Striking a deal with Pakistan (the host of Usama Bin Laden) and selling F-16s to it is equivalent scratching the deep wounds of NATO and Afghan soldier and civilians who devoted their lives fighting against Pakistani sponsored terrorists. This deal will also badly affect the Baloch national cause that has been targeted by Pakistani with western supplied cobra helicopters and other latest weapons. The Baloch nation is currently engaged in its fifth attempt to regain their independence but Pakistan’s response to the Baloch political and peaceful struggle has always been hostile, brutal through military attacks, subjugation of civilians, by pursuing and kill and dump policies through state-backed death squads.
Hypothetically saying even if the Americans don’t care about the lives of innocent Baloch people – the victims of Pakistani state terrorism but they should, at least, think of their own sons, daughters, wives, husbands and mothers who have been killed by Pakistani military supported Jihadist extremists in Afghanistan. There is no doubt that every IED attack or ambush is engineered and coordinated from the other side of the border in Pakistan – the Western powers specially Americans know this fact very well but unfortunately, taking no practical step to held Pakistan accountable.
The Americans know that Pakistan has been playing a double role in the war against terror because the religious monsters were the creation of Pakistan and its notorious spy agency the ISI and they used them as a tool for blackmailing the Western world to receive more financial and military add from the US and other powers. Despite knowing these facts the US and other international powers have failed to bring Pakistan into justice.
Think Tanks, intellectuals, and regional experts have been frequently asking that despite being a super power and responsible country why the US had failed to support the secular and democratic Baloch peoples’ struggle for their freedom. As genuine Baloch leaders and activists have time and again said that a free Balochistan can guarantee a durable peace in the region and will act as an important barrier to stop cross-border terrorism. There is no doubt that the Baloch barrier against terrorism will be effective and put an end to Pakistan’s infiltration in Afghanistan because an independent Balochistan will not allow Pakistani military to use their soil for exporting its Jihadist hatemongers into Afghanistan through Baloch territory.
There is no any valid reason to sell the F 16 Fighter Jets, equipped with a radar system and other important equipment to Pakistan army because Pakistan is proved herself as god father of Taliban, Haqqani Network and Al Qaida. It is somewhat hard to believe the wounds of victims of terrorist attacks in 9/11 in the US, 7/7 in the UK and other placed including Bombay attack have not completely healed but the US government has brushed everything aside for their petty interests.
Former Pakistan Army Chief Musharraf’s confession
On January 4, 2005, Pakistan Army General Musharraf openly threatened Baloch nationalist leaders and other freedom-seeking population. He appeared on Pakistan national TV and threatened the Baloch people: “Don’t push us. It is not the 1970s. This time, you won’t even know what hit you.” Soon after his statement, the army started a massive operation across Balochistan. In August 26, 2006, the Pakistan army with the permission and direct order of General Musharraf attack and killed 78-year-old Baloch leader Nawab Akbar Bugti in Tharatani region of Kahan, Balochistan.
In another interview, Mr. Musharraf also confessed that the Pakistan trained and bolstered terror groups such as the Taliban and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and that terrorists such as Osama Bin Laden and Hafiz Saeed were regarded as ‘heroes’.
In an interview to Pakistani news channel Dunya TV, Musharraf revealed that Pakistan had trained Lashkar-e-Taiba and other groups during the 1990s’ struggle in Kashmir, and Hafiz Saeed and Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi were considered to be heroes and Kashmir’s ‘freedom fighters’.
“In the 1990s, the freedom struggle began in Kashmir…At that time, Lashkar-e- Taiba and 11 or 12 other organizations were formed. We supported them and trained them as they were fighting in Kashmir at the cost of their lives,” the former Pakistani army chief told the news channel.
These statements come straight from the horse’s mouth and are self-confessions that Pakistan army since long has been training, arming and nurturing Jihadist to support their holy war against non-Islamic nations be that west or for that matter India.
