On April 7, founder of the banned Baloch National Army, Gulzar Imam, was arrested by the ISPR–a great achievement on part of the security forces and intelligence agencies. There is no doubt about the fact that such developments will have a spillover effect on the province, and country at large. Imam’s new statements expressed remorse about the violent route that the fight for Balochi rights took, and instead endorsed an approach that is more constitutional and political in nature. His statements also alluded to interference in national matters by India in particular.
Imam’s arrest was hailed as a major military counter and achievement against fighting terrorism and extremism in the country. Separatist insurgency in Balochistan has been a problem for years now and with time, the situation has only gotten worse. According to security officials, his arrest caused Baloch terrorist organisations to panic, leaving them fragmented and lacking direction. It would appear as though the government’s efforts were successful, and all resources were utilised effectively. This has set a great and historic precedent in the history of Pakistan, and has created an example worth following.
In the aftermath of this arrest, Imam made a statement through which he repented his past actions and asserted that all of his followers must follow a different path. He further encouraged them to lay down their arms and recognise that most tensions were caused by ‘external’ forces that were all too willing to interfere in Pakistan for their own objectives and motives.
Balochistan was used as a pressure point to use against the state and in the process, a relentless fight ensued, the brunt of which the Balochi people themselves have borne. Now attention must be paid towards developing the province and ensuring that it comes up to par with the rest of the country; it is one of our strongest assets and cannot be left underutilised.