Strike in parts of Balochistan over 'military operation'
21 October, 2013
QUETTA: A shutter down strike was observed in different Baloch dominated parts of the province on Sunday against alleged military operation in earthquake-hit Awaran district.
Baloch National Front (BNF), an alliance of different Baloch hardliner nationalist parties and student organisations, had given the strike call to protest the alleged military operation in different parts of Awaran district, including tehsil Mashkay.
Markets, shopping centers and business spots remained closed in Mastung, Kalat, Khuzdar, Pasni, Turbat, Mand, Hub, Kharan, Basima, Panjgour and other places in the province. The vehicular traffic at roads was also thin as compared to normal days while the closure of medical stores as well as restaurents caused huge inconvenience to the people.
Local administrations had also adopted stringent security measures to avert any untoward happening; however, no unpleasant incident was reported from any part of the province. BNF alleged that under pretext of relief activities the security forces were picking up innocent youth and conducting military operation in various parts of Awaran district, thus prompting migration of people to other places.
On the other hand, Balochistan Minister for Home and Tribal Affairs, Sarfiraz Bugti has categorically dispelled an impression that any military operation was being carried out in Awaran district. "Not a single soldier is engaged in any operation. Army and Frontier Corps are only providing relief to earthquake affectees," he stated this talking to journalists the other day.
Bugti said there was no reality in the claims of Army operation in Awaran, however, if needed, Army would be called as it is our own State armed force. Awaran district, which is considered one of the strife-torn districts of Balochistan, was badly hit by massive earthquake on Sept 24 that claimed more than 500 lives and left more than 35,000 families homeless.
Following earthquake Army and paramilitary troops entered the district to rescue and provide relief to the affectees. The arrival of security forces was strongly opposed by militants. Since then reports of clashes between militants and security forces and attack on relief activities are pouring in from the area.