are operating with great impunity in the entire country.
How realistic or reasonable are the claims and figures cited by the leftwing about people who may have gone missing in the province?
There is no exact number of missing persons in Balochistan. Every organization has its own number. The Voice for Baloch Missing Persons has a different figure to the one being cited by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. Specifics aside, we should recover those we can and present them in court.
How soon can Balochistan be stabilized?
I am neither that naïve to believe I can solve all of Balochistan’s problems nor am I that pessimistic to think that I can achieve nothing. Let me at least do what I can to help my people as much as I can.
Akbar Bugti was attacking national installations in Balochistan and he was killed alongside Pakistan Army troops who had gone to apparently negotiate with him. Is it acceptable, in your opinion, for tribal chieftains to take up arms against the country?
No, now that is not true. Nawab Bugti was forced to take the decision he did. I was there [in Balochistan]. I saw what was happening and what he was doing. His death spiraled Balochistan into a state of instability.
Yet another propaganda base piece by Malik Siraj Akber, this time he pick Imran Khan.
On Baloch Hal blog, First Malik Siraj twist Imran Khan statement than to make his propaganda post more colourful he added Drone, talban and USA issue in that.
Mr Siraj just pick half line of Imran Khan statement which he gave after coming from his India`s visit.
According to the link Mr Siraj gave about Imran Khan speech, clearly state that Imran Said “Delhi believe Pakistan is involve in Kashmir and Islamabad says that India is involve in Balochistan”. No where Imran Khan states that he believe that India is involve in Balochistan, He just expressed the views of both capitals.
But Mr Siraj take this statement as if Imran Khan gave this verdict that India is involve in Balochistan.
Mr Siraj further try to make Imran Khan as spoke person of ISPR, before going on that , Malik Siraj also need to reconsider his judgement that most Baloch take Pakistan as ‘foreign’ force in Balochistan. If it was true than more than 20,000 Balochistan locals were not going to join Pakistan army.
Other than this, Balochistan ex-CM Akhter Magel also believe that foreign countries are involved in Balochistan, even anti Pakistan journalist Masti Khan also write about Indian involvement in Balochistan.
Mr Siraj declare Imran Khan as Talban apologist as he oppose military operation in FATA , but the complete truth is Imran Khan oppose military operation whether its FATA or its Balochistan, While Mr Siraj oppose military operation in Balochistan and declare others Talban apologist if they oppose military operation in FATA, but Imran Khan dont have double standards like Malik Siraj.
Imran Khan is against Operation in Balochistan, against the “death squads” in Balochistan, against the extra judiciary missing of peoples, all these are pro-establishment are anti establishment stance ? Judge yourself.
By : Imran Jamali
Brainwashing of people across Pakistan, both on provincial and national levels, is going on seemingly under well thought out plan. For example, other parts of the country are injected with disinformation that the ongoing struggle in Balochistan is for the basic rights of the people as if there are enough rights or everything available to the people in interior Sindh, Punjab, KPK and FATA.
On the provincial level this brainwashing is extremely effective where the masses are fed with the fairy tales of Pakistan’s occupation of Balochistan. The propagandists don’t use the term “forceful annexation”, which is unfairly propagated on the national television screens in Pakistan. In the province it is even worse.
This is carried out by different methods. There are anti-Pakistan books easily available in cities and districts of Balochistan, which support the Indian narration of history
The domestic newspapers and political seminars, by using the banner of Baloch Students Organization-Azad, are extremely lethal in manufacturing hardcore militants out of hatred for Pakistan. The trend needs to be arrested by our policy makers. There is a need for a national debate on the Balochistan issue as early as possible.