Sunday, August 16, 2009

Taliban Threats May Sway Vote in Afghanistan

TARAKAI, Afghanistan — A group of Taliban fighters made their announcement in the bazaar of a nearby village a few days ago, and the word spread fast: anyone caught voting in the presidential election will have his finger — the one inked for the ballot — cut off.

So in this hamlet in southern Afghanistan, a village of adobe homes surrounded by fields of corn, the local people will stay home when much of the rest of the country goes to the polls on Thursday to choose a president.

“We can’t vote. Everybody knows it,” said Hakmatullah, a farmer who, like many Afghans, has only one name. “We are farmers, and we cannot do a thing against the Taliban.”

Across the Pashtun heartland in eastern and southern Afghanistan, where Taliban insurgents hold sway in many villages, people are being warned against going to the polls.

In many of those places, conditions have been so chaotic that many Afghans have been unable to register to vote. In many areas, there will not be any polling places to go to.

The possibility of large-scale nonparticipation by the country’s Pashtuns is casting a cloud over the Afghan presidential election, which, American and other Western officials here believe, needs to be seen as legitimate by ordinary Afghans for the next government to exercise real authority over the next five years.

Doubts about Pashtun participation are particularly injecting uncertainty into the campaign of the incumbent, Hamid Karzai. Five years ago, Mr. Karzai rode to an election victory on a wave of support from his fellow Pashtuns, who make up about 40 percent of Afghanistan’s population.

Polls show that Mr. Karzai is leading the other candidates. But those predictions could be overturned if a large number of Pashtuns stay away from the polls.

The threats against the local population in villages like Tarakai show a change in the Taliban’s tactics from previous years. Five years ago, the insurgents largely allowed voting to go forward. At the time, Afghan and American officials believed that the prospect of voting was so popular among ordinary Afghans that Taliban commanders decided that opposing it could set off a backlash.

But things are different now. The Taliban have surged in strength since 2005. Mr. Karzai, though he is the leading candidate, is vastly more unpopular than he was then. As a result, Taliban leaders are actively trying to disrupt the candidates’ campaigns and preparations for the vote.

“Afghans must boycott the deceitful American project and head for the trenches of holy war,” said a communiqué released by the Taliban leadership last month. “The holy warriors have to defeat this evil project, carry out operations against enemy centers, prevent people from participating in elections, and block all major and minor roads before Election Day.”

In other messages released since then, Taliban insurgents have claimed responsibility for killing campaign workers for Mr. Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah, another major candidate, in provinces across the country.

In Tarakai, a village of about 50 families, some local men gathered outside their homes when a group of American Marines approached on foot. Some 10,000 Marines, sent here by President Obama, have fanned out across Helmand Province over the past six weeks and are pressing an offensive against Taliban insurgents.

The local men appeared relaxed and friendly in the presence of the Marines. But they said they were too frightened of the Taliban to go to the polls on Thursday and doubtful that the Marines could protect them. The Americans stationed here, part of the Second Battalion, Eighth Marines, have been in combat with Taliban insurgents nearly every day since arriving in the area on July 2.

“When you leave here, the Taliban will come at night and ask us why we were talking to you,” a villager named Abdul Razzaq said. “If we cooperate, they would kill us.”

Even if the villagers in Tarakai were inclined to cast ballots, they would be hard-pressed to do so. The nearest polling station will be in the town of Garmsir, the capital of the district of the same name, 12 miles up an unpaved road pockmarked with craters from homemade bombs. Afghan officials considered setting up polling places across Helmand Province, but concluded that many areas were not safe enough. In the district, which straddles the Helmand River, there will be seven voting precincts in the capital, but none elsewhere.

“It’s too insecure in those places,” said Lt. Col. Christian Cabaniss, the Second Battalion’s commander.

What is more, anarchic conditions have prevented many Afghans from registering to vote. Earlier in the year, when the government was registering voters, there were no Marines in the area and the Taliban were in control. The Afghan Independent Election Commission sent no officials to the area to sign up potential voters.

In their six weeks here, the Marines have succeeded in chasing many Taliban fighters from the area. But the Taliban, and the fears of them, linger.

One farmer said the Taliban regularly imposed a tax on the crops in the area.

Another, an elderly man with a long white beard, said the Taliban fighters were sure to deal harshly with people who talked to the Americans.

