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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Pakistani Taliban's Threat Looms on Baluchistan


"........ Conflict Monitoring Center’s field researchers reported that Tehrek-e-Taliban Pakistan is expanding its operations in Pashtun areas of Baluchistan. Zhob district is badly affected by TTP militancy. Sectarian militants targeting Hazara community are mostly Bloch and the close networking between Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and TTP can create a bridge between Bloch nationalist rebels and Taliban militants, which will make the security situation in the province even worse... " 

TTP’s looming threat in Pashtun areas of Baluchistan

Majority of the affected districts belongs to Bloch population however; now Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan is gaining grounds in Pashtun districts of the province. The district of Zhob is increasingly falling into the hands of TTP militants who are consistently targeting tribal elders. This is a tactics they used in FATA to paralyze the existing cultural and social system. In FATA, these militants effectively destroyed the Malik and Jirga system to implement their brand of Shriah Laws. Under pressure from Pakistani security forces in FATA, the TTP is not only relocating its infrastructure but also expanding itself beyond a restricted area where it is relatively easy for the forces to conduct a military operation to root them out. The influx of TTP in the province is expected to make security situation worse. The militancy in Baluchistan is complex in nature where overlaps of the type of insurgents make it somewhat difficult to understand who is fighting for what cause. The Bloch nationalist militants are generally of secular and liberal thoughts but most of the militants targeting Hazara community also belong to Bloch ethnicity. It is no secret that the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, which targets Hazara community in the province, is also working closely with Pashtun TTP. Sectarian militants of Bloch origin can work as a bridge between anti-state Bloch militants and the Taliban. Any such united front will be devastating for the security situation in the province. Zhob district of the Baluchistan province is increasingly becoming safe haven for TTP militants. The district borders with South Waziristan Agency of FATA and Dera Ismail Khan district of Khyber Pakhtunekhwa Province. Conflict Monitoring Center’s field researchers have reported an alarming development that some of the influential clerics of the province are now supporting TTP clandestinely. After establishing strong holds in certain areas, the TTP commanders have started to issue threats to the local tribal elders to obey their orders. Those who resist are becoming targets of the TTP. On September 28, the TTP carried out an attack on the residence of a local tribal elder Sardar Qaymo Kabaz. The Sardar was injured along with three other people. Local tribal elders and traders are upset with the latest development. On September 17, Frontier Constabulary came under attack in adjoining Lora Lai district. One FC personnel was killed. The FC arrested ten suspects from the area. Although only one violent incident was recorded in Zhob district but the developments taking place are of worrying nature. If the looming threat is not assessed at its initial stages and adequate measures are not taken at right time, the Pashtun belt of the province, which remained generally peaceful, may become more violent than the Bloch belt because the TTP is better equipped and more experienced than the nationalist rebels active in the province. The response from security forces in Baluchistan remained limited to just one search operation in Quetta where they arrested 15 suspected militants and recovered two SMGs, five pistols, three motorbikes, one mobile phone and two bottles of liquor during the operation. 

Conflict Monitoring Center 

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