A big blow to the insurgency in Balochistan, Gulzar Imam Shambay, one of the most high-profile militant leaders, was captured in a complex intelligence operation that involved various geographical locations. The successful operation is being marked as an outstanding achievement for Pakistan’s law enforcement and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). This demonstrates their professionalism, sophistication, and commitment to restoring peace and stability in Balochistan, a province that has been plagued by a violent separatist insurgency for decades.
Shambay was also the ideologue and operational commander of the Baloch Raj Aajoi Sangar (BRAS), an umbrella group of four militant outfits that claimed responsibility for several deadly attacks on security forces and civilians. However, what is even more remarkable than his arrest is his public appearance and plea for clemency. In a press conference organized by the Minister for Home and Tribal Affairs in Balochistan, Ziaullah Langu, Shambay humbly requested forgiveness and called upon his followers to surrender to the authorities. He also urged the disillusioned Baloch people to abandon their armed struggle and join the national mainstream, working together to achieve the development and prosperity of Balochistan and Pakistan.
This unprecedented gesture of reconciliation by Shambay is a testament to the state’s magnanimity and willingness to listen to and understand those who oppose it. It also shows that the state is ready to acknowledge its past mistakes and take accountability for its actions. The state is committed to making things right for the people of Balochistan, who have suffered from decades of neglect, marginalization, and exploitation.
The federal government under Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has taken several steps to promote inclusivity and create an environment where everyone feels valued and respected. The government has initiated various development projects in Balochistan, such as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which will bring unprecedented economic opportunities and social benefits to the province. The government has also increased the representation of Baloch people in key institutions, such as the parliament, the judiciary, the bureaucracy, and the armed forces.
The government is also encouraging dialogue and engagement with all stakeholders in Balochistan, including political parties, civil society groups, tribal elders, and religious leaders. The government is willing to address the genuine grievances and aspirations of the Baloch people within the constitutional framework. The government believes that dialogue is the only way to build trust and understanding among different segments of society.
The people of Balochistan are patriotic and the real owner of Balochistan. They will not let the anti-state actors ASAs hijack their vision of peaceful and prosperous Balochistan. The people of Balochistan have always been loyal and patriotic citizens of Pakistan. They have contributed immensely to the nation-building process in various fields. They have also sacrificed their lives for defending their motherland against external aggression. They are proud of their rich culture, history, and heritage. They are not willing to let a handful of ASAs exploit their grievances or mislead them into violence. They want peace, development, and dignity for themselves and their province.
One must remember that suppression of militancy takes time and desired results can only be achieved through the whole-of-a-nation approach. The success of Operation Zarb-e-Azb against terrorism in North Waziristan has shown that Pakistan can overcome any security challenge with unity, resilience, and determination. The same spirit is needed to deal with the insurgency in Balochistan. The state cannot do it alone; it needs the support of all segments of society, including political parties, media, civil society, religious leaders, and academia. All stakeholders must work together to counter the propaganda of anti-state actors (ASAs) who want to create chaos and division in the country.
The analyst believes that the arrest and reconciliation of Shambay is a historic moment for Balochistan and Pakistan which optimistically leads to peace and harmony in the province. It also offers a ray of hope for other militants who are still fighting against the state. They should realize that their violent campaign is futile and counterproductive. They should follow Shambay’s example and lay down their arms. They should join hands with their fellow citizens in building a prosperous and progressive Pakistan.
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy and position of Regional Rapport.