The peace and stability in terms of security in Balochistan is directly proportional to the overall law and order situation of the country. To benefit fully from the treasures that this province has to offer, maintaining peace in this region is of prime importance for which role of the state in recent years to solve the grave issues faced by the province is indeed commendable.
Abductions and Surrenders
On December 6, 2018 Director General Inter Services Public Relations Major General Asif Ghafoor talking about Balochistan informed that in 2016 there were 119 abduction cases, in 2017 there were 82 which eventually went down to 46 in 2018. The graph of terrorist incidents has also gone down, with the number of surrenders of Ferraris (Baloch separatists) reaching up to 2,200 in the last three years.
Since 2011, over 1000 separatists involved in terrorism were killed in various counter-separatist and intelligence-based operations. Balochistan Peace Programme, launched in July 2015, has also been a successful effort in bringing separatists back to the national mainstream.
According to Senator Sarfraz Bugti, the success of this program can be measured from the fact that until now only eight separatists (0.35 percent) have re-joined separatist outfits.
Fencing of Pak-Afghan border
To restrict illegal immigration and infiltration across the Durand Line which leads to smuggling and terrorist activities carried out through Balochistan, the Pakistan Army has begun fencing of Pak-Afghan border and has completed the first 482 km long patch of the 1,403 km long Pakistan-Afghanistan border in KPK and more than 100 km fence on the border near Panjpai, Balochistan. The fence is provided with security cameras and motion detectors. It is a laudable step in terms of efficiency, an understanding of which can be achieved through comparing the situation with America.
In America, all the machinery of the Federal government has come to shutter down as the Congress has refused to release US $5.7 billions to build a 1900 km wall at the Mexico-US border. On the other hand, Pakistan army is erecting a fence along the 2611 km long border for only US $550 millions.
In 2011, a commission was formed on enforced disappearances (headed by Justice Fazal then) succeeded by Justice Javed. The cases regarding missing persons were being solved by this commission and simultaneously some complaints would go to the court ensuring efficient and fast paced progress.
According to the Missing Persons Commission, it has disposed of 3,492 out of 5,608 cases till November 30, 2018. The commission received 5,507 cases up to Oct 31 and 111 more up to November last year.
On January 15, 2019 the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP) in a major development announced that it has temporarily ended its protest camp after nearly 10 years following assurances from the Balochistan government regarding the recovery of missing persons hailing from the province.
The protest camp set up outside the Quetta Press Club has been suspended after 3,464 days for a period of two months on the assurance of Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan and his cabinet.
VBMP Chairman confessed that more than 250 missing persons have returned to their homes since the new government took charge in Balochistan. Mama Qadeer, the less popularly proclaimed Baloch rights activist, said that 11 missing persons had recently returned home after VBMP established contact with the provincial government.
The VBMP had set up its protest and hunger strike camp in 2009 in the aftermath of unrest in the province to build pressure on the authorities to ensure the safe recovery of missing Baloch political workers. However, the protest camp would be resumed if the government failed to recover the missing persons as promised.
Consequently, the Government of Pakistan took a landmark step on January 30, under which those involved in kidnapping citizens will be tried under the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC). The decision was made by Prime Minister Imran Khan in a meeting on human rights at the PM Office (PMO).
A press release issued by the PMO said the government had decided to amend the PPC in order to criminalise any attempt by an individual or organisation to make someone disappear by force. According to the Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, “after the decision, those involved in abducting citizens will be tried in civil courts”.
The armed forces have sacrificed about 8,300 personnel in the line of defence against terrorism with several thousands facing injuries. Showing an unprecedented restraint against every repression, the security forces have successfully managed to bring down terrorism in Pakistan by 89% since 2016, according to a South Asia Terrorism Portal’s (SATP) report.
According to Center for Research and Security Studies (CRSS), across Pakistan, and across all metrics, violence-related casualties continued to decline in 2018, registering a 45% drop from the previous year, and an 86% drop since 2013. The fatalities from terror attacks and incidents dropped 83% from 4,643 in 2013 to 754 in 2018, which is an unprecedented drop in violence across the country. Overall there has been a 97% reduction in terror attack deaths in Sindh, 86% in KP, 82% in FATA and 60% in Balochistan.
Predominantly, the victims can be classified into three categories: civilians, security/government officials and militants/insurgents/criminals. All three groups have witnessed a decline in casualties. However, while the civilians have seen a drop from 72.4% of the total in 2013 to 68.2% in 2018, security officials have seen a steady rise from 14.9% in 2013 to 26.9% in 2018, exhibiting the continued sacrifices of the law enforcement agencies. Militants have seen a steady decline as a result of kinetic operations, dropping from 12.7% in 2013 to 4.9% in 2018.
On national level, Pakistan, China and Afghanistan recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) over anti-terrorism cooperation between the three countries in Kabul on December 15, 2018.The MoU was signed by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and their Afghan counterpart Salahuddin Rabbani.
Accountability of All
In 2017-18 almost 400 Pakistani armed forces officers have been given punishments which range from a warning to dismissals and even jail to establish rule of law in the country, according to DG ISPR Major General Asif Ghafoor. He also said that officers faced stricter punishments than soldiers to ensure discipline and accountability. To much extent, this action dismisses the general misperception that the security forces are never held accountable in the country.
Hence the state is playing an incredible and vital role in restoration of peace in Balochistan and to bring back stability and progress to this resource-rich region to prepare it for countless opportunities waiting ahead.