The arrested terrorist of BNA Gulzar Imam appeared on media. Founder of banned Balo­ch National Army Gulzar Imam alias Shambay, who was arrested by security forces last month, expressed remorse over taking up arms and said the fight for Baluchistan’s rights was only possible in a constitutional and political manner. Imam – whose arrest was described by Army as a major counter-terrorism achievement against separatist insurgency in Balochistan – repented his past actions and urged other insurgents to lay down arms while addressing a press conference in Quetta alongside Balochistan Home Minister Zia Langove and Senator Prince Ahmed Umer Ahmedzai.

In the press conference, Gulzar Imran began by introducing himself as native of a village located in the Panjgur district of Balochistan, saying he had been actively involved in the armed insurgency in the province for the past 15 years. “I spent a long time being a part of that insurgency, and I have faced all kinds of situations,” he said, adding that as a Baloch, my objective is to protect the rights of my people, national language and area. Referring to his arrest in April, Imam said he got a chance to think over his past with a new perspective while in detention.

“After a painful experience, I realized that the path I chose was the wrong one,” he added, explaining that the “armed war” further complicated Balochistan’s problems rather than resolving them. Imam said one of the main reasons behind this was that “some particular forces” wanted to use the Baloch as a pressure group, and I believe that the Baloch nation is the only party at a loss in all of this. Earlier, security experts and officials have hailed Imam’s arrest as a great achievement for law enforcement agencies.

Security experts and officials have hailed Imam’s arrest as a great achievement for law enforcement agencies. “The arrest of Imam is a serious blow to the BNA as well as other militant groups, which have been attempting to destabilize the hard-earned peace in Balochistan,” said the ISPR’s statement on Friday.

The arrest of a militant leader of such a stature demonstrated the capability and resolve of the law enforcement agencies to uproot the menace of terrorism as well as speak volumes about the successes garnered through supreme sacrifices of unsung heroes. Abdul Basit, a research fellow at Singapore-based S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, argued that Imam is without a doubt one of the three most influential commanders of the Baloch separatist insurgency, the others being the BLA chief Bashir Zaib and BLF chief Allah Nazar and was quite instrumental in the formation of BRAS. Imam’s arrest is a great achievement at the tactical level for the Pakistani security agencies, which can help them neutralise BNA’s network in Balochistan with the help of the information received from him through interrogation.

On the ground, the BNA has already started facing an internal rift, as the group’s statements as well as background interviews with law enforcers and journalists in Balochistan suggest. Last month, the BNA announced the suspension of one of its key leaders, Anwar alias Chakar, who had apparently abandoned the group. It also asked other separatist groups not to provide him refuge. Imam’s arrest has not only destroyed the BNA’s network but also affected the BLA. Experts are, however, skeptical of how much the arrest or elimination of one or two leaders would impact the overall Baloch insurgency.

Likewise, the arrest of Shamby is opportunity for other insurgents and anarchists who have been fighting against state and its law enforcement agencies. They should surrender before the state and join mainstream political landscape. They cannot challenge the writ of state and cannot fight with the law enforcement agencies. Therefore, they still have the chance to become part of mainstream politics in Baluchistan and play their role for the development of the province. State of Pakistan is sincerely looking after Baloch people by extending them its best possible facilities. If these foreign-funded non-state actors don’t stop their activities against state of Pakistan, the law enforcement agencies will not spare them and target them with full strength in order to maintain the law-and-order situation. Therefore, this is the best chance for them to surrender before the state and play their role for the betterment of the province.

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