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Military operations in Balochistan continue, 7 Baloch civilians killed in latest offensives

July 8, 2012: Earlier today Baloch Republican Party (BRP) spokesperson Sher Mohammad reported that Pakistani armed forces launched deadly operations in several parts of Balochistan including Kalat, Mastung, Manguchar, Isplinji, Nagahi, Koh-e-Maran, Khuzdar, Diagh and adjoining areas. Observers say a large number of military and para-military personnel blocked both entrances and exits to the areas and proceeded to bombard the civilian Baloch populations with heavy shelling from gunship helicopters. A Quetta source reported sighting two Hughes helicopters flying southeast in the morning. BalochJohd reported that Pakistan Air Force (PAF) fighter jets and gunship helicopters participated in the hours-long bombardment and that the army was carrying out house-to-house raids. These raids invariably end with the abduction of persons who disappear into Pakistan's labyrinth deep state security system.

Sher Mohammad writes: "Soon after taking oath as Prime Minister, Raja Pervez Ashraf pledged to resolve the problem of Balochistan on a priority basis. Unsurprisingly, the outcome of his pledge is no different from that of his predecessor, and as feared, the Baloch genocide will be intensified. In the eyes of Pakistan, the solution for Balochistan is termination of the entire Baloch nation; they are working on a policy of “No Baloch; no problem. We strongly appeal to the international community, the United Nations, the European Union, human rights organizations and the civilized nations of the world to end their prolonged silence over the Baloch genocide by Pakistani armed forces and pressure the state of Pakistan to immediately end the daily massacres of the Baloch people."

Of previous Pakistani military attacks, South Asian expert Selig Harrison writes: "The Baluch and their allies in neighboring Sind are embroiled in a bitter struggle with the Pakistan Army and its Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI), which seeks to snuff out Baluch insurgent activity by killing off or jailing known or suspected Baluch independence activists." In an earlier report for Le Monde, Selig Harrison observes that "[m]uch of the anger that now motivates the Baluch Liberation Army (BLA) is driven by memories of Pakistani scorched earth tactics in past battles. In a climactic battle in 1974, Pakistani forces, frustrated by their inability to find Baluch guerrilla units hiding in the mountains, bombed, strafed and burned the encampments of some 15,000 Baluch families who had taken their livestock to graze in the fertile Chamalang Valley, forcing the guerrillas to come out from their hideouts to defend their women and children."

And so it would appear that frustrated Pakistani forces are ramping up efforts to control the Baloch insurgency. Their abduct, kill and dump policy (which is currently being examined by the Pakistan Supreme Court) has not quelled the insurgency, nor have previous search operations or bombing runs. Given that there is no concerted effort on the parts of international organizations to sanction Pakistan over its human rights abuses, Pakistani forces seem to have arrived at the conclusion that, for now, their best bet is to repeat 1974 tactics: bomb, strafe and burn civilians.

A final note: Many towns of Balochistan have now been declared no-go areas for foreigners. Any military operations against the Baloch are unlikely to receive adequate coverage by international news organizations.

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