Baluchistan chaos and foreign conspiracies ISLAMABAD—While President Pervaiz Musharaf and
his government are determined to crush militancy and warlord culture in
Baluchistan and to put this most ignored and deprived province on path to
excellence and extraordinary development, certain foreign forces are playing
highly active role in keeping the unrest alive in the province not only by
funding and providing arm and ammunition to rebellion tribal Sardars and
warlords but are also helping them through media, academic and intelligent
The Daily Mail has carried out detailed investigations into the matter and put
a team of its local reporters and foreign correspondents to dig out the facts
in this regards. According to the facts, dug out by The Daily Mail, at least
three different foreign agencies including India’s
Raw, Israel’s Mosaad. And American CIA
that are either directly or indirectly involved in the formation of different
militant and separatist outfits like Baluchistan Liberation Army (BLA),
Baluchistan Rights Movement (BRM) etc. these foreign agencies have been
continuously using such outfits in Baluchistan and have been patronizing them.
The Daily Mail’s findings indicate that once again, a few of such foreign
intelligence agencies are highly active in this direction and current wave of
militancy in Baluchistan can easily be
attributed to these foreign agencies. Apart from the funding and provision of
arms and ammunition to the militants in Baluchistan,
these foreign intelligence agencies have been organizing media and intellectual
support programmers for these organizations.
Before discussing as to how the foreign hands are operating in funding and
provision of arms in Baluchistan, we would
prefer to highlight the media, academic and intelligence endeavors that these
foreign organizations and NGOs are organizing in support of Militant Baluch
Sardars and to enhance anarchy in this Pakistani province.
On 27th June 2006, when Pakistani security forces were gaining immense success
in restoring peace and disarming the militants in Baluchistan and hundreds of
mercenaries started surrendering to the government authorities, a UK based , so
called think tank Foreign Policy Centre (FPC) organizes a highly confusing
seminar on Baluchistan, titeled ‘Baluchistan at the crossroads’. Surprisingly,
the FPC organized the said seminar with open collaboration of Baluchistan
Rights Movement (BRM), which is merely an extension of BLA, an outfit that has
been banned and declared as a terror organization, not only by Pakistan
government but also by the government of England while the FPC organized the
seminar at no where else but right at the committee room number 16 of the House
To add to it, and make the credentials of the said seminar even dubious, the
organizers neither invited anyone from among the officials of Pakistan government or UK-based Pak
diplomats nor did they bother to invite anyone from amongst the Baluchi tribes
that confront the militant and rebellion Sardars like Bugtis, Marris etc.
However there was a comprehensive representation from the three Militant tribes
and leaders and workers of BLA and BRM. It is learnt that that a Board member
of FPC, a British politician and a fomer member of British Parliament, Stephen
Twigg was the main spirit behind the holding of this seminar.
The Seminar. In the said seminar, chaired
by Hugh Barnes of FPC Mehran Baluch, an active member of BLA and a senior
activist of Baluchistan Rights Movement, Mr. Sanaullah Baloch, whose, close
association with warlords of Baluchistan and millatnt outfits like BLA are
known to everyone, Dr. Naseer Dashti another associate of Bugti and Marri and
BLA, Fredric Grare of Carnegie Endowment for International Peace etc expressed
their views and analysis about situation in Baluchistan. All the participants
of the said seminar blamed Pakistan
government for usurping the human rights in Baluchistan and treating the people
of Baluchistan like animals. They also
declared Baluchistan to be a separate state and accused Pakistan of illegally occupying it.
They one-sidedly accused Pakistan
government and people of Punjab in particular for usurping all rights of people
of Baluchistan and portrayed militant Sardars
like Bugti and Marri as heroes of Baluchis people. Fredric Grare blamed
Pakistani media being in control in Pakistan Army while member of European
Parliament from Poland Ryszrd Czarnecki went on to claim that Baluchistan was
not a part of Pakistan and a “Punjabi Army” was ruling them he also went on to
say that Pakistan came into existence through a restrictive voting. So in other
words, the seminar was merely an attempt to malign Pakistan,
government and Pakistan Army and media as well. All attempts were made to lay
the fundaments for the separation of Baluchistan from Pakistan and to encourage the separatists and
militant activists in Baluchistan while the
seminar concluded with pledge from the chair to hold more sessions on similar
debate in near future.
The Participants: It is surprising that
without caring for its credibility and credentials, the FPC did not find it
necessary to make the event a balanced an unbiased discussion forum and instead
opted not to invite neutral participant or the participants from the 2nd party.
However those who were invited to be part of discussion panel also had dubious
credentials vogue and shady past. As the background of participants has already
been discussed, a spotlight on the foreign participants makes some more
Stephen Twigg, the main spirit behind the
holding of the seminar is a known gay. He was the first ever “open gay”
education minister of UK.
