Home Contact Us  

Pakistan - Articles

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
#3793, 15 January 2013
Balochistan: Looking Beyond the Hazara Massacre
Rana Banerji
Distinguished Fellow, IPCS
E-mail: rbanerji49@gmail.com

The recent spate of Hazara killings in Quetta seems to have finally exhausted the patience of the federal government in Islamabad; forcing it to sack the effete Raisani administration and promulgate President’s rule in Balochistan.

Mapping the Violence in Balochistan
Violence has been endemic in the Province. At least 200-300 civilians have been killed annually, while security force casualties amount to approximately 90-120. During the last three years, 1200 Punjabi settlers were killed, many of whom were working as teachers, doctors, middle-level bureaucrats and professionals. Extremist Islamic sectarian outfits like the Lashkar e Jhangvi (LeJ) sent out ‘killer squads’ targeting Quetta’s hapless Hazaras, as well as other Shia communities travelling for religious purposes to Iran.

Political Failure of the Provincial and Federal Governments
The fractious vote in the 2008 Provincial Assembly elections saw a coalition government coming to power, with 51 out of 65 Members of Provincial Assemblies (MPAs) becoming Ministers. While all provincial ministers partook of State funds, ostensibly for developmental work, Baloch politicians failed to tackle the deepening alienation in the Province. The now erstwhile Chief Minister, Aslam Raisani, had to keep looking over his shoulders because of his age-old family feud with the Rinds. Even as Chief Minister, he spent more time in Dubai than administrating the Province from Quetta.

Former President Musharraf followed a three-pronged policy, traditionally employed by the Pakistani military establishment, to keep Baloch aspirations in check. While keeping the door open for political dialogue with the religious political parties in the Province, a no-holds-barred military campaign was launched against Baloch youth involved in a nationalist struggle. He projected such elements as terrorists. The Pashtuns, however, were dealt with kid gloves; with the safe havens of the Afghan Taliban in the outskirts of Quetta (Pashtoonabad) and along the Af-Pak border remaining protected.

After the Bugti murder in August 2006, the pattern of Baloch resistance changed. Earlier, it was led mainly by the so-called ‘nationalist Sardars’- the Marris and Mengals. Today, the Baloch sense of grievance is shared by the entire Baloch middle class. Several factions of Baloch insurgents have sprouted- the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), led by Hyairbair Marri (currently in exile, in the UK), the Balochistan Republican Army (BRA) of Brahmadagh Bugti (also in exile, possibly in Switzerland), and, the Balochistan Liberation Front (BLF) led by Dr Allah Nazar. The latter was arrested by intelligence agencies on 25 March 2005 and remained in detention for over a year. After his release on bail, he went into hiding. Claiming he had been tortured in prison, he pledged thereafter, to ‘purge Balochistan of the Punjabi Army’. The Establishment accused him of being the mastermind behind the killing of moderate Baloch nationalists such as the famous poet, Habib Jalib Baloch, and Maula Baksh Dasti, by unknown gunmen. Dr Allah Nazar denied these allegations; instead blaming intelligence agencies for sending out specially designated ‘vigilante squads’.

Cases of Disappearances and Judicial Review
Law and order authorities in the Province found it difficult to convict suspected terrorists and criminals for wont of proper criminal investigations and a severe lack in evidence required to file the cases’ charge sheets. The Frontier Corps, a paramilitary force, was deployed with Police powers. Though notionally reporting to the Chief Minister, they remained answerable to the XII Corps Commander in Quetta. This indirectly contributed to the phenomenon of ‘disappearances’. Preventive arrests of dissenters by police/intelligence agencies became commonplace. Often, when families of dissenters raised a hue and cry either before a sympathetic and receptive media or sought legal remedy in courts, such quests ended in tragedy with the dead body of the missing person being found in mysterious circumstances. While law and order agencies denied involvement and blamed insurgent outfits for the killings, both intellectuals and Baloch diaspora abroad described these as ‘kill and dump operations’.

Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry was forced to take cognizance and hold several suo moto hearings in these ‘disappearance cases’. He castigated the nonchalance of both civilian and military intelligence agencies in the investigation and follow up of these cases.

