Balochistan: Armed groups claim responsibility for attacking polling stations

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Baloch “pro-independence” groups have claimed responsibility for multiple attacks targeting polling stations in different areas of Balochistan. The attacks reportedly led to multiple injuries from the Pakistani forces stationed there and caused significant material damage to the polling stations, but no one was killed. In some areas, polling had to be stopped in the wake of the consecutive attacks.

In a media statement, the Baloch Nationalist Army claimed that it had targeted a polling station in Kalat. The group said that the station was severely damaged in the attack. BNA said that these “so-called elections” are a well thought out conspiracy of the Pakistani state to entrench its “occupation of Balochistan” at the local level. BNA said that some tribal chieftains and their underlings are inadvertently becoming a part of this “criminal act” just for the sake of ephemeral fame and pride.

BNA warned the sardars and nawabs to refrain from becoming a part of this “conspiracy” and stop dividing and using the Baloch people for their personal designs or they will be considered equally complicit in this “criminal act.”

The Balochistan Liberation Front also claimed responsibility for an attack targeting a polling station in Timp in district Kech. BLF said that the attack was deliberately carried out using low-grade weapons because we only wanted to warn the people and not harm them in any way. The group said that elections, whether municipal or provincial, are a farce, a neo-colonial strategy of the Pakistani state and its military, to entrench their “occupation of Balochistan.” BLF said that the Baloch nation must realize the “sacrifices of the martyrs and the thousands of innocent souls incarcerated in the dark dungeons” and boycott the elections.

The Baloch Liberation Army claimed responsibility for multiple attacks targeting the Pakistani security forces in different areas of Balochistan. In a media statement, BLA said that it had targeted two polling stations in the Aabsar area of Turbat in grenade attacks. A polling station in the Kahn area of tehsil Zehri, Khuzdar, was also targeted in a grenade attack. The group said that it had targeted a vehicle of the Pakistani forces in an IED blast at the Johan Cross in the Mangocher area of Kalat. BLA had also attacked the security forces stationed for the protection of a polling station in the same area and the group claimed that the forces had sustained multiple casualties and extensive material damage in the attack.

BLA said that the attacks on the polling stations were deliberately carried out at a time when the crowd was thin to avoid harming the locals. BLA said that these attacks did not aim to kill but to warn the local masses that they should not be a part of this “conspiracy” of the Pakistani state.

BLA said that the majority of the Baloch people boycotted these elections but a very thin minority went out to vote, some out of fear and others due to the lack of awareness. The group said that the people who went out to vote were not targeted in the attacks and the BLA fighters made sure that they would not be harmed in any way. BLA said that it always tries to impress on the local masses “importance of the independence of Balochistan” – it is crucial for the Baloch nation to realize that these elections will not benefit us in any way, they will only entrench the “occupation of Balochistan.” These elections only serve the interests of Punjabi bureaucracy and the military establishment of Pakistan, the group said.

Balochistan Liberation Army said that there were also some “cliques” who, on the payroll of Pakistan’s military and intelligence agencies, were actively campaigning for these elections, despite knowing all too well that they do not serve the interests of the people of Balochistan. BLA said that it has prepared a list of these individuals who participated in these elections for their personal gains. The group said that they were not targeted in any of the attacks, but warned that they will be targeted if they do not refrain from being the Pakistani military’s pawns.

SourceTBP

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