The investigations revealed that Twigg, a passive gay, also enjoyed physical
relations with some members of BLA and BRM who are know as active gays. These findings
further reveal that many militant Baluch leaders and BLA and BRM members have
been enjoying his ‘Hospitalities” during their visits to England. According to some sources,
close to Twigg, who proffered to remain anonymous, Bugti, Marri and some senior
BLA members had been p[aying Twigg in cash and ‘kind’ to get his services for
mobilizing support from amongst the intellectual and intelligentsia circles of
UK and other western countries in favour of Baluch militant Sardars and BLA,
BRM etc and Twigg was also paid an hefty amount for arranging the said seminar.
According to some unconfirmed reports, after losing his seat in parliament,
Twigg indirectly remained on payroll of Israeli intelligence Mosaad as he
remained associated with an Israeli thin tank that is actually a cover
organization of Mosaad. Stephen Twigg is also an old member of a British
organization named Friends of Israel and developed special links with Isrealis
from that platform. Twigg is also know for a number of bad habbits and one of it
is his excessive use of alcohol and remaining under influence for most of the
time. According to a report, filed by Benjamin Cohen of Pink News, a megazine
for the gay community, Twigg was lately arrested by cops in Orchard Street West
End London in December last years for being highly drunk and driving under
influence. Many other such reports about Twigg are there on record of British
and international media.
Hugh Barnes, Barnes chaired the seminar
but it is crystal clear that he was in chair with an absolute anti-Pakistan
mindset. In a special report, appeared in New Statesman on May 8th 2006, Hugh
Barnes, who visited Pakistan earlier this year, as part of a British delegation
to ensure Pakistan British help and support for the earthquake relief in Pakistan,
Hugh Barnes, who also met President Musharraf during that visit, instead of
writing something to motivate British and global community to help Pakistan
overcome earthquake disasters, he took a totally different direction. In that
report, Hugh declared Pakistan
to be a failed state and termed ISI, Pakistan secret agency that has
made tremendous achievement regarding the global anti-terror war, as one of the
world’s most sinister organizations. In the said report Hugh tried to cause
maximum damage to the image and sovereignty of Pakistan
and also tried to create a serious rift between armed forces and people of Pakistan while he was provided all the honour
and protocol as an honoured guest during his visit to Pakistan. However the acute lack of
information on part of Mr. Hugh barnes can be gauged from one fact that he even
didn’t know about the location of the headquarters of ISI and mentioned it to
be in another city altogether. Hugh writes “ The headquarters of the Pakistani
secret services lie hidden behind towering, beige-coloured walls in the old
British cantonment of Rawalpindi.
Sweeping, arched roofs and sprawling verandas evoke memories of the Raj, as do
the street urchins playing cricket outside the gate.” However almost everybody
knows that ISI headquarters are not located in Rawalpindi
or any other cantonment but are here in Islamabad.
And still, with this sort information and knowledge about Pakistan’s secret agency, he got
went on to make “ highly sensational comments” about the said Pakistani
Ryszard Czarnecki, Representing European
Parliament at the seminar from Poland
is known for his close association with former KGB during the cold war era.
After the dissolution of USSR
, his association with KGB was though no more yet he had a lot of friends in
Russian Intelligence and Secret service. Czarnecki , according to Ms. Misha, a
former KGB agent, was a friend of Blach Mari, an active member of BLA but an
engineer by profession and gained his engineering education from Moscow. According to
Misha, Czarnecki had been the lynchpin between BLA and KGB in the beginning
until it was decided to put him aside as he was exposed the CIA. So ! Ryszard
Czarnecki also paid what he owed to these Baluch militants through his outburst
and support for the militant Baluchjs.
The credentials of the Pakistani and foreign pnalists of the said seminar and
the proceedings of the same are crystal clear to judge that was it a seminar to
find a solution to the crisis or crises in Baluchistan or was it a simple,
straight, paid forum to malign the image of Pakistan, government of Pakistan
and Armed Forces of Pakistan in the eyes of the global community? And this is
just one of its kind while many similar seminars and workshops as well discussion
forums are continuously being held every now and then in different parts of the
world but there are the same hands behind all such endeavors
Moving from such endeavors, we would now highlight the Intelligence assistance,
finacial aid and formation of militant organization in Baluchistan..
We consulted Sasha and Misha, two former KGB officers who are Afghanis - the
veterans of Russo-Afghan war - and they seem to know Balochistan better than
most Pakistanis. Obviously, Sasha and Misha are not their real names.
They live on the same street in one of the quieter suburbs of Moscow. Two bonds tie them together in their
retirement: While on active duty in KGB, they were both frequent travelers to
Balochistan during the Russo-Afghan war where they were tasked to foment
trouble in Pakistan;
and they are both wary of Vodka, the mandatory nectar of Russian cloak and
dagger community. They visit each other almost every day and that is why it was
easy to catch them together for long chats over quantities of green tea and
occasional bowls of Borsch.
We made more than a dozen visits to the single-bedroom flat of Misha, where
Sasha was also found more often than not, and we picked their brains on
Balochistan situation. As and when we unearthed new information on Balochistan,
we returned to Sasha and Misha for comments.
