Why Blame India for Karachi Attack? Pak PM Defended Baloch Leader

PM Imran Khan was quick to blame India for the Balochistan Liberation Army’s attack on the Karachi Stock Exchange. 

Published
Opinion
4 min read
Image of Pakistan PM Imran Khan (L) and Baloch leader Hyrbyair Marri, whom Imran Khan defended in a trial in 2009. Image used for representational purposes.
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Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s latest faux pas happened on Twitter last week. Commenting on the recent attack by the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) on the Karachi Stock Market, Imran Khan wrote: “I salute our brave police & security personnel who thwarted the commendable terrorist attack in Karachi on the #PakistanStockExchange”.

Minutes later he deleted the tweet and changed ‘commendable’ to ‘condemnable’ –– but the damage was done, and he had become, once more, a laughing stock on social media. But it might not have been a simple typo, or the umpteenth slip of tongue.

When Imran Khan Testified In Favour Of Hyrbyair Marri & Faiz Baloch

Not many remember, that in fact, in January 2009, Imran Khan, who was then the chairman of the political party Movement for Justice, testified in favour of Baloch leaders Hyrbyair Marri and Faiz Baloch during a trial for terrorism held in UK against them under Pervez Musharraf's pressures.

According to the record of Henry Blaxland QC’s (Marri's lawyer) final speech, in a video call from Islamabad, the actual PM of Pakistan said:

“Describe that sense of military occupation, the roadblocks, the military cantonments everywhere – I think he described the one in Quetta being the biggest he had ever seen – that permanent sense of occupation”. 

Imran Khan went on record saying that in Balochistan: “Hundreds disappeared, there was extrajudicial killing. It was treated more like a colony rather than a part of Pakistan” –– and making clear that:

“If he was a Baloch, he may well be someone who would turn to arms” in order to, in Imran’s words,“defend the rights of my people.. I think if I had no access to getting into parliament because most of the elections are heavily rigged there...”
Snapshot
  • In January 2009, Imran Khan, who was then the chairman of the political party Movement for Justice, testified in favour of Baloch leaders Hyrbyair Marri and Faiz Baloch during a trial for terrorism held in UK against them.
  • Imran Khan as PM has broken all the promises he had made to the persecuted minorities, especially to the Baloch people and Pashtuns.
  • PM Khan has now become a tool of the Army and the Intelligence, and can show his ‘flair’ for human rights only through slips of tongue.
  • Imran Khan’s government – while the PM was commenting on the ‘commendable’ attack (on the Karachi Stock Exchange) – rushed to blame India for backing the BLA.

Imran proved to be a key witness in the trial, and in Hyrbyair and Faiz's absolution from the charges of terrorism levelled against them by Musharraf. The trial, according to the British human rights activist Peter Tatchell:

“Revealed high-level collusion between the British government and the dictatorship of Pervez Musharraf. Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown were threatened: ‘arrest the Baloch exiles in London or Pakistan will halt all cooperation with Britain in the ‘war on terror’”.

Tatchell also added that: “For nine years, the UK’s Labour government supported the Pakistani dictator politically, economically and militarily, despite him having overthrown a democratically-elected government in 1999. It sold him the military equipment that his army used to kill innocent Baloch people. Britain’s main ally, the US, supplied the F-16 fighter jets and Cobra attack helicopters that Musharraf’s army and air force used to bomb and straff villages in Balochistan”.

Pakistan’s Strategy of Chaos

Unfortunately, since then, very little has changed. The UK still supports Pakistan and trafficking weapons with it, despite Nigel Adams, Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development in UK, formally declaring that they are aware of reports of mass graves in Khuzdar, Turbat and Dera Bugti in Balochistan.

Imran Khan, as prime minister, has broken all the promises he had made to the persecuted minorities, especially to the Baloch people and Pashtuns.

PM Khan has now become a tool of the Army and the Intelligence, and can show his ‘flair’ for human rights only through slips of tongue.

Interestingly enough, in his testimony in the Hyrbyair and Faiz case, he maintained the same position currently held by Bashir Zeb, the commander of the BLA, who stated: “We consider armed struggle a form of political approach. Our movement stems from established political concepts and it is, in its current status, only because peaceful means of struggle have been banned and armed struggle has been left as the only choice”.

Imran Khan’s government – while the prime minister was commenting on the 'commendable' attack – rushed to blame India for backing the BLA, whose fighters, by the way, were carrying Chinese and Russian weapons available in Afghanistan in the market. ‘It might be a strategy’, says somebody. The ‘puppeteers’ are using the iron fist and issuing official statements, while the selected prime minister uses his ‘slips of tongue’ to appease certain sections.

The strategy of chaos, where everything is possible and any crime can be perpetrated of justified, and at the same time conveniently denied –– this is the strategy of Pakistan.

(Francesca Marino is a journalist and a South Asia expert who has written ‘Apocalypse Pakistan’ with B Natale. She tweets at @francescam63. This is an opinion piece, and the views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for them.)

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