Saturday, March 19, 2005

Pakistan: why isn't everyone else worried?

Why is it that only Soj and me seem that worried about the events in Pakistan, where it is reported that serious fighting is going on between the Pakistani army and Baluch rebels. Al-Jazeera is reporting that at least eight soldiers were killed (it isn't clear whether that includes casualties suffered by the Frontier Corps too), and that a sizeable force from the Corps was cut off at a place called Sangseela. Apparently, the military had called on attack helicopters in the operation to relieve them.

A tribal leader (a Nawab, dear God - is it possible to write about this without sounding like Rudyard Kipling?), Akwar Bughti, is quoted as saying that "The Pakistan government has started operations against us. They've started and we will see who will finish this game", which is hardly encouraging. Baluchistan, as previously blogged, contains Pakistan's reserves of natural gas and hence has an important role in the economic balance between the various provinces - this is what started the trouble. It's not very good news, and you wonder if anyone else is worrying. They don't seem to be yet.

In other Pakistan news, Le Monde reports that a Shaheen-2 ballistic missile with a range of 2000km was test-fired yesterday. About the only good thing that can be said about that is that the confidence-building arrangements with India, which require prior notification of any missile launch, are functioning.

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