LAHORE - Prominent Baloch figures in Punjab and Sindh can play a significant role in Balochistan peace by acting as both persuaders and guarantors to bring about surrender of hardcore Baloch militant leaders.

Some of the key radicals can lay down arms but want such bondsmen as command their complete trust since they are doubtful about the amnesty offer extended by the authorities, The Nation has learnt. The Balochistan Apex Committee announced in the last week of June a general amnesty for the militants who halt armed activities against the state and surrender. The committee also promised rehabilitation of the surrendering militants.

Background interviews with some veteran Baloch leaders by The Nation on Saturday suggest that the general amnesty would not be sufficient to allure all the militant commanders as some of the major militants involved in insurgency may not believe the offer, but can express their readiness to surrender provided they get the “guarantors” who enjoy their complete confidence and promise complete amnesty.

When asked whether they are saying the recent surrender of some militants will not have significant impact in the volatile province, they said there are more important figures among militants whose surrender would have a greater effect on the situation and help the peace efforts in a great way.

About the possible guarantors who can persuade some key Baloch militants, they said influential Baloch chieftains residing in Punjab and Sindh can play an important role in persuading the Baloch leaders aiding and abetting militancy from abroad provided they are asked by the quarters concerned to come forward with solid assurances.

They add: Some of the Baloch leaders living in Punjab and Sindh are tied in the bonds of marriage and other family relations with the Baloch sardars who wield on ground power in Balochistan. These relations matter the most in a society governed more by tribal laws than state laws.

Answering a question regarding surrender of commanders of banned Baloch militant outfits, Shikari Marri and Madina Marri, in Quetta at Nawab Changez Marri’s residence last month that came without any help from Baloch leaders from Punjab or Sindh, they said Nawab Marri is the chief of his tribe but he has failed to convince his younger brothers, Balach Marri and Hyrbyair Marri, to accept the amnesty offer. They added the entire life of Balochistan, including its political aspect, revolves around the tribal chieftains and it is not possible to have peace without the surrender of tribal sardars.

Rauf Khan Sasoli, a veteran Baloch nationalist leader and a close aide of late Jamhoori Watan Party chief Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, sharing his views, endorsed the point that guarantors can play a key role. He said: I will give a single example to support the arguments of my colleagues. Saleem Jan Mazari, a Baloch chieftain from Punjab who is father-in-law of Bramdagh Bugti, can play an important role in persuading the separatist leader to rethink his considerations provided he (Mazari) is requested by the authorities concerned to do so. The guarantors must enjoy the trust of the Baloch militants who are still waging insurgency.

He said the situation in Balochistan is critical and the political leaders, whether belonging to a Nawab family or from middle class, do not express their opinion freely and often side with the federation out fear. “I am called Chaudhry Rauf Sasoli of Punjab for my views on peace efforts,” he remarked.

Rauf said: There is no harm in seeking help of key Baloch chieftains of Punjab and Sindh to convince the major separatist leaders, operating from abroad or the mountains of Balochistan, to surrender.

He opined the wave of peace in Balochistan and surrender of some key militant leaders is result of efforts of the Quetta corps commander who backed the idea of the general amnesty and accelerated the efforts to take on the militants refusing to surrender.

He observed there is no towering political leadership left in Balochistan that can convince the major militant leaders to surrender and the ongoing peace efforts are mainly the result of the military commander of the province.

Manzoor Ghichki, another experienced Baloch nationalist leader, in a chat with this reporter, said all possible efforts should made to bring perpetual peace in Balochistan. He also asserted strong guarantors acceptable to the self-exiled Baloch militant leadership can convince them to come to negotiation table.