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Law-enforcement agencies in Balochistan have arrested three women from Chaman, claiming that they belong to banned outfits. Reports assert that one of the women is the wife of dreaded terrorist leader Dr. Allah Nazar which raises questions on the role of foreign safe havens for those involved in terror activities inside Pakistan.

A spokesperson of Balochistan government stated that the women had crossed from the Pak-Afghan border town of Chaman illegally and that they had been arrested by Frontier Corps on October 30. The spokesperson did not identify the women but he said that they had been found to belong to banned outfits as revealed by security officials’ investigations. However, the Baloch Human Rights Organisation (BHRO) has alleged that the arrested women were the wife and daughters of Balochistan Liberation Front chief Dr. Allah Nazar and relatives of another leader of the group.

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The BHRO held a protest outside Quetta Press Club on Tuesday and demanded that the women should be released. They further demanded that the women be presented in a court of law if there were criminal charges against them.

The Pakistani state’s capability to act against terrorists on Afghan soil is highly limited due to a variety of factors.

According to reports, the wife of the dreaded Dr. Allah Nazar is indeed among the arrested. Sources reveal that Allah Nazar’s wife was traveling towards Kandahar and was behind the recent threats and attacks on journalists and media outlets in Balochistan. However, the arrests of their daughters have not been confirmed.

The arrest raises the dilemma of foreign sanctuaries of terrorists raising havoc inside Pakistan. While Allah Nazar’s wife was traveling to Afghanistan but Allah Nazar himself is present in Iran. The ethnonational Baloch terror group, the Balochistan Liberation Front (BLF) is alleged to have close relations with the Iranian establishment. Led by Dr. Allah Nazar, this group aims to separate Balochistan from Pakistan as well as purify it of non-Baloch settlers. The BLF has been provided safe havens, materials, and training by Iran in order to take out anti-Iran elements in Pakistan’s Balochistan.

The most prominent was the Tehreek-e-Taliban which unleashed a reign of terror in Pakistan including the horrifying APS attack.

Afghanistan has long been a problem for Pakistan. Ever since the independence of modern day Pakistan, it has been faced with hostile activities emanating from its western neighbor. Before the Soviet invasion in 1979, Pakistan was faced with an ethnonational terror threat in the form of “Pakhtun Zalmi”. However, after the Soviet occupation and subsequent civil war, Pakistan faced a lull in terror activities.

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However, after the US invasion in 2001 terror activities began anew in Pakistan. The most prominent were the Tehreek-e-Taliban which unleashed a reign of terror in Pakistan including the horrifying APS attack. It utilized safe havens inside Afghanistan to escape pressure inside Pakistan as well as a base of operations for further attacks.

It was asserted many times that the TTP and other groups enjoyed the backing of individuals within the Afghan government. Many events seem to validate these assertions. US military forces have captured Latifullah Mehsud, a senior commander with the Pakistani Taliban from an Afghan government convoy in Logar province in October 2013. Similarly, a prominent leader of the Pakistani Taliban’s Jamaat-ur-Ahrar (JuA) faction, Ehsanullah Ehsan, confessed to having contacts with Indian RAW and Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS).

The BHRO held a protest outside Quetta Press Club on Tuesday and demanded that the women should be released.

The use of safe havens in Afghanistan has been a thorn in the side of Pakistani efforts at counter-terrorism. Often, militants escape from antiterrorist operations into Afghanistan and wait for an opportune moment to return. Even now high ranking terrorist leaders such as Mullah Fazlullah are alleged to remain inside Afghan territory.

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The same is true for Baloch ethnonational terror groups most of whom enjoy similar backing. Many terror leaders like Brahmdagh Bugti used to live inside Afghanistan. The Pakistani state’s capability to act against terrorists on Afghan soil is highly limited due to a variety of factors. There is a stark need for closer coordination with the Afghan government and other measures such as the border wall being constructed to tackle the issue of cross-border terrorism.

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