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Category — Balochi Crisis

Gazain Marri remanded in Kohlu Levies custody

Report in Dawn, September 24th, 2017
QUETTA: District and Sessions Judge Rashid Mehmood remanded on Saturday Gazain Marri in the custody of Kohlu Levies for five days in a bomb blast case.

Gazain Marri, son of Baloch nationalist leader the late Khair Bakhsh Marri, was produced in the court of the Quetta District and Sessions Judge amid tight security.

Advocate Arbab Tahir, representing Mr Marri, said that he requested the court to remand his client in judicial custody after Levies officials produced the copy of the First Information Report (5) 2004 before the judge.

The judge, after hearing the arguments, remanded Mr Marri in the custody of Kohlu Levies and ordered that the suspect be interrogated in Quetta rather than in Kohlu.

Seven other people, who were arrested along with Mr Marri on his arrival from Dubai at Quetta airport after ending 18 years of self-exile, were produced before the Judicial Magistrate Mohammad Hanif Mengal by police.

The magistrate released all of them and ordered that they deposit a surety bond of Rs30,000 each.

Gazain Marri was arrested by law enforcement agencies at Quetta airport after he arrived from Dubai on Friday.

“We had filed an application against Gazain Marri’s illegal detention, but the court rejected our plea,” Advocate Tahir told reporters outside the court.

He said the FIR of the Kohlu blast was lodged in 2004, while Gazain Marri had left the country in 2000.

Heavy contingents of Frontier Corps and police were deployed around the court and the road leading to it. No one was allowed to enter the area.

A large number of supporters and members of the Marri tribe gathered near the court carrying placards and photos of Mr Marri.https://www.dawn.com/news/1359704/gazain-marri-remanded-in-kohlu-levies-custody

September 24, 2017   No Comments

Gazain Marri arrested on arrival

by Saleem Shahid in Dawn, Sept 23rd, 2017
QUETTA: Nawabzada Gazain Marri, son of the late Baloch nationalist leader Nawab Khair Bakhsh, was arrested on his arrival at Quetta airport from Dubai on Friday. He returned home after ending 18 years of self-exile.

“Nawabzada Gazain Marri was arrested along with five others who travelled with him to Quetta from Dubai via flight number Pk-G9,” a senior police officer said, adding that they were picked up at the airport’s VIP lounge and taken to an unknown location in a vehicle amid tight security.

According to sources, he was taken to the Cantonment police station, along with the five others.

Police officials said he was arrested in the murder case of Justice Nawaz Marri of the Balochistan High Court, who was killed by armed men in the Zarghoon road area in 2000 when he was going to the high court. Mr Marri would be produced before a judicial magistrate to seek his remand, they added. His lawyer Arbab Tahir told reporters at the airport that Mr Marri was already on protective bail in the murder case.

“We arrived here [airport] to receive Nawabzada Gazain Marri, but despite having protective bail, police have taken my client into custody and shifted him to an unidentified location,” he said.

Gazain Marri, who was home minister in the cabinet of Nawab Zulfiqar Ali Magsi, and his close aide announced in Dubai the other day that he had decided to end his 18-year self-exile and live in Pakistan with his people. He had announced that he would face cases, if any, against him after returning home. Balochistan Home Minister Sarfaraz Bugti said Mr Marri was wanted in a large number of murder cases. “Police have arrested Mr Marri and will produce him before courts of law after primary interrogation,” he said while talking to journalists.

In reply to a question about the protective bail, Mr Bugti said the legal team of Mr Marri had failed to produce any such bail. “Gazain Marri is in police custody and we have to take care of his security because he had close nexus with militants,” the minister said, adding: “His two brothers — Hyarbyar Marri and Zamuran Marri — have been leading banned terrorist organisations and their members may try to get him freed from police custody.”

He said the government would examine all criminal cases registered against Mr Marri in his native district of Kohlu and other parts of Balochistan.