Foreign Minister of Pakistan
For years, Pakistan has denied that the Afghan Taliban enjoys a safe haven on its soil or that Islamabad could do anything to end their violent campaign in Afghanistan that has seen tens of thousands of Afghan civilians and international troops killed since 2002.
But in an unusually candid admission, Sartaj Aziz, Pakistan’s adviser for foreign affairs admitted that Islamabad has considerable influence over the Taliban because its leaders live in the country. He further revealed that top Taliban leadership resides in Pakistan with their family members and ‘We [Pakistan] have given them the facilities of medication and treatment and other facilities’. Even though he did not reveal the exact location of Taliban leadership but it is widely known that they live in Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Karachi, Abbottabad cities with state protocol and impunity. They are free to use satellite phones, they have villas, their children go to government schools and have free access to army hospitals.
Treating the war soldiers
The confession of Pakistan’s foreign minister about facilitating to Afghan Taliban leaders and their treatment in Pakistan is tantamount to Pakistan’s direct involvement in the Afghan war. Pakistan on one hand has been showcasing her as anti-Taliban but behind the curtain, it has been giving full support to Taliban fighters. Afghanistan is facing a full-fledged insurgency since the US lead forces landed in Afghanistan after 9/11 terror attacks. Every day we receive reports of a gun battle between Taliban and Afghan forces but the question arises where do those injured Afghan Taliban go for treatment?
Sources say that Pakistan army and the ISI has given instructions to the hospitals to treat Taliban fighters who become wounded in fighting against NATO and Afghan troops in Afghanistan. These terrorists after crossing the Afghan border are brought by the plain clothed FC and army personnel in private ambulances, later admitted in hospitals until they fully recover and are able to join ISI and Army’s holy war in Afghanistan again. A surgeon to a nurse is told to look after these Taliban which Pakistan considers its national assets.
On 31st December 2015, the former cricketer and the Chief of Pakistan Tehrek-e-Insaf Imran Khan while speaking to Hamid Mir of Geo News TV admitted that some Taliban top leadership had obtained the facility of treatment in his Shaukat Khanim Cancer Hospital in Lahore. He further said that “He come to know only when he received a thanking letter from Afghan Taliban leader regarding their recovering from Shaukat Khanam Memorial Cancer Hospital in Lahore.” He further revealed that “many people from Afghanistan come to SKMCH for medical treatment.”
Quetta is the strong hold of Haqqani Network where they have access to every Pashtun-dominated cities like Qila Saifullah, Pashin, Qila Abdullah, Baloch-Afghan bordering area of Chaman and Kuchlak city where recently Shahbaz Taseer was released after 5 years of abductions. A senior Baloch journalist and analyst, Zulfiqar Baloch while an interview with BBC Urdu service said that Kuchlak is a place for recruitment and training venue for Taliban.
The American tax payers/general public should ask their government that why they are selling F-16s to a fundamentalist state like Pakistan who is directly involved in exporting Jihadist extremist to the US and anywhere else in the world to target Western citizens. For years, Pakistan has been lying to the US about the hideouts and its support to Taliban and Al-Qaeda. As the saying goes once a liar is always a liar.
Shakil Afridi is not Raymond Davis
In January 2011, a US citizen Raymond Davis gunned down two motor cyclists who suspiciously were following him in main city of Lahore. He was arrested and later was released by the Pakistani authorities after claiming that the families of victims have pardoned Mr. Davis and a blood money has been paid.
Shakil Afridi helped the US intelligence and special armed forces to pin point the hideout of Usama Bin Laden who was living in a relatively luxurious building in Abbottabad region of Punjab some 850 yards away from Pakistan army Kakol garrison. This was the place from where he instigated and planned attacks against NATO and American troops in Afghanistan and other parts of the world. Pakistan deliberately let Al-Qaida’s most wanted man to reside on their soil and order attacks against international troops stationed in Afghanistan. Sheltering Usama and Mullah Umar the head of Taliban cannot be an individual decision but it well thought policy of Pakistani state to play a double game by protecting, training, funding and sending the terrorists to carry out devastating attacks against the US and NATO forces and at the same time get support from the Western powers in the name of fight against terrorism.
