The picture of three dead Bugti children circulating on the web is heart wrenching.
The three kids were killed when the shadowy Baloch Republican Army (BRA) carried out an attack Thursday in Dera Bugti area of Toba-No-Haqqani against the family members of Wadera Ismail Bugti, aka Pahari Bugti, who was himself once in the militancy camp, according to Dawn newspaper.
Those killed in the attack included Wadera Ismail Bugti’s brother-in-law, Gujjar Bugti, his two wives and three minor kids– just one child survived the attack. Wadera Ismail Bugti was hurt and his driver killed by an IED as he was rushing to his brother-in-law’s house on hearing about the attack.
The BRA, while using the pseudonym Baloch Liberation Tigers, owned the attack but called the shanty home a “death squad” camp. The announcement of the slayings was made on the Republican News, which generally carries new of activities of the Baloch Republican Party (BRP) and Baloch Republican Army (BRA).
The BRA accused Wadera Ismail Bugti aka Pahari Bugti of being involved in state abductions of Baloch women and kids.
Reports show Wadera Bugti presided over the surrender of arms ceremony of two BRA commanders, Abdullah Bugti and Chutta Bugti, along with eight fighters, in September. “We warn those working for the state in Balochistan to desist from snitching on the Baloch in the interests of the state, otherwise they will be hit any moment,” the BRA warned.
The sad killing of the three Bugti children was widely condemned.
Senator Jehan Zeb Jamaldini, secretary general of the Balochistan National Party, without naming the BRA, posted the picture and asked, “Is it not a barbarianism & shameful act, whoever has committed it.”
Well-known Baloch freedom activist Lateef Johar Baloch, who now lives in Toronto, tweeted.”
#Balochistan War: three more innocent Baloch children lost their lives in a condemnable attack in Dera Bugti,”
A second tweet by another Baloch freedom activist Faiz Baluch, who is based in Ireland, reads, “Sorry kids, our humanity died in collateral damage. Our leadership has no guts to utter a word about it.” Though Faiz Baluch called the brutal killings “collateral damage”, other activists say there is a clear difference between targeted killings and such damage.
To score brownie points against the freedom camp, Balochistan home minister Sarfraz Bugti, posted the picture of the lone surviving member of the victim family and tweeted, “I consider it a sacrosanct responsibility of mine to take care of the educational and personal expenses of this child from now onward.”
The targeted massacre of the Bugti family by the BRA is likely to bring more troubles for Geneva-based Brahumdagh Bugti, president of the Baloch Republican Party (BRP), who is already in hot waters in Geneva.
Though the BRP denies links with the BRA, it is clear the Swiss government believes otherwise and has refused Bugti and nearly 10 of his Bugti followers in Switzerland asylum for seven years now. The Swiss, however, have granted asylum to his family.
Last month, the Swiss arrested and deported Bugti’s brother-in-law Mehran Baluch, aka Mehran Marri, from the Zurich airport and clamped a lifetime ban on his entry. “Fedpol [Swiss Federal Police] can issue entry bans when it believes that a person is a threat to the country’s security,” the Swiss info cited a spokesperson for the foreign affairs ministry as saying. They also accused Mehran Baluch of being the head of the militant outfit, United Baluch Army (UBA)
The News International report cited the charge sheet against Marri as reading “If Marri was able to enter Switzerland to work with Brahumdagh Bugti and coordinate terrorist operations, it could jeopardize the internal security of the country.”
Prof Naela Quadri, a former central leader of the BRP, while paying tributes to thousands of martyrs for the freedom of Balochistan, condemned the terrorist attack and said such actions will negatively impact the freedom struggle.
Killing of women and children is a war crime. “Even if the man was an informer as alleged by the Sarmachars (freedom fighters) what was the crime of the women and children,” Prof Quadri asserted in a video message in Balochi language.
While the BRA killed the women and children in Dera Bugti, the BRP in Hanover, Germany, was busy doing festive Christmas outreach for Balochistan freedom. However, since all politics is local, appeals by exiled Baloch political parties may fall on deaf ears because of the militants war crimes back in Balochistan, even if they pale before Pakistan war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Pakistan security agencies have killed more than 35,000 Baloch since a bloody insurgency started in 2005. As many as 6,000 Baloch have been buried in mass graves and 21,000 are missing, says Mama Qadeer Reki, vice president of the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons. Septuagenarian Reki lost his son Jalil Reki to Pakistan’s kill and dump policy.
