ISLAMABAD - A senior officer of the Frontier Corps Balochistan (South) Thursday informed the Senate Standing Committee of Interior that southern area of the province is also facing threats from sub-nationalist Baloch groups and some Islamic militant organisations.

Briefing the committee about the overall law and order situation of the southern part of Balochistan, Deputy Inspector General FC Balochistan (South) Brigadier Rizwan Baig told the committee that area was facing threats from sub-nationalist Baloch groups including Baloch Republican Army (BRA), Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), Baloch Liberation Front (BLF), and Lashker-e-Balochistan (LeB). He in his presentation said that this part of the province is facing threats of the Islamic militant organisations including Lashker-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) Al-Aalmi, and Al-Qaeda in the Indian Sub-Continent (AQIS). He said that these groups have the nexus with smugglers, drug peddlers and illegal immigrants.

Inspector General of Frontier Corps Balochistan (North) Major General Nadeem Anjum, the other day, had testified before the committee that northern part of Balochistan is facing threat of sub-nationalist Baloch groups and a number of Islamic militant organisations.

Brigadier Baig said that Balochistan is facing propaganda of these sub-nationalist Blaoch groups on social media as many false claims about missing persons are being made on it. FC (South) that has been established in June 12, 2017 is facing challenge to neutralise and limit these groups to avoid their subversive activities. He said that hundreds of violations by the Iranian security forces have been observed along the Pak-Iran border.

About a question of PML-N Senator Javed Abbasi that what is the narrative of Baloch nationalists fighting against the state and what is their demand, Brigadier Baig only said that they are being supported by vested interests and said:  “We are fighting the non-kinetic war.” He parried another question of Senator Abbasi that whether the Baloch nationalists have linkages with foreign countries and said: “We are a kinetic force. The intelligence agencies can better answer the question.”

To a question of Senator Kalsoom Perveen about the exact figure of missing persons in Balochistan, Chairman Committee Rehman Malik himself responded and said that the answer to the question should be put off till next meeting.

Chairman of the committee Senator Rehman Malik observed that Frontier Corps needs more budget as well as human resource besides other modern equipment and logistical support to root out the terrorists and extremists from Balochistan. He said that financial constraints limit the performance and become a source of trouble in achieving the desired objectives. The committee recommended that the FC Balochistan, North and South, should be provided helicopters on urgent basis as the vast area cannot be monitored without proper logistical support.

Home Secretary Balochistan informed the meeting that Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has curtailed flight operations to various cities of Balochistan. The committee directed the Civil Aviation Authority to immediately submit a comprehensive report as why the operations of these flights were curtailed. The meeting also recommended opening up of closed check points of Customs near Pakistan-Iran boarder with a view to regulate the cross border movement and to keep check on the illegal activities.

Senator Rehman Malik said that he as the then interior minister had opened offices of passport and National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) in different remote areas of Balochistan to facilitate the poor people there but unfortunately those offices were shutdown later by successive governments for any unknown reasons.

The chair also formed as sub-committee under the coordination of Senator Rana Maqbool Ahmed that would suggest measures to abolish all “B” areas in Balochistan.

Sheikh Ansar Aziz, Mayor of Islamabad Metropolitan Corporation (IMC) informed the committee about the organisational and financial problems of his organization said that Capital Development Authority (CDA) is not cooperating with it. He informed the committee that the MCI cannot function properly without its rules and regulations and cannot spend the funds it collects against various municipal services. He told the committee that the interior ministry has forwarded the proposed rules many months ago but they are yet to be approved by the Establishment Division and the finance ministry.

Senator Rehman Malik said the MCI should be made an active body to serve the people of Islamabad appropriately. He directed the finance ministry and Ministry of Interior to resolve the issue of unapproved rules of the MCI and its differences with CDA. He constituted a sub-committee to be headed by Leader of the House Senator Shibli Faraz to look into all the matters and issues of MCI and its differences with CDA.

On the issue of hacking of data of various banks in the country, Senator Rehman Malik said that the stance of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) is correct that bank’s data of customers has been hacked. “I think that State Bank of Pakistan is sleeping over the matter,” he said while commenting on the statement of central bank that data has not been stolen. The chair appreciated Director FIA Cyber Crime retired Capt Mohammad Shoaib for his bold stance that data has been hacked.

The chair said that the representatives of all banks and officials of State Bank of Pakistan and FIA would be invited in a fresh meeting soon to discuss the issue of this biggest ever breach of security.