After Usama’s episode, Mr. Afridi was arrested and sent behind the bars for 30 years. This decision of Pakistan army hugely contradicts with the claims of an ally with the US in the war on terror. Mr. Afridi who helped America to find and kill the most wanted man on earth is currently languishing in prison in Pakistan and the US has completely let him down.
Baloch facing multi-dimensional threats
Some US Senators who voted in favor of the F16 deal with Pakistan feared if their government does not sell F16 Jets to Pakistan, apparently Pakistan will buy these planes from Russia or France. These senators and officials are, however, ignoring the fact that Pakistan is like a snake and it bites the very hand that feeds it.
After losing the US Umbrella, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia also announced to pay a grant to $122 Million economic Aid to Pakistan. The Saudi apparently wants to buy nuclear weapons from Pakistan to be able to counter Iranian threats. The reason is that Saudi wants Pakistan’s support in the fight against Yemini Houtis and Pakistan wants Saudi to shut its eyes and ears to Pakistani state terrorism in Balochistan. Also, the huge sum provided by the Saudi government will probably be used to pay for the F16 fighter jets and other military hardware and latest equipment that Pakistan is buying from the USA. These weapons and jets will undoubtedly be used against the Baloch civilians and Saudi and US are knowingly or unknowingly playing their part in furthering Pakistan’s dirty war against Baloch people. In 70s, the world has ignored Pakistan’s dirty war against Bengali people and today they are supporting Pakistan’s dirty war against Baloch people, the history will not remember such collusion and collaboration in good words.
China which is dreaming to be the next world super power has already started its effort to find a foothold in warm water and gets its hand on Strait of Hormuz thought building a naval base and other military facilities in Gwadar Balochistan. The China-Pakistan nexus will in future become a big headache for US and rest of the world. It is also certain that if China succeeded in having a rest place in Balochistan then Pakistan will ditch America and become an ally with China. To contain Chinese influence in Balochistan and in that region US and other powers including India and even the Arabian Gulf states should help the Baloch freedom movement. The Baloch, however, will not act as a proxy of any power but as their interest collide with the interest of US, India and Afghanistan hence they should cooperate with the Baloch freedom struggle.
The Baloch will resist the presence of China on their land at all costs – with or without the support of above mentioned international powers because it is a matter of Baloch people’s survival and national identity. China, on the other hand, has already started collaborating with Pakistan to intensify the Baloch genocide by displacing, arresting and even killing the inhabitants of Gawadar and other areas from where the so-called China-Pakistan Economic Corridor passes. The CPEC is not only depriving Baloch population of Gwadar of their lifeline but it will also cause an ethnic flooding in Balochistan which might, if not stopped, wash away the Baloch people to slum areas of Gwadar district and turn the Baloch into a minority in their own homeland. That has also rightly been the concern of pro-freedom Baloch leaders. For this reason, also, the Baloch people will do what they can to resist China’s presence on their land.
Former ISI Chief Asad Durrani
“They deluded themselves believing that they were allies. Actually, they were not,” says former Director-General of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt. General Asad Durrani, commenting on Pakistan’s rocky relationship with the United States since they allied in the “War on Terror”.
In this episode of Head to Head, Mehdi Hasan challenges General Durrani on whether Pakistan is fighting or fueling international terrorism.
The smile of former ISI chief’s face showed that Pakistan has always made the US government fool and it will keep playing a double role in the future as well.
Defense Minister of Pakistan
Pakistani defense Minister Khawaja Asif in an interview regarding Pakistani nukes; he said our nuclear weapons are not for a showcase. “We should pray that such an option never arises, but if we need to use them (nuclear weapons) for our survival we will.”