As they told us, during the Russo-Afghan war, the Soviet Union was surprised by
the ability and resourcefulness of Pakistan
to generate a quick and effective resistance movement in Afghanistan. To punish Pakistan and to answer back in the same
currency, Kremlin decided to
create some organizations that would specialize in sabotage activities in Pakistan.
One such organization was BLA (Balochistan Liberation Army), the brainchild of
KGB that was built around the core of BSO (Baloch Students Organization).
BSO was a group of assorted left-wing students in Quetta and some other cities of Balochistan.
Misha and Sasha can be considered among the architects of the original BLA.
The BLA they created remained active during the Russo-Afghan war and then it
disappeared from the surface, mostly because its main source of funding - the Soviet Union - disappeared from the scene.
In the wake of 9-11, when the United States
came rushing to Afghanistan
with little preparation and less insight, the need was felt immediately to
create sources of information and action that should be independent of the
government of Pakistan.
As Bush peered into the soul of Putin and found him a good guy, Rumsfeld also
did his own peering into the soul of his Russian counterpart and found him a
good game. The result was extensive and generous consultation by Russian
veterans who knew more about Afghanistan
and Balochistan than the Americans could hope to find.
It was presumably agreed that as long as their interests did not clash with
each other directly, the United
States (or at least Pentagon) and Kremlin
would cooperate with each other in Balochistan.
That brings us to January 2002. “Actually, most of the elements were in place,
though dormant, and it was not difficult for anyone with sufficient resources
to reactivate the whole thing,” said Misha about the present-day BLA that is
blamed for most of the sabotage activities in Balochistan.
In January 2002, the first batch of ‘instructors’ crossed over from Afghanistan into Pakistan to set-up the first
training camp. That was the seed from which the present insurgency has
It seemed like a modest effort back then. Only two Indians, two Americans, and
their Afghan driver-guide were in a faded brown Toyota Hilux double cabin SUV
that crossed the border near Rashid Qila in Afghanistan
and came to Muslim Bagh in Pakistani province
of Balochistan on 17 January 2002. For this
part of the journey, they used irregular trails. From Muslim Bagh to Kohlu they
followed the regular but less-frequented roads.
In Kohlu they met with some Baloch youth and one American stayed in Kohlu while
two Indians and one American went to Dera Bugti and returned after a few days.
They spent the next couple of weeks in intense consultations with some Baloch
activists and their mentors and then the work started for setting up a camp.
“Balach was one of our good boys and even though I don’t know who the present
operators are, it can be said safely that Kohlu must have been picked as the
first base because of Balach,” said Misha.
Balach Marri is the son of Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri and he qualified as
electronic engineer from Moscow.
As was customary during those times, any Baloch students in Russia were cultivated actively and
lavishly by the KGB.
Balach was one of their success stories. Because of intimate connections with India and Russia, it was no surprise that
Balach Marri was picked as the new head of the revived BLA. The mountains
between Kohlu and Kahan belong to the Marris.
The first camp had some 30 youth and initial classes comprised mainly of
indoctrination lectures. The main subjects were: 1. Baloch’s right of
independence, 2. The Concept of Greater Balochistan, 3. Sabotage as a tool for
political struggle, 4. Tyranny of Punjab and plight of oppressed nations, and
5. Media-friendly methods of mass protest.
“Manuals, guidelines and even lecture plans were available in the Kometit [KGB]
archives. Except for media interaction, they virtually followed the old plans,”
As was logical, the small arms and sabotage training soon entered the syllabus.
First shipment of arms and ammunition was received from Afghanistan but as the number of camps grew, new
supply routes were opened from India.
Kishangarh is a small Indian town, barely five kilometers from Pakistan border where the provinces of Punjab and Sindh meet. There is a supply depot and a
training centre there that maintains contacts with militant training camps in Pakistan,
There is also a logistics support depot near Shahgarh, about 90 kilometers from
Kishangarh, that serves as launching pad for the Indian supplies and experts.
These were unimportant stations in the past but they have gained increasing
importance since January 2002 when Balochistan became the hub of a new wave of
The method of transfer from India
to Balochistan is simple. Arms and equipment such as Kalashinkov, heavy machine
guns, small AA guns, RPGs, mortars, landmines, ammunition and communication equipment
are transferred from Kishangarh and Shahgarh to Pakistani side on camel back
and then they are shifted to goods trucks, with some legitimate cargo on top
and the whole load is covered by tarpaulin sheets. Arms and equipment are, as a
rule, boxed in CKD or SKD form.
The trucks have to travel only 140 or 180 kilometers to reach Sui and a little
more to reach Kohlu, a distance that can be covered in a few hours only. This
is most convenient route because transferring anything from Afghanistan to these areas demands
much sturdy vehicles that must cover longer distance over difficult terrain.
The small arms and light equipment are mostly of Russian origin because they
are easily available, cheap, and difficult to trace back to any single source.
