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Family of kidnapped intelligence operative wants Pak government to talk to Baloch rebels

New Delhi, Oct 12, 2022- Family members of Faisal Basheer, have urged the Pakistan government to speak with the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) for his release. Last week, the BLA had said that it wants to swap the two kidnapped officials, JCO Kaleem Ullah and military intelligence officer Mohammad Faisal, with Baloch political prisoners but there was no reaction from the Pakistan government.

The Balochistan Port reports that intelligence officer Faisal Basheer’s family “took to the streets in their native hometown of Pattoki, Punjab, and demanded that the state would negotiate with BLA for his release”.

In a daring operation, the BLA had captured JCO Kaleem Ullah and military intelligence officer Mohammad Faisal in Harnai, Balochistan, on September 25 and also shot down a Pakistani helicopter gunship.

Neither the Pakistan government headed by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif nor the Pakistani army have commented on the abduction of the two officers or about negotiations with the BLA. Pakistan’s Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) issued a press statement about the helicopter crash and the death of its six personnel but did not comment on how it crashed. It also did not issue a statement on the abduction of two of its personnel by the Baloch separatist group.

In a press release, Jeeyand Baloch, Spokesperson for the BLA threatened to “deliver immediate sentence to both detainees awarded by the Baloch national court”, if the Pakistani forces tried to show any aggression towards the rebel group. The statement also said that the BLA has spared the lives of the two men in keeping with international standards of human rights.

The BLA has also interrogated the two army men. In another statement the rebel group said: “Both enemy personnel are going through the interrogation process under BLA’s custody. After investigation they will be produced before the Baloch national court, which will decide their fate. The court’s decision will be communicated to the media too.”

This is the second time in recent months that Baloch separatists have captured Pakistani army personnel. In a previous incident in July this year, the BLA had kidnapped Lt. Col. Laiq Baig Mirza along with his cousin while he was travelling from Ziarat to Quetta. He was later found dead while his cousin’s body was discovered in a different place. In revenge, the Pakistani establishment killed a number of Baloch people in custody — people who had been illegally kidnapped earlier and kept in unlawful detention. (Agency)

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