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Arrest of Separatist Leader Hailed as ‘Great Success’

The recent arrests of the leader of banned Baloch National Army, Gulzar Imam alias Shambay, who was linked to terrorist attacks, and other operatives are a great success for Pakistan’s security agencies and a serious blow to the BNA and other militant groups, say officials and analysts.

Muhammad Hamza Shafqaat, secretary for information, Balochistan, said Gulzar’s arrest is “a great success”.

Gulzar was said to be instrumental in the formation of Baloch Raji Aajoi Sangar, a group that helped unify Baloch separatist groups in Balochistan, and remained its operational head. He also helped form the new militant BNA.

The Inter-Services Public Relations, the media wing of the Pakistan army, said in a statement on April 7 that the intelligence agency apprehended a high-value target named Gulzar Imam, a hardcore militant involved in activities in the country’s southwest Balochistan Province.

Authorities said the BNA had been responsible for a number of attacks in Pakistan, including those on Chinese nationals and army installations in Panjgur and Noshki, both in Balochistan.

The BNA claimed responsibility for a bomb attack that killed two people in Anar Kali Bazar in Lahore on Jan 20, 2022, and a powerful blast on Feb 16 that left two dead and four injured on the Jaffar Express running between Balochistan and Peshawar.

Gulzar served as deputy to Baloch separatist leader Brahamdagh Bugti until 2018.

Ahmad Quraishi, senior fellow at Project Pakistan 21, a research group in Islamabad, said Gulzar’s arrest could help in better understanding his support network, and the linkages across the borders, including in Afghanistan.

Dozens of other operatives were also arrested.

Zafar Nawaz Jaspal, a professor of school of politics and international relations at Quaid-i-Azam University, said, “It’s a great achievement for Pakistan’s law enforcement agencies.”

The arrest will help in identifying and breaking Baloch insurgents’ support base, and testifies to Pakistani law enforcement agencies’ resolve and ability to crush the menace of terrorism from Pakistan, he said.

Source : China Daily