Pakistani jet bombing in Balochistan's Kahan and surrounding areas.
Pakistan's US supplied Cobra helicopters and jets have started bombing civilian areas in Kalat, a ticker on the Facebook of a former Pakistani sentor reads. The bombing came just hours after Daily sangar reported deliberations were under way at the highest level in Pakistan to use fighter aircraft against Baloch militants called Sarmachars in order to secure the China Pakistan Economic Corridor.
The recommendation to begin aerial operations comes in the wake of increasing activities of the militants, whom the locals call Sarmachars or freedom fighters, have been sent to the high authorities.
According to Baloch Warna in London Pakistani gunship helicopters bombed civilian populated areas in Mastung, Johan and surrounding areas on Saturday killing at least five people and injuring several others. Eight gunship helicopters were backing the ground forces.
The Pakistani forces also carried out a house-to-house search operation and abducted dozens of people. The locals reported that military personnel harassed women and children during the operations. There were reports of destruction of homes after loot and plunder of valuables by the Pakistani forces, according to Baloch Warna.
Official sources said the civilian and military leaders have resolved to take drastic actions against anti-Pakistan activities in Balochistan and fighter aircraft of Pakistan Air Force are likely to take part in the aerial operations. These sources said they have found solid evidence of Indian involvement in destabilizing Balochistan. After conducting operations, the militants hide in the mountains making it difficult for the Pakistan soldiers to go after them in hot pursuit.
The onus of the operation has so far lied with the Frontier Corps but now this is being boosted with aerial operations as well. The intelligence services said they have identified the base camps of the militants and the aerial attacks will be launched on the basis of intelligence reports.
In the last two months, the situation has rapidly deteriorated and on Monday an All Parties conference was held in Quetta to tackle the situation. Pakistan army chief General Raheel Sharif, who has center-staged himself in the country’s politics by a reported soft coup last fall, attended the conference.
Chinese President Xi Jinping was in Islamabad in April and signed 50 MoUs worth $46 billion, with the main aim to connect Gawadar with Kashgar.
Pakistan has long used gunship helicopters against Baloch seeking independence. In the 1973-77 the Shah of Iran Reza Shah Pehlavi provided US-supplied choppers to target Baloch militants. Selective jet bombings were also used in the remote tribal Marri and Bugti for 10 years, but now it seems air craft are being used over a bigger territory.
Meanwhile, the provincial government fears the military escalation of operations could lead to further aggravation of the bleeding wounds of Balochistan. However, Kachkol Ali, former fisheries minister in Balochistan government who is now based in Oslo, said in his view the security forces and balochistan government are on the same page. "They have decided to eliminate the movement in the same manner as Sri Lanka did with Tamils." He called upon guerrillas to change their tactics and strategy accordingly to defeat Pakistan plans.