DUBAI, UAE: The youngest son of a senior Baloch nationalist leader has condemned the bomb attack carried out by the United Baloch Army Thursday in Quetta that left eight dead and more than three dozen wounded, even though questions persist over his close family members’ association with terrorist violence in Balochistan.
“I condemn the blast as innocent people were killed,” Mehran Baluch, who speaks on behalf of the United Towns Agency for North-South-Dialogue at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, said.
Fears run high that Mehran Baluch could be debarred from the U.N. Human Rights Council and European Union in Brussels if he fails to condemn terrorist violence in unequivocal terms.
Mehran Baluch said he has always been against terrorism. “I have always supported the independence of Balochistan, but I have never supported terrorist violence,” he said. To a question, he said he did not need to issue any press statement on each and very act of terror as his stand on terrorism was crystal clear.
While owning responsibility for the bomb attack, the UBA said the attack was in response to Pakistan’s refusal to allow international aid agencies to work in the earthquake-hit regions of Awaran and Kech.
The United Baloch Army is said to be spearheaded by Abdun Nabi Bangulzai, a former chairman of the Baloch Students Organization (Awami). Bangulzai has been a close confidante of Mehran Baluch’s father Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri. Bangulzai was with the Marris in Afghanistan, the birth place of Mehran Baluch, now a Briton who lives in Dubai.
The UBA parted ways with the Baloch Liberation Army, following differences with London-based BLA hard-line chief and Mehran Baluch’s elder brother Hybyair Marri. The two brothers have not spoken with each other since that split, leading to allegations that Mehran Baluch is linked with the UBA.
The BLA was proscribed by the UK government in 2006 and Hyrbyair Marri and his secretary were arrested on a charge of terrorism the following year.
The two were later freed after Pakistani cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan appeared in their defense. Then Pakistani president, Asif Ali Zardari also took a keen interest in ending the terror charges against the BLA chief on a promise that the group would renounce violence.
However, much to Zardari’s chagrin the BLA went back on its word and resumed its terrorist actions soon after the freedom of Hyrbyair Marri.
The UBA was condemned internationally in January of this year after reports that it was using child bombers for terrorist actions.
Mehran Baluch’s Switzerland-based brother-in-law Brahumdagh Bugti heads another militant group, Baloch Republican Army, which has also carried out terrorist attacks against civilians. The Swiss authorities are said to be watching Bugti’s activities closely and are likely to ask him to leave their peaceful country.
Mehran Baluch said he never discussed the BRA's terrorist activities with Bugti as he would then be asked to mind his own business. “Every adult knows the consequences of his own actions,” he concluded.