Baloch militants defy China-Pakistan axis, continue attacks

June 23, 2015 Updated: April 23, 2016

Despite the high-level decision of China-Pakistan military and intelligence bosses to pave way for President Xi Jinping’s China Pakistan Economic Corridor to connect Gwadar with Kashgar in Xinjiang province, two Baloch militants outfits carried out their hit and run operations against Pakistan’s security assets during the last two days, reports from Balochistan say. The pro-independence but mostly objective Daily Sangar newspaper cited the Baloch Liberation Front spokesman Gohram Baloch as saying the militant outfit targeted an informer of Pakistan’s spy services “who was a member of the state’s death squad” in Churruk o Shubbood in Panjgur. The man was identified as Liaquat Taxiwala, son of Mohammed Anwar. The report said the BLF spokesman, who called newspaper offices with a satellite phone, warned that all Pakistan informers and death squad members are on the BLF’s list of targets. The BLF is headed by gold medalist gynecologist Dr Allah Nazar, one of Pakistan’s most hated man, who is a Robin Hood in Baloch eyes.

Another militant outfit called the United Baloch Army, which was formed under the leadership of the late Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri, an icon of the Balochistan liberation movement, said its fighters, called sarmachars in the Balochi vernacular, launched a rocket attack on the Pakistani occupation troops “inflicting casualties and heavy losses” in Kolhu — believed to be rich in fossil fuel. The UBA spokesman, Mazar Baloch, who also used a satellite phone, said attacks on Pakistan will continue until victory day. The UBA last month killed 22 Pashtun bus passengers, who were travelling from the Balochistan town of Pishin to Karachi, commercial capital Pakistan, inviting condemnation of former chief minister Sardar Akhtar Mengal, who is president of the Balochistan National Party; Swiss-based Nawab Brahumdagh Bugti, president of the Baloch Republican Party; and Hammal Haider, international spokesperson for the commoners party called Baloch National Movement; among others.

Pakistan lodged a case against Nawab Mehran Marri, the new chief of the Marri tribe, a Briton who has been actively lobbying for Balochistan at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva and the European Union in Brussels, along with 10 of his comrades for the Mastung massacre. Those nominated in the Mastung massacre case included Sher Alam Marri, who now lives in St Petersburg, Russia, and is son of former Cuban cigar-smoking guerilla leader the late Sher Mohammed Marri aka General Sheroff. Mehran Marri publicly disowns any connection with the UBA and tweeted against the killings: “Pakistan is trying to pit Pushtuns against Baloch, but we are one. My Mom is Pushtun & Dad was Baloch.” Pakistan media reported a number of defections from the UBA after the Mastung killings, but the militant outfit said those announcing the surrender were already expelled by the organization.

Marri brothers infighting

The UBA’s main rival the Baloch Liberation Army in a lengthy Press statement about the defections, also published by Daily Sangar, while accusing Mehran Marri of corruption, acknowledged the icon of the Baloch nationalist movement late Nawab Marri had supported Mehran Marri, his youngest son. The BLA and UBA infighting has left quite a few sarmachars from both sides dead in recent months. Pakistan accuses former communications and works minister London-based Hyrbyair Marri, estranged elder brother of Mehran Marri, of being the operational commander of the BLA—a charge vehemently denied by his supporters. “The rivalry between the two brothers has left the freedom camp anguished,” a Balochistan journalist told this writer on the internet on a condition of anonymity. The Marri brothers’ rivalry is not limited to the two brothers, but is in fact a triangular contest. The eldest among the Marri brothers, Nawabzada Jangyz Marri, who too was a former communications and works minister in Balochistan and allegedly broke all corruption records during his tenure, works closely with Islamabad and the dreaded ISI. Departing from Marri tribe’s long history of rebellions against the British and successive Pakistani rulers, Jangyz Marri used to call his late father a “failed politician” because of his advocacy of militancy, while the late father is said to have famously said Jangyz Marri is the “ISI son.” One of the best among the siblings, Mir Balach Marri, a member of the provincial assembly, was reportedly assassinated by the Pakistan military on November 20, 2007.