Akhtar Mengal’s ‘Six Points’ Agenda
Returning from his three years’ self-imposed exile in the UK, Baloch leader Akhtar Mengal recently deposed before the Supreme Court in Islamabad on the situation in Balochistan. He demanded an end to all overt and covert military operations against the Baloch, producing all missing persons, disbanding all proxy death squads of the ISI and MI, freedom of political rights for Baloch nationalists, bringing those responsible for killings and disappearances to book, and rehabilitating the thousands of Baloch displaced by the conflict.

The Army has been quick to deny any culpability on death squads, covert or overt military operations or missing persons in their custody and claimed to “fully support any political process, as long as it is within the Constitution of Pakistan.” Even if a neutral ‘caretaker government’ is formed in the Province before elections, there can be no guarantee that violent actions would be stopped. The Army has to stop being in denial about the extent and depth of Baloch alienation. This does not generate much optimism about the future.

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
IPCS Columnists
Af-Pak Diary
D Suba Chandran
Resetting Kabul-Islamabad Relations: Three Key Issues
Can Pakistan Reset its Relations with Afghanistan?
The New Afghanistan: Four Major Challenges for President Ghani
Big Picture
Prof Varun Sahni
Understanding Democracy and Diversity in J&K
When Xi Met Modi: Juxtaposing China and India
Pakistan?s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: The Inevitability of Instability

Dateline Colombo

Asanga Abeyagoonasekera.
Sri Lanka: Moving Towards a Higher Collective Outcome
The Importance of Electing the Best to our Nation's Parliament
Sri Lanka: Toward a Diaspora Re-Engagement Plan
Dateline Islamabad
Salma Malik
Pakistan's Hurt Locker: What Next?
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
India-Pakistan Relations in 2015: Through a Looking Glass
Dhaka Discourse
Prof Delwar Hossain
IPCS Forecast: Bangladesh in 2015
18th SAARC Summit: A Perspective from Bangladesh
Bangladesh in Global Forums: Diplomacy vs. Domestic Politics
Eagle Eye
Prof Chintamani Mahapatra
India-US: Significance of the Second Modi-Obama Meet
Has President Obama Turned Lame Duck?
Modi-Obama Summit: Criticism for Criticism?s Sake?

East Asia Compass
Dr Sandip Mishra
India-Japan-US Trilateral: India?s Policy for the Indo-Pacific
China-South Korea Ties: Implications for the US Pivot to Asia
Many ?Pivots to Asia?: What Does It Mean For Regional Stability?
Himalayan Frontier
Pramod Jaiswal
Nepal?s New Constitution: Instrument towards Peace or Catalyst to Conflict?
IPCS Forecast: Nepal in 2015
Constitution-making: Will Nepal Miss its Second Deadline?

Prof Shankari Sundararaman
IPCS Forecast: Southeast Asia in 2015
Indonesia's Pacific Identity: What Jakarta Must Do in West Papua
Modi in Myanmar: From ?Look East? to ?Act East?
Sushant Sareen
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
Islamic State: Prospects in Pakistan
Pakistan: The Futility of Internationalising Kashmir

Looking East
Wasbir Hussain
Myanmar in New Delhi's Naga Riddle
China: ?Peaceful? Display of Military Might
Naga Peace Accord: Need to Reserve Euphoria
Maritime Matters
Vijay Sakhuja
Indian Ocean: Modi on a Maritime Pilgrimage
Indian Ocean: Exploring Maritime Domain Awareness
IPCS Forecast: The Indian Ocean in 2015

Nuke Street
Amb Sheelkant Sharma
US-Russia and Global Nuclear Security: Under a Frosty Spell?
India's Nuclear Capable Cruise Missile: The Nirbhay Test
India-Australia Nuclear Agreement: Bespeaking of a New Age
Red Affairs
Bibhu Prasad
Countering Left Wing Extremism: Failures within Successes
Return of the Native: CPI-Maoist in Kerala
The Rising Civilian Costs of the State-Vs-Extremists Conflict

Regional Economy
Amita Batra
India and the APEC
IPCS Forecast: South Asian Regional Integration
South Asia: Rupee Regionalisation and Intra-regional Trade Enhancement
South Asian Dialectic
PR Chari
Resuming the Indo-Pak Dialogue: Evolving a New Focus
Defence Management in India: An Agenda for Parrikar
Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan: Implications for Asian Security