Pakistan army has thrown not only UN laws to the winds, but also the country’s own 1973 constitution in Balochistan and is committing crimes against humanity, using aerial power against civilians, burning and looting villages and killing and dumping freedom activists. Brutal crackdown by the Pakistani army and its iron-fist policies in Balochistan have left no avenue for peaceful protests for those demanding freedom for the France-sized territory from Pakistan’s colonial rule.
The situation has been further compounded as, in response, the militant outfits too began advocating that four armed freedom fighters were better than a mass rally of 10,000, and also began mercilessly targeting political opponents, unarmed civilians, including Baloch women and children, by calling them state agents.
One dangerous incident of militant violence did take place during the lifetime of former governor and chief minister of Balochistan, Nawab Akbar Bugti, who had worked peaceably vis-a-vis the army within the Pakistani system for more than half century before that. In that incident, landmine planted by the militants killed 28 people, including 20 women and children, The Irish Times reported March 2006.
Assassination of Nawab Bugti, along with 37 of his followers, August 2006 by commandos of the Pakistan army, acting under orders of coup leader Gen Pervez Musharraf, opened the floodgates of militant violence. Pakistan army too lost 21 commandos, including six officers.
Though Baloch on Baloch killings is not uncommon in tribal feuds and dates back centuries, in nationalist politics it was introduced by the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), now reportedly headed by London-based Hybyair Marri. The first notable victim was Raziq Bugti, media consultant to chief minister jam Mohammed Yusuf, former chairman of the Baloch Students Organization and freedom ideologue. He was shot dead by the BLA July 27, 2007.
There is widespread concern common Baloch who defect from the militant camp are targeted by militants but when family members of the feudal lords, who harm the Baloch movement much more grievously, defect they remain untouched. Shahzain Bugti, a first cousin of the BRP chief Brahumdagh Bugti, says he will launch jihad against India but is doing politics as usual.
Likewise, Balochistan irrigation minister Jangyz Marri, eldest brother of Hyrbyair Marri and Mehran Baluch, has worked with ISI for three decades in Balochistan but has went unharmed. In September, a second brother Gazzain Marri, ended his 18-year exile in UAE and made peace with the Pakistan establishment, but the other feudal lords kept mum about his surrender.
A request to Sher Mohammed Bugti, spokesperson for the BRP, and his team to comment on the killing of the Bugti women and children went un-responded till the filing of this report. The BRP chief Brahumdagh Bugti, who is quite active on twitter, kept mum on the killings. However, much later Shah Nawaz Bugti, in-charge of BRP media cell and nephew of Sher Mohammed Bugti, rejected the notion BRP chief has anything to do with militancy.
Pakistan generals bombastically accuse India of earmarking $500 million to thwart the commercial-plus-strategic $62 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor, that will connect Kashghar in China with the Gwadar Port–and also connect the Balochistan port with China’s String of Pearls in the Indian Ocean. However, the overall militancy budget appears to be $60 million of which $25 million line the pockets of the donors in kickbacks.
Another huge chunk of money goes to maintain the lavish and corrupt lifestyle of exiled freedom leaders in the West, while a trickle reaches the freedom fighters on the ground. In contrast the Tamil Tigers had an annual budget of $200 million.
A report in the Firstpost by Sunil Raman, a former BBC editor who now heads Public Affairs for Hill & Knowlton Strategies in India, earlier this year cited a senior Indian intelligence official as saying, some exiled Baloch leaders have used “Indian financial support to pick up expensive cars and homes.”
Sincere Baloch activists and intellectuals, who are mostly pro-India and pro-Hindu but receive no help from New Delhi, are concerned over Indian support to militant outfits and leaders who violate the Laws of War and indulge in acts of terror.
They warn betting on Dark Horses will not only diminish India’s international prestige, but also paint a negative image of Hinduism in Baloch consciousness for generations to come. Both Indian premier Narendra Modi, NSA Ajit Doval and many senior government and ruling BJP leaders are devout Hindus.
Balochistan is home to one of the most sacred Hindu pilgrimage sites in the world, called Hinglaj Mata sakhtipeet.