A New Dawn for Baluchistan: Overcoming Terrorism and Separatism

Anarchists funded by foreign powers have an entirely different agenda centered around terrorism, violence, ethnic hatred, polarization, and disintegration.

3 mins read
Quetta, Pakistan [Photo: Muhammad Amer/Unsplash]

Militancy, ethnic terrorism, and separatist groups are being glorified on social media platforms to derail development projects in the Balochistan province. Almost a year ago, the first media appearance of the banned BLF commander Gulzar Imam, alias Shambay, offered a glimmer of hope for those who wish to see the province flourish. In the same publication, several critical questions were raised concerning the rising terrorist attacks in an article titled “Terrorism and Hollow Activism in Baluchistan,” published on December 26, 2023.

It’s important to revisit those questions to understand the positive impact of Gulzar Imam’s surrender. These questions remain highly pertinent today: Who is involved in terrorism? Where are the terrorists’ safe havens or hideouts? Who is sponsoring, financing, training, and supporting these terrorists? What are their objectives? Why is Pakistan in the crosshairs of these terrorist outfits?

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that certain factions always strive to generate buzz about Baluchistan’s future. Gulzar Imam’s press discussions shed significant light on issues of terrorism, separatism, and ethno-nationalist chaos. It became evident that terrorist networks are being managed, funded, and trained by Indian state actors. The Baloch youth have been lured by exploiting social deprivation and ethnic animosity.

Let’s delve into the strategic objectives of those orchestrating the separatist insurgency in Baluchistan. For India, supporting this unrest serves two major purposes. First, it creates a parallel narrative to the indigenous freedom movement in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), diverting attention and resources. Second, terrorist attacks in Baluchistan undermine the successful completion of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), aligning with India and its Western allies’ counter-China strategy. Gulzar Imam Shambay was not the only one to reveal these startling truths.

A few months after his media appearance, another militant commander, Sarfaraz Bungalzai, made similar confessions, exposing the links between so-called Baloch rights activists and their Indian sponsors. At this stage, we must not overlook the dossier presented by Pakistan at the United Nations, detailing India’s support for terrorists in Baluchistan through Afghanistan-based proxies.

Commanders like Bungulzai and Imam have been at the forefront of a low-level insurgency for independence by Baloch separatists for more than two decades in the gas-rich southwestern Balochistan province at the border of Afghanistan and Iran.

“I was misguided by some people to join militancy but now, I have realized that this path does not lead to either liberation or the wellbeing of Balochistan,” Bungulzai said at the press conference, seated next to the provincial information minister.

“Therefore, I have decided to quit violence and join the peace process,” said the commander, who was appointed to lead the BNA after the arrest of Imam

The development of Baluchistan is the antidote to the ongoing toxic terrorism and subversive campaigns. The banned Balochistan Liberation Front (BLF), Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), and their splinter groups are striving to drive a wedge between the Baloch people and the state. These UN-designated terrorist outfits are relentlessly trying to destabilize state institutions in the province.

False narratives were proliferated on social media to malign the state, with fabricated allegations of extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, and oppression painting a sinister image. The confessional statement of former commander Gulzar Imam, alias Shambay, provided a lifeline to those wishing to escape the grip of militancy.

Following Imam’s lead, Sarfaraz Bungalzai, who assumed command of the banned outfit after Imam’s surrender, also laid down arms along with 70 of his fighters. The revelations from these two surrendered militant commanders corroborated the confessions of Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav, who was arrested in Baluchistan in 2016 for supporting terrorist networks.

The successive non-violent surrenders of top militant commanders have significantly undermined Indian investments in anti-Pakistan separatist movements. The social media activism and attention-seeking theatrics, under the guise of human rights advocacy by so-called ethnic nationalists, appear aimed at destabilizing the fragile stability in Baluchistan.

Surprisingly, none of the ethnic activists have ever condemned the terrorist outfits responsible for the province’s devastation. During my university days, all my Baloch friends were focused on education, career growth, and the development of their native areas. They consistently condemned the baseless, fabricated narratives promoted by foreign elements. The Baloch youth desire peace, education, development, and prosperity.

Anarchists funded by foreign powers have an entirely different agenda centered around terrorism, violence, ethnic hatred, polarization, and disintegration. Simply put, the enemy seeks to replay the Mukti Bahini episode to inflict further harm on Pakistan. Forces hostile to Baluchistan’s peace aim to turn the populace against the armed forces and law enforcement agencies.

Fortunately, sanity prevails at the state level. Over the past year, the integration of militant commanders and their followers into mainstream society has been a step in the right direction. The government has favored peaceful, non-violent engagement over the absolute use of force. Decision-makers, particularly within the premier intelligence agency, deserve commendation for accurately diagnosing and effectively addressing the deep-rooted issue of foreign-sponsored terrorism.

Now is the time to consolidate the successes achieved in de-radicalizing militants. The ultimate goal should be the sustained development and stabilization of Baluchistan in the coming days.

Muhammad Wasama Khalid

Muhammad Wasama Khalid is a Correspondent and Researcher at Global Affairs. He is pursuing his Bachelors in International Relations at National Defense University (NDU). He has a profound interest in history, politics, current affairs, and international relations. He is an author of Global village space, Global defense insight, Global Affairs, and modern diplomacy. He tweets at @Wasama Khalid and can be reached at Wasamakhalid@gmail.com

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