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Baloch rebels interrogating Pak soldiers captured before helicopter crash 

Pakistani soldiers (Photo: IANS)

Two security personnel of the Pakistani army under custody of the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) are being interrogated by the rebels. The two soldiers were captured by the BLA near Zardaalo, an area in Harnai, Balochistan, which brought Pakistani army helicopters to the area, following which one was allegedly shot down by the rebels.

This was reportedly the second helicopter to be shot by the Baloch insurgents.

In a press release on Monday night, the BLA said that Naib Subaidar Kaleem Ullah of FC 114 Wing Loralai Scouts and Mohammad Faisal of Qasoor of a secretive intelligence unit, are being interrogated for their role in “heinous war crimes, including disappearance and torture of Baloch youth”.

Spokesperson for the BLA, Jeeyand Baloch said: “Both enemy personnel are going through the interrogation process under BLA’s custody. After investigation they will be produced before the Baloch national court, which will decide their fate. The court’s decision will be communicated to the media too”.

Pakistan’s Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) has not acknowledged the capture of the two soldiers, even though it issued a press statement about the death of its six personnel in the helicopter crash.

This is the second time in recent months that the Baloch nationalist rebels have captured Pakistani army soldiers. In the previous incident in July, the BLA had kidnapped Lt. Col. Laiq Baig Mirza of the Pakistani army along with his cousin while travelling from Ziarat to Quetta. He was interrogated by the rebels and was later found dead while his cousin’s body was discovered in a different place.

The Pakistani army carried out a search operation in Ziarat and claimed on July 16 that it had killed nine ‘terrorists’ involved in the kidnapping of Lt. Col. Mirza, creating a furore among the Baloch community as it was later found that the alleged “terrorists” killed in the Ziarat encounter by the Pakistani security were Baloch missing persons who had been taken out from prisons and shot dead in cold blood as an act of revenge by the army.

Several Baloch families recognised seven of the dead men who had been missing from their homes under the process of “enforced disappearances” – euphemism for State-sponsored kidnappings by the Pakistani government.

In the Harnai incident, Baloch fighters are also disrupting trucks ferrying minerals from the province. The BLA fighters seized four trucks transporting coal and released the drivers after warnings. The rebels have also been blowing up the gas pipelines that transport gas from Balochistan to Punjab.

The estranged Baloch community is leading a nationalist struggle for over seven decades against Pakistan. The rebels have carried out several big attacks including some on Chinese interests this year. A suicide bombing by Baloch woman, Shari Baloch killed three Chinese teachers of the Confucious Institute, at the Karachi University.

The BLA had taken over the camps of Pakistan’s Frontier Corps (FC) troops in Noshki and Panjgur inflicting heavy casualties. The well-coordinated attack showed the depth and coordination of Baloch nationalists as they kept the Pakistani security forces at bay for over three days in Panjgur.

Also Read: Pakistan loses its second military helicopter in two months—Baloch insurgents claim responsibility