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Taliban freed two western hostages in exchange for Haqqani prisoners

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Three Haqqani prisoners were released from Bagram prison on Monday evening in exchange of two AUAF professors.

Kevin King, 63, from the US, and Timothy Weeks, 50, from Australia, were professors at AUAF who were abducted by the Haqqani Network in Kabul in August 2016.

According to TOLOnews, the handover took place in Zabul province.

In accordance with a public statement by President Ghani last week, in which he described the prisoner swap as a gesture to restart the peace talks, the professors were freed in exchange for the release of Anas Haqqani, Hafiz Rasheed and Mali Khan, three Haqqani Network commanders who were captured outside of Afghanistan in 2014.

This comes as the three Haqqani prisoners were released from Bagram prison on Monday evening and flown to Doha, but will remain under ‘house arrest’ there, according to sources.

On Monday President Ghani spoke with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and US National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien, in two separate phone calls, to “review the steps necessary to release three Haqqani prisoners” and they agreed that “a ceasefire and/or reduction of violence was necessary to begin intra-Afghan negotiations,” the Presidential Palace said in a series of tweets.

Whosoever bargained the Baloch people’s blood for personal gains, the history will hold him accountable: Dr. Allah Nizar

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Baloch Pro-Independence leader Dr. Allah Nizar in his recent statement said that Baloch national movement for liberation, due to the collective struggle of the nation, has reached such heights that despite Pakistan´s horrendous aggression and naked crimes, it is now impossible for it to thwart the Baloch movement for liberation.

He said that the Baloch nation cherishes and is psychologically attached to the National struggle with all the unity. These are the fundamental reasons why the nation wholeheartedly took part in the national struggle. The brutality of Pakistan is another factor too. The Baloch nation has strengthened the struggle making it powerful and effective by sacrificing their belongings and lives. With their constant efforts, they have spread the suppressed voice of the Baloch nation in every nook and corner of the world and have also got acceptance. But it is saddening that some elements turned the Baloch national struggle into a means of business to supplement their wealth, which is a plain betrayal to the Baloch nation.

Dr. Allah Nizar said, “The true sons of the soil have given a right direction to the national struggle all the while enduring the brutal terrorism of Pakistan, thrust, hunger and the extreme weather; they proved it upon the world that they are the real face of this national struggle. We feel proud, on the fact that neither the atrocities nor the cruelties of the enemy or the negative policies of some of our friends, who used national struggle for some personal gains, could disappoint us. That is because the support of the Baloch nation, the sense of sacrifices in our youth, and the invincible determination for the desired destination provided us a level of energy that no power of the world can defeat.”

Dr. Allah Nizar Baloch stated, “The most difficult phase of our national struggle was when our enemy gathered all of its resources and invited its allied forces by cheaply bargaining our national resources to them to crush our national struggle. At this stage continuing the struggle was itself a sign of a conscious and a living nation. Today, the world has already acknowledged the fact that Pakistan in league with China has been engaged in carrying out unparalleled atrocities in Balochistan. In this hardest period, not only did the Baloch maintained their existence, but also overpowered all the imperialistic campaigns of the enemy. The military was forced to get out of their barracks and be deployed across Balochistan. This indicates the defeat of our enemy and is a sign of clear victory for us.”

Dr. Allah Nizar Baloch asserted, “This is a national struggle which goes on with the support and power of the people. Today, I want to make one thing clear that Pakistan created bloodshed to crush this movement, dishonored women, thousands of Baloch were put into torture cells, millions of families are displaced, thousands of Baloch are in exile, thus Baloch nation has paid a heavy price for getting this recognition. Whosoever betrayed the sacrifices of the Baloch nation and bargained the Baloch people’s blood for personal gains then the Baloch nation, history and Baloch national struggle will certainly bring them into accountability.”

Exclusive Interview with Dr Mahrang Baloch

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The recent blackmailing scandal of female students in Balochistan University at the hands of University administration shocked entire Balochistan. According to the female students, they were harassed and blackmailed with CCTV footage by the university administration. The news has shaken the society and widespread condemnation was observed. Student activists have continuously been protesting against the issue.

One of the leaders of these protests in Dr Mahrang Baloch, a Baloch student. Recently TBP interviewed her to bring more insight about the whole incident for its readers.

Question 1: According to some reports, the harassment of Balochistan University students has continued for years but it has reportedly been brushed under the rug, do you think there is more to the story?