The local administration had deployed a heavy contingent of police and other forces at the airport to prevent a large number of supporters and tribesmen from reaching the airport to welcome Mr Marri. https://www.dawn.com/news/1359492/gazain-marri-arrested-on-arrival

September 23, 2017   No Comments

Ending 18-year exile, Baloch leader returns today

By Mohammad Zafar in Express Tribune, Sept 22, 2017
QUETTA: A son of legendary Baloch nationalist politician Nawab Khair Bukhsh Marri has decided to end his self-imposed exile and return home on Friday. Nawabzada Ghazain Marri, who has been living in self-exile for the past 18 years, will return to Quetta in the forenoon.

“I’ve spent 18 years in exile. Now, I want to live rest of my life with my people,” said Ghazain Marri while speaking to a group of Quetta-based journalists by the phone from Dubai.

Ghazain Marri, who has served as home minister of Balochistan in the past, is the younger brother of Balach Marri, the slain leader of the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), a terrorist group blamed for most separatist violence in Balochistan.

Hyrbyair Marri, who is now said to be pulling the strings of BLA while living in self-exile in London, is also a brother of Ghazain Marri.

“I’d take a decision about my political future after a meeting with ‘stakeholders’,” he said. “It’s premature to say I’d join any political party,” he said when asked if he would join parliamentary politics.

Ghazain’s decision came days after ‘Free Balochistan’ posters were displayed in Geneva, Switzerland. Pakistan says the BLA was behind the poster campaign.

Subsequently, Islamabad lodged a strong diplomatic protest with Bern for allowing the use of its territory for propaganda by elements linked the BLA.

Asked about the posters, Ghazain said he wasn’t aware of them. However, he said he was surprised by the move and its objectives. “For some, badmouthing Pakistan has become a lucrative business,” he added.

Ghazain said he had made several attempts in the past to return to Pakistan but every time some roadblocks had been created in his way. “Some people are afraid of my homecoming,” he said. “But let me make it clear to everyone that I’ve no ambitions. I accept the ground reality in Balochistan and want to live with it.”

Ghazain heaped praise on his late father, Nawab Khair Bukhsh Marri who, according to him, had stayed put and wage a relentless crusade for the rights of people of Balochistan. “I want to follow in the footsteps of my father and live rest of his life in Balochistan.”

He said extremism should be rejected in all its forms and manifestations, but went on to add that “the common man should get justice”.

Commenting on Ghazain’s decision, Balochistan government spokesperson Anwarul Haq Kakar said the provincial administration has no objection to his homecoming. “If there are any cases against him, he would have to face them in the court of law,” he added.

About the BLA posters, Kakar said those running anti-Pakistan campaigns in Switzerland were not well-wishers of the Baloch people. “India’s heinous face has been unmasked as New Delhi is directly involved in the poster campaign.”

“The people of Balochistan are united under the Pakistan flag,” he said. “And they demonstrate their love for their homeland by celebrating Defence Day and Independence Day from Chaman to Dera Bugti and from Naseerabad to Gwadar with national fervor.”https://tribune.com.pk/story/1512922/ending-18-year-exile-baloch-leader-returns-today/

September 22, 2017   No Comments

Balochistan PA slams ‘bias’ over jobs: by Saleem Shahid in Dawn, Sept 21, 2017

QUETTA: The federal government came under fire in the Baloch­istan Assembly on Wednesday as members of the treasury and opposition benches joined hands to criticise Islamabad for not addressing the issue of denial of jobs to and alleged discrimination against local youths in the Foreign Office, Planning Commission, and autonomous and other organisations.

The chairman of the Public Acc­ounts Committee of the Balochistan Assembly, Abdul Majeed Achakzai, had on a call-attention notice taken up on Tuesday the issue of facilities/perks being enjoyed by officers of the Central Superior Services (CSS) on their appointments and postings in Balochistan.

Speaking on the issue in the house on Wednesday, Mr Achakzai said that CSS officers from other provinces got promotion to the next grades, one extra salary and four return air tickets along with other perks at the time of their posting/transfer to Balochistan, but officers belonging to Balochistan were denied all these facilities at the time of their transfer/posting to other provinces.

He also said that this unjust attitude of the government was creating a sense of deprivation among federal officers belonging to Balochistan.