“We’re afraid you’re going to leave this place after a few months,” he told First Lt. Patrick Nevins, an officer from Chapel Hill, N.C., who led the Marine unit into Tarakai.

“I promise you,” Lieutenant Nevins said, “we will be here when the weather gets cold, and when it gets hot again.”

The Marines walked back to their base, and the Afghans back into their homes.

Karzai, rivals debate as Afghan elections near

KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) -- Afghan President Hamid Karzai, heavily criticized last month for skipping a candidates' debate, met two of his political rivals in a nationally televised debate Sunday night, just four days ahead of the war-torn country's presidential elections.

Thursday's vote marks only the second presidential election in Afghanistan's history, and is seen as a test of efforts by the United States and Europe to bring stability to the country.

Karzai is the front-runner in the election, with a recent poll conducted by the Washington-based International Republican Institute showing him holding a commanding lead over his two closest rivals, former finance minister Ashraf Ghani and former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah.

Karzai and Ghani joined in the two-hour debate Sunday, which was aired on the state broadcaster Radio and Television Afghanistan, as did another candidate, former minister of planning Ramazan Bashardost. But Abdullah Abdullah dropped out of the debate, according to the network.

While the rules did not allow the candidates to speak directly to each other -- questions were posed by a moderator -- that did not stop Ghani and Bashardost from heaping criticism on Karzai and his government for alleged corruption and for not doing enough to stop the growing violence that has engulfed the country.

Violence has increased as the Afghan government and the American-lead military coalition attempt to prevent the Taliban from making further inroads.

Karzai admitted that corruption was a problem in the country but offered no specifics as to what he would do to combat the problem.

On the sensitive issue of Afghan civilian casualties at the hands of coalition forces, Karzai pledged to stop NATO from conducting military operations without the permission of the government.

"We are the owner of the house and the coalition forces are the guests," Karzai said.

Ghani argued that a national consensus on the issue of foreign troops in Afghanistan needed to be reached and that Karzai was not up to the job.

"Until we have an owner for this land and a president who has a clear and specific Afghan strategy, and who is able to convince the world that his strategy is better, more practical and produces results, all other efforts will be useless," Ghani said.

Karzai said if elected he would convene a grand council of Afghanistan's tribal leaders to resolve issues of national importance.

Militants surrender, say Taliban deceived them

TIMERGARA: The militants, who surrendered to a local jirga in Upper Dir on Saturday, have said that they were deceived by the leaders of Taliban in the name of holy war.

Security forces on Sunday presented 22 surrendered militants of Doog Darra before the media at Dir Scouts Qilla in Balambat.

The surrendered militants including five key fighters -- Ibrahim, Shakirullah, Fazal Hayat, Javid and Mohammad Saad -- told reporters that Taliban leaders had deceived them that fighting against security forces and police was jihad. They admitted that they had been fighting against the local lashkar formed against Taliban in Doog Darra for the last 40 days.

‘Now we realised we were wrong. We surrender of our own free will. We promise to fight for Pakistan side by side with army in future if given a chance,’ Ibrahim, the leader of surrendered militants, said.

They said some of their colleagues were still present in Doog Darra but they would also be persuaded till August 30 to lay down arms and stop fighting against the local lashkar and security forces. They said they were not Taliban but when Taliban began preaching in the area they supported them.

‘We did not want to fight against the lashkar. But the lashkar attacked Taliban and we were besieged in our villages. Then we decided to fight against the lashkar to protect Taliban fighters,’ another surrendered militant Shakirullah told journalists.

The remaining surrendered militants were identified as Khawalid, Fazal Karim, Badsha Daman, Sher Zada, Bacha Sayed, Rahmatullah, Mohammad Amin, Gul Mohammad, Nasrud Din, Saeed, Nasibullah, Yousaf, Zarief Khan, Sayed Ahmad Khan, Sayed Akbar, Tacham Khan and Pervez. All of them belonged to Mina Doog, Shat Kass and Katier villages of the Doog Darra.

They said that Doog Darra Taliban had gone back to Afghanistan as they were Afghan nationals. They said that Taliban were using the name of Islam and jihad but actually they were destroying Pakistan. ‘We will never support Taliban in future,’ they said.

The in-charge of Dir media centre, Major Ilyas, said on the occasion that surrendered militants would be handed over to police. The government, not the security forces, would decide about their future, he added.

