When something goes wrong in Balochistan, the trend in Pakistan is to blame it on external forces. Nitin notes that all the usual suspects have alibis. More suspicion is on India due to the great relations between the two nations and the RAW has been blamed for formenting trouble. So who are these people fighting against the Pakistanis ?
‘The Baloch Liberation Army is an amorphous, underground organisation which was born in the Balochistan university many years ago during the cold war era. Extremists, left-leaning students of the Baloch Students Organization were its most important component.’
‘To establish the BLA as a countervailing force in a region perceived to be the weakest link in the US chain, that is, Pakistan, the former USSR funded BLA with money and arms and logistics. After the Soviets were removed from power in Russia, nothing was heard about the BLA.’
‘However, after the collapse of the Taliban in Afghanistan but with their presence near the Pak-Afghan border areas, sources said the US thought it prudent to establish its own spy network to counter-check the information made available to them by the ISI. The anti-Taliban nationalist elements, whether they are Pakhtuns or Balochs, were thought to be the best available resource that could be used to keep track of Taliban activities. In these circumstances, when Sardar Attaullah Khan Mengal returned from London to Pakistan after a long exile, it was not surprising for many suspicious people.’
‘Sources in the Pakistan army went on to say that soon after the Sardar returned, the youth were reorganised under the banner of the Baloch Liberation Army. Kohlu was the place where a recruitment and training camp was established.’
‘Sources in the Pakistan army maintained that about 200 people were armed and trained in Kohlu in which the Afghan and Indian government officials came deep into Pakistan and played a major role. These same sources said that apart from the 200 people, the main propelling force are tribal chiefs like Nawab Akbar Bugti, Sardar Attaullah Khan Mengal and Nawab Khair Bux Marri who are instigating their tribes to revolt against the Pakistan army. It is their perceptions, whether real or imaginary, which have created grounds in the military minds for an operation in Balochistan.’ [Is Balochistan burning?]
Related Links: The Baluchistan Issue, An exploited province, Between sardar and sarkar, Background on Balochistan