WASHINGTON DC: The so-called Baloch Musallah Difa Tanzim that has claimed responsibility for the killing of Habib Jalib Baloch is a criminal gang allegedly led by a son of a former federal government minister and one of the most trusted pointmen of the Inter Services Intelligence in Balochistan.
The slain leader who most of his friends simply called Jalib, was general secretary of the Balochistan National Party and a former chairman of the Baloch Students Organization. He was a supreme court lawyer and intellectual, and according to his comrades he was gunned down allegedly by goons on the payroll of the infamous Inter Services Inteligence on July 14 in Quetta.
Shafiq-ur-Rahman Mengal, a son of former petroleum minister Mir Naseer Mengal, allegedly leads the I.S.I.-backed shadowy organization B.M.D.T. that has been involved in criminal activities to divert the Baloch national struggle from its main objective of freedom from Pakistan.
Shafiq-ur-Rahman Mengal was involved in a rocket attack on the Wadh home of former Balochistan chief minister, Sardar Ataullah Mengal, in 2005 -- the same year the Pakistan military attacked the home of former governor and chief minister of Balochistan, Nawab Akbar Bugti.
Both Ataullah Mengal and his grandson, Sardar Asadullah Mengal, who is the actual chief of the Mengal tribe though his uncle Akhtar Mengal also carries the chieftain title, were injured in the attack. The elderly politician Sardar Ataullah Mengal, who is known for his shrewdness, saw through the military ploy to eliminate him physically if he sought revenge and forgave the attacker.
The I.S.I.-backed B.M.D.T. which also maintains close ties with the Frontier Corp, has carried out many criminal activities in recent months including a grenade attack on a cultural show of the Baloch Students Organization on March 2 that left two dead, Sikander Baloch and Junaid Baloch.
In April the B.M.D.T. threatened the Khuzdar Press Club members not to carry any news item related to any Baloch nationalist organization or face reprisals.
Other than physically eliminating Baloch leaders and activists, Shafiq-Ur-Rahman Mengal has also been tasked by the I.S.I. to create Taliban-style scare in Balochistan by targetting Baloch women through acid attacks. In one such attack, two sisters aged 11 and 13 were targeted in Dalbandin on April 13 and in a second attack faces of three sisters were burned by acid in Kalat on April 29.
In those activities a second name, Baloch Ghairatmand Group, is used by the I.S.I.-group run by Naseer Mengal's son.
"There are two names, but the individual tasked to do the job is one," said Dr. Zaffar Baloch, president of the Baloch Human Rights Council of Canada.
The victims are the poorest among the poor.
According to a report by Shahzad Baloch in the Express Tribune, "Thirteen-year-old Gul Begum and 11-year-old Dur Jamal, belonging to a poor family which lives in a tent, were attacked by two masked men on a motorcycle. According to Dur, “some donkeys came close to our tent and when I went out to push them away two masked men on a motorcycle appeared and threw acid on me.” Hearing her cries, her sister Gul came out of the tent and she too was attacked with acid."
Without naming the culprit, reporter Urooj Zia wrote in The News,"The victims’ parents are extremely poor, so much so that the local community had to contribute money and gather enough funds to send the sisters to the Civil Hospital Quetta by road, where they are currently under treatment."
"While the acid-throwers remained unidentified, residents of the area believe that this attack was carried out by the shadowy ‘Baloch Ghaeratmand Group’.
"A few days ago, the group, whose members remain unknown even in the close-knit community of Dalbandin city, which has a population of approximately 25,000 people, had distributed flyers in the area, warning women and young girls to remain indoors.
"The pamphlet, which is in Urdu, declared that development did not mean that the local population went against the “Baloch culture of Chaddor and Char-Deewari” for women. It also clearly warned women and girls against stepping out of their houses with their faces uncovered, or even going to a doctor unaccompanied by a man. “Acid will be thrown on the faces of women and girls who step out of their houses without covering their faces,” the flyer says.
"Threats from relatively unknown groups, however, are not a new phenomenon in the region. Earlier this month, the Khuzdar Press Club had received threats from another new gang, the ‘Baloch Musallah Difa Tanzeem’, warning them against covering events organised by nationalist parties and groups."
Intriguingly, Mir Naseer Mengal has also issued a statement of condemnation against the killing of Jalib, but observers said this was nothing more than crocodile tears to escape the wrath of popular outrage against the assassination.
"But Naseer Mengal is just a name as the main actor is the I.S.I.," said Mehran Baluch, representative of the Baloch people at the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, who said the killing spree was a stark reminder there is no way out for the Baloch but to work for independence of their homeland if they want to live in peace.
An elder son of Naseer Mengal, named Atta-ur-Rahman Mengal is also allegedly involved in criminal activities and was said to behind the kidnapping of journalist Riaz Mengal, a reporter with Daily Intekhab, after the journalist exposd him in a multimillion stolen car trafficking racket.
It is not the first time Pakistan military has used such outfits. In addition to the Taliban, which remains a baby of the I.S.I. though the U.S. and the West have closed their eyes to this fact. During the Bangladesh war of freedom Pakistani soldiers had fostered the infamous Al-Shams and Al-Badr thunder squads to crush the liberation movement.
A Baloch notable from Kharan, Akram Baloch, who now lives in Philadelphia, urged Baloch expats to do whatever they can to save the lives of their brethren. Baloch said he spoke with Jalib on Friday who had expressed a desire to visit the U.S.