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Wanting to break free...

On January 1, 2006 a toy bomb exploded in Quetta, bringing to an end the dreams of several innocent women and children.

india Updated: Aug 28, 2006 19:00 IST

I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.

-Baloch Nationalists

The Queen's song "I want to break free" may just sound apt for the people of this resource-rich province where a major human rights crisis is brewing of late.

In the grip of an ethnic insurgency, the restive South West Pakistan province continues to undergo military repression amid fresh blood-letting.

The New Year for the Balochis began with more explosions, blast and attacks. On January 1, a toy bomb exploded in capital Quetta, bringing to an end the dreams of several innocent women and children.

To make the picture clearer—2006 seems to be another bloody year for the Balochis replete with violence.

Military crackdown awaits various tribes of the region yearning to break free from Islamabad's iron grip.

Freedom has become the war cry for the tribals who have lived for years under a loose system of autonomy that goes back to British rule.

The Baloch resistance movement, as it is called, has focused on the exploitation of the region's natural resources like copper and gas by the Punjabi-dominated dispensation in Islamabad without adequately involving the locals.

Balochistan, according to its nationalists, has become a happy hunting ground for the Pakistani army as well as the police.

It's been alleged that they arrest people on baseless charges, torture them and even carry out extra-judicial killings.

President Musharraf has refuted allegations of human rights violations and added that no soldier would ever do such a thing.

He has even said that there are no military operations in Balochistan.

First Published: Feb 09, 2006 21:18 IST