“We are not against any federal government institution, but these institutions must change their attitude towards the people of Baloch­istan,” Mr Achakzai said and demanded that details of the amount paid to the federal government officers be presented in the house.

Former chief minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch also criticised the federal government and said that it did not pay any heed to demands of the province.

He said that 110 autonomous corporations were working in the country, but there was no representation from Balochistan in these institutions.

He said the PPL and other federal government institutions were not implementing constitutional and mandatory job quotas of Balochistan in the civil service and educated youths of the province were being denied jobs in these institutions despite passing all their tests.

“We should not expect any positive response from Islamabad unless we struggle jointly for the legitimate rights of Balochistan and its people.

“We are not aware who is responsible for these injustices with the youth of Balochistan: the establishment or politicians,” Dr Baloch said, adding that he had written several letters to the federal government, but got no positive response.

“Islamabad is behaving like the East India Company,” the former chief minister of the province said.

Education Minister Abdul Rahim Ziaratwal, Mir Khalid Langove, deputy opposition leader Zamarak Khan Piralizai and other members also spoke on the issue and demanded that the province be given representation in all federal government or autonomous institutions. They pointed out that a large number of people living in other provinces got jobs on Balochistan quota on fake domiciles while educated youths of the province were running from pillar to post in search of jobs.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1359070/balochistan-pa-slams-bias-over-jobs

September 21, 2017   No Comments

Strike observed in Quetta over cleric’s kidnapping

by Saleem Shahid in Dawn, September 13th, 2017
QUETTA: A strike was observed here and in the surroundings areas on Tuesday in protest against the kidnapping of provincial chief of Jamiat Ahle Hadees Maulana Ali Muhammad Turab, his son and two associates on gunpoint.

Maulana Turab was kidnapped, along with his son, secretary and guard, in the Airport Road area a few days ago. Police said the cleric’s vehicle was found abandoned in the Sheikh Manda area, near the same road.

Representatives of political parties, religious groups and traders’ organisations issued a call for the strike at a press conference held on Saturday. They also called for early recovery of the religious scholar and member of the Council of Islamic Ideology along with his son and associates.

All bazaars, shopping plazas, business centres and trade organisations remained closed throughout the day.
“We closed our business in protest against the abduction of the religious scholar and political leader,” said Shokat Ali, owner of a shop in the Jinnah Road market.

Even medical stores remained closed till afternoon, but hotels and tandoors were allowed to continue their business.

Shopkeepers and traders on the outskirts of the provincial capital also observed the strike.

Vehicular traffic remained thin in Quetta as people preferred to stay indoors.

The administration had made security arrangements by deploying heavy contingents of police, Levies and Frontier Corps at major points in the city in order to keep law and order situation under control.

No untoward incident was reported from any area of the provincial capital as security personnel continued to patrol the main streets and roads till late evening.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1357358/strike-observed-in-quetta-over-clerics-kidnapping

September 13, 2017   No Comments

BMP calls for recovery of missing persons

report in Dawn, September 11th, 2017
QUETTA: The chairman of the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP), Nasrullah Baloch, on Sunday called upon the government to ensure implementation of the recommendations of the United Nation’s working group for the recovery of missing persons.

Speaking at a press conference along with VFBMP vice chairman Mama Abdul Qadeer Baloch at the years-long hunger camp for the recovery of missing persons outside the press club, he called upon human rights organisations to establish a joint force on the issue of missing persons.

Nasrullah Baloch appealed to the federal and Balochistan governments to pay attention to the issue of hundreds of missing political activists. Besides, he appealed to the Supreme Court to hear cases of missing persons at least once a month.

“We have organised historical long march from Quetta to Karachi and Islamabad on the missing persons’ issue,” Nasrullah Baloch said.

He said that despite the years-long struggle the issue of missing persons had not been resolved. Hundreds of families whose dear ones had been missing for years were still waiting to know about their whereabouts, he said, adding it was a pity that successive federal and provincial governments had been continuously ignoring this humanitarian issue.

The VFBMP chairman said that with the consent of affected families 41 cases of missing persons had been sent to the Senate’s Committee on Human Rights. Copies of these cases have also been sent to the National Commission for Human Rights and Senator Dr Jahanzeb Jamaldini, member of the Senate committee.