This route is also handy for sabotaging the Pakistani gas pipelines because the
two main arteries of Sui pipe - Sui-Kashmore-Uch-Multan and Sui-Sukkur - are
passing, at some points, less than 45 kilometers from the Indian border.
Whoever planned these camps and the subsequent insurgency, had to obtain
initial help in recruitment and infrastructure from Indian RAW.
“When we first started the BLA thing, it was logical to ask for RAW assistance
because they have several thousands of ground contacts I Pakistan, many of them
in Balochistan,” said Sasha.
“Anyone wanting to set shop in Pakistan
needs to lean on RAW,” added Misha.
The number of camps increased with time and now there is a big triangle of
instability in Balochistan that has some 45 to 55 training camps, with each
camp accommodating from 300 to 550 militants.
A massive amount of cash is flowing into these camps. American defence
contractors - a generic term applicable to Pentagon operatives in civvies, CIA
foot soldiers, instigators in double-disguise, fortune hunters, rehired
ex-soldiers and free lancers - are reportedly playing a big part in shifting
loads of money from Afghanistan
to Balochistan. The Americans are invariably accompanied by their Afghan guides
Pay structure of militants is fairly defined by now. The ordinary recruits and
basic insurgents get around US $ 200 per month, a small fortune for anyone who
never has a hope of landing any decent government job in their home towns. The
section leaders get upward of US $ 300 and there are special bonuses for
executing a task successfully.
Although no exact amount of reward could be ascertained for specific tasks, one
can assume that it must be substantial because some BLA activists have lately
built new houses in Dalbandin, Naushki, Kohlu, Sibi, Khuzdar and Dera Bugti.
Also, quite a few young Baloch activists have recently acquired new, flashy
Oddly enough, there is also an unusual indicator for measuring the newfound
wealth of some Baloch activists. In the marriage ceremonies the dancing troupes
of eunuchs and cross-dressers are raking in much heavier shower of currency
notes than before.
Based on the geographic spread of training camps, one can say that there is a
triangle of extreme instability in Balochistan. This triangle can be drawn on
the map by taking Barkhan, Bibi Nani (Sibi) and Kashmore as three cardinal
There is another, larger, triangle that affords a kind of cushion for the first
triangle. It is formed by Naushki, Wana (in NWFP) and Kashmore.
Actually, landscape of Balochistan is such that it offers scores of safe
havens, inaccessible to outsiders.
Starting from the coastline, there are Makran
Siahan Range, Ras Koh, Sultan Koh and Chagai
Hills that are cutting the land in east-west direction. In the north-south
direction, we find Suleiman Range, Kirthar
Range and Central Brahvi
Range to complete the
task of forming deep and inaccessible pockets. Few direct routes are possible
between the coastline and upper Balochistan. Only two roads connect Balochistan
with the rest of the country.
Apart from the triangles of instability that we have mentioned there is an arc
- a wide, slowly curving corridor - of extensive activity. It is difficult to
make out as to who is doing what in that corridor.
Here is how to draw this arc-corridor on the map: Mark the little Afghan towns
of Shah Ismail and Ziarat Sultan Vais Qarni on the map. Then mark the towns of
Jalq and Kuhak in Iran.
Now, draw a slowly arching curve to connect Shah Ismail with Kuhak and another
curve to connect Ziarat Sultan Vais Qarni with Jalq. The corridor formed by
these two curves is the scene of a lot of diverse activities and we have been
able to gather only some superficial knowledge about it.
The towns of Dalbandin and Naushki where foreign presence has become matter of
routine are located within this corridor.
Different entities are making different uses of this corridor. Despite
employing some local help, we could find very little about the kind of activity
that is bubbling in this corridor.
We found that the Indian consulate in Zahidan,
Iran, has hired
a house off Khayaban Danishgah, near Hotel Amin in Zahidan. This house is used
for accommodating some people who cross over from Afghanistan
to Pakistan and from Pakistan to Iran through the arched corridor we
have described. But who are those people and what are they doing, we could not
We also found that although Pasdaran (Revolutionary Guards), the trusted force
directly under the control of Khamenei, are monitoring Zahidan-Taftan road,
there is no regular check post of Pasdaran on the road between Khash and Jalq,
making it easy for all kinds of elements to cross here and there easily.
We also found that the border between Afghanistan and Iran is mostly under the
control of Pasdaran who come down hard on any illegal border movement and that
is why the arched corridor passing through Pakistan is the favourite route for
any individuals and groups including American ‘defence contractors’ and their
Afghan collaborators who may have the need to go across or near the border of
Not surprisingly, part of this corridor is used by Iranians themselves when
they feel the need to stir some excitement in Pakistan. Iranians also use the
regular road of Zahidan-Quetta when they can find someone with legal documents
as was the case with an Iranian who has business interests both in Pakistan and
Iran and who came to Quetta just before the start of 7 Jan trouble. He has not
been heard of since then.