Answer: This is not just a story related to harassment and blackmailing, but under the pretext of depoliticising the university for more than one decade, the students have been exploited and are deprived of their due human rights. Of course, there is more to this story as this is an organized attempt to malign our cultural values, particularly to harm the girls’ education and to further disturb the educational environment of Balochistan University.

In the absence of student unions, the administration and the security personnel have really been using their power to blackmail the students. There was a mafia in university where teachers and other staff members were also involved. Their job was solely to harass the female students sexually. The female students are blackmailed such as on the issues of admissions.

The academic admission for university is given through an entrance test taken by the National Testing Service (NTS), but the test was just an excuse, many of the admissions were given according to the wishes of administration rather than the merit. The mafia has also blackmailed the female students during their exams. Grades in semester results were also the incentives to force the students to indulge in physical relations.

Similarly, funds have been embezzled. Many of the persons were sent to foreign countries illegally to study for PhD, and those who were eligible were ignored and not given any kind of opportunity.

Balochistan University has many unresolved issues. In past many cases were reported but the victims were forced to withdraw their FIRs. None of the government official have taken notice of the complaints that were constantly coming from different departments.

Question 2: One of your demands is restoration of student unions, do you believe this is a step towards the solution?

Answer: The condition of university is worsening since the ban on student unions. When there were student unions immediate actions were taken against the culprits even on minor cases.

The Constitution of Pakistan gives right to form unions. It is the right of every citizen to make peaceful unions that will struggle for their mutual interests, but in Baluchistan student politics has been declared a crime. Treating student politics as a crime negates Pakistan’s own laws.

In Balochistan University there is ban on the student unions and the students are not allowed to hold study circles, but the university administration has made their own students organization by the name of UOBians. The main objective of UOBians is to depoliticise university students and create corrupt environment in Balochistan University. Many of the university administration personals were running the UOBians. They arrange trips to all over Pakistan and mainly female students are chosen as the participants of these trips.

Harassment and blackmailing started after such trips. Once students go to these trips then they never get out of them. That suggests something terrible happens to them in these trips. Such victims advise other students to refrain from becoming part of UOBians due to harassment and blacking there.

Restoration of student unions will not only stop these kinds of criminals to run their mafia but also student unions will make students aware of their surroundings and unite them all that they will never feel alone if these kinds of incidents happen to them. Student unions will raise their voice against such activities and will make the institution a safe place for learning as well as safer environment for student politics.

Question 3: Due to enormous presence of security forces the Balochistan university resembles to a garrison, has this affected the educational environment?

Answer: It has badly affected the educational environment.  When you enter the university many of the security officials will check you and your bags. Every day you face this humiliation at the hands of these security officials.

The university is like a cantonment, full of thousands of security officials. Because of them the students are under mental stress and this has affected their learning process badly.

I have visited many educational institutions of Punjab. Most of the institutions all over the country have their own private security; they are very less in number and cooperative. In Quaid-e-Azam University, Punjab University and etc, one can hardly see any security personnel.

I wonder why such kind of tight security is required only in the educational institutions of Balochistan. We do not have any problem of security elsewhere in the city, then why such a tight security exists in UOB? It is really incomprehensible. Institutions should only have their own private security.

Question 4: Why Baloch teachers and intellectuals are silent about ban on student politics, and what do you think their role should be? 

Answer: I wonder why they are silent in this situation; they should speak. There are two types of Baloch teachers in these conditions. There are those who have their personal interests towards the mafia. They give priority to their own interests rather than to students’ issues.

The second type is of such teachers who have complete awareness of the situation and they want to do something but there have been instances when anyone who talked in favour of students were put on bad books of mafia. The mafia will further threaten them not to speak in favour of students, otherwise they will suffer badly. This mafia has its members in every department so when a teacher speaks about the bad situation of university then all others will jointly make hurdles for them. But I still believe that even in suppression there are several ways to stand against these kinds of malpractices.

With regards to the silence of the Baloch intellectuals I can just say that the Baloch intellectuals are afraid of such unknown forces that can harm them if they speak. But I think that intellectuals around the world have faced such problems, but they have not deviated from their due job of awakening the society against such unethical evil deeds. I think that Baloch intellectuals have to rethink about their due role for social survival, otherwise they will regret for the rest of their life.

Question 5: The absence of a sane voice from any quarter of the society has been strongly observed in Balochistan in last few years, do you think this scandal is going to be the catalyst of a positive change?

Answer: I believe that in entire country and especially in Balochistan a deliberate fear has been developed through the years of injustices and it has made the society stagnant. People are very afraid of saying anything against the major discriminations of society.

