Pakistan News

COAS warns foreign states, agencies against involvement in Balochistan

COAS warns foreign states, agencies against involvement in Balochistan

QUETTA: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Raheel Sharif warned foreign states and international agencies to refrain from creating anarchy in Balochistan by supporting terrorist elements in the province.

"We will unearth terrorists, their abettors, sympathisers and financiers. No offender will find a place to hide in the country. We will go to any length to establish the writ of state," the military chief asserted.

The army chief had arrived in Quetta on Wednesday on a one-day visit to chair a meeting regarding the law and order situation in Balochistan.

He visited Frontier Corps (FC) headquarters to preside over the meeting reviewing overall law and order situation in the aftermath of Turbat massacre in which 20 labourers were killed on Saturday.

General Raheel commended law enforcement agencies for bringing noticeable improvement in law and order situation of the province. General Raheel vowed to stand by the people of Balochistan in bringing peace, stability and prosperity to the province.

Read: 20 labourers gunned down in Turbat

Inspector General FC Major Gen Sher Afghan briefed the COAS about law and order situation in the province and search operations being carried out in Turbat and its outskirts. Senior military officials, FC personnel and other higher-ups also attended the meeting.

The government is planning to launch an effective military operation in the conflict-hit districts of Balochistan, sources told on Wednesday.

This was discussed in a meeting between General Raheel Sharif and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at PM House on Wednesday.

Sources said the PML-N government was interested in commencing dialogue with Baloch separatists with the support of Balochistan Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik Blaoch, adding that the decision to set up a nationalist provincial government led by the National Party was also an initiative aimed to achieve the same.

But according to sources, it was agreed in today’s meeting between the army chief and the premier to plan and initiate an intelligence-based operation in the violence-hit province to counter insurgents’ activities by establishing the state’s writ.

“Nawaz Sharif and Gen Raheel also discussed the overall law and order situation in the country, steps undertaken to implement the 20-point agenda under the National Action Plan, latest developments related to the ongoing operation in Karachi, the visit of a high-level delegation to Saudi Arabia to discuss the Yemen conflict, and the upcoming visit of the Chinese President,” sources added.

There is, however, no official confirmation from the government or military regarding an expansion of the ongoing military operation in Balochistan as reported by local media.

Twenty construction workers were killed and three others were injured on Saturday when unidentified gunmen opened fire on them in a pre-dawn attack on a labourers’ camp near Turbat.

The victims belonged to Sindh and Punjab, Balochistan Home Minister Sarfaraz Bugti had said at the time, adding that they were working for a private construction company and building a bridge over a stream in Gogdan.

The banned Baloch Liberation Front (BLF) claimed responsibility for the attack.

Following the massacre, security was beefed up in and around Turbat. Patrolling by FC, Levies and police was also increased in town to keep a vigilant eye on the movement of suspects.

Earlier on Monday, at least 13 suspected militants belonging to the BLF were killed in a raid by security forces near Turbat. The dead militants were allegedly involved in Saturday's gun-attack on labourers.

Turbat is considered as among the sensitive districts in Balochistan. It is also the home town of Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch.

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