There is a coastal connection that also provides free access for elements in Dubai and Oman
to connect with militants in Balochistan. This is a loosely defined route but
there are three main landing points in Balochistan: Eastern lip of Gwater Bay
that lies in the Iranian territory but affords easy crossover to Pakistan through unguarded land border; 2. Open
space between Bomra and Khor Kalmat; and 3. Easternmost shoulder of Gwadar East
Some Indians, a curious mix of businessmen and crime mafia, came in fishing
boats from either Dubai or Oman and landed on the Gwater Bay in the Iranian
territory before the start of 7 Jan eruptions. From there they traveled to
Khuzdar and then Quetta
where they met with some Baloch militants. It is rumoured in those areas that
the Indians came with heavy amounts of cash but there was no way of verifying
it. They were escorted both ways by some Sarawani Balochs who run their own
Simultaneously, there were reports from our Washington correspondent that some
‘sources’ in Pentagon had been trying to ‘leak’ the story to the media that
Americans and Israelis were carrying joint reccee operations inside Iran and
for that purpose they were using Pakistani soil as launching point. The lead
was finally picked and disseminated by Semour Hersh of The New Yorker.
However, from our own observations in the area we could not confirm this report
although there is a possibility that the curving corridor that we have
identified may have been used by the Americans and Israelis to travel from
Afghanistan into Pakistan and then into Iran and back for this purpose although
this is mere speculation, based on the movement of foreigners in this area, and
we can neither confirm nor deny the substance of this report.
Also, there was some buzz, as reported by our correspondent in New
Delhi, that some high circles were questioning the wisdom of
two-faced policy of engaging Islamabad
in peace dialogue while at the same time supporting insurgent activity in
It was also not clear as to why Iran
would be interested in stirring trouble in Balochistan when it was faced by an
imminent war from the American side and it needed all the allies it could
muster on its side and one of those allies could possibly be Pakistan. It was also difficult to
reconcile Iranian involvement in Balochistan with the fact that
Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline, that is a crucial project for Iran,
was in the final stages of negotiation and there seemed no logical point in
sending mixed signals by creating difficulties in Balochistan.
These were some of the questions that we took to Misha and Sasha and here is
the explanation they gave. Their answers came in bits and pieces but we have
reconstructed their replies in the form of one coherent interview:
Question: What was the purpose of Russian invasion of Afghanistan?
Misha: The Soviet Union was not in love with Afghanistan itself and by now
everyone must have understood it. We, or at least our leaders, wanted a
convenient corridor to the warm waters of the Indian Ocean — the idea was to
first establish full control in Kabul and from there to raise the double-bogey
of Pakhtunistan and Greater Balochistan and try to detach at least a part of
Balochistan from Pakistan and to either merge it as a new province of
Afghanistan or to create a new country that should be under the firm control of
Moscow. That would have solved most of the problems facing Kremlin.
Question: When you helped create BLA back in the 1980’s, what objectives did
you have in mind?
Sasha and Misha: It was simply an instrument to create problems in Pakistan.
There were no ideological reasons - it was merely a pragmatic solution for a
Question: Who could have revived BLA after so many years of inactivity?
Misha: Most likely, Pentagon. With good lot of support from Kremlin. You should
keep in mind that reviving such an organization is a tricky task and it needs
active support from a number of players. Pentagon and Kremlin would not be able
to do much without some help from RAW that has hundreds of active contacts all
over Balochistan. Russia
could have helped negotiate the involvement of Balach Marri in the project.
Sasha: RAW must have jumped at the chance because last July the ‘discretionary
grants’ budget [a euphemism for espionage fund] was increased by 700% in the
Indian consulates in Kandahar,
Jalalabad and Zahidan.
Misha: Yes, discretionary grants are not subject to central audit and the
station chief can do what he wants with it.
Sasha: Balach possibly came to head the revived BLA through Russian
facilitation but you cannot say the same for Sardar Ataullah Mengal. He
returned from his self-imposed exile in London
and established his headquarters in Kohlu. Was it a mere coincidence? I don’t
think so. In all probability, he is the American man to keep a check on Balach
because Americans can never fully trust Russians.
Question: From your comments it appears that Balach and Mengal are heading the
resurrected BLA and the BLA has been revived by the Americans and Russians to
create trouble in Balochistan but could you give us any coherent reasons for
going to such great lengths for disturbing Pakistan that is supposed to be a
frontline ally of the United States on its war against terrorism?
Misha and Sasha: [Misha laughed so hard that tears came to his eyes while Sasha
merely kept smiling in an absentminded way] - Frontline ally? Are you kidding?
Americans are using Pakistan
and Pakistanis would soon find it out if they have not already. Americans don’t
need that kind of allies and they have made it abundantly clear for anyone who
can read their policy goals correctly. Let them deal with Iran and you would see. If there
can be any desirable American ally in that region, that is Iran - Iran under a different regime, and
they are working to that end. Except for Balochistan, the rest of Pakistan
is useless for them.