There is no freedom of speech. If someone speaks, they are labelled as anti-state and subsequently killed and disappeared. In these conditions, Balochistan University scandal has been termed as catalyst for the whole society. People should realize that their silence will further deteriorate the situation, and many will take advantage of their silence and this will lead to major destructive damage to our society. We will be in a situation where we will not be able to build a society where everyone should get the equal rights to life and grow in peaceful environment.

Question 6: Not much was heard from you since your father Ghaffar Langove’s custodial death, what have you been up to and what are you doing in your personal life?

Answer: After my father’s death, I passed those years in agony. I used to think that I failed to bring my father back from the dungeons. Every day from collage to home I see children holding their father’s hand and during such moments I dearly miss my beloved father. But the last smile upon his face has given me strength.

During our last meeting he asked me to promise him I will get education and educate the Baloch Nation. Therefore, I spend more time in learning. The more I miss him the more I study for the accomplishment of his dreams.

In these years I have silently visited the missing persons’ camp several times. I lost my father but joined the struggle of others for their beloved ones. When someone is released from the dungeons, I feel inner satisfaction. The recent issue of UOB scandal has made me very disturbed as it’s a direct threat to women education. It is time for everyone to speak because our silence has worsened the situation very badly.

Question 7: What in your views is going to resolve the students’ issues in Balochistan?

Answer: In my view, students should be united and active in resolution of their issues and this can be done through the of student unions.

Secondly, they should analyse and debate such problems rationally and their study circles are the venues where they can do this job. Their study circles should be rich in political literature.

Further they should deeply analyse their current national issues. As representatives of youth we should believe in ourselves and should not rely on others for the solution of our problems. Surely there are several problems faced by the students of Baluchistan and they all need to be resolved with such rational course of actions.

Question 8: Do you or the students trust in the current investigation process and do you believe the culprits will be held accountable?

Answer: I have many concerns regarding the current investigations as it is incomplete and is not been conducting in a fair manner. They are asking the victims to come forward and complain without giving them assurance that the culprits will be punished as those culprits who have been caught redhandedly by FIA are still freely working at their respective designations.

On the other hand, the former Vice Chancellor of Balochistan University has been given another job in Punjab University Lahore, when the investigation is still underway. In these conditions, how can the victims trust the investigation conducted by the provincial committee?

Question 9: Any message for the Baloch students and youth?

Answer: Students should participate in student politics and remain in touch with the political literature. If we are politically mature and are able to analyse our conditions through political lenses, then no one would dare to snatch our rights.

 

Surrendered Baloch commander gunned down in Quetta, BLA claims responsibility

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A Baloch commander from Marri tribe who had surrendered before the Pakistani military has been gunned down by unknown gunmen in Quetta, Balochistan.

According to details, Dauran Marri alias Buzurg and his brother Abdul Aziz Marri were critically injured earlier on Sunday when unknown armed assailants opened fire on their SUV in Quetta.

They were taken to a local hospital but both were declared dead soon after.

The brothers, who both were affiliated in past with Baloch Liberation Army, had surrendered before Pakistani military officials and pro-Pakistan tribal lord Changez Marri last year in an official ceremony.

BLA claims responsibility:

Baloch Liberation Army’s spokesman Jeyand Baloch has taken responsibility for the attack and has confirmed to the media in a released statement that their fighters were behind the attack.

In the statement Jeyand Baloch has claimed that BLA fighters gunned down surrendered commander and head of a Pakistani death squad Dauran Marri alias Buzurg and his brother Abdul Aziz near Killi Shaabo in Quetta.

“Dauran Marri was previously an area commander of BLA, however, when BLA’s intelligence wing started investigations against him due to some allegations and found out that he was guilty he escaped and surrendered before Pakistani state,” Jeeyand Baloch said.

He added that Dauran Marri had revealed organisation’s secrets to the enemy state and had also formed a death squad on the behest of Pakistani army.

BLA’s spokesman added that their organisation had sentenced Dauran Marri and his affiliates to death for revealing organisational secrets, giving information to the the enemy, forming a death squad and committing treason. “This sentence was carried out today in Quetta,” Jeeyand Baloch said.

Mr. Baloch threatened that those who “commit treason will not be spared”.

“Surrendering before the enemy and revealing organisation’s secrets is not only a grave breach of Baloch traditions but also punishable by death as per BLA’s rules,” BLA said in its statement.

