By no means should the killing of Aslam Achou, a senior commander of the Baloch Liberation Army – along with his seven comrades-in-arms – in a clash with security forces near Sibi on Wednesday be taken as demise of the separatist movement in Balochistan.
But given his role as field commander of the most potent proscribed force and his reputation as the killer of scores of innocent people, including security personnel, his disappearance from the scene is bound to seriously restrict the clout of his master, Harbiyar Marri. Last week too, the BLA lost four of its operatives in a clash with the Frontier Corps in the Kahlu district.
Aslam Achou, also known as Merrick Baloch, was originally an Afghan-Tajik national, but in 1992 he somehow succeeded in securing the Pakistan’s nationality and was engaged by his self-exiled chief to carry out subversive and sabotage operations in the province.
Achou was wanted in more than a dozen terrorism-related cases by police in Bolan and Sibi and carried a head money of Rs 6 million. Of the nearly two years’ campaign conducted by paramilitary personnel throughout Balochistan the death of Aslam Achou is, perhaps, the most critical blow to the separatist forces.
However, it remains to be seen if this huge setback will force Harbiyar to rethink his politics that is not likely to be the case – given that of late he has moved to India from London as he feared extradition from there to Pakistan.
Indian intelligence agency RAW is deeply involved in fomenting trouble in Balochistan, and there is no sign yet that New Delhi would like to change this policy of intervention. And unlike another self-exiled Baloch leader, Brahamdagh Bugti, who wants to talk to the government, on his own terms, Harbiyar is not known to be thinking along these lines.
A grandson of late Nawab Akbar Bugti, Brahamdagh, who has taken asylum in Switzerland, did offer talks with government last November. But that too was more an act to outbid the Khan of Kalat Suleman Daud, who was then being vowed to return home, then a sincere move to seek his place in the national politics.
Source: Business Recorder