Guerillas of the Baluchistan Liberation Army threatened to blow up Pakistan’s most important oil and gas facility at Dhodak, in the central province of Punjab. The statement, phoned into several newspapers Feb. 6 by a spokesman called Azad Baluch (an apparent nom de guerre meaning Free Baluchistan), was the first threat by the rebels to strike outside Baluchistan province. The previous day, rebels reportedly struck a gas pipeline at Mangrotha in Dera Ghazi Khan district, 90 kilometers west of the central Punjab city of Multan. Bombings of rail lines and other government targets are now taking place nearly every day in Baluchistan, the largest and poorest of Pakistan’s four provinces. (AFP, Feb. 7)
Pakistan’s president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, vowed in December to "crush" all militant activity–just weeks before the Baluchi uprising began. Long-restive Baluchistan has boiled over before. Editorialized the Bangladesh Independent Feb. 3: "[T]he Baluch have long and bitter memories of Islambad’s repression and betrayal over the past, and there is great venom against the ‘Punjabis’ in the Baluch discourse. In the 1950s, after an unsuccessful insurrection, Pakistan offered a General Amnesty to the rebels, but when their leaders came out they were hanged. This betrayal weighs heavily in the consciousness of the Baluch, as does the brutality with which the rebellion of the 1970s was suppressed, with indiscriminate use of superior firepower–including air power–against Baluch camps and villages in which thousands were killed."
Why has this story apparently been blacklisted by the US media?
See our last post on Baluchistan.