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Balochistan Liberation Army
Baloch Ajoee Lashkar
Participant in Balochistan conflict
Flag of the Balochistan Liberation Army.svg
Flag of the Baluchistan Liberation Army
Active
Ideology Baloch nationalism
Clans/tribes Bugti
Leaders Akbar Bugti  
Area of
operations
Baluchistan Province, Pakistan
Strength 10,000[1]
Allies Baloch Liberation Front, Baluch People's Liberation Front, Popular Front for Armed Resistance
Opponents  Pakistan
Battles/wars Balochistan War 5

The Balochistan Liberation army (also Baloch Liberation Army or Boluchistan Liberation army) (BLA) is a Baloch nationalist militant secessionist organization. The stated goals of the organization include the establishment of an independent state of Balochistan free of Pakistani and Iranian rule. The name Baloch Liberation Army first became public in summer 2000, after the organization claimed credit for a series of bomb attacks in markets and railways lines. In 2006, the BLA was declared to be a terrorist organization by the Pakistani and British governments.

Contents

Leadership

Some believe that Mir Balach Marri, son of Baloch tribal leader Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri, was the head of the BLA but Balach denied this, stating he knew of the BLA and supports them morally and physically, but is not their chief. Balach Marri survived an attack by Pakistani law enforcement agencies on 26 August 2006. In addition to Balach Marri, the grandsons of Akbar Khan Bugti, Brahamdagh Khan Bugti and Mir Aley also survived. However, Balach Marri was killed in another attack on November 21, 2007.[2]. His killing triggered a wave of violence in Balochistan[3] and led to broad condemnation, Benazir Bhutto said the killing was “a bad omen for the integrity of the Federation”,[4] whilst the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said "the incident was likely to increase the anger of the people of Balochistan against the Pakistan Government".[5][6][7] The cause and location of his death are unknown. There are at least three locations quoted for the incident, ranging from Helmand province in Afghanistan (in a mistaken NATO air strike), to the Pak-Afghan border in the Nushki area, to Kahan area in Kohlu district in the Marri tribal area, the latter two at the hands of the Pakistani security forces, his killing sparked a wave of violence in Quetta and several killed.[8][9] Although a BLA spokesman confirmed the killing of the BLA commander, he was reluctant to give out any further information as to location or how many of his comrades may have been killed with him, for fear, he said, of compromising the safety of other BLA fighters.[10] Most of the BLA's leadership is currently based in Afghanistan's provinces adjacent to Pakistani territory.

Listing as a terrorist organisation

The Balochistan Liberation Army has been listed as an organization that funds, and promotes terrorism . On 17 July 2006 the government of the United Kingdom listed the BLA as a terrorist outfit and banned their members from the UK.[11] The group's declared actions have been described as terror attacks by the United States Department of State[12]

Due to BLA's designation as a terrorist organization by the British Home Office,[13] any member associated with the group is barred from entering the UK.

Allegations of support from India

India has been accused of involvement in the Balochistan conflict by the Government of Pakistan.[14][15][16][17] Pakistan claims to have unravelled many elements that point to India as the cause of the conflict.[18][19][20] Pakistani officials have often asserted that there is "an Indian hand behind the insurgency in Balochistan". The Dawn Newspaper of Pakistan recently reported that a dossier detailing evidence of "involvement in terror financing in Pakistan" has been compiled and that BLA operatives are also being trained in camps being run by RAW and that BLA Leadership is currently operating from safe houses run by RAW.[21] Pakistan's Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira however denied that Pakistan had handed any such dossier to India.[22] India for its part categorically denied such allegations and also stated that no such dossier was ever handed over.[23] United States envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke also stated that Pakistan had provided no evidence of Indian involvement in Balochistan and that Washington attaches no credibility to Islamabad's charges in this regard.[24].However in the Council on Foreign Relations say's that some 'experts' believe India involvement in the Insurgency [25].

Activities of the Balochistan Liberation Army

The BLA has claimed responsibility for attacking Pakistani security forces. In an interview to private TV channel [AAJ TV's exclusive interview on 'Live with Talat'] in Pakistan on 15 April 2009, one of their leaders, Brahamdagh Khan Bugti (who has since formed a splinter militant organisation called Balochistan Liberation Front) urged Baloch people to kill any non-Balochi residing in Balochistan of any profession [civilian or armed personnel] to prove themselves as being Baloch. The interview was conducted over a telephonic-link as Brahamdagh Khan Bugti was in hiding in Afghanistan.

