Is it time to call it a freedom struggle?
“Donâ€™t push us” said General Musharraf, using television to threaten Baloch insurgents. “It is not the 1970s when you can hit and run and hide in the mountains. This time you wonâ€™t even know what has hit youâ€. The insurgents, however, cared little for Musharraf’s televised admonishments, and promptly attacked the natural gas plant at Sui again, killing 8 people and blowing up a gas compressor unit. The gas supply to several parts of Pakistan was suspended, and various domestic and international customers were put on notice; the gas plant has now been taken over by Pakistani security forces.
Ironically, the insurgency in Balochistan has a similar backdrop and is following the very script Pakistan wrote for Kashmir. Balochistan’s accession to Pakistan was controversial; the 2002 provincial elections were rigged by the ISI; Local Baloch tribesmen and ‘nationalists’ have set up training camps; outfits going by names such as the Balochistan Liberation Army and the Balochistan Liberation Force have carried out attacks against Pakistani security forces; leaders and feudal lords have formed a Baloch Ittehad that provides political cover for the armed insurgents. What goes around, does come around. Missing though, is a neighbouring country that brazenly provides moral, diplomatic and political support for the cause of the Balochi people. Missing also, is the religious element and hence there are no calls for jihad.
So does this mean that here, after all, are the makings of another epic struggle for national self-determination? Unless some actors step in to provide that external support, nothing that General Musharraf (who has the external support) and the Pakistani army cannot dispose off.
Related Link: When in a hole, stop digging.