Observers believe that at present Pakistan fears nothing as much as the Baloch struggle for freedom. So it is quite possible if Pakistan army sees their defeat which is inevitable in Balochistan they ‘will’ use the nuclear weapons even against Baloch people.
The rogue state of Pakistan openly threating to use nuclear weapons against it neighbors and if the nuclear-capable F16 Jets are delivered to her there are greater chances to a nuclear war in the region will erupt at some point sooner or later. Instead of disabling the nuclear weapons an irresponsible state like Pakistan, unfortunately, the US is proving Pakistan with F-16s to carry its nuclear weapons and use them against either Baloch or other neighboring states. It seems the US is unknowingly indulging itself into another unending war in the region which will have long lasting consequences for the US and its allies in the region.
Why Baloch oppose US-Pak F16 deal?
A video footage surfaced in 2005 shows Pakistani atrocities and bombing on Baloch civilian population in Kohistan Marri. In the short video, some local Marri Baloch tribesmen can be seen gathering around an unexploded bomb which was dropped Pakistan air force in oil rich Kahan area of PoB (Pakistani Occupied Balochistan) in 2005. The guys were trying to measure the bomb by lying beside it. It was larger than a human body.
The local Baloch holding a hand held video camera zoomed into the text on unexploded bombs where it can clearly be seen that it was a US-made bomb.
Pakistan Air force is already involved in the war against Baloch people and PAF fighter jets and gunship helicopters are regularly against Baloch civil populations. Recently 10 Baloch residents of Jaladi, Saangaan, Yakho, Peer Ismail areas of Bolan district some 300km away from Quetta, were brutally killed in an air strike. A similar air offensive was carried out against the Bugti tribesmen in Dera Bugti region which resulted killing 7 unarmed Baloch nomads.
Scores of Baloch civilians have been killed in Awaran, Mashkay, Khuzdar, Kalat districts of Balochistan during military operations where most of the people were hit by Fighter jets and helicopters where the dead bodies of deceased were not able to identify.
On 17 March 2006, Pakistan army and FC attacked the palace of Baloch prominent leader Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti. The indiscriminate shelling and air strikes were erupted which resulted killing the dozens of Baloch, majority of the victims were women and children from Hindu Community living in Sui for decades. Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti narrowly escaped the life attempt when his guest house become under direct air strike. The time of the attack he was present in the building.
Pakistan army is consistently engaged in ground offensives and air strikes against Baloch populations since early 2000 when the current phase of Baloch liberation movement started. During these ruthless military operations against Baloch civilians, approximately 20,000 Baloch including women, children and elderly have been killed. They huge number of people either fell prey of Pakistan’s military attacks, target killings or were arrested, disappeared and killed in custody.
The International Voice for Baloch Missing Persons keeps a data of enforced disappeared person on their official website (www.bygwaah.com) and they coordinate with Voice for Baloch Missing Persons and other Baloch group and human rights activists in Balochistan. Together they estimated that more than 20,000 Baloch are currently in the illegal custody of Pakistani forces – who are commonly known as missing persons. The International Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (IVBMP) held several seminars, protests and meeting with human rights representatives including the United Nation and UNHRC in Geneva. They have provided the lists of enforced-disappeared person to the respective UN bodies and the WGEID. There are also around 400 Baloch women among the missing person who were abducted during military actions in Kohistan Marri (Kohlu and Kahan districts), Dera Bugti district, Bolan and Sibbi districts and other parts of Balochistan.
The Home Secretary of Balochistan, Akbar Hussain Durrani, stated that provincial law enforcement agencies have arrested more than 9,000 suspected militants after the implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP), NAP is a draconian law which the military passed after Army Public School in Peshawar on 16 December 2014. Pakistan army used this law to arrest, disappear and kill Baloch political activists.