Question: It is still not clear from your answer as to what do the Pentagon and
Kremlin hope to achieve by stirring trouble in Balochistan?
Sasha: Americans have two long-term policy objectives in that region: First,
create a safe and reliable route to take all the energy resources of Central
Asia to the continental United States,
and second, to contain China.
Misha: Balochistan offers the shortest distance between the Indian ocean and
the Central Asia, that is to say, shortest
distance outside of the Gulf. The moment the conditions are ripe, Americans
would like to take all the oil and gas of Central Asia to Gwadar or Pasni and
from there to the United
Question: If the Americans are interested in creating safe channel for shipping
energy resources through Balochistan, why would they encourage trouble there?
Misha: That is for now. By inciting trouble, they would effectively discourage
Trans-Afghan Pipeline or any other project that is intended for sending Central
Asian resources to South Asia. They are not
interested in strengthening the South Asian economies by allowing them to
obtain sensibly priced oil and gas. They would be more interested in taking all
they can to their own country and let everyone else starve if that is the
Sasha: The Americans would also like to discourage China from entering into more
development projects in Balochistan than it already has. By developing the port
and roads in Balochistan, China is ultimately helping itself by creating a
convenient conduit for commerce that would connect China
concurrently with Central Asia, South Asia,
and all-weather Balochistan ports. The space is limited - where China gains, America
loses, and where America
Questions: OK. This sounds plausible. But what interest could Russia have in helping Pentagon in
this trouble-Balochistan project?
has its own policy goals and as far as the present phase of creating trouble in
Balochistan is concerned, American and Russian goals are not in conflict with
each other. Russia wants to
maintain its monopoly over all the energy resources of Central
Asia. At present, the Central Asian countries are dependent
entirely on Russia
for export of their gas to any sizeable markets. If Trans-Afghan or any other
project succeeds, it would open the floodgates of exodus. Central Asian
countries would understandably rush to the market that pays 100% in cash and
pays better price than Russia.
It is therefore very clear that by keeping Balochistan red hot, Russia
can hope to discourage Trans-Afghan pipeline or any other similar projects.
Russian economy in its present form is based on the monopoly of Gazprom and if
Gazprom goes under, so will the Russian economy at some stage.
Question: So far, there is some in sense what you have said but how would
explain Indian involvement in the Balochistan revolt?
has its own perceived or real objectives. For instance, India would go to great lengths to prevent Pakistan from developing a direct trade and transportation
route with Central Asia because it would undermine the North-South corridor
that goes through Iran.
Also, while the acute shortage of energy may have compelled India to extend limited cooperation to Pakistan,
the preferable project from Indian point of view still remains the
Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline.
Misha: Moreover, you cannot ignore the fact that India
is preparing to use Afghanistan
as its main artery system to connect with Central Asia and it would not allow Pakistan
to share this sphere if it can.
Question: What about Iran?
Why should Iran
be a party to it?
has incurred great expenses to develop Chah Bahar, the port that is supposed to
be the Iranian answer to Pakistani ports of Gwadar and Pasni. Iran has also done lot of work to create
excellent road link between Herat
and Chah Bahar. All this would go to waste if Pakistani route comes on line
because it is shorter and offers quick commuting possibilities between Central
Asia and Indian Ocean.
Sasha: At the same time you need to allow certain margin of unreliability when
dealing with Iran.
You cannot be sure whether they mean what they are saying and you cannot be
sure whether they would keep their promises. They do what suits them best and
to hell with any commitments. I am sorry but that is how I judge Iran.
Question: While both of you have given some explanation of American, Russian,
Iranian and Indian involvement in Balochistan, what is the role of Afghanistan?
Sasha: There are many influential circles in Afghanistan
that are deadly opposed to Pakistan
for one reason or the other. While Afghanistan
as a country may not be harbouring any ill will against Pakistan, it is difficult to rule out the
possibility that some power circles would not be inclined to damage Pakistan
wherever they can. It is clear from the recent developments that as India, Iran
and Afghanistan have made
great strides to form some kind of economic, trade and transportation alliance,
all efforts have been made to exclude Pakistan from any such deal.
Question: While BLA is being used by a number of power players for their own
objectives, does it have any potential, even as a byproduct, to serve the cause
of Baloch people?
Misha and Sasha: BLA is not the only fish in the pond. There is Baloch Ittehad
and there is PONAM and there is lots of small fry out there. But none of them
can be expected to do any good to the Balochi people because the command this
time is mostly in the hands of Baloch Sardars and they have no past record of
bringing any benefit to their own people. If anything, they are known to sell
their own people down the river.
[Misha thumbed through a dog-eared file and read] Sardar Mehrullah Marri sold
all mineral and petroleum rights of Khatan region to the British government in
1885 for a paltry sum of Rs. 200 per month. There was no time limit to this
agreement - it was, as they say, in perpetuity.
In 1861, Jam of Bela allowed the British government to put a telegraph line
through his territory, thus helping substantially the British government in
consolidating its control over large areas of Balochistan. He received less
than Rs. 900 per month for this disservice to his own people and took the
responsibility to safeguard the telegraph line.
