After having facing these humiliations during his visit to the tribal province, Musharraf has apparently decided to take vengeance. Yesterday helicopter gunships (incidentally given by the US to deal with Al Qaeda on the Afghanistan border) and thousands of soldiers went into action in the Kohlu district of Balochistan. Obviously the plans to deal with Baloch rebels would have already been on the table. All that has probably happened is that the date has abruptly been brought forward at Musharraf’s command.
According to the BBC:
Balach Marri, a provincial MP for the Kohlu area, said he had reports that a number of people had been killed in the raids - although he could not confirm the exact number.Now your Blogger earnestly believes that brute force is never the answer – just take a look at the George Bush’s disastrous ineptitude in Iraq.
"The army has arrested hundreds of innocent people in the operation, which is still going on, and in which jet fighters and helicopter gunships are participating," he told the Associated Press news agency.
Musharraf heaps the blame of the problems in Balochistan on the tribal sardars, conveniently overlooking the fact that in the past he has himself admitted that the vast majority (‘75 of the 78 Baloch sardars’) have been in Islamabad’s hire for a considerable length of time. Needless to add, that is exactly how the colonial British ruled ‘the natives’ not that very long ago.
Many Baloch believe that up to 80% of provincial funds are continually pocketed by these Islamabad appointees. Should anyone, therefore, blame the populace of Balochistan from expressing its disgust at the corruption and indolence of these Islamabad-selected ‘politicians’ and bureaucrats?
It is not difficult to work out who the three anti-Islamabad sardars are. Anyone with even a peripheral knowledge of Balochistan politics would be able to tell you that Musharraf was referring to Akbar Bugti, Khair Buksh Marri and Attaullah Mengal.
These three sardars have been derided for years for being autocratic despots in their areas of influence – but is that really all that different to what Musharraf and his predecessors have been doing to all of Pakistan for the past few decades?
Even if the army succeeds in ousting or killing these three sardars, the General ought to remember that overthrowing Sadam Hussain not only failed to bring to his Sunni tribesmen into the US camp but unleashed violent tribal bitterness against the occupying force.