ISLAMABAD – Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani on Saturday said that there is no military operation being carried out in Balochistan and not a single soldier is involved in any operation in the province.

Gen Kayani said this while talking to the media persons during a reception arranged by the Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani in the honour of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The rumours about military operation in Balochistan were mere propaganda while the Frontier Core (FC) was helping out the provincial government under the article 245. The situation that appeared after the murder of a Balochi leader Habib Jalib tells enough who was behind creating law and order situation, but unfortunately the blame has been put on to the army. To a question, he said Balochistan has a great strategic importance, particularly for the Central Asian States and Afghanistan.

Sources informed this scribe that insurgency is restricted to only three districts of Balochistan while major part of the province is in peace. Militant outfits, particularly Baloch Republican Army, Balochistan Liberation Front and Balochistan Liberation Army are actively involved in the insurgency. During last four years, insurgents have established various camps and arms are being supplied to them from Central Asian States, Afghanistan and India.

They said more than 400,000 residents of the province have been displaced while Kohlu garrison and many garrisons in Sui have been sealed, and about 70 percent schools too have been closed down throughout the province. Sources were of the opinion that a political vacuum is being severely felt and since the issue of Balochistan is political in nature, it must be resolved on political basis. The role of provincial police is limited and confined to particular areas while the general responsibility of security throughout the province has been put on the FC.

Due to insecurity and bad governance, development funds are also not being properly utilised, they added. They have further deplored that no serious efforts have been carried out so far to implement Aghaz-e Haqooq-e-Balochistan and residents have not bore any fruit from this support package.

However, despite the deteriorating law and order situation, various international firms are interested in working in the province but their primary demand is provision of security.

Agencies add: The worrisome situation in Balochistan is not restricted to local conditions and vested interests as foreign powers are behind it that want to advance their objectives in view of the location of the area, well-places sources have said.

They said the authorities failed to bridge the gulf, created after the army was called back from Balochistan, through political process. The law enforcement institutions were under pressure as they are neither well-educated nor adequately trained. Sixty five percent of the personnel are under-Matric and the security forces have been made target of well-organised and constant propaganda that they have established a state within the state.

The sources revealed that extremists are provided training in camps set up in Afghanistan and then sent to Balochistan with enough funds and arms. They said that Brahamdag Bugti, Harbiyar Marri, Javed Mengal and Dr Allah Nazar were leading four groups of miscreants. First three of them are presently in Europe while Dr Allah Nazar is active in the mountains of Khuzdar. They said the roots of all the problems in Balochistan are in Afghanistan.

They said the political decisions taken in the past have also added to the worsening of the situation. They pointed out that Chamlang coalmines are providing jobs to 75,000 people since 2006 but Khair Bakhsh Marri and Mir Biyar Marri are trying to close down the coalmine.

According to figures, 1,476 incidents of terrorism were reported in Balochistan in 2011. These included 36 bomb attacks, 68 explosions and 134 attacks on gas pipelines. There were 116 attacks at railways tracks and 20 on electricity installations during the year.

The sources further said that during the year 117 rockets were fired and 215 landmine exploded and 291 people were kidnapped, and only last month 38 security personnel were martyred. They said attacks on FC personnel have intensified in 2012.

They pointed out that law enforcement agencies were providing security for development projects, gas and electricity installations and railway tracks but they are not provided cooperation by the province’s security apparatus, even though most of the security in Quetta too is being taken care of by the FC.

The sources said that a former student leader Dr Allah Nazar was now a days active in hitherto most peaceful areas of Turbat and Makran. He is being provided funds and arms by the Indian intelligence agencies and whoever opposes his acts of terrorism is killed.

The sources pointed out that every member of the provincial assembly gets Rs250 million development funds in addition to those given to national assembly members and senators but there is no sign of any development in the province.

During the previous government, all the ‘B Areas’ were closed but the present government withdrew that decision and as a result today only 7% area is in ‘A’ category and remaining 93% is B Area, which is controlled by Levies. Personnel of the Levies are not trained and most of them work hand-in-hand with the militants. To add to the problems, political leaders in the province are least interested in the problems of the people and no one openly opposes the militants.

They said the proposal to talk with the estranged Baloch leaders some six months back has not been implemented and there are no basic facilities for the people. Seventy percent of schools in the province are closed and there is no doctor or medicine in the hospitals. In addition there are no assistant commissioners and other officers in Tehsils.

The sources said that influential people are behind acts of kidnapping and theft and when the security institutions take action against them, a well-orchestrated campaign is launched against them through political leaders and media. They pointed out that the situation is disturbed in only five districts out of thirty in the province.

The sources strongly denied involvement of security institutions in the kidnapping of people. They pointed out that in addition to US, India, Iran and Gulf states, European countries too were playing games to protect and advance their vested interests. They said there is no presence of Jandola and there has been no complaint from Iran in the last seven months in this connection.