The pro-independence Baloch Liberation Front has kidnapped as many as 10 councilors, who have been elected in the local bodies elections from Kech district in Mekran, during the last 40 or so hours.
Local bodies elections are being held in Balochistan in the presence of Pakistani soldiers, who were summoned by the Election Commission of Pakistan. Polling is set for December 7, 2013 though a majority of the candidates have won elections unopposed.
All the kidnapped councilors belong to the National Party, a senior partner in the ruling coalition in Balochistan.
On Wednesday, the B.L.F kidnapped three elected members of the union council in Kuddan Dasht, namely Muneer Baloch, Zaffar Baloch and Rauf Baloch. By Thursday, the B.L.F. kidnapped another six other councilors from Bal Niggur namely namely Lal Bakhsh Baloch, Javed Baloch, Qadir Baloch, Saleem Baloch and Bahram Baloch, while a seventh councilor Mohammed Jan was kidnapped from Dasht Bazar.
The National Party is in touch with one of its former leaders, Kachkol Ali Advocate, a former fisheries minister in Balochistan government, who is now self-exiled in Oslo, Norway, to seek freedom for the abducted councilors. Ali Advocate has close ties with Dr. Allah Nazar Baloch, chief of the B.L.F.
National Party leader Dr. Malik Baloch is now the chief executive of Balochistan, which has been in the grip of a low level insurgency for more than a decade. Dr. Baloch resigned from the post of party president in favor Senator Hasil Bizenjo.
Baloch insurgents accuse the National Party of being "a network of spies" in the pay of the Inter-Services Intelligence.
Former Balochistan assembly speaker Akram Dashti is anguished over the kidnappings in his district and asks why out of 32 districts where local government elections are being held, only Kech has been targeted.
Meanwhile, independent sources say the Balochistan government lacks the financial resources to counter the insurgents in Mekran. The monthly budget of the B.L.F. is guesstimated at at least $500,000 as each fighter or sarmachar is paid $250 each, along with a motorcycle and arms.
In Western countries alone, Baloch separatist activists work in many cities including Geneva, Brussels, London and Toronto, inviting highly paid speakers to their forums and events, costing nearly two million dollars each year.
"In contrast the impoverished Balochistan government can not even offer a decent breakfast to any of its supporters in these Western cities," one observer said.