Meanwhile, an ISPR spokesman told Dawn that total 31 militants in Doog Darra had been surrendered so far.

He said that the rest nine surrendered militants would also be presented before the media soon.

COMPENSATION SOUGHT: The local non governmental organisations and internally displaced persons from Maidan on Sunday demanded of the government and donor agencies to pay compensation to those, who had suffered losses due to military operation in Lower Dir.

Addressing a joint press conference here on Sunday rights activists Akbar Khan and Umar Zada and Maidan IDPs representatives Abdullah and Jehan Bahadar said that displaced persons of Dir had not been treated like those of Swat, Buner and Bajaur.

They said that more than three million residents of Lower Dir were forced to leave their homes. ‘Despite the passage of three months the process of registration of Maidan IDPs has not been completed and they are still waiting for assistance,’ they added.
They alleged that government and donor agencies had ignored the IDPs living in Lower and Upper Dir. They said that stakeholders should be included in damages assessment process and preparing a compensation plan as well.

The local community, they said, should be taken into confidence about any plan or project. They said local organisations could arrange relief activities better than non-locals.

The IDPs complained that neither local lawmakers nor other ministers and officials had visited their camps to observe their condition.

They demanded of the government to start registration process in Dir and provide them cash cards, food and other relief items. They also demanded of the government to provide them security and transport for repatriation.

They threatened to hold protest demonstration in front of the chief minister house in Peshawar if their demands were not met.

Cinema in Swat opens after 18 months

Peshawar : Cinema in Swat, the main entertainment centre of Swat after reaming closed for more than 18 months has re-started screening films that attracted a large number of audience to watch Pashto film’. The cinema, which is hardly situated at the distance of one Kilometer from the Green Chowk, where the militants used to hang their opponents, had started its business amid hopes and worriers as no body inside was sure about the future of cinima in Swat. Every body who came to watch the film was amazed with the opening of the Cinima that displayed a huge sign board of film actors and actresses wearing mini scirts and paint shirts, the dress usually unliked in the conservative society like Swat. Despite the dilapidated condition of the Cinima, which has no facility for the viewers, the audiences were anxiously waiting to watch the silver screen for the first time after the advent of Taliban in Swat. There was no air-condition and refreshment facility inside the cinima hall, also badly damaged during the operation but still the viewers turned up in large number to the cinima hall where they were sitting on seats almost very much uncomfortable for the audience. Majority of the viewers were of youngster aging between 15-20 years, had come to the hall and were looking very involved with the filimi poster and pictures displayed in the hall. “We were expecting a few of audience at the first show but it was astonishing for us that a large number of audiences came to watch the film on the silver screen," a cinima staffer told this scribe. Ayub Khan, manager, was very much hopeful about the revival of cinima in the valley saying that they were on the loosing side but sitll they dared to start cinima to provide entertainment to the people of the scenic valley who were badly suffered during past two years. " our business is badly suffered as the cinima remained closed for 18 months and during the period we had to pay the electricity bills and other taxis," Ayub Khan said adding that the cinema was started again with the hope that situation will improve in Swat and people will come to the theater to watch movies on the mega screen. Urging the government to give them relief and exempt the cinimas of Swat from all kinds of taxes, Ayub Khan said " we are fighting on every front, we are attached to the business never liked by extremists and militants but still we have no favour from the government as it has imposed many kinds of taxes on cinima even that Swat is tax free zone," he remarked. He said that the people’s interest in the cinima was encouraging for him and this encouragement will help him to continue screening the film on the silver screen in the main city of troubled Swat. On other side the film viewers were very happy but they were not sure that the cinima will continue screening films for indefinite period as threats from militants are in their minds and long period will require removing such kind of apprehensions after which they will be able to watch the films with mental satisfaction and concentration.

