ISLAMABAD - Glorifying the Baloch militants amounts to demoralising the morale of military troops who are laying down their lives fighting insurgency and terrorism in Balochistan and elsewhere, said a two stars serving general of Pakistan Army. 

Inspector General of Frontier Corps (FC) Balochistan Major General Ejaz Shahid has stated before a Senate panel that calling Baloch nationalists as ‘aggrieved Baloch’ was tantamount to demoralising the fighting troops. “They are miscreants and not aggrieved at all. They are fighting with the soldiers,” he asserted.

He also admitted that human rights’ excesses could not be ruled out in any area of the world where counter-insurgency movements were on the rise but at the same time assured the committee that there were no excesses being done in Balochistan by FC and other law enforcement agencies (LEAs). Counter insurgency could not be fought without excesses, it is a fact and a successful model as well, he said. General Shahid said that they could see Sri Linka’s model as well. “If we would go by the book, we will have to sit at home,” he said.

Inspector General (IG) FC Balochistan was giving a detailed briefing to the Senate Standing Committee on Interior and Narcotics Control here on Wednesday at the Parliament House about the role, duties and operations of FC in Balochistan.

The committee also endorsed the view point of Maj General Ejaz Shahid that miscreants should not be called as ‘aggrieved Balochs’ as Chairman of the Committee Senator Talha Mahmood added that they (FC) would have to differentiate between criminals and common masses. While the State Minister for Interior Baleegur Rehman said that ‘aggrieved Balcohs’ is a reality and “we will continue to raise voice for their rights”.

The IG FC had to face tough questions of the committee regarding alleged involvement of FC Balochistan in missing persons’ issue, kidnapping for ransom and human trafficking. However, Maj General Ejaz Shahid rejected all these allegations, saying these were baseless allegations. He said that scarifies rendered by LEAs as well as FC were not getting due appreciation from the masses at large which was necessary to fight a counter-insurgency movements. He said that media should project the nationalist approach. “We had crossed the peak of violence in 2012 and the situation in the province was improving and would be better in 2014 than last three years,” he said in his remarks.

Missing Persons Issue of Balochistan: IG FC said that it was a fact that the phenomenon of missing persons exists in all societies where lawlessness prevailed. He said that the people who ran way from home were being considered as missing persons as the government had no record about the whereabouts. He said that SC had declared after proper security that total 87 persons were missing in Balochistan and out of them, FC was facing allegation for picking 19 such persons. He said that out of 19, FC had bee absolved of charges of 18 people and one case was outstanding against the force. He said that investigations in killing of 10-year Baloch youth, Chakar Baloch, showed that he was killed by BLF, a militant organization.

Entry of Bugti Tribe Personnel in Dera Bugti: Maj General Ejaz Shahid said that Shah Zain Bugti along with his tribesmen caravan could go to Dera Bugti subject to registration and proper vehicle and body search. He said that Shah Zain Bugti was not ready for registration process. He said that Shah Zain Bugti has all the right to stay in Dera Bugti but weapons could not be allowed to enter along with them. “We want registration so that the people involved in running militant (ferrari) camps in the past might not enter along with them. He said that Gohram Bugti was in Dera Bugti and the people involved in running ferrari (militant) camps were staying with him.

Hosting of Proscribed Organizations’ Flags in Schools: IG FC admitted before the committee that anti-Pakistan flags belonging to different proscribed organizations were being hosted at government run school buildings in Balochistan and national anthem was banned there. “I assure the committee that all anti-Pakistan flags had been removed from the government buildings,” he said adding that he could not say anything about banning of national anthem.

He informed that the committee would be shocked to see the anti-Pakistan literature being taught in government schools there.

Recovery of Smuggled Items: The meeting was informed that smuggled items worth one billion had been recovered in Balochistan, last year. Arrest of Illegal Immigrants: The committee was also told that as many as 6809 illegal immigrants were arrested by FC from Balochistan during 2013, 4646 during 2012, 4851 during 2011 and 90 during 2014.

These illegal immigrants include mostly Afghans and are also from other nationalities includes Turks etc.

Lack of Resources:  IG said that FC was facing lack of resources as the PML-N government had cut the existing budget of force up to 30 percent. He said that FC had to take permission from Interior Ministry to use of the helicopters for its operations and even the helicopter under his use was of year 1983 made.

Deployment of FC:

IG FC said that the force was doing four kinds of duties in Balochistan including border security, internal security, security to development projects in Balochistan and anti-smuggling. “Out of the total FC wings, 38 percent is deployed along border area including 24 percent along Pak-Afghan border and 14 percent along Iran border, 26 percent on development projects and 36 percent had been deployed for internal security,” he said. He said that there were total 58 wings of FC deployed in Balochistan and out of these 15 wings had been specified for pure law and order duties and maximum deployment of FC was in Quetta city.

Giving the break-up of 58 wings, he informed that 22 wings had been deployed for border security, 15 for internal security and 21 had been deployed for development projects while nine wings of FC security services comprising of retired military personnel were also doing security duties at development projects. He said that FC had established ‘Intelligence Fusion Cell’ that gathers intelligence from all intelligence and security agencies. He said that around 47000 to 48000 FC troops had deployed in the province and this strength was equal to total strength of police, levies and Frontier Constabulary.

Recommendations: The committee recommended that the budget of the FC should be restored at its original position, while Interior Ministry informed that a summary in this regard had already been moved to Prime Minister Office. It recommended to the Interior Ministry that 699 posts lying vacant in FC should be filled while Additional Secretary Ministry of Interior Imtiaz Tajwar said that a new wing of FC was being raised in Balochistan.