Almost all mainstream channels are aligned with western media

By Brig Asif Haroon Raja

Balochistan these days is making headlines and all patriotic elements are feeling deeply perturbed over the worsening security situation in Balochistan owing to excessive interference by several foreign powers. The print and electronic media instead of playing a positive role and highlighting the true facts is reinforcing misperceptions and portraying Balochistan as a lost case. Runaway dissident Baloch leaders spewing venom against Pakistan are given lot of space by our print and electronic media, particularly Geo channel. They are allowed to spit poison on Pakistan and to preach independence of Balochistan and no pointed questions are asked. This is exactly what the adversaries of Pakistan wish for and is in harmony with propaganda of western media. While our media is feverishly engaged in tarnishing the image of Army and ISI on the basis of human rights violations, foreign media blames the two premier organizations on charges of abetting cross border terrorism in Afghanistan, India and Occupied Kashmir and their linkage with Afghan Taliban.

While the focus of local and foreign media, foreign paid NGOs, Baloch nationalists and the US officials is upon so-called human rights violations against the Baloch, there is no mention of target killings by Baloch terrorist groups against settlers, Hazara community, pro-government Balochis and security forces. Punjabi settlers and Hazaras are being systematically cleansed by target killers and all Baloch dominated towns have been cleared of their presence. Tens of thousands of settlers have migrated to other provinces while those who have risked staying on and the marooned Hazaras who have nowhere to go have got locked up in specified localities in Quetta. There is not a single non-local residing in Baloch dominated districts.

Hardly a day passes without an incident of target killing, attack on convoys of security forces, passenger trains and buses, on gas pipelines and installations. In January-February, dozens of Frontier Corps (FC) personnel died at the hands of terrorists. On 3 March, three mutilated bodies of FC men were recovered. Each act of terrorism is proudly claimed by the BLA or BRA but ironically no word of sympathy is uttered by our media and pseudo intellectuals; acts of terrorists are not censured; evil design of Indo-US-Israeli nexus is not exposed. Burning of Pakistan flag, prohibition on hoisting of Pakistan flag and singing of national anthem in schools/colleges and other anti-state activities are ignored.

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Most of the mutilated bodies of Baloch nationalists are the ones who had got fed up of living in the hills and wanted to renounce militancy and resume normal life. They are the victims of Blackwater or BLA/BRA/BLF. Inter-tribal rivalries are also behind mysterious killings of Baloch. The blame is, however, conveniently put on the intelligence agencies and FC. One of the reasons put forward for their suspicions is that the abductees were clad in militia uniform.

The US funded Human Rights Watch under Ali Dayan Hasan is working on foreign agenda and is openly espousing the cause of separatists and criticising the security forces and ISI. He is a great fan of Asma Jahangir since she too is fond of hurtling invectives against the Army. Dayan was instrumental in colouring the perceptions of Dana Rohrabachar and two other Republicans about Balochistan and making them move a bill in the Congress seeking self-determination right for the people of Balochistan. Pak security forces employed in Balochistan are now being dubbed as occupiers and oppressors and the terrorists as innocent victims.

The dissident Sardars wanting to break away from Pakistan initially wanted the Army to return to the barracks. Under persistent demand, the Army was forced to return to barracks and to hand over security duties to the FC. Now that the entire security has been taken over by the FC and the terrorists have been unable to gain an edge over it, the FC is being demonized. Kharotabad incident is link of the same chain to defame and demoralize the FC. The FC is being portrayed as an occupation force and in collusion with the ISI involved in abductions and murders of Baloch nationalists. The rebels want the FC not to carryout counter terrorism so that they could invite foreign troops to step in and occupy Balochistan. Demand for withdrawal of FC from security duties is getting louder and many pseudo intellectuals have ganged up to lend strength to this gory scheme.              

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Since 2002, deliberate efforts have been put in to address the grievances of the people of Balochistan. Significant ones are grant of provincial autonomy, greater share in NFC, additional vacancies in federal jobs and in armed forces. Between 1947 and 2002, total development budget of Balochistan was Rs 152 billion whereas between 2002 and 2008, the budget shot up to Rs 302 billion. Aghaz-e-Haqooq-e-Balochistan (Beginning of Right of Balochistan) initiated by the government is a Rs 120 billion socio-economic-political package, out of which Rs 12 billion in outstanding debts from gas revenues has already been released. In addition, $1.77 billion budget has been announced. Mehran Coastal Highway has been built and lot of work done on improvement of road infrastructure in interior Balochistan as well as on several water dams including Mirani dams.

Gwadar has been converted into a seaport and Ormara is being built as Jinnah naval base. Judicial inquiry into Akbar Bugti killing has been ordered. Gen Musharraf has been declared a proclaimed absconder and his red warrant issued to get him back through Interpol. Issue of missing persons is under scrutiny of Supreme Court. Amnesty has been announced for all the Baloch leaders who are in self-exile and it has been decided to withdraw all cases against them. A call for All Parties Conference has been given by the PM. 15000 young gradates and post graduates from Balochistan would be given employment under special internship program and Rs 15000 monthly stipend given to them. Rs 4 billion will be paid to Wapda as subsidy for farmers of Balochistan. 2400 federal government’s jobs would be reserved for the Balochis on merit. Petroleum Ministry will provide jobs to the Baloch youth in all its departments more than the fixed quota. Strength of Levies is being increased.

In deference to the wishes of the Baloch nationalists, plan to construct military cantonments in Sui and Kohlu has been abandoned; instead the two are being converted into educational cities where number of army public schools, colleges and technical/vocational institutes are being opened both for boys and girls free of cost. The Army has planned to recruit 20,000 Baloch youth by 2013-14. ISSB selection standards have been lowered for them and special education cadres arranged to enable them to get inducted into Army as officers. Likewise, the Navy is also working upon a comprehensive program to induct Baloch youth in Navy. The FC has also undertaken host of welfare projects. Greater induction of Baloch youth in the FC and Frontier Constabulary is taking place. The FC requisitioned by provincial government to restore law and order cannot be possibly involved in acts of terrorism. Its determination to combat foreign aided terrorists is what troubles the separatists and their patrons.

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The Army, Navy and FC are in direct communication with the common Balochis and addressing their day to day problems and striving to better their lives. The US, Britain, Israel and India on the other hand are providing huge funds to the rebellious Sardars to keep them on warpath. These countries are providing arms as well as intelligence and guidance to the terrorist groups which they have pitched against security forces and provided them sanctuaries in Afghanistan. Whenever they find that the insurgency is dying down, they stir it up and even go to the extent of killing the uncooperative wanting to give up militancy and return home.

Massive development works undertaken by the government, the Army and Navy have never been highlighted by partisan media. Neither the impotency of law courts in the province is mentioned. Not a single terrorist arrested by the FC has been sentenced. All are given bail, allowing them to re-continue their acts of terror. It is not brought to light that about 2500 dissidents are involved in insurgency and within this lot; half has been forced to follow the path of violence. Each militant is paid Rs 30,000 a month and special cash awards are doled out on each successful act of terror. Instead of forcefully condemning the blatant interference of foreign powers in our internal affairs and exposing their nefarious agenda in Balochistan, our liberal journalists, TV anchors and intellectuals sing the tunes of their foreign paymasters and whack the Army, FC and ISI. It is high time for our media to show maturity and sense of responsibility to confront foreign intrigues rather than become a part of conspiracy.