He said despite repeated assurances given by officials and human rights organisations no progress had been made for the recovery of missing persons. https://www.dawn.com/news/1356903/vbmp-calls-for-recovery-of-missing-persons

September 11, 2017   No Comments

Number of Balochi-speaking people in Balochistan falls

by Mubarak Zeb Khan in Dawn, September 11th, 2017
ISLAMABAD: The Balochi-spea­king population appears to have shrunk marginally in 21 districts of Balochistan over a period of 19 years, whereas no growth in population has been recorded in the nine Pashtun-majority districts.

According to the census data, the overall average growth in Balochistan was recorded at a much higher rate of 3.37 per cent compared to the national average of 2.4pc. The highest growth in population — 4.91pc — was recorded in the federal capital.

The government of Balochistan is yet to release an official reaction to the census results announced on Aug 25. There has been no word from the nationalists either.
Infographic by Ramsha Jahangir

According to the census results, the Baloch population has shrunk from 61pc to 55.6pc in the province over a period of 19 years in 21 districts where the Baloch form a majority. However, the total number of Baloch people has increased from 4 million in 1998 to 6.86m in 2017. The count does not include the population of two districts — Quetta and Sibi — where people of various ethnicities, including Baloch and Pashtun also reside.

According to the data gathered, Quetta now houses 2.275m people, or 18.4pc of the total population of Balochistan. The figure has risen dramatically since the last census in 1998, according to which Quetta had a population of 773,936 people, or 11.78pc of the total population of the province. This is a clear indicator that the growth is far more visible in the capital district compared to other districts of the province.

Sadique Balooch, chief editor of Quetta-based Balochistan Express, told Dawn that part of the reason for a decrease in the Baloch population of various districts was migration to other provinces and Afghanistan because of ongoing conflict in certain areas. He added that most of the Baloch residing in conflict-ridden areas had migrated to Punjab, Sindh and Quetta.

Mr Balooch said among the factors of growth of Quetta district’s population was the influx of Afghans as well as Baloch people from conflict areas. The editor said he was not aware of why there had been no growth in the Pashtun population of Pashtun-majority districts. He added that perhaps it was because they lived in a few areas.

The population of the nine districts, where the Pashtu-speaking population is in majority, accounts for 26pc of the total Balochistan population. This is a slight fall from 26.6pc over a period of 19 years.

The Pashtun-majority districts are Killa Abdullah, Pishin, Harnai, Ziarat, Killa Saifullah, Loralai, Musakhel, Sherani and Zhob. The total number of people living in these districts was reported to be 3.2m in 2017, which had gone up from 1.74m reported in 1998.

Sibi district also houses people from various ethnicities and accounts for 1.09pc of the total population of Balochistan in 2017, compared to 1.5pc in 1998.

The total population of Balochistan has increased from 6.565m to 12.35m over 19 years.

A senior officer of the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics told Dawn that the impact of Afghan refugees was more visible in three districts — Quetta, Killa Abdullah and Pishin. He said internal migration from Dera Bugti, Sui, etc to Quetta was another reason.

However, he said that the Afghans and others would not be included in the total count once the data was finalised. “We will be in a position to show the exact data on ethnicities once it was finalised,” the officer said.

In the Pashtun districts, the highest growth rate in population was recorded at Killa Abdullah (3.97pc), while the lowest population growth rate was recorded at Musakhel district (1.16pc).

The growth pattern of other districts was: 3.58pc in Pishin, 1.24pc in Harnai, 3.67pc in Ziarat, 3.05pc in Killa Saifullah, 2.46pc in Loralai, 3.35pc in Sherani and 2.52pc in Zhob.

The average population growth in Quetta district was recorded at 5.83pc, whereas it was 1.41pc in Sibi district.

Among the Baloch-majority districts, the highest growth in population was recorded at 4.23pc in Kech district (Turbat), followed by 4.13pc in Chagai and 4.09pc in Kohlu. The lowest growth in population was recorded in Awaran district at 0.15pc and Kachhi district at 0.91pc.

