Want to know what the Baloch guerrilla leaders are doing or saying? You don’t have to go too far if you have a lap top or smartphone– follow them on @Twitter.
All the guerrilla leaders are middle class and common Baloch as none of the Western-based feudal lords, whose name appear regularly as leaders, are ready to publicly own their role in the militant movement.
One of the main guerrilla leaders, still on the ground, Dr Allah Nazar, a graduate of Bolan Medical College, Quetta, is active on twitter along with the organization he heads, the Balochistan Liberation Front (BLF). His twitter profile describes him as “Doctor, founder of BSO – Azad, an ordinary Baloch freedom fighter of BLF, pursuing an extraordinary goal of independent Balochistan.”
A tweet from Dr Nazar Thursday reads, “I strongly condemn bulldozing the house of Baloch guerrilla commander
@SAN_Baloch. This is the peak of Baloch hatred by Pakistani Army.” He was tweeting against the army operation on the village of his deputy, Sheh Akhtar Nadeem (see below).
The Baloch organizations that Dr Nazar follows on twitter, in addition to his own Balochistan Liberation Front, are Baloch National Movement (BNM) and Baloch Students Organization-Azad (BSO-Azad), and their respective chairpersons Khalil Baloch and Toronto-based Banuk Karima Baloch.
There is only one Indian that Dr Nazar, who says his favorite historical personality is Mongol warrior Hulagu Khan, grandson of Genghis Khan, follows: Javed Akhtar, the Indian celebrity who describes himself as “a poet, lyricist, scriptwriter, atheist and a die-hard optimist.” Javed’s wife Shabana Azmi is Bollywood actor, who “believes art should be used as an instrument for social change.”
One the other hand, Dr Nazar follows quite a few intellectuals of Pakistan origin. Top on the list is Toronto-based Tarek Fatah, who is author of ‘Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State’ (Wiley) and ‘The Jew is Not My Enemy’ (McClelland); fellow of the Middle East Forum; and columnist of Toronto Sun.
Dr Nazar also follows Mohammad Taqi, former columnist of the Daily Times, Pakistan. and faculty at the College of Medicine, University of Florida; Ayesha Siddiqa, author, independent scholar, research associate SOAS, University of London, & expert on military affairs, South Asia and politics of Islam; and Asma Jahangir, renowned human rights lawyer. former president of the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan and the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.
Dr Nazar also follows Raza Rumi, writer and editor. Intriguingly, at a talk on Press censorship in Pakistan in Washington DC some time back, moderated by CNN’s Peter Bergen, who has easy access to top Pakistan generals, Rumi began his first sentence with how Baloch militants target the Press in Pakistan. Dr Nazar’s BLF itself forced a boycott of Pakistan newspapers recently on a charge they do not cover Pakistan army’s human rights violations in Balochistan.
Among Baloch politicos, Dr Nazar follows the moderate Balochistan nationalist politician, former chief minister and president of the Balochistan National Party, Sardar Akhtar Mengal.
One of the senior most guerrilla commanders on twitter is Mir Abdul Nabi Bangulzai, who has been a freedom fighter since 1973. He is a former chairman of the Baloch Students Organization (Awami). A lifelong loyalist of Balochistan freedom icon, the late Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri, Bangulzai was said to be disheartened when the late Nawab Marri allegedly named his youngest son Mehran Marri as head of the militant United Baloch Army; Mehran Marri denies links with the UBA.
Bangulzai’s home was recently bulldozed in the New Kahan Area, outside Quetta, for being a squatters colony. In his latest tweet on December 6, Bangulzai said, “Killing & abduction of Dr Allah Nazar’s sister & women & children is shameful & condomnable.We appeal 2
#UN & #HRO 2 stop the genocide of #Baloch people.”
Yet another important guerrilla leader on Twitter is Aslam Baloch, the senior most commander of the Balochistan Liberation Army. Baloch’s English appear to be one of the best. In tweets on Friday, Baloch said, “Bulldozing guerrilla commander Akhtar Nadeem’s village and other villages in Balochistan are unequivocal evidences of Pakistan’s inhumane aggression. Such tactics will not subdue Baloch nation” and “After bulldozing houses of pro-freedom activists, Pakistani forces are now wiping out whole villages. International community should immediately play their due role in this regard.”
Ustad Aslam Baloch had a modest beginning as a personal driver of London-based Hyrbyair Marri, when he was a provincial government minister in the Balochistan cabinet in the mid 1990s. However, the two parted ways June 1 after Aslam Baloch is said to have visited India without prior permission of Hyrbyair Marri.
One of the more artistic guerrilla commanders of the lot is Gulzar Imam of the Baloch Republican Army. “Those mullas who cry for Palestine, why can’t they see the worst atrocities in Balochistan. Do the Balochs have a different Allah?” Imam asked in reference to Pakistan Islamist protests over President Trump recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. “I consider social media more powerful than de bullets of our guns.we hv 2 use it prudently.Those who misuse it r gravely mistaken,” Imam’s second tweet said.
Another important guerrilla leader on twitter is Sheh Akhtar Nadeem, a deputy of Dr Nazar of the BLF. His house was bull-dozed Thursday, which is one of the forms of war crimes adopted by Pakistan army to punish the rebel leaders. In a tweet Friday, the diminutive Nadeem said, “16th December is the Liberation Day of Bangladesh. 46 years back the Bengali nation won their freedom against the barbaric Pakistan army. Now the same army is using all its might against the Baloch. Bangladesh should feel our pain and support our cause at international forums.”
All these guerrilla leaders are commoners, who publicly own their organizations, and are active on the ground. Pakistan’s Deep State also accuses at least four other feudal lords based in the West of leading the guerrilla movement. Islamabad accuses Geneva-based Nawab Brahumdagh Bugti of heading the Baloch Republican Army (BRA); Bugti’s brother-in-law Dubai-based Nawab Mehran Marri of heading the United Baloch Army (UBA); Marri’s elder brother London-based Hyrbyair Marri of heading the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) and the two Marris’ brother-in-law London-based Javed Mengal of heading the Lashkar-i-Balochistan. However, these feudal lords, who are related to each other by marriage, publicly deny any link with the militant movement.
Missing on twitter is the profile of Ustad Wahid Qambar, elder brother of Dr Khalid Shaheed, who was killed by the Pakistan army 10 years back. The two brothers were confidantes of the late Nawab Marri and are credited with launching the guerrilla movement in what used to be the docile and highly passive coastal Mekran region.