In 1883, the Khan of Kalat sold the Quetta
district and adjoining territories to the British government. This was an
outright sale. The agreement that was signed in Dasht, included the provision
that the heirs and successors of Khan of Kalat would also be bound by the same
He received annual grant of Rs. 25000 for selling the most attractive part of
Balochistan to the British government.
In the same year, the British government paid Rs. 5500 to the Bugti Sardar for
his cooperation although it was not specified as to what kind of cooperation he
extended to the British government.
While the Baloch Sardars were enthusiastically selling Balochistan to the
British government, there was no support to the idea of Pakistan whereas the ordinary Balochs gave full
approval for Pakistan.
Any positive development in Balochistan would go against the interests of
Sardars and only a fool would expect them to do anything for the good of their
Bear in mind that Marri and Mengal Sardars first stood up against the Pakistan
government when the law was passed to abolish Sardari system in Balochistan to
free the ordinary Balochs from the clutches of their tribal leaders.
Question: The way the things are progressing in Balochistan, what could be the
Misha: If no strong action is taken for another few months, the result could be
bifurcation of Pakistan.
Question: Is that the only likely outcome?
Misha: No. In fact, that is the farthest possible scenario but that could
eventually happen if Pakistan
fails to assess, analyze and address the situation quickly. For example, I have
yet to see any Pakistani effort to contact the ordinary Balochs. They are still
trying to woo the same Sardars who are living on the blackmail money since the
creation of Pakistan.
Sasha: I am surprised at the way Pakistan goes about tackling this
problem. During my few years in Afghanistan
when I was engaged with Balochistan, I found that while Baloch Sardars would
sell their loyalties and anything else at the drop of a hat, ordinary Balochs
are stupidly patriotic. They are hard to buy and harder to manipulate. If I
were a Pakistan
government functionary, I would gather enough ordinary, educated Balochs to
counter the Sardar influence and deflate this whole insurgency balloon.
Question: Both of you were, let’s say, among the developers of the original
BLA. Do you find any differences between the original and the present BLA?
Misha and Sasha: Plenty. Original BLA was mostly led by the young people and
Baloch Sardars had very little to do with it but the present BLA is
concentrated in the hands of Sardars.
The present movement in Balochistan, led by BLA, PONAM and Baloch Ittehad is a
mismatched concoction of ancient and modern.
They are trying to run a modern media campaign but there are crucial gaps in
that effort. Ours were different times and we could do without media support.
They have created a list of Pakistani journalists who are supposed to be
sympathetic to any move against the government and they are feeding them daily
a mixture of truth and lies, a practice that has been perfected by the
They managed to bring some Baloch women in Dera Bugti but the results would be
little if they cannot repeat the performance in most other areas of
They have built their campaign around a single incident - the Sui gang-rape -
and if the government is smart enough, it would hang the real culprits and ask
the victim of the rape to announce publicly that she was satisfied with the
justice meted out to the criminals and that would take all the wind out of the
sails of the BLA campaign. A real hard campaign needs to be built around much
broader and hard to solve issues.
Question: Hypothetically speaking, if the Pakistan government asked your
advice, what would you suggest?
Sasha: The options are few. They should abolish Sardari system immediately and
crack down powerfully on the private armies. As far as I know, the constitution
does not allow Sardari system and private armies and there would be no legal
questions if those laws are implemented with the full help of state power.
Misha: They should involve broadest possible range of ordinary Balochs in the
dialogue. The can find enough educated youth in Marri and Mengal tribes to
match the influence of tribal leaders. They should also allow the fragments of
Bugti tribe to return to their ancestral lands and that would be enough to calm
down the ageing and eccentric Bugti who pretends to be the leader of that
government should hasten the development process in the province because it
would open job opportunities and that would allow the escape hatch to ordinary
Balochs to distance themselves from their leaders.
Misha: They should try to cut down the sources and channels of supply of arms
and cash to insurgents
The Indian (RAW) Factor: According to further
investigations, carried out by The Daily Mail, there are certain solid
evidences, indicating clearly that there is a very strong involvement of the
Indian intelligence agencies in the current disturbed situation of Balochistan
. These investigations reveal that though the authorities concerned have
gathered sufficient evidences to prove Indian involvement, yet the matter is
not being taken up with India
for the sake of continued peace and dialogue process and till the availability
of complete proofs in this direction.