The average growth rates of population in other Baloch districts are as follows: 2.93pc in Kalat, 2.54pc in Kharan, 3.49pc in Khuzdar, 3.24pc in Lasbela, 3.04pc in Mastung, 2.50pc in Washuk, 1.86pc in Gwadar, 1.60pc in Panjgur, 3.02pc in Jaffarabad, 1.62pc in Jhal Magsi, 3.69pc in Nasirabad, 1.85pc in Sohbatpur, 3.21pc in Nushki, 1.52pc in Lehri and 2.69pc in Barkhan.https://www.dawn.com/news/1356899/number-of-balochi-speaking-people-in-balochistan-falls

September 11, 2017   No Comments

FC speeds up intelligence-based operations in Balochistan

Report in Daily Times, August 27th 2017.
ISLAMABAD: The FC speeds up intelligence-based operations in Balochistan

“Over the past week, IBOs were carried out under Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad in different areas of Quetta, Kleri Dhal, Dera Bugti, Dasht areas of Balochistan,” the ISPR said.

Security forces through these operations foiled at least one major act of terrorism in Balochistan, according to the ISPR.

“Various suspects were apprehended during these operations … [while] a large cache of arms and ammunition including explosives, IEDs, grenades, rockets, detonators and communication equipment, were also recovered from the terrorists’ hideouts.”

The militants had taken refuge inside a cave for planning, coordination and execution of terrorism in Balochistan, the army had said. http://dailytimes.com.pk/pakistan/27-Aug-17/fc-speeds-up-intelligence-based-operations-in-balochistan

August 27, 2017   No Comments

BNP-M to continue struggle for rights of Balochistan people: Kakar

by Muhammad Akbar Notezai in Dawn, August 23rd, 2017
QUETTA: The senior vice president of Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M), Abdul Wali Khan Kakar, said on Tuesday that his party believed in peaceful and democratic struggle for the rights of the people of Balochistan, but some undemocratic forces were creating hurdles and running a baseless propaganda campaign against the party.

Speaking at a press conference here, he said the BNP-M would continue its struggle in a peaceful and democratic manner, within the framework of the country’s constitution.

He was accompanied by party’s central information secretary Advocate Agha Hasan Baloch, Ghulam Nabi Marri, Advocate Sajid Tareen, Bahadur Khan Mengal and other party leaders.

He alleged that the recently held by-election in the National Assembly constituency NA-260 (Quetta-cum-Chagai) was rigged, saying that once again the mandate of people was stolen.

He said obstacles were being created for the BNP-M so that it could not take part in the 2018 general elections. “The BNP-M will take part in the democratic exercise and if a fair and transparent election is held in 2018, it will emerge as a single largest party in Balochistan,” he added.

Mr Kakar said that some hidden forces were not allowing his party to hold public meetings and rallies which was its democratic right as a political party. These forces were taking action against BNP-M leaders and workers, he said, adding that many party workers were missing. https://www.dawn.com/news/1353283/bnp-m-to-continue-struggle-for-rights-of-balochistan-people-kakar

August 23, 2017   No Comments

Protesters call for recovery of kidnapped Hindu trader

by Muhammad Akbar Notezai in Dawn, August 23rd, 2017
QUETTA: Members of the Nasirabad Awami Awaz on Tuesday staged a protest in front of the Quetta Press Club against abduction of Vikki Kumar, son of former senator Heman Das.

Vikki Kumar — a leading businessman of his area — was kidnapped by armed men four months ago when he was sitting with his friends at his rice factory in Dera Murad Jamali.

The protesters chanted slogans against the local administration, carrying banners and placards inscribed with their demand for recovery of the abducted businessman.“It has been four months since Vikki Kumar was abducted. His family is in anguish due to the kidnapping,” said Awami Awaz leader Mumtaz Baloch.

He appealed to Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Zehri, Inspector General Police Ahsan Mehboob and other officials concerned to make efforts for Mr Kumar’s release.

Other members of the forum, including Shahbaz Umrani and Syed Shaukat Shah, also spoke on the occasion.https://www.dawn.com/news/1353288/protesters-call-for-recovery-of-kidnapped-hindu-trader

August 23, 2017   No Comments