Minister Imran Khan was in Iran on April 22, mending fences with Tehran over
cross-border terrorism, which bothers both the countries. His statement that
“Iran also suffered from terrorism from Pakistan” has upset many Pakistanis.
Khan had also requested Tehran to stop the terrorists on its side, who recently
killed 14 Pakistanis on the Karachi-Gwadar highway. The PPP-PMLN opposition in
parliament and the media cried that Khan’s statement had put Pakistan at risk
by admitting to terrorism.
nothing wrong with Khan’s “confession”. That the Iranian Baloch terrorists
organise themselves in Karachi’s underworld is globally known. And that
Pakistan has helped Iran capture members of the big terrorist outfit, Jundallah
al-Adl, also is no secret. In fact, President Hassan Rouhani could have
realised on hearing Khan that Tehran too needed to deal with the Pakistani
Baloch rebels who flee into Iran. (Khan didn’t mention Kulbhushan Jadhav.)
Secessionism could create a sovereign Greater Balochistan by breaking up both
Iran and Pakistan.
that allowed PM Khan to “confess to terrorism” in Tehran is interesting.
Abdolmalek Rigi, the head of Jundallah al-Adl, was born in Sistan-Balochistan
province in Iran in 1983, from the Regi tribe of Baloch ethnicity. He was a
teenager when he founded his outfit. He never went to school but fled across
the border to Karachi where he joined the infamous Jamia Banuria, the madrassa
where the UN-accused terrorist Masood Azhar was trained. Pakistan cannot
absolve itself from the guilt of allowing this nursery of anti-Shia terrorism
to train killers who today threaten the state of Pakistan. Banuria’s chief,
Mufti Shamzai, was killed by a Shia youth.
indifference about Rigi is questionable and Imran Khan is clearly bothered by
that. Read this: “US cable channel HDnet’s television news magazine Dan Rather
Reports, interviewed Rigi and showed a video of him personally cutting off his
brother-in-law Shahab Mansouri’s head. In the same interview, Rigi described
himself as ‘an Iranian’ and denied that his goal is to form a separate Baloch
state. He claimed that his goal is to ‘improve conditions for the ethnic Baloch
[in Iran]’, and that his group is fighting exclusively for the rights of Sunni
Muslims in Iran.”
Persian service of Voice of America, in 2007, introduced Rigi as “the leader of
popular Iranian resistance movement” and used the title of “Doctor” with his
name, there was public condemnation by the Iranian-American community in the
US, many of whom were opponents of the Iranian government. Pakistan still sat
back and allowed him to muster his group in Karachi and Balochistan.
Pakistan woke up or changed policy. A Tehran-based news analysis site disclosed
that “Rigi was arrested by, or with the help of, Pakistani intelligence
officials, who took action after consulting with the United States”. Pakistan’s
ambassador to Tehran, Mohammad Abbasi, also claimed that “the arrest could not
happen without Pakistan’s help”. On May 24, 2010, Abdulmalek’s brother,
Abdolhamid Rigi, too was executed.
opposition, now beating their chests over Imran Khan’s “confession”, should recall
what happened to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif when he told the Pakistan army in
2016 that harbouring terrorists and training them was isolating Pakistan. This
appeared in the infamous Dawn leak that finally got rid of the prime minister.
Reporter Cyril Almeida, now taken off his job, revealed what Pakistan’s foreign
secretary had told the Sharif-ISI meeting: “Mr Aizaz Chaudhry stated that the
completion of the Pathankot investigation and some visible action against
Jaish-e-Mohammad were the principal (American) demands. Chaudhry suggested that
while China had reiterated its support for Pakistan, it too indicated a
preference for a change in course by Pakistan. Specifically, while the Chinese
authorities have conveyed their willingness to keep putting on technical hold a
UN ban on Masood Azhar, they have questioned the logic of doing so repeatedly.”
Khan, Pakistan has developed a consensus — not without input from China — of
getting rid of the “terrorists” trained and sheltered by it. Without this
consensus, Khan wouldn’t have “made a clean breast” of it like that in Tehran.