  • June, 2000: By and large the victims of BLA are unarmed civilians specially of Punjabi origin. This includes doctors, professors and mostly barbers which are said to be spies by Baloch. A number of bombs were detonated by BLA activists in the commercial district of Quetta, the provincial capital of Pakistani Balochistan, an area often frequented by the Pakistani military personnel. The explosions resulted in the deaths of 26 soldiers and 5 civilians, and the wounding of many others.
  • July, 2000: Fifteen 82-mm mortar shells of Russian-made were fired from the Koh-i-Murdar mountain range near Quetta, targeting the city's military garrison. No official casualty report was issued by the Pakistani military to the press in Balochistan. * Numerous deaths of Pakistani soldiers have resulted from landmines planted by BLA.[26]
  • May, 03, 2004: Three Chinese engineers working on a hydropower project that would enable irrigation for poor Baloch farmers as part of Pakistani government's initiatives were killed while another 11 injured in a car bomb attack by BLA.[27] In June & July 2004, another five attacks followed that included the use of IEDs.
  • Aug, 18, 2006: The Asaap media-outlet [28] reported on Thursday 17 August that the Pakistan Army was conducting a search operation against BLA fighters 12 kilometers away from Karmo Wadh, near Sibi. During the ongoing operation, Pakistani forces came under heavy barrage of rocket fire from Baloch fighters that claimed the lives of three Pakistani soldiers while wounding another seven. (Names of soldiers K.I.A are: NCO Amjad Ali, NCO Tasawer Hussen and NCO Matloob Hussen. Names of the critically wounded soldiers: Major Qaiser, Hawaldar Anser, Corporal Mudser Hussen, NCO Majid Hussen, NCO Ishfaq Ahmed, NCO Janzeb and NCO Ashraf.) All the wounded were shifted to CMH (Combined Military Hospital) Hospital Sibi. In another such incident, 40 km from Sangsila at Bambore-Top, Dera Bugti area; Pakistani soldiers were caught up in a landmine explosiong (planted by BLA) while digging trenches on Bambore-Top. Soldiers K.I.A included: Naib Subedar Kashmir Afridi and NCO Abdul Khaliq Afridi; while five soldiers were critically wounded (names of the wounded were not confirmed). The rockets as well as heavy weaponry used by BLA fighters have been confirmed to be of Indian/Russian-made origin owing to equipment and ammunition captured by Pakistan Army troops in different search & destroy operations.

Note: Bambore is a mountain located in the east of Sibi and north of Dera Bugti. Top is an English word used by Pakistani army.

  • Aug, 25, 2006: News: Four tribal militants were killed on Friday as security forces used helicopter gunships to launch another operation in parts of Kohlu district. Two members of the security forces were also killed while an officer was injured. Reports coming out of Kohlu said the security forces moved in to Karmo Wadh and Tartani areas near Kahan using air support to attack militant hideouts.

To offset military reverses & failures against Pakistan Army; BLA has sought to use propaganda as a means to avert a complete public-relations disaster. Azad Baloch, a spokesman for the Balochistan Liberation Army, told newsmen at the Quetta Press Club on telephone from an unknown place that armed militants were resisting the attacks. He went on to claim that over a dozen security personnel had been killed and many others injured in the area. He also claimed killing FC men in a landmine explosion in Kamo Wadh area. However, official sources did not confirm any casualties suffered by the security forces.[29]

  • May 29, 2007: News: Dozens of blasts in Balochistan which disabled the railway links with the rest of the country were claimed by the BLA,[30].
  • Bungal Bugti, a former ally of Nawab Akbar Shahbaz Khan Bugti was killed on May 9, 2008 - reportedly in a car-bomb attack. It has been reported that the militants of Balochistan Liberation Army carried out the attack.

See also

References

  1. ^ http://maloykrishnadhar.com/balochistan-cruces-of-history-part-ii
  2. ^ BLA chief killed near Pak-Afghan border - The news
  3. ^ Protests in Balochistan over BLA leader’s killing - The Hindu
  4. ^ Benazir Bhutto condemns murder of Balach Marri Says it is bad omen for the federation
  5. ^ HRCP strongly denounces killing of Balach Marri Top News India
  6. ^ IntelliBriefs: International Kashmir Alliance condemn the killing of Balach Mari
  7. ^ Balach’s killing condemned
  8. ^ Balach Marri killed: Violence in Quetta, schools closed - Dawn Pakistan
  9. ^ Balach Marri's death adds to uncertainty in Balochistan - The Pulse
  10. ^ Balach Marri’s killing - National Baloch Media Network
  11. ^ "Militant Islamist groups banned under terror law", Richard Ford, Timesonline, 18 July 2006
  12. ^ Chapter 2 -- Country Reports: South and Central Asia Overview Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism, April 30, 2007
  13. ^ "British Home Office: Proscribed terror groups"
  14. ^ http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=158924
  15. ^ [1]
  16. ^ [2]
  17. ^ [3]
  18. ^ India supporting Baluchistan violence: Pak - Rediff
  19. ^ [4]
  20. ^ Pak accuses India's RAW for Balochistan's troubles report by Indo-Asian News Service Tuesday, September 5, 2006
  21. ^ "The RAW dossier". Dawn (newspaper). 2009-07-23. http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/16-the-raw-dossier-hs-02. Retrieved 2009-07-24.  
  22. ^ Balochistan settlement to benefit all provinces, Dawn (newspaper), 2009-07-30
  23. ^ Minister: India has no role in terror attack in Balochistan of Pakistan
  24. ^ US bails out India from Balochistan wrangle, The Times of India, 2009-07-31
  25. ^ RAW: India's External Intelligence Agency - Council on Foreign Relations
  26. ^ "BLA declared terrorist organization, banned", Syed Irfan Raza, Dawn, April 10, 2006. Last accessed July 18, 2006.
  27. ^ http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/sair/Archives/3_4.htm
  28. ^ ::: ASAAP Publications :::
  29. ^ Six killed in fresh Kohlu operation - Dawn Pakistan
  30. ^ Blasts cut rail links with Iran - IOL South Africa

External links

Reports from BBC

Clashes at Baloch tribal memorial

Pakistan kills '21 Baloch rebels'

Baloch rebels reject army claims

Pakistan kills '25 Baloch rebels'

The world according to the Baloch

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