Extremists threaten Sheikhupura Christian moot

LAHORE: The Christian community on Sunday asked the Punjab government to provide security for an annual Christian congregation at Maryamabad, in Sheikhupura district, following threats of terror attacks from unidentified persons. The Christian community has informed the government that residents of Chak No 3 RB, Maryamabad, had received threatening phone calls from unidentified persons, who warned of attacking the congregation and “reducing it to a pile of ashes in a manner similar to the Gojra attacks” on Christians earlier this month. Organisers of three-day religious conference – from September 4 to 6 – said they had informed local police about the threats, which had expressed its inability to secure such a large gathering of people due to limited resources. The community has, therefore, appealed to the prime minister, the Punjab chief minister and the Punjab inspector general of police to take notice of the security threat and demanded the government deal with extremist threats to the community sternly. The general secretary of leading Christian organisation RIK, Pastor Murqas Sharif, said the government should ensure foolproof security at the religious conference and also appealed to Muslim clerics to play their role to defuse extremist feelings towards religious minorities in the country.

Karzai's warlord links challenged

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has been challenged about his alliances with warlords in a live TV election debate.Ahead of Thursday's presidential poll, Mr Karzai was taken to task by two rival candidates, ex-ministers Ramazan Bashardost and Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai.But Mr Karzai defended his alliances in the 90-minute debate, saying they served the interests of national unity.Meanwhile, Abdul Rashid Dostum, an ex-warlord who was Mr Karzai's military chief-of-staff, has returned to Kabul.The Uzbek commander arrived from Turkey, where he has been living in exile since last year.An official at the US embassy in Kabul said questions remained about Mr Dostum's alleged involvement in human rights violations.Also on Sunday, the Taliban warned voters to boycott this week's poll or risk becoming caught up in militant attacks on voting stations.Thursday's vote is for a president and members of the provincial council.
Backroom deals?
The televised head-to-head was the first debate the Afghan president has participated in for the forthcoming election.However, the man seen as Mr Karzai's strongest challenger, former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah, did not take part.Mr Karzai is tipped as the leading candidate in a crowded field of several dozen contenders vying to win a five-year term.Mr Bashardost, an outspoken anti-corruption campaigner and former planning minister, who is seen as the third most-popular candidate, attacked the incumbent over his political allies."There are those who claim they are fighting warlords, but today warlords have the main role in their campaign, and [one] is their first vice-president. This is not acceptable for the people of Afghanistan," said Mr Bashardost.Mr Karzai has chosen Mohammed Qasim Fahim, a former Tajik warlord, as his number two on the presidential ticket.Ex-finance minister Mr Ghani also took aim at Mr Karzai's alliances, saying: "I have not struck any deals with any warlord, have not given any ministry, governor's position, or a part of Afghanistan to any of them."Correspondents say many Afghans and diplomats fear any backroom deals made in an effort to help Mr Karzai's election campaign could empower old warlords and set back efforts to improve Afghanistan.But Mr Karzai told his two rivals: "If for the national interest, for progress, for national unity, avoiding war... there is need for more such convenience, once again I will seek that. A thousand times I will do that."

Lashkars on outskirts of Peshawar fighting fire with fire

PESHAWAR: Local lashkars, brandishing cudgels and other weapons and patrolling the outskirts of the city, have been quite successful in restricting Taliban raids in rural areas – demonstrating considerable vitality and tact in successfully dealing with onslaughts.Unlike other parts of the NWFP and the Tribal Areas – where lashkars have crumbled under the pressure of suicide attacks and killings of members – lashkars in Peshawar are braving the storm: two militias from the Khalil Mohmand tribe – headed by Adezai Nazim Abdul Malik and Bazidkhel Nazim Fahimur Rehman – are engaging Taliban from Darra Adamkhel and Bara tehsil of Khyber Agency.Abdul Malik is fighting Taliban from Darra Adamkhel as well as the Lashkar-e-Islam (LI), while Fahim has locked horns with the LI.“They have been attacking us with bombs, rockets,” Abdul Malik told Daily Times. On August 10, suspected Taliban attacked a vehicle owned by Abdul Malik, but the nazim was not in the vehicle. Talks were previously launched with the Taliban, but the idea was dropped when Taliban destroyed a school, said Abdul Malik, adding that if Taliban wanted to reconcile with his lashkar, they would have to end their activities in Mattani and Badabher. Malik is all praise for Peshawar police, but laments the provincial government has done nothing. “We are also cooperating with the other lashkar being headed by Fahimur Rehman,” he said. This cooperation is vital for the city as it protects the southwestern flank from the Taliban encroachments. Police demolished Abdul Malik’s house in August 2008 and arrested him on charges of militancy. On his release, he sided with the government, but his house was then destroyed by the Taliban.

