Balochistan: The great game
Published: October 12, 2010
Farooq Hameed Khan
While recently announcing plans to open the new US Consulate in Quetta, US Ambassador Anne Patterson had stated: “The Consulate would be set up to monitor the development activities being carried out by the US in Balochistan…also ensure a close liaison between the Baloch people and the US, and would provide visa facility to the people of Balochistan.” But the questions are: Why does the US need to get closer to the Baloch people? Is there some hidden American agenda behind setting up a Consulate in Balochistan? Why has the thought of issuing visas to the Baloch come up after 63 years? Will increased US presence in Balochistan mean enhanced support, funds and weapons for various militant and separatist groups? Or is there a plan to destabilise Iran from the Baloch soil?
The Consulate is likely to further destabilise the province as it would most likely accelerate the notorious Xe’s covert role inside Balochistan, fan the feelings of hatred among different ethnic communities and stren-gthen separatist views. Moreover, the combination of US Consulate in Quetta with a string of Indian Consulates that operate across Balochistan’s border, in Afghanistan, would mean adding fuel to the already raging insurgency in Pakistan’s largest province.
At the same time, Baloc-histan’s Chief Minister, while recently commenting on the strategic location of Baloc-histan, stated that he would “neither allow Balochistan to become a part of the ‘Great Game’, nor will its resources be permitted to be exploited without taking the local people on board.” His remark that international forces and powers were involved in creating law and order problems in Balochistan in the wake of their vested interests, nevertheless, reinforces our fears that something really grave is happening in the province.
In this context, Wayne Madsen a Washington-based investigative journalist made shocking revelations in his article, Pakistan: Blackwater/Xe Hits in Quetta, dated September 13, 2010. He stated that Xe Services operating in Pakistan’s major cities had been conducting “false-flag terrorist attacks” that were later blamed on the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan. Wayne reveals that the responsibility for the recent bomb attack on the pro-Palestine Shia rally in Quetta that killed 54 people was claimed by the Pakistan Taliban, though it was actually carried out by one of the Xe’s covert cells in the country, acting in concert with the CIA, Mossad and RAW. The bombing during the Ashura procession in Karachi last month was also the result of such covert operations. The pattern of violence in Balochistan, including systematic target killing of Punjabi settlers, and Baloch citizens, who are seemingly coordinated by foreign intelligence agencies with the local militant groups, aims to drive a wedge between Islamabad and Baloch nationalists by trumpeting charges against Pakistan’s security apparatus.