Pakistani federal governments plan to send more troops and arms into Balochistan spells disaster for the Balochs
“There is sound and fury all over the country”, said Pakistan interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan. He might have as well added the “signifying nothing” part from Shakespeare’s “Macbeth.” For all the sound and fury of Pakistan will hold no hope for the Balochs as long as the federal government’s sticks to its decision to send in additional troops and arms to contain “terrorist activities” in Balochistan. The policy is just another of the many flawed policies that show how much the Balochs own fury continue to fall on deaf ears.
The bloodbath that was unleashed on Balochistan by various warring factions have resulted in a bloody Eid which saw almost 60 people killed in less than 10 days. The Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry asking the Baloch authorities to submit reports and explain government action to combat terrorism.
As the interior minister explained, the central government is to provide 15,000 security men with the army providing 5000 sub machine guns to train the police. The interior minister is reported to have said
That 15,000 security personnel will be provided to the province. He said while he was leaving for Quetta, Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervaiz Kyani called him and told that they wanted to play their part in Balochistan security and in this regard they would provide 5,000 SMGs to Balochistan Police and train them on an emergency bases.
“We also have offered the provincial government capacity building and training,” he said, adding that coordinated efforts among all intelligence and security agencies, including ISI, MI, FC and Police, would be made to prevent attacks in future.
Mr. Nisar and the central government is perhaps in need of a little perspective and a lot of lessons on the situation in Balochistan.
The violence that was seen in the days leading to Eid was not a result of 13 year old war that was imposed on the nation. It is, as I mention in my article on Balochistan the result of a half a century battle that Pakistan brought upon itself. The crisis in Balochistan is not a result of a war with an unseen enemy but from a battle with its own forces, within its own borders. Whatever the war in Balochistan, it is the result of a federal government whose policies and apathy towards a people has managed to strip them of their identity, their land and their dignity.
The Economist had in 2012 put the number of FC troops in Balochistan at 50,000. These troops were as the report says for a people who accounted for less than 9m of the entire Pakistani population of more than 180m. The troop numbers, though remains a conservative estimate according to most. Baloch sources place it at greater than 100,00. Given that most of the kill and dump, abductions, torture of the most inhumane nature and mutilations happen by the armed forces, and the FC’s in particular, the addition of another 15,000 troops plus FC’s would be ironic if it were not horrifying.
There has also been no concrete proof publicly shown to prove the capture of the culprits of the women’s university bombings in June. The bombings were a part of a shia genocide that has gripped the region. The public and virulent protests against the Shia’s by the government supported LeJ has rarely seen arrests or judicial consequences.
Until the government takes steps to address the many grievances including the missing persons, abductions and murder by the state through proper judicial channels, sending more troops will only do more harm.
Until then Pakistan’s sound and fury holds very little hope for a province silenced.