Because of his intimate connections with India and Russia, it was no surprise that Balach Marri was picked as the new head of the revived BLA. He was later killed in an encounter with Pakistani forces in 2007.
Deception and treachery. Live and let die. The ultimate zero sum game. Repetition of bloody history: Call it what you may, something is happening in the Pakistani province of Balochistan that defies comprehension on any conventional scale.
CONNECTING THE DOTS
[WHAT’S HAPPENING IN BALOCHISTAN]
By Tariq Saeedi in Ashgabat, Sergi Pyatakov in Moscow, Ali Nasimzadeh in Zahidan, Qasim Jan in Kandahar and SM Kasi in Quetta·
Four correspondents and dozens of associates who collectively logged more than 5000 kilometers during the seven weeks spent in pursuit of a single question – What is happening in Balochistan? – have only been able to uncover small parts of the entire picture.
However, if the parts have any proportional resemblance to the whole, it is a frightening and mind-boggling picture. Every story must start somewhere. This story should conveniently have started on the night of 7 January 2005 when gas installations at Sui were rocketed and much of Pakistan came to almost grinding halt for about a week. Or, we should have taken the night of 2 January 2005 as the starting point when an unfortunate female doctor was reportedly gang-raped in Sui. However, the appropriate point to peg this story is January 2002 and we shall return to it in a minute.
[Right: Dr. Shazia Khalid was raped on January 2nd, 2005 allegedly by an army man while performing her duty as a medical officer for Pakistan Petroleum Limited in Sui, Balochistan. Her rapist was never caught and the then President Musharraf’s government forced her to leave Pakistan and left her stranded in the United Kingdom, where she got asylum].
Actually, the elements for the start of insurgency in Balochistan had been put in place already and the planners were waiting for a convenient catalyst to set things in motion. The gang-rape of 2 Jan, around which this sticky situation has been built, was just the missing ingredient the planners needed.
Two former KGB officers explained that the whole phenomenon has been assembled on skilful manipulation of circumstances. We shall keep returning to their comments throughout this report.
As Pakistan and India continue to mend fences, as Iran, Pakistan and India try to pool efforts to put a shared gas pipeline, as Pakistan, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan join hands to lay a natural gas pipeline of great economic and strategic importance, as the United States continues to laud the role of Pakistan as a frontline nation in war against terrorism, as Chinese contractors forge ahead with construction work in Gwadar port and on trans-Balochistan highway, as the Pakistan government makes efforts to bring Balochistan under the rule of law and eliminate safe havens for terrorists and drug barons, as the whole region tries to develop new long-term models to curb terrorism and bring prosperity to far flung areas, there is a deadly game going on in the barren and hostile hills of Balochistan. Liens are muddy; there are no clear-cut sectors to distinguish friends from foes.
Right in the beginning we would like to clarify that when we say Indians, we mean some Indians and not the Indian government because we don’t have any way of ascertaining whether the activities of some Indian nationals in Pakistan represent the official policy of their government or is it merely the adventurism of some individuals or organizations.
Or when we say Iranians or Afghans, we mean just that: Some Iranians or Afghans. We don’t even know whether the Iranian and Afghan players in Balochistan are trying to serve the interests of their countries or whether their loyalties lie elsewhere.
The KGB headquarters in Moscow. KGB is an abbreviation for the Russian: [Komitet gosudarstvennoy bezopasnosti or Committee for State Security]. It was the premier internal security, intelligence, and secret police organization of the former super power the Soviet Union [from 1954 until 1991].
IT ALL STARTED FIRST IN KREMLIN
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.
SO KREMLIN & PENTAGON JOINED HANDS TO REACTIVATE THE BLA
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 sprouted. 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.
Source: Originally published in http://satribune.com/archives/200503/P1_bla.htm Cross published at therearenosunglasses.wordpress.com/
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