Americans say British cannot hold Afghan siege city
BRITAIN is under pressure to give up an Afghan town where it has fought numerous bloody battles because the Americans claim the army is too overstretched to hold on to it.US commanders want to take control of Musa Qala in northern Helmand province, arguing that Britain’s forces are already hard-pressed trying to control the so-called green zone further south.Musa Qala has great symbolic importance for the British, who have lost 18 soldiers there. They seized it from the Taliban in 2006 before pulling out in a deal with local elders. The agreement broke down, however, and it took 5,000 men to recapture the town of 50,000 inhabitants in 2007.
Musa Qala is 50 miles north of Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital, and is one of the most northerly British outposts.The recent Operation Panther’s Claw, which cleared the Taliban from 150 square miles of the green zone north and northwest of Lashkar Gah, has left troops exhausted.British defence sources said they barely had enough men to mount “framework patrols” to secure the cleared area. Brigadier Tim Radford, the British commander on the ground, is thought likely to welcome a US takeover of the town to ease pressure on his troops.
However, senior officers in Britain are resisting the American attempt to take Musa Qala, believing it will give the Treasury an excuse to try to cut spending on the war.Commanders at Permanent Joint Headquarters (PJHQ) in Northwood, west London, are “determined not to give up another square inch of the UK area to the Americans”, one source said.“We would be far better off without Musa Qala,” the source added. “The Americans want us to concentrate on the green zone from Lash up to Sangin. It’s a sensible move. It will take the pressure off.”
The Ministry of Defence said “no definitive decision” had been made on Musa Qala, which was one of several issues, including troop numbers, that would wait until after the Afghan elections and the results of the “60day review” by General Stanley McChrystal, the American commander.
McChrystal will recommend a big increase in the number of Afghan army and police from 160,000 to about 400,000. That would require thousands of new trainers, with Britain already under pressure to supply 2,000. The government is reluctant to send any further troops.The row over Musa Qala has exposed the extent to which commanders in Britain have been pushed aside. In theory PJHQ controls all British military operations abroad, but is increasingly toothless. With the Americans taking control of most of Helmand, it has lost much of its role.Last week British troops were concentrating on routine patrols. Under the US “clear, hold and build” tactics, their priority is to ensure that the area does not fall back under enemy control.The aim in this week’s elections is to stay in the background with local police manning polling stations and Afghan soldiers taking the lead on security. The British role will be restricted to providing aerial surveillance and rapid reaction forces in an mergency.
Musa Qala has been at the forefront of Britain’s war. When troops first moved into Helmand in the spring of 2006, they planned to concentrate on providing security in the Lashkar Gah area, allowing reconstruction.
However, President Hamid Karzai felt the troops should enforce his writ across Taliban-held territory and, backed by London, insisted they protect government buildings in the four northern Helmand towns of Now Zad, Sangin, Kajaki and Musa Qala.

Holbrooke postpones Mingora tour due to bad weather

ISLAMABAD: President Barack Obama's special envoy to Pakistan Richard Holbrooke’s tour of Mingora has been postponed due to bad weather according to sources.Earlier, Holbrooke’s plane landed late at Chaklala airport Saturday-Sunday night due to bad weather after which his departure for Islamabad was also delayed for about an hour due to heavy rain.

