The tense atmosphere of the Pakistan versus Afghanistan World Cup match on June 29th at Headingley Cricket Ground in Leeds was heightened by the sight of aircrafts flying overhead with banners carrying anti-Pakistan messages. More specifically, the banners were pleading “Justice for Balochistan” and to “Help end enforced disappearance in Balochistan”. These signs were allegedly the work of the Baloch Republic Party and the World Baloch Organization, both on the list of organizations banned in Pakistan. Similar messages were seen advertised at various points throughout the city as part of an aggressive strategy to undermine any anti-terrorism efforts.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) soon issued a clarification that it does not and will never condone any political message. The Pakistan Foreign Office has also condemned the action.
Then yesterday, news broke out that the US State Department has declared the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), in addition to other groups, a terrorist organization on the basis of their recent activity. The action has been taken to notify the international community and the United States public that BLA has committed, or poses a risk of committing acts of terrorism.
While we do welcome the news that the consistent claims of BLA being a terrorist cell have finally been vindicated, it should be noted that there are multiple other groups that should receive the same treatment. The Baloch Liberation Front (BLF) and the Baloch Republican Army (BRAS) deserve to have similar action taken against them. While the BLA have been relatively inoperative since the PC Gwadar attack, BLF and BRAS have been carrying out multiple activities that pose a threat to our national security.
Recently, BRAS has even gone as far as introducing the concept of Fidaeen into the group. This means that they are willing to attempt suicide attacks for the sake of their movement; causing the loss countless of innocent lives as collateral damage to fulfil their objectives.
The US State Department should take notice of this and declare these groups terrorist organizations as well. It should be internationally known that these groups pose a threat too and that any foreign forces who fund their cause should think twice about the implications before doing so. The action would also help discourage any others from undertaking such ideologies and committing crimes against their own people.
However, just banning is seldom enough to dismantle these terrorist suits. In addition, Pakistan should collaborate with authorities in the USA and the United Kingdom to locate and arrest those who lead these groups while residing abroad as refugees, like Brahamdagh Bugti and Hyrbyair Marri etc. They are the ones who indoctrinate and provoke people here into taken such aggressive and illegal actions against the public and the State. They should be arrested and deported so they can be tried and punished here and their followers should surrender or face the consequences. This way, others may see what becomes of those who betray and conspire against their own nation.
Counterterrorism is a collaborative international effort. What’s a threat to one state could be a threat to others as well because instability in one region has global implications. Countries like the US and UK, who have immense influence over the world should cooperate with others to overcome the threats that face us all and bring those who have created said threats to justice.