Pakistan Army's Operation Bolan: Is War The Only Answer To Balochistan Crisis?

Pak PM promised to step up security measures for ensuring safety of "all Chinese institutions and personnel."

3 min read

News of the day from Pakistan Imran Khan shot in a leg in a 'murderous attack' in Wazirabad during his Long March to Islamabad; Shehbaz Sharif is back from China and CPEC will have a new boost even though Chinese President Xi Jinping has expressed “great concern about the safety of Chinese nationals in Pakistan, and conveyed his hope that Pakistan will provide a reliable and safe environment for Chinese institutions and personnel working on cooperation projects there."

But Shehbaz, it seems, has promised that “Pakistan will further step up security measures and do all it can to protect the safety of Chinese institutions and personnel."

Call for Extremism To Solve Balochistan Crisis

Few hundred kilometers away from Wazirabad, Islamabad or Lahore, in fact, covered by a thick blanket of deafening silence, the Army was already doing the needful to fulfill Shehbaz's promise and protect the Chinese interests in the area while waging a war, the umpteenth one against his own citizens in Bolan, Balochistan. After all, years ago, Senator Sarfaraz Bugti declared on record that genocide was the only option to resolve the crisis in Balochistan. And since then, the Army and the State have done their best to fulfill Bugti's expectations.

The ongoing 'Bolan Operation', the war against Baloch people has been labelled by the Army as 'military operation' (after all, the Ukraine war is a special military operation), but nevertheless a war. A real war, with shellings, helicopters and bombs. A war waged by the Pakistani state against its own citizens.

The large-scale operation started on Sunday, and is still underway in Bolan, Kaman, Yakho, Uch-Kaman, Gumbadi, Darag Pirani, Saro, Buzgar, and Sangan in Sibi, while the Army is also advancing along the mountain ranges adjacent to the Harnai district.

War-Like Barbarism Grip Bolan

According to local sources, helicopters have been seen shelling in Uch-Kaman areas and massive explosions heard. Several houses have been burnt, all traffic routes have been blocked and a large number of gunship helicopters were spotted hovering over these areas while military choppers are shelling the place.

Local shepherds have been dragged from their homes in the hills and put in front of firing squads while the closure of all transport routes and the unannounced curfew has caused a severe shortage of food for the local population and difficulties for people under medical tretatment, unable to reach medical facilities, doctors or simply to find medicines. There are also several reports of a large number of women, teenage girls and children being taken by Pakistani Army during the operation. Until now, there are confirmations with names and details for only ten of them but the number, according to the locals, is much higher.

Everybody is a target it seems, and many fear they will be taken, killed and then presented to the media as 'Baloch fighters' with the same strategy inaugurated by Musharraf and used for years taking random Pashtun villagers to present 'Taliban operative' and 'Al Qaeda 2.0' to NATO forces.

This new war against Baloch officially started because in September, Balochistan Liberation Army(BLA)had captured two Pakistani agents in an intelligence-based operation in the Harnai district.

The two prisoners were brought before a 'Baloch national court' where it was decided to follow the Geneva Convention and swap the two prisoners with two detained Baloch activists. The Army launched an operation that did not go so well. BLA shot down an helicopter, attacked a couple of coal trucks and realised a statement giving 4 November as an ultimatum to swap the prisoners.

On Monday, the Army confirmed the operation, saying they were fighting against BLA and that two Special Service Group (SSG) commanders (eight, according to BLA) had been killed along with four Baloch fighters.

But the Army is not fighting against BLA but against helpless civilians, bombing houses, schools and villages, taking women and children. The strategy of terror and chaos which lead to the current situation will cause more and more bloodshed.

The Chinese are expressing their concern for the safety of their citizens, but they do nothing to solve the problem. Their views are identical to that of Pakistan's. The same they adopt in Xinjiang: Genocide. The world should take notice, the United Nations should take notice of what is happening in Pakistan: bombing their own citizens with the weapons we, the West, kindly provide. And nobody takes notice of it.

(Francesca Marino is a journalist and a South Asia expert who has written ‘Apocalypse Pakistan’ with B Natale. Her latest book is ‘Balochistan — Bruised, Battered and Bloodied’. She tweets @francescam63. This is an opinion piece and the views expressed are the author's own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for his reported views.)

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