Pakistan: Armed encounters or open war

Experts have been saying for a long time that various groups getting funds and arms from outside have developed safe heavens in Balochistan and federally administered tribal area (Fata) of Pakistan.

In Balochistan they claim to be fighting for the rights of Balochs and in Fata for the imposition of Sharia. However, the sole objective of these insurgents is to create discontent by weakening Pakistan for the ultimate creation of independent Balochistan and Pushtunistan.

Experts have the consensus that since both the areas, though located at some distance, are rich in oil, gas and minerals are the focus of promoters of the new global order.

These forces are trying to get control over Pakistan’s energy reserves by fragmenting the country. In different areas miscreants wear different caps but the objective is common.

Pakistan’s security forces have repeatedly come under attack in Balochistan. This could be termed ‘challenging writ of the government’. In the latest incident dozens of armed men raided a pro-government tribal militia post, killing one man and abducting five.

The early morning raid took place in Dera Bugti district, about 400 kilometers southeast of provincial capital Quetta. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

Armed men attacked the post and whisked away five members of the tribal force in their vehicles after forcing them to surrender. One man who resisted was shot dead by the assailants.

Local administration confirmed the raid and informed security forces had been rushed to the area and a search operation had been launched.

It is often said that Balochistan is home to a local insurgency. The insurgents demand political autonomy and a greater share of profits from the province’s oil and gas resources.

The province has become a flashpoint for sectarian violence. Lately, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf sacked the provincial government in Balochistan after a sit in by the relatives of nearly 100 people killed in twin blasts in Quetta.

After that a serious constitutional crisis brewed in when the Speaker of the provincial assembly summoned a session. The immediate response was that the Speaker had disregarded the fact that the province was under Governor’s Rule.

Perplexed constitutional and legal experts wondered did the assembly want to play the role of a parallel government against the one headed by Governor Zulfiqar Ali Magsi?

According to another report the death toll in a gun-battle that erupted between the banned outfit Teheek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and its rival group Ansar-ul-Islam (AI) in the Khyber tribal region has crossed 60.

The gun-fight had started late on Thursday in Maidan village in Khyber’s Tirah Valley. Most of the dead were militants but some local tribesmen were also killed.

Khyber is among Pakistan’s seven semi-autonomous tribal districts near the Afghan border that has been made home by local insurgents and religious extremist organizations including the TTP. Khyber also links several agencies to each other, serving as a north-south route within Fata.

The remote Tirah valley holds strategic significance for militant groups. On one side, it shares a border with Afghanistan and on the other it leads to the plains of Bara, which connect the agency to the outskirts of Peshawar.