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Over 200 militants lay down arms in Balochistan

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At least 200 separatist militants have laid down their arms and announced becoming a part of the national mainstream on Thursday at a ceremony held at FC Headquarters in Turbat, Balochistan. This is the latest large-scale surrender that highlights the waning fortunes of the anti-Pakistan terror campaign.

Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Quddus Bizenjo and Commander Southern Command Lt General Asim Saleem Bajwa were chief guests of the ceremony. The surrender reflects previous mass surrenders in Balochistan. In December 2017, seventy-seven militants belonging to different Baloch organisations have surrendered themselves to the official authorities and announced giving up militancy.

Though the government has invited the estranged leaders for talks, it is time to take some practical steps towards that end by constituting a fully empowered committee to take forward the process of reconciliation.

These 77 people and 236 other members of militant organisations, who announced giving up fighting against the state over the past few weeks, handed over their arms to the authorities during a ceremony held at the lawns of Balochistan Assembly here on Saturday. Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Zehri, Commander Southern Command Lt Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa, provincial ministers Nawab Muhammad Khan Shahwani, Mir Sarfaraz Ahmed Bugti, Rehmat Saleh Baloch and Sardar Raza Muhammad Bareach and other senior civil and military offices were present at the occasion.

Read more: Terrorists apprehended from Balochistan are signs of progress

Among those who announced ending militancy included 143 members of the Balochistan Republican Army (BRA), 125 members of the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) and 17 Balochistan Liberation Front (BLF) members. The remaining people belonged to other militant groups.

Similarly in April 2017, As many as 434 militants belonging to different banned outfits have surrendered in Pakistan’s restive Balochistan province. The militants, who handed over their arms to authorities, belonged to the Baloch Republican Army (BRA), Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) and other separatist groups who have carried out attacks on security installations and personnel in the troubled province.

It must be understood that no talks can be held with those who are trying to malign Pakistan with the backing of Indian RAW, yet others can be engaged in order to bring them into national political process.

The frequency with which militants have started to surrender is due to major factors. One has been the front foot with which the state has been pursuing militants engaged in terror activities. The ferocity with which the government took down terrorists has unnerved many in the lower ranks who were merely in the cause for financial reasons.

Another factor was the conduct of the various “rebel leaders” with their minions. Most of the rebel leaders are tribal overlords who have lived a luxurious life both within Pakistan and now abroad. However, their subordinates have to live in extreme poverty and adverse conditions along with their families.

Read more: No Work on CPEC’s Western Route? This is propaganda: Chief Secretary…

Last year, Swiss authorities rejected political asylum for Brahumdagh Bugti, the exiled leader of the banned Baloch Republican Party (BRP), after more than seven years. The application of the outlawed BRP leader had earlier also been turned down by the Switzerland immigration authorities. It was also reported that Bugti had, on September 19th, 2016, formally asked the Indian government to grant him asylum and an Indian nationality so that he could live in India and move around the world to campaign against Pakistan.

As regards to the leaders involved in anti-Pakistan campaigns abroad, their sordid agenda needs to be fully exposed before the local population of Balochistan.  The estranged Baloch leaders sitting abroad must be engaged for the betterment of Pakistan’s largest province. 

The report was later denied by India and the BRP, but, just four days later, the news turned out to be correct and Bugti officially announced that he would apply for Indian citizenship for himself and his family. Similarly, Mehran Marri, son of Balochistan nationalist movement’s stalwart Khair Bux Marri (late) and brother-in-law of Brahumdagh Bugti, was slapped with a lifelong entry ban by the Swiss government last year.

On 16th January, Balochistan’s former home minister Nawabzada Gazain Marri has announced to quit separatist and nationalist politics. The son of the late Baloch nationalist leader Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri says he will now join mainstream politics, which “is the only way to serve the people of the province [Balochistan] and Pakistan.”

Read more: Mama Qadeer on Indian TV Channel says Pakistan is lying over…

Speaking during a gathering in Golarchi, the Baloch leader said he will first meet his supporters living in various parts of the country before deciding about the future political course. The estranged Baloch leaders sitting abroad must be engaged for the betterment of Pakistan’s largest province. It must be understood that no talks can be held with those who are trying to malign Pakistan with the backing of Indian RAW, yet others can be engaged in order to bring them into national political process.

Though the government has invited the estranged leaders for talks, it is time to take some practical steps towards that end by constituting a fully empowered committee to take forward the process of reconciliation. As regards to the leaders involved in anti-Pakistan campaigns abroad, their sordid agenda needs to be fully exposed before the local population of Balochistan.


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