20 foreign agencies in Balochistan: FC
QUETTA, June 2: The Inspector General of Frontier Corps (FC), Major General, Obaidullah Khan Khattak, said on Saturday the turmoil in Balochistan was crying out for a political solution since a number of countries were aiding anti-state elements, claiming that 20 foreign intelligence agencies were active in the province.
In addition, 50 “farari (fugitive) camps” were training fighters to destabilise Balochistan, he told a press conference.
“We are determined to foil all conspiracies hatched by anti-Pakistan elements, but efforts should be made to find a political solution because use of force has never succeeded in resolving any issue,” the FC chief said.
He said the FC always took action on directives of the provincial government, but it was bound to work under the federal government because it was a federal force.
A high-level meeting on Balochistan last week had vested Chief Minister Aslam Raisani with powers to call out FC in the province.
He said a campaign had been launched under a conspiracy by certain elements in Balochistan against state institutions, including the FC and intelligence agencies, to undermine the writ of the government and shake the nation’s confidence in security forces.
Gen Khattak said despite suffering heavy losses, the Frontier Corps and other forces were determined to protect the country’s frontiers and ready to lay down their lives.
“Our morale is high and it cannot be weakened through such conspiracies.”
The FC chief said ‘individuals and institutions’ should respect the soldiers and officials who had put their lives in the line of fire for preserving the country’s integrity.
In reply to a question, he said that Frontier Corps had all respect for the judiciary and political institutions, recalling that he had appeared before the Supreme Court four times and was ready to appear again.
Gen Khattak said his force would not hesitate to render any sacrifice to nip the designs of elements working for Balochistan secession from the country.
“We will not tolerate those who are talking about separating Balochistan from Pakistan.”
Gen Khattak said it was unfortunate that the media were painting as heroes those who were up in arms against the state while those who were fighting these elements were being vilified as criminals.
“One should come out with courage and say no to militancy and killings of innocent people in Balochistan,” he said, adding that over 100,000 people had been forced to leave Quetta and other areas of the province.
The FC chief said that out of the 575 incidents of violence that had taken place this year in Balochistan, 258 had been owned by outlawed militant groups, but they were neither facing any case in a court nor anyone was willing to hold them responsible for unrest in the province.
“The FC has been physically and psychologically targeted for quite some time,” Gen Khattak bemoaned.
He regretted that although his force had handed over 129 militants to police, only four of them had been convicted so far while 50 had been released by courts due to lack of evidence. “The conviction rate is only three per cent and we have to plug loopholes in the law of evidence.”
In reply to a question, the IG of FC said it was difficult to stop infiltration through the 1,200-km border with Afghanistan.
He said arms and ammunition illegally entered Balochistan through the porous Afghan border, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and even through Sindh and sea routes.
In reply to a question, he said although “farari camps” had been dismantled during operations carried out from 2004 to 2007, militants who had escaped returned and re-established the camps in mountains of Dera Bugti, Kohlu, Turbat and Sibi.