Almost one and a half year back, Indian intelligence agency chalked out a plan
to destabilize Balochistan. Earlier they were aiming to create serious security
concerns for China in
Balochistan for an ultimate halt on the Gawadar Port
project. For that purpose, a team of RAW’s Special Operations Division (SOD),
under the command of SOD Chief Chhota Rajan was moved to Kandahar from Jalalabad. This team nurtured
some miscreants and provided them with arms and ammunition to ‘organize’
sectarian clashes and later direct attack on Chinese engineers in Gawadar in
early summers last year. When this plan could not get the desired success, the
focus was shifted to Chinese engineers in Waziristan
area and the kidnapping of two Chinese engineers was planned. For that purpose,
some militants in the Wana area, who were already in contact with Rajan gang as
Rajan gang was constantly supplying them with arms, ammunition and explosives,
were taken into the confidence and the plan of kidnapping the Chinese engineers
was got executed. The investigators say that automatic weapons of same make and
origin were recovered from the kidnapers of Chinese engineers that were later
recovered from some miscreants in Sui a few days back.
The Daily Mail’s investigations further indicate that later, when some
‘favourable’ wind started blowing in Balochistan, it was decided to nurture
some suitable members of Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) and POONAM. These
investigations reveal that since the American satellites started monitoring the
activities of Rajan’s people and as Pakistan Army strengthened security on Pak
Afghan border, it was decided to pull back the activists of Special Operations
Division and Rajan was tasked to execute the new plan via RAW’s Iranian
At this point, RAW’s high profile Zahidan based operative, identified as Mehrab
Baladi alias Issa alias Raza Moghaddam and popularly know in Quetta
as Agha Irani, who runs a medium scale shopping mall in Zahidan and a big
shopping mall in down town Tehran
was assigned the task.
Aagha Irani, who had an interaction with some of the members of Balochistan
National Army and some other tribal militants of Balochistan who had been
helping him for safe smuggling of a variety of items from both sides of
Pak-Iran border, started cultivating these BLA members and other tribal
militants. Agha Irani motivate some five top members of the BLA and some four
other important tribal militants of Balochistan to carry out attack on gas
installations. These investigations indicate that Agha convinced them that if
they would be able to register their writ, there was every likelihood of them
getting huge chunk of money from proposed Iran -India gas pipeline project and
not only this but by establishing a terror, they would be able grab lot of
bucks through extortion from the investors in Gawadar. Some credible sources
say that since one of the main operations of the Chhota Rajan led Special
operation Division of RAW is extortion, it is quite evident that the above
mentioned elements were given a comprehensive extortion plan for future by Agha
The investigations further reveal that after meetings, Agha succeed in motivating them
and promised them supply of arms, ammunition and other weaponry from the same
routes that he had been using for smuggling. These investigations further
reveal that from October to early December, Agha Irani paid some18 visits
between Balochistan and Zahidan some of them via Taaftaan and rests through
other secret routs. It is learnt that during one of these visits, Agha was once
detected by Iranian border patrols and at another occasion, he was intercepted
by Pakistani authorities but at both the occasions he managed to escape though
at one occasion, he could not succeed in fleeing along with some weapons that
he was shipping to tribal militants in Balochistan. It is learnt that the
investigators, probing the sabotage in Sui have ascertained that same rockets
were fired in Sui that were often used by the militants in Wana area and
according to some credible records, the same rockets remained in use of Tamil
Terrorists of LTTE, an Indian sponsored terror outfit of Sri Lanka; a fact that
clearly indicates as to who is behind the whole game. Some intelligence
observers say that if this is the situation than one can easily conclude as to
why was India
showing reluctance in okaying the gas pipeline project via Balochistan while it
had maximum benefits for India.
The investigations further elaborate that after Agha found it hard to visit
Balochistan, he first asked the said BLA members to visit Iran but then invited
them to Dubai where at least five BLA activists held detailed meeting with Agha
and ‘enjoyed’ his ‘hospitality’ between 24th December 2004 to 2nd January 2005.
During these meetings, Agha briefed them about the routs of the shipments of
arms and rockets that were delivered to them later between 5th and 7th of
January 2005 after which a plan of attack on gas installations in Sui was
finalized and later executed. Authorities are also tightening noose around a Dubai based Pakistani
travel agent who is also having offices in Blue Area Islamabad who made travel
arrangements for the said BLA miscreants. It also learnt that the Baluch tribal
militants changed their tone only after they got the possession of the arms’
consignment from Agha earlier this month and decided to open up against the
government. On the other side, Agha Irani, soon after dispatching the last
consignment, disappeared from his Zahidan outlet and went underground, telling
his employers that he was proceeding for Hajj.
Defense analysts and intelligence observers say that by creating this scenario
in Balochistan, the enemy wants to obtain a variety of results. It wants a
public army confrontation in Balochistan, aiming to initiate a separatist
movement in the province in the long run; it wants to divert the attention of
Pak troops from anti-terror operations in Waziristan area; it wants to portray
Pak troops as anti-civilian forces in the eyes of Baluchis and Pashtoons, it
wants to destabilize Balochistan and to make situation very fragile in the
province to create highly negative impact on Gawadar project and follow-up
investment there while it also desires to divert Pakistan’s attention from
Baglihar issue to wrap it up quickly.
It is learnt that the investigators are conducting the investigations on very
scientific basis and have already collected some very vital evidences and
proofs to expose the actual game in Balochistan.
Asim Khan, PTI UK