Note: Truth Tracker uses the symbol of PML-N because it is the major coalition partner in the Balochistan Government
Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch has said that his administration will hold talks with all Baloch insurgent groups after Eid ul Fitr. “A committee of the Balochistan Assembly will be formed for this purpose,” he said on the assembly floor. “The committee will make efforts to bring the insurgents back to the negotiating table.”
“We are busy using different channels to contact Baloch militants”, Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo, vice president of the National Party [the ruling party in the Balochistan coalition government], told Truth Tracker. “Yet, we haven’t had any positive response from their [Baloch militants] side,” he added.
“Our Chief Minister has been given the mandate by the federal government for dialogue with Baloch militants,” said Sarfaraz Bugti, home minister of the PML-N [coalition partner] in the Balochistan government.
A committee was formed to convene an All Parties Conference about the security situation in the Baloch province. “The committee will be arranging APC in the first week of December,” Bugti told Truth Tracker.
Balochistan has faced several waves of insurgencies since 1948 after the Khan of Kalat merged his states in Pakistan. His younger brother, Prince Karim, started a militant struggle against the newly-born Pakistani state. The insurgency in Balochistan has had ups and downs since 1948, peaking and subsiding over the years – 1952, 1958 – 1960, 1962 – 1969 and 1973 – 1977. Tensions rose again between 2004 and 2005 when several militant groups – active across Balochistan – refused to talk to the government, asking for “freedom” from the Pakistani state.
The chief minister said the insurgency has claimed several lives from both sides [among the military and the Baloch militants] during its different phases.
The insurgency became deadlier when Nawab Muhammad Akber Khan Bugti, former governor of Balochistan and a Baloch leader of the Jamhoori Watan Party, was killed on August 26, 2006, in a cave in Kohlu, about 150 miles east of Quetta.
When Maulana Abdul Wasey, JUI-F parliamentary leader and leader of the opposition in Balochistan Assembly, was asked about the dialogue with the Baloch insurgents, he said , “Yes, Dr. Malik had told the legislators that the government would be talking with Baloch insurgents. I think they have not been formally contacted yet.”
“Neither the government has contacted us [the opposition parties] nor have I any information on the matter,” said Wasey. “I have no knowledge of the dialogue process other than newspaper updates.”
He told Truth Tracker he did not believe the Baloch insurgents would talk with the government.
“They are not ready for ‘dialogue’ and they will not do that in the near future,” Professor Jamal ud Din Khan, a political analyst, told Truth Tracker. He said the insurgents were working on an agenda focused on “independent Balochistan”. “How we can see a possibility for dialogue, then?”
“Dr. Malik Baloch, the CM, is not that powerful to contact them on his own and invite them for dialogue,” he added.
Truth Tracker finds that even months after Eid ul Fitr, the process of dialogue has yet to start. The chief minister might have resorted to some efforts, but nothing is on record, therefore Truth Tracker rules that the promise has been compromised.