U.S. Plans a Mission Against Taliban’s Propaganda

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is establishing a new unit within the State Department for countering militant propaganda in Afghanistan and Pakistan, engaging more fully than ever in a war of words and ideas that it acknowledges the United States has been losing.Proposals are being considered to give the team up to $150 million a year to spend on local FM radio stations, to counter illegal militant broadcasting, and on expanded cellphone service across Afghanistan and Pakistan. The project would step up the training of local journalists and help produce audio and video programming, as well as pamphlets, posters and CDs denigrating militants and their messages.Senior officials say they consider the counterpropaganda mission to be vital to the war.“Concurrent with the insurgency is an information war,” said Richard C. Holbrooke, the special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, who will direct the effort. “We are losing that war.“The Taliban have unrestricted, unchallenged access to the radio, which is the main means of communication,” he added. “We can’t succeed, however you define success, if we cede the airways to people who present themselves as false messengers of a prophet, which is what they do. And we need to combat it.”The team he is putting together is the latest entry into the government’s effort to direct the flow of information in support of American policy. The campaign is scattered throughout the bureaucracy and the military, variously named public affairs, public diplomacy, strategic communications and information operations.Officials acknowledge that the government routinely fails when trying to speak to the Muslim world and battle the propaganda of extremism — most often because the efforts to describe American policy and showcase American values are themselves viewed as propaganda.The new campaign is especially focused on providing cellphone service, and thus some independent communications for people in remote areas where the Taliban thrive. It is a booming industry now: Afghanistan had no cellular coverage in 2001 but today has about 9.5 million subscribers.That work is closely coordinated with American and allied forces in Afghanistan, where Rear Adm. Gregory J. Smith, NATO’s director of communication in Kabul, said the challenge was in protecting the population and the official communications network from insurgents — a new strategic priority.“If we can insulate the people, separate the population from insurgents, they become less vulnerable and less susceptible to the coercion and intimidation designed to steer them away from the government of Afghanistan,” Admiral Smith said.“The ability to communicate empowers a population,” he said. “That is a very important principle of counterinsurgency and counterpropaganda.”In southern Afghanistan, now the center of American military offensives under the troop increase ordered by President Obama, insurgents threaten commercial cellphone providers with attack if they do not switch off service early each night.That prevents villagers from calling security forces if they see militants on the move or planting roadside bombs; the lack of cellphone service at night also hobbles the police and nongovernmental development agencies.Proposals to counter insurgent threats include establishing security for cellphone towers by offering local communities money, electricity or free service to guard the towers — or even erecting cellphone towers, which cost about $200,000 each, on allied military bases.Expanding and securing cellphone service has the additional benefit of assisting economic development, officials said, as it could provide wireless access to banking systems for those who now must travel long distances for financial services.Officials involved in the new unit say they are seeking to amplify the voices of Afghans speaking to Afghans, and Pakistanis speaking to Pakistanis, rather than have “Made in the U.S.A.” stamped on the programming.And officials said the counterpropaganda unit would seek ways to “denigrate the enemy,” portraying militant attacks on markets, schools and public buildings as a religious violation.“Given the archaic values of Al Qaeda and the Taliban, we must devise policies that expose the true nature of the militants,” said Ashley Bommer, an adviser to Mr. Holbrooke. “And we must shift the paradigm so that the debate is not between the United States and the militants, but between the people and the militants.”Officials said the unit would work to counter the primary routes of extremist communications, in particular low-power radio stations and the distribution of videos, CDs and “night letters” — chilling militant notes that threaten violence if local residents cooperate with the government, America or its allies.Vikram Singh, on loan from the Pentagon as Mr. Holbrooke’s senior defense adviser for the project, said the United States would begin by “building the capabilities of the private sectors and the governments in both of these countries to effectively communicate and engage with their own populations.”This is particularly important, he said, in the border areas of Pakistan and across large parts of Afghanistan that for decades had only primitive communications.In the tribal areas of Pakistan, for example, there are only four legal FM radio stations, compared with more than 150 illegal low-watt stations run by militants, according to officials involved in the counterpropaganda effort. Some of the insurgent radio stations are mobile, broadcasting from vehicles or even donkey carts to avoid detection and extend their reach.

Balochistan unrest spiralling out of control: report

KARACHI: Unrest in Balochistan could seriously dent the government’s operation against the Taliban and its economy as well, a report in the Financial Times said.
According to the report, the insurgency in Balochistan could distract security forces from tackling the Taliban along the lawless Afghan border and in Swat.Separatists are targeting important buildings and other strategic installations in the region and have asked outsiders to leave as soon as possible, FT says.‘They are openly telling the Punjabis, ‘leave while you can.’ While everyone is worried about Swat, Balochistan is getting out of control,’ a senior provincial security official said.
Balochis has long been demanding a share in the revenue earned by the government from selling natural gas obtained from gas reserves situated in the province.‘We are the richest in terms of mineral resources and the poorest in terms of economic well-being,’ said Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani.Political leaders are also of the view that Balochistan should be given its due share in the revenue.‘All the proceeds from the gas have to come to Balochistan,’ said Balochistan National Party chief Abdul Malik Baloch.Malik said the government must withdraw armed forces from the region to earn support and trust of the local people.‘Military should be withdrawn from the province as part of a necessary reconciliation process that must begin to address ways of overcoming the anger in Balochistan,’ he said.