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COAS vows to crush insurgency in Balochistan

COAS vows to crush insurgency in Balochistan

ISLAMABAD: Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif warned “foreign governments and intelligence agencies” on Wednesday against their involvement in the insurgency in Balochistan and announced continuation of development projects in the province by military organisations despite insurgent attacks.

“The army chief warned foreign states, intelligence agencies against trying to destabilise Pakistan by supporting terrorists in Balochistan. We’ll defeat them comprehensively,” military spokesman Maj Gen Asim Bajwa quoted the army chief as saying.

Gen Sharif made these comments during a trip to Balochistan, where he visited Frontier Corps headquarters and met Balo­chistan Governor Mohammad Khan Achakzai, Chief Minister Abdul Malik Baloch and Commander Southern Com­mand Lt Gen Mohammad Naseer Khan Janjua and discussed the security situation with them.

Progress in counter-insurgency operations was also reviewed.

Gen Sharif’s trip to Balochistan came against the backdrop of insurgent attacks on a labour camp near Turbat in which 20 labourers were killed.

On his return from Quetta, the army chief met Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and discussed with him the security situation in the province.

The government and law-enforcement agencies have time and again alleged involvement of a foreign hand in the Balochistan unrest, but have never shared proof to substantiate their claim. By alluding to external involvement in the unrest, the law-enforcement agencies (LEAs) generally mean to be referring to Indian intelligence agency RAW. Other intelligence agencies suspected of contributing to the Balochistan unrest are Afghanistan’s NDS and those of certain countries in the Gulf and West.

After the labour camp carnage, Balochistan Home Minister Mir Sarfaraz Bugti had also alleged that Indian secret service Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) was funding anti-state elements in the province.

Gen Sharif reiterated full support of the armed forces to the Balochistan government in tackling the problem.

The army chief “commended” performance of LEAs in “improving the law and order situation”.

Balochistan has consistently lagged behind in the implementation of the National Action Plan and has suffered more casualties this year than suffered jointly by the other three provinces in terrorism-related incidents.

Gen Sharif attributed poor progress to “security challenges of vast Balochistan”.

The army chief called for adopting an integrated approach by civil and military leadership and LEAs for achieving peace in the province.

Reiterating military’s commitment to fighting terrorism and insurgency, he said: “We will unearth terrorists, abettors, sympathisers and financiers. None will find place in the country to hide. We will go to any length to restore the writ of the state.”

Published in Dawn, April 16th, 2015

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