The Home Secretary even though admitted the arrest of 9000 ‘militants’ from Balochistan but he has failed to further elaborate about the well-being, the conditions under which they are kept and most importantly he did not say anything about the whereabouts of these 9000 ‘suspected militants’. The Baloch pro-freedom groups and human rights organizations, however, argue that these people were innocent peaceful political activists and they were disappeared after they abduction by Pakistan paramilitary FC and army.
Durrani also admitted that some 1,840 Intelligence Based Operations (IBOs) have been conducted in Balochistan after the implementation of NAP since 24 December 2014 to September 2015.
Mr. Akbar Husain Durrani further added that during these military operations 204 people were killed among them were some high profile entities but he again failed to give any further details about the killed persons.
Threats to Baloch identity
Pakistan has ignored the Baloch people at all forums on all levels. Pakistan has been deliberately distorting Baloch history, geography, culture and tradition. In the Subject of Sociology of Pakistan, the Baloch people have been described as ‘uncivilized, illiterate and Savage’. The Federal Board in Panjab has allowed this book to be published to be taught at schools to intermediate students. This is a clear and pre-planned conspiracy to distort the Baloch civilization and culture to brainwash the student of 12 Grad (the educated youth) against the Baloch people.
Similarly, in a survey conducted by the BBC Urdu service’s Sharjil Baloch who asked the University level students in Punjab province to name major cities of Balochistan or they knew anything about Balochistan at all. The supposedly educated youth of Pakistan could not name any city of Balochistan and none of them knew anything about Baloch history, tradition, culture and geography. Some of them managed to name Quetta and Gawadar. They knew Quetta and Gawadar because of Army presence in these areas. The views of the Pakistan students exactly reflect the fact that Baloch history and culture is deliberately misrepresented and distorted by the Punjabi elite at all levels.
Mass Graves in Balochistan
According to local sources on 25 January 2014, three mass graves were unearthed in the outskirts of Khuzdar district in Tootak (Misri). www.balochwarna.com, an online News portal reported that “On January 25, a shepherd found pieces of human bodies dispersed within the earth field. He took no time and went to deliver the message to the Levis force when they dug up the field they found numerous graves in which human remains were buried in bulk. Soon the news rapidly reached to the Baloch nation and they left for the concerned area to identify these bodies but they were totally decomposed. “
Asian Human Rights Commission issued a report on Balochistan Mass graves stating that “From the three mass graves 17, 8 and 78 bodies were found but the local people say that a total of 169 bodies have been found. People have witnessed more than 100 human bodies in Tootak while they were digging the area.”
Baloch pro-freedom leader Hyrbyair Marri in a statement termed the recovery of mass graves in Tootak Khuzdar as the Pakistan army’s war crimes in Balochistan. He said that “The silence of international media and human rights organisations on the heart-wrenching incident of the discovery of mass graves in Tootak area of Khuzdar Balochistan is encouraging Pakistan to continue its crimes against Baloch people.”
He reminded the international bodies and democratic countries that “The same international organisations intervened and raised voice for East Timor, Kosovo, and South Sudan whereas the Balochistan conflict is also of the same magnitude as Kosovo and East Timor but the human rights organisations are ignoring it.”
Balochistan needs attention
Whenever you type Balochistan on any online search engine you will encounter with the disturbing images and pictures of decomposed dead bodies of Baloch civilians. The bodies are not the aftermath of any civil war or victim of any epidemic or natural disaster but these Baloch people have been targeted by Pakistan army and its air force with impunity and without any hurdle UN and world community.
The US who repeatedly has been calling Pakistan the breeding place for Taliban, Al-Qaida also Quetta Shura the Haqqani Network who recruits Taliban and send them into Afghanistan to kill Afghan and NATO troops and also Afghan civilians without any mercy – is today arming Pakistan with more lethal equipment and F-16s.
