Musharraf’s tanks move against Baloch rebels

Musharraf is making good on his threat

Even as the political committee set up to resolve Balochistan’s complaints was finding its way through the complexities of the matter, the Pakistani army was busy strengthening its military positions in the province. General Musharraf never had much patience for politicians, parliaments or committees, and so it turned out to be in this case too. The Pakistani army has launched a major offensive against Baloch positions, pre-empting the political committee’s recommendations.

For a while, the Pakistani government was sticking to its story that the operation in Balochistan was being carried out by the paramilitary Frontier Constabulary, and not the regular army. But even that cosmetic distinction has been discarded — it is indeed the regular army that is at work in Balochistan.

Earlier Sherry Rehman said on a point of order that reports from Sui suggested that clashes continued till 1:30 am on Friday which resulted in the death of 70 people and injuries to another 90. She said reports said that 14 tanks and 8 gunship helicopters were taking part in the operation.[DT]

Given the absence of an international outcry on Musharraf’s iron fisted approach in Balochistan, the Baloch rebels stand very little chance of prevailing over the Pakistani army, or achieving some kind of a stalemate. In an article in Pakistan’s Daily Times, Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur argues that Baloch insurgents have the tactical ‘home’ advantage. But unlike the Pakistani army, Baloch rebels do not have foreign support. Talpur predicts that the Baloch insurgents could take to terrorism to counter a superior military force. More turbulence lies ahead.

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