Jeeyand Baloch further added that this attack is a message to all those who have surrendered and are under the impression that they are safe. “The Baloch freedom fighters will never pardon them and they will be made a lesson to all,” he said.

Baloch Martyrs’ Day observed on 13 November

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Baloch nation observed 13 November as Baloch Martyrs Day alike every year. Protests, demonstrations, candlelight processions, paying visits to martyrs’ graveyard, get together of families and prayers marked the Baloch Martyrs Day on Wednesday in Balcohistan and many other parts of the world.

This day is selected to pay tribute and respect to every Baloch who has sacrificed their life for independence and defense of their motherland, Balochistan.

This day reflects the sacrifice of Mir Mehrab Khan Baloch (ruler) of Balochistan and hundreds of his comrades against the British invasion on 13 November 1839.

Baloch activists the world over launched a twitter campaign with hashtag #13NovBalochMartyrsDay to raise awareness about Balochistan and ongoing Baloch genocide.

 

Martyrs’ day was also commemorate in the protesting camp of the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP). VBMP, a campaign group by families of victims, completed its 7775th day of uninterrupted protest on November 13.

VBMP claims that more than 40,000 Baloch men, women, and children are under Pakistani custody. It also alleges that at least 5,000 missing persons have been killed and dumped over last one decade.

Policeman commits suicide after killing 3 women at home

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According to details received by TBP, a police officer shot killed his mother, sister and wife in Loralai. According to police, the accused committed suicide after the incident.

Police further said that the incident took place in Loralai’s Bukhari Scheme, where a junior clerk in the police department opened fire on a domestic dispute and killed his mother, sister and wife and committed suicide.

Police has identified the victims as Saqib Ali, Fauzia Bibi (mother), Gosha Bibi (sister) and Sadia (wife).

Police moved the bodies of the four persons to the hospital and started investigating other aspects including domestic dispute. The reasons for the incident could not be immediately known.

Security forces kill 3 in Quetta

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QUETTA: Security forces have claimed to foil a terror attempt in Balochistan, killing three alleged terrorists and seizing an explosive laden vehicle in the outskirts of Quetta.

According to reports, security personnel posted at Aghbarg, in the outskirts of Quetta, claimed that they signaled a suspected vehicle to stop. Refusing to abide by the signal resulted in ensuing gunfight between security forces comprising personnel from Counter Terror Dept and a law enforcement agency, and the alleged terrorists.

The gunfight resulted in the killing of 3 alleged terrorists, bodies of whom were later shifted to Civil Hospital for identification.

Recently, Balochistan’s IG Mohsin Hassan Butt had said that Quetta and Loralai had been worst hit by terror attacks this year, where 21 people including 10 security personnel and 11 civilians lost lives in Loralai alone.

Security forcesin Balochistan have also been alleged in past to carry out fake encounters to silence political dissidents.

Lasbela: Transporters protest against FC’s behavior

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Passenger buses blocked the road as a gesture of protest in Lasbela area of Balochistan on Saturday.

According to details received by TBP, drivers have stopped their buses on the road in protest against the FC’s (Frontier Corps) defiant and inappropriate behavior.

Halted vehicles have caused long queues on both sides of the road at protesting point.

Transporters said that FC personnel have set up checkpoints everywhere and that they are illegally disturbing passengers.

They said that there are children, elderly, women and patients among the passengers in the vehicles but in the name of searching, women are being humiliated and vehicles are stopped for hours.

The Assistant Commissioner arrived on the site to negotiate with protesters, but they refused to open the road and declared the protest will continue until the justice is provided.

Transporters raised the question that there is no FC Customs Act, so under what laws the passenger vehicles are stopped for hours.

It is pertinent to mention that FC check posts are set up everywhere across the Balochistan due to the on-going insurgency in the region where locals are stopped for searching.

On many occasions locals have expressed their concerns about being stopped and checked for hours which wastes their time while they are traveling or going to school and work.

Afghanistan: Takhar blast kills 9 children

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A planted landmine exploded in Takhar province of Afghanistan on Saturday, left 9 children dead when they were walking to school.

The Ministry of Interior confirms the news.  Another child was wounded in the blast, the ministry said.

The blast occurred in Darqad district in the northeastern province of Takhar.

Darqad has recently witnessed heavy clashes between security forces and the Taliban.

The incident happened at around 9am on Saturday morning when the students were going to school, the statement said.

According to the police spokesman, the deceased children are between the ages of nine and 12 and four of them belong to the Taliban family.

Taliban spokesmen, on the other hand, were not immediately available for comment.