US is providing the F16 to Pakistan who is backing hundreds of armed Taliban groups and dozens of other extremist militias. Pakistani external Minister Mr. Sartaj Aziz categorically said that its army will never hit those Taliban who are against US. He raised question in his interview that “why should we [Pakistan] annoy those Taliban or groups who are not fighting against Pakistan?”
Once a prominent Baloch leader Akbar Khan Bugti who was assassinated on the instruction of former Pakistan army chief General Musharraf said that some Pakistan army generals were talking in an informal gathering that they will never miss a chance to crush Baloch movement. They further said that “If Baloch people don’t give up their demand of independence; we will use the atomic bomb against them and wiped them out forever just like the Americans did with the Japanese in Hiroshima.”
The question arises that when Pakistan officially terms the Taliban, Al Qaida, and Haqani Networks as their good and loyal friends and heroes then against whom these multi-role F16 fighters Jets with latest technology and radar system with night vision cameras will be used? Certainly the answer is quite simple, that these planes will definitely hit the Baloch freedom-seeking population. They will be hit by these F16 day and night until they vanished from the surface of the earth. Pakistan army Chief General Raheel Sharif has categorically said in his statements that his army will utilize all the sate machinery and available force to crush Baloch Liberation Movement.
US and other democratic country must not overlook Baloch reservations regarding F16 Jets. Baloch people are struggling for their fundamental rights and independence should be provided with the technology to defend themselves against F16. The Baloch are more rich then Pakistan because their land is full of untapped natural resources which Pakistan and China have planned to loot and plunder on the barrel of the gun. The US and other International powers are committing a grave blunder by ignoring the Baloch people and their struggle for freedom. One day the International democratic powers will be needing the Baloch against Pakistan’s jihadist monsters but by then it might be too late – as too little is being done to support the Baloch.
Give anti-F16 technology to prevent Baloch genocide
Baloch have a genuine fear that if these US made “multi-function” F16 planes are delivered to Pakistan next day the world will be receiving more images of killed Baloch innocent civilians because Pakistan had already started a ruthless widespread military offensive against Baloch populations across Balochistan.
By supporting Pakistan, the US is indirectly supporting the brutal Jihadist and religious extremist – the likes of Daesh, ISIS or Boko Haram who pose a threat to world peace in the quest of their global Jihad or holy war. One is compelled to ask why the US has put millions of dollar head money for Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, if it continues to support the country that is financing, facilitating and harboring the US’s wanted man?
Hence the sale of F16 Jets to Pakistan is in total contradiction of the US stance over Pakistan’s double role in the region. An economically and militarily strong Pakistan will obviously in a better position of supporting, training and financing the religious extremists including the Taliban who have been attacking the NATO and Afghan security forces. Many of these groups have already swear their allegiance to the ISIS and some Pakistan officials have admitted that the group is present and active in Pakistan.
The Pakistani judiciary, media, military and civilian governments are on the same page with regard to Balochistan’s long lasting issue. The solution that comes to their mind is the brutal use of military might and annihilation of Baloch nation. Once I was watching the Pakistan News channel Dunay TV where the Anchor Person was praising military offensives in occupied Balochistan and endorsing the abductions and kill and dump policy of the Pakistan army against Baloch people. The Pakistani anchor Saed Wajahat Husain was saying that “without shedding the blood in Balochistan our army (Pakistan army) will not be succeeded to accomplish the CPEC – China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. In the words of Baloch pro-freedom leader, this corridor will become a corridor of death and destruction for the people of Balochistan.
The US is adding fuel to the death and destruction of Baloch by providing Pakistan with latest equipment and F-16 fighter jets. The Baloch plea to the US public is that don’t support your government’s policies that are a direct threat to the existence of another nation – in this case the Baloch nation.
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(Sobdar Baloch is a human rights activist, and journalist based in Balochistan writing on issues related to the region. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org. His twitter handle is @sobdarbaluch)
The Afghan Tribune | Sobdar Baloch | Published: March 16, 2016, 10:57 AM