Coinciding with the63rd anniversary of Pakistan's Independence Day, Baloch freedom-fighters have stepped up their freedom struggle in different parts of Balochistan, including Quetta, the provincial capital. There has been a number of incidents of attacks on the police and para-military forces, rocket-firings and targeted killings of Punjabis living in the province. Incidents have also been reported from Gwadar, where the Chinese have constructed a major port.
2. On August 13, 2010, the day before Pakistan's Independence Day, seven persons---- three Punjabi policemen, a Pashtun soldier of the Frontier Corps and three Punjabi civilians---- were killed. The three Punjabi policemen died when the freedom-fighters attacked their check-post in the Chaki Shawani area of Saryab and took away the arms and ammunition kept there. A Pashtun Subedar of the Frontier Corps was killed when the freedom-fighters atrtacked an FC checkpost near the Rakshan river in the Panjgur area and took away the stored arms and ammunition.
3. According to the "Daily Times" of Lahore (August 14), there were three rocket attacks in Quetta and explosions and hand-grenade attacks in Khuzdar, Gwadar and Mastung. The residence of Mr.Akbar Hussein Durrani, the Home Secretary of the provincial Government, was among the places targeted by one of the rocket attacks in Quetta, The Home Secretary escaped, but a bystander was seriously injured. One of the rocket attacks in Quetta also targeted a Shia place of worship.
4. There were two explosions in Gwadar targeting the offices of the Deputy Commissioner and Radio Pakistan. The buildings were damaged, but there were no human casualties.There were two explosions in Khuzdar near the Government Model High School and another outside the Deputy Commissioner’s office. In Mastung, a hand grenade was thrown at the residence of a doctor. However, no casualties were reported. In Khuzdar, a hand grenade was thrown at a power grid station in the Sorab area.
5. The Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) has claimed the responsibility for the attack on the police check post , in which three police personnel were killed. It said that the attack was in retaliation for the continuous recovery of bullet-riddled bodies of allegedly those who had been kept in illegal detention by the intelligence and security agencies.
7. On the Independence Day, 16 Punjabi settlers were killed by unidentified gunmen in two incidents. Ten of them were travelling in a bus and the remaining were casual labourers. There has been no claim of responsibility for these incidents. ( 15-8-10)
( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. ( 15-8-10)