The journey from Aslam to Ustaad and then to the General – Ayesha Aslam Baloch

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The journey from Aslam to Ustaad and then to the General

Author: Ayesha Aslam Baloch

Despite being physically separated, Ustad is still with us today, and will always be with us along with his ideology. In the long journey of 25 years, ustad faced many problems & difficulties but he never disclosed these issues, because his journey was always so engaging and alluring for him.

The parents want to fulfil the wishes of their children but Ustad was a very unique character. He always used to tell us that never express a desire that goes beyond our purpose because my liability is not you and Rehan only but the whole nation & today we are not in the condition that I fulfill all of ur demands. I hope that u both will also understand your purpose.

I still remember once in childhood, I refused to have food said that I don’t want to eat this, Ustad became so displeased with me that how many children of my nation do not even have food to eat & how many of our friends are on the mountains and survive by drinking water without food for many days & sometimes they don’t even have that water. At least I don’t expect this from u people, if u don’t realise these things, than who will? Everything that he told still guides us.

Rehan & I grew up together, Rehan lived a very simple life. Every human being has some desires but few people have the ability to control these desires according to the time & circumstances Rehan was one of them. The way he spent his time with old shoes and three pairs of clothes was seen by all those who were with Rehan. Nevertheless I couldn’t believe that he would do such a great job, &
all this resulted was the guidance of Ustaad.

Ustad always advised us about the importance of time, he used to tell us that working on time is the key to success. If you work slowly and sluggishly u will regret. Time and circumstances are exactly how we want them to be. If we want peace, we will find peace. Everything that Ustaad said was precious.

If I had sat for an hour with him, he would have always talked to me only about revolutionary matters. I don’t remember ever having any private meeting with him. He loved the Baloch nation to the extent of obsession. He used to say that people who think of themselves can never be revolutionary. Think of others first and then about yourself. Always keep an eye on how our nation is going through.

Ustad Aslam was a heart patient, he also had a bypass surgery in 2010. Doctors advised him to rest, but he turned up to the mountains only a month after the surgery. We all pleaded with him to rest but he avoided saying that going to Bolan would improve my health.
I can’t explain the happiness When he returned two years later, his health was quite good. He continued his work with even more dedication.

In those days, Rehan expressed his desire, as he was so young at that time, I laughed and made fun of him. Ustaad got angry with me that if you can’t motivate anyone then u shouldn’t make fun of them. He always motivated us.

Once again Ustaad went to the mountains. This time the military operation in Bolan continued for about a year. During these operations, Ustad was badly injured. When he returned a year later, he was much weaker. Doctors called for the operation of his gallbladder. The bladder had not recovered yet that his heart problems started again, and there was not a day when he was not taken to the doctor. He used to do his work all day even when he was ill. He never prevailed his illness to dominate his work.
During the period of this ailment, Aslam’s closest friends betrayed him. That day He was in the hospital when the statement against him was made. I was shocked, it was hard for me to believe. But Ustad Aslam’s gallantry and enthusiasm took me out of this staggered atmosphere. Ustad Aslam never gave up, nor he ever disappointed. Because he knew what his aim was.

It is difficult to recount Amma and Ustaad’s gallantry after Rehan’s martyrdom. Ustad forbade us to cry for Rehan, he said if you mourn it will be unjustice with his decision and sacrifice. I wonder how such a big heart Aslam had. On the day of Rehan’s martyrdom there was an ambience of celebrations all actoss. Rehan’s sacrifice eliminated the frustrations and created a new enthusiasm. On November 30, his friends attacked the Chinese consulate and did not allow his chosen path to be marooned.

After this attack all the friends of Ustad suggested him to be careful, but he continued his work same as always he did. He used to say that we cannot hide from death, it can come anywhere & I would be lucky if I had the death of a martyr.

Within the same month, the enemy martyred Ustad Aslam.

Ustad Aslam’s wish was the death of a Martyr. Today, whether we the family or friends of Aslam or the Baloch nation, this is our duty to take forward the ideology of Ustad Aslam. Through this continuum, Ustad Aslam will always be with us. Otherwise we will lose the legacy of Ustad Aslam forever.

Ustad made the journey from Aslam Baloch to Ustad Aslam and Ustad Aslam to General Aslam with hiss commitment and sacrifices. Ustad is the name that people will remember for generations.

Ayesha Aslam Baloch is the eldest daughter of renowned Baloch revolutionary leader General Aslam Baloch, who was murdered in a suicide attack in December 2018.


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Balochistan Post or any of its editors.

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