Spotlight West Asia
Amb Ranjit Gupta
Prime Minister Modi Finally Begins His Interaction with West Asia*
A Potential Indian Role in West Asia?
US-GCC Summit: More Hype than Substance
Strategic Space
Manpreet Sethi
India-Russia Nuclear Vision Statement: See that it Delivers
Global Nuclear Disarmament: The Humanitarian Consequences Route
Nasr: Dangers of Pakistan's Short Range Ballistic Missile

The Strategist
Vice Admiral Vijay Shankar
Jihadi Aggression and Nuclear Deterrence
The Blight of Ambiguity
Falun Gong: The Fear Within

OTHER REGULAR contributors
Gurmeet Kanwal
Harun ur Rashid
N Manoharan
Wasbir Hussain
Rana Banerji
N Manoharan

Ruhee Neog
Teshu Singh
Aparupa Bhattacherjee
Roomana Hukil
Aparupa Bhattacherjee


Browse by Publications

Issue Briefs 
Special Reports 
Research Papers 
Seminar Reports 
Conference Reports 

Browse by Region/Countries

East Asia 
South Asia 
Southeast Asia 
US & South Asia 

Browse by Issues

India & the world  
Naxalite Violence 
Suicide Terrorism 
Peace & Conflict Database 
Article by same Author
Pakistan: Census Complexities

Trump's Afghanistan Strategy

Pakistan: The Nawaz Ouster

The ISI and Kulbhushan Jadhav's Second ‚ÄúConfession‚ÄĚ

India-Pakistan: Three Years of Wasted Effort?

Pakistan and the Panama Papers Verdict

In Context: Pakistan's New Army Chief Gen Bajwa

Fragility in Pakistan

Book Review: "Much Ado About Nothing"

Pakistan: Kamalís Dramatic Return and the Fate of MQM-A

Has Peshawar Changed Pakistanís Approach to Tackle Terrorism?

Pakistan: MQM Under Siege

The Military Reshuffle in Pakistan: Is the Army Chief firming up his control?

Pakistan: A Hyper-national Security State

Talks with the Taliban: Endgame for the Military

Pakistan 2013: Civil-Military Relations

Pakistan: The Military Shuffle and Consolidation under the New Chief

Pakistan: The Hakimullah Mehsud Killing

Intrusions along LoC/IB in J&K: Pakistanís Objectives

Pakistan: Who will be the next Army Chief?

Pakistan: Civil-Military Relations and the Instrumentalisation of Political Power

Pakistan: The Abbottabad Commission of Enquiry

B. Raman (1936-2013)

Special Commentary: The Military and Nawaz Sharif in Pakistan

Pakistan Elections 2013: Caretaker Prime Minister & the Election Scenario

Y! MyWeb
Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
Year 2017
 January  February  March  April  May  June  July  August  September  October  November  December
 2016  2015  2014  2013  2012  2011  2010  2009
 2008  2007  2006  2005  2004  2003  2002  2001
 2000  1999  1998  1997

The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) is the premier South Asian think tank which conducts independent research on and provides an in depth analysis of conventional and non-conventional issues related to national and South Asian security including nuclear issues, disarmament, non-proliferation, weapons of mass destruction, the war on terrorism, counter terrorism , strategies security sector reforms, and armed conflict and peace processes in the region.

For those in South Asia and elsewhere, the IPCS website provides a comprehensive analysis of the happenings within India with a special focus on Jammu and Kashmir and Naxalite Violence. Our research promotes greater understanding of India's foreign policy especially India-China relations, India's relations with SAARC countries and South East Asia.

Through close interaction with leading strategic thinkers, former members of the Indian Administrative Service, the Foreign Service and the three wings of the Armed Forces - the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force, - the academic community as well as the media, the IPCS has contributed considerably to the strategic discourse in India.

Subscribe to Newswire | Site Map
18, Link Road, Jungpura Extension, New Delhi 110014, INDIA.

Tel: 91-11-4100-1902    Email: officemail@ipcs.org

© Copyright 2017, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies.