Balochistan home minister claimed Dr Allah Nazar was killed by security forces in July.
Though there has been no convincing evidence, several notables in Balochistan are convinced that the security forces have eliminated a top Baloch separatist leader.
In a news conference early last month, Balochistan Home Minister Mir Sarfraz Bugti claimed that the chief of the banned Balochistan Liberation Front (BLF), Dr Allah Nazar, had been killed in an operation in Awaran a day before Eidul Fitr along with many of his key commanders. The inspector general of Frontier Corps Balochistan had made similar claims earlier in August.
However, the minister could not offer any proof to substantiate his claim, which if true could drastically change the dynamics of the decade-long insurgency in the troubled province. Notwithstanding, few politicians have disputed Bugti’s claim. Those who believe him, on the other hand, include seasoned politicians like former federal minister and an ex-ambassador of Pakistan.
“Security officials who intercept telecommunications in that particular region of Awaran have not heard any conversation [linked to Dr Nazar] for about two months now,” said former speaker and current member of Balochistan Assembly Mir Jan Muhammad Jamali. “Intelligence agencies have intercepted no incoming or outgoing calls from that area in weeks,” he said.
Jamali also pointed out that no major BLF activity had been reported from Awaran ever since that operation, even though militants linked to the banned outfit attacked government facilities in Gwadar and Jiwani during this time.
Balochistan National Party-Mengal Vice President Sajid Tareen Advocate voiced similar views. “There have been no communications between BLF camps in Awaran and those located outside since the operation,” he said. “Dr Allah Nazar has either been moved to some other place for treatment after being injured in the operation or he was killed.”
“It’s more likely he was killed,” Tareen said. “Otherwise he himself or one of his comrades would have issued a statement rejecting the government claims.”
BLF leaders’ Facebook pages have also been inactive since Eidul Fitr, according to Jan Achakzai, the former spokesman of Maulana Fazlur Rehman. “If Facebook inactivity could be considered a sign, then he [Dr Nazar] is indeed dead,” he said. Achakzai added, however, that people should wait for a confirmed report before rushing to conclusion.
Former Balochistan advocate general Amanullah Kanrani said if Dr Allah Nazar is alive, then he is no longer in the country. “Dr Allah Nazar has departed, either this world or for another country,” said Kanrani, who used to be a close aide of slain Baloch chieftain Nawab Akbar Bugti.
Former federal minister and ambassador Amanullah Gichki, who concurred with Jamali, Tareen and Kanrani, said reports of Dr Allah Nazar’s death should be seen in conjunction with Brahamudagh Bugti’s recent statements signalling his willingness to negotiate with the government.
“It is significant that Bugti consented to peace talks right after Dr Allah Nazar was reportedly killed,” he said. “Nazar was the only top leader fighting the government after his mentor Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri died in Karachi last year… the BLF chief’s death must have demoralised Brahamudagh.”
A senior Baloch leader, speaking on condition of anonymity, also said that Dr Allah Nazar and Marri’s deaths had brought the Baloch insurgency to its knees. According to another tribal elder, the readiness of the self-exiled Khan of Kalat, Mir Suleman Dawood, to return to Pakistan also lends credence to reports that Dr Allah Nazar is dead.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 12th, 2015.