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Newly formed Baloch National Army provides fresh impetus to Balochistan movement: Report

Balochistan : The amalgamation of two outlawed Baloch groups Baloch separatist organisations-- United Baloch Army (UBA) and Balochistan Republican Army (BRA) into Baloch National Army (BNA)-- has provided fresh impetus to the disgruntled people of Balochistan province in Pakistan, as noted by International Forum for Rights and Security. The newly formed BNA also marks the coming together of the Marris and Bugtis, two of Balochistan's largest tribes that historically have not always seen eye to eye. The UBA is led by Mehran Marri, the son of late Baloch ideologue Khair Bakhsh Marri, who led the Marris for years. The BRA, on the other hand, is led by Brahumdagh Bugti, the son of Akbar Bugti, the Baloch Sardar and leader of the Bugti tribe who was killed in 2006 in a military operation. Although both Marri and Bugti tribes populate other militant groups, including the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) now led by Khair Bakhsh's other son, Hyrbyair Marri, the UBA-BRA merger underlines how Baloch militant groups are increasingly converging across tribal lines to form a united front against the Pakistan state. Meanwhile, there has been a surge in the previous months experiencing violence in the province of Balochistan and assertion of BNA in the nearby provinces. On January 20, a blast in Lahore's New Anarkali Bazaar area left at least two people dead and 26 others injured, police and health officials said. Deputy Commissioner of Lahore, Umar Sher Chattha informed that the location falls under the Safe City project and all the available evidence from the surveillance system is being analysed. An initial report presented by the Inspector General of Police to Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar mentioned that a "planted device" was used in the blast and that it contained 1.5 kg of explosive material. Incidentally, the attack is claimed by a newly formed Baloch separatist group- Balochistan National Army (BNA), as reported by International Forum for Rights and Security.Also, on December 24, 2021, two soldiers were killed when terrorists attacked security forces check post in Balochistan's Kech district, Pakistan's military's media affairs wing said. Meanwhile, Balochistan is gifted with abundant minerals, oil and natural gas, gold and copper. Pakistan in many ways is dependent on Balochistan for its natural resources. Still, regrettably, the province has the highest rural poverty and deprivation rate with more than 62 per cent of its rural population living below the poverty line, according to International Forum for Rights and Security. Also, a large number of people in Balochistan live in poor housing conditions with minimum or no access to clean drinking water, hospital, education and electricity. The condition of a common person in the province is terrible. The people of Balochistan have been experiencing various forms of atrocities caused due to illegal state activities, resulting in their struggle against brutality and demand for an independent country. Since the late 1990s, the Federal government of Pakistan became infamous for its kill-and-dump policy in the province. The common people are often kidnapped and killed by military, police and paramilitary forces and the state intelligence wing allegedly also plays a nefarious role in torturing the people of Balochistan, as reported by the International Forum for Rights and Security. Independent journalists, doctors and civil rights activists are often targeted by authorities. Apart from state-sponsored murders, Baloch insurgents, sympathizers, activities are also put behind the bars for an indefinite time, as noted by International Forum for Rights and Security. Earlier, the Baloch people are rampantly charged with sedition, marked as militants and killed in encounters. Significantly, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), acknowledged these criminalities in its report, titled, "Balochistan Still Neglected." In the report, the Pakistani authorities have been accused of not only killing but also disposing of the bodies of suspected Baloch insurgents, as reported by International Forum for Rights and Security.

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