Mashkay operation: an analysis


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The smouldering heaps of rubble welcomed the locals when they returned to their homes after bombing stopped and the Pakistan military personnel withdrew following a two-day military operation in Balochistan’s Mashkay area, the hometown of Baloch nationalist leader Dr. Allah Nazar. They had been punished for belonging to the nationalist leader’s area or for having any relation with him.

Eight people, including two children and five women, were killed. Dozens of houses were set on fire or destroyed through dynamite. Two men — Dr. Allah Nazar’s brother-in-law Shahbaik and Naeem — were whisked away and are still missing. Their families are expecting their mutilated bodies any time soon.

Why will Pakistan go to this extent? Out of sheer frustration, maybe. But states don’t react spontaneously in most cases. The most popular theory among Baloch nationalists is that the state wants to eliminate Dr Allah Nazar, the main hurdle in the way of parliamentary politics in Balochistan, before the general elections in May next year. There have been predictions that the upcoming elections will be violent and chaotic. Pakistan wants National Party and Balochistan National Party to participate in these elections without any condition, in order to demonstrate to the world that the Baloch nationalists have been finally pacified and accommodated in the mainstream politics. However, the Baloch militant groups would strive to give a different picture to the world during these elections: that the Baloch don’t accept Pakistan’s parliament and that they don’t want to participate in the electoral process.

But why fire mortar shells on Dr Allah Nazar’s home town? If the state wanted to eliminate Dr Nazar it should have launched the offensive on the nationalist leader’s hideouts. So what purpose the two-day military operation is supposed to serve to the state?

At a time when the top Baloch leaders, once allies, are exchanging barbs over the Freedom Charter, Dr Allah Nazar is the only sane voice trying to remain neutral and calm. According to sources close to him, he has sent word to Hairbiyar, Brahmdagh and other Baloch leaders to think over their differences and don’t make them public.He has also reportedly urged Baloch National Movement, Baloch Students Organization, Baloch Republican Party, Hairbiyar, Mehran and Javed Mengal to forge unity under an alliance. As a matter of fact, Dr Nazar is the only person who can play the role of a mediator to resolve this infighting among the nationalist leaders.

By targeting his family and area, the state is trying to render a dent on his nation-building measures. It’s a golden chance for the state to fuel differences among the warring factions of Baloch nationalists. The differences between Hairbiyar, his father Khair Bux Marri, brother Mehran, brother-in-law Javed Mengal and Brahmdagh are no secret any more. All of them are important figures in the ongoing Baloch insurgency. Their division will not only weaken the Baloch armed struggle, but also serve to disappoint the Baloch people. If Dr. Nazar is allowed the luxury to negotiate a deal between them, he has the potential to bring them close once again. Therefore, the state has declared war against him to sabotage his confidence-building measures. After the Mashkay operation, Dr. Nazar would be more cautious in his communications and he would have to focus his concentration on survival measures rather than calming down the warring Baloch groups.

Courtesy: The insider 

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