ISLAMABAD: Baloch separatist rebels released a video on Thursday purporting to show that leader Allah Nazar, who the government believed it had killed in a raid in August, was alive and leading the insurgency.The violent campaign in Balochistan poses a threat to $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which culminates in the province’s Gwadar port.The date of the video released by the Baloch Liberation Front (BLF) could not be independently verified, but BLF spokesperson Miran Baloch said it was shot in Balochistan in November.
“For quite some time the government has been issuing propaganda about my death. This is a blatant lie,” said Nazar, who appeared in the video sitting next to an automatic rifle and wearing an ammunition belt. He vowed to continue to fight.Two independent sources who have had contact with Nazar, who has been in hiding for years, confirmed it was him in the video, although they did not know when it was filmed.The BLF is one of several separatist groups that have been fighting against government forces in mineral-rich Baluchistan province for almost a decade. “We have not seen the video so we cannot comment on it,” said Baluchistan Home Minister Sarfaraz Bugti.In September, Bugti said the government believed Nazar had been killed in a military operation in Awaran district in August.
Balochistan is the least developed province, and separatists have been demanding an end to what they say is the exploitation of gas and mineral resources by other provinces.The rebels have carried out frequent kidnappings and bombings against government and security targets, including gas pipelines and other infrastructure.Human rights groups say the military has carried out a campaign of kidnapping, torture and extrajudicial killings of suspected separatists.In the video, Nazar denounced the military intelligence services and the provincial government. “They’ve turned Balochistan into a slaughterhouse. And the Baloch nation will hold these perpetrators accountable for each and every drop of Baloch martyr’s blood,” Nazar said, speaking in the Balochi language.
Nazar, a doctor from the provincial capital of Quetta, is the most prominent Baloch separatist leader still fighting in the country. Others remain in exile, including Baramdagh Bugti, who in August said he was ready to negotiate with the government.