According to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), a “hardcore militant” and founder of the banned militant group Baloch National Army (BNA)
was apprehended. The detainee was described as a “high-value target” with suspected ties to hostile intelligence agencies operating against Pakistan.
“Gulzar Imam alias Shambay was apprehended after an innovatively conceived, meticulously planned, and meticulously executed operation that spanned months across various geographical locations,” the military’s media wing said today in a statement.
However, the statement did not specify the exact location where the militant was apprehended.
The arrest of a wanted terrorist comes on the same day as a high-profile National Security Committee (NSC) meeting presided over by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
The country’s law and order situation has deteriorated in recent months, with terrorist groups carrying out attacks with near impunity across the country.
Since the talks with the TTP fell through in November, the militant group has increased its attacks, focusing on police in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and areas bordering Afghanistan. Insurgents in Balochistan have also increased their violent activities and formed a formal alliance with the TTP.
According to statistics released by the Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies, an Islamabad-based think tank, January 2023 was one of the deadliest months since July 2018, with 134 people killed (a 139% increase) and 254 injured in at least 44 militant attacks across the country.
Imam was apprehended in “a high-profile and successful intelligence operation,” according to the ISPR statement.
According to the military, the captured terrorist was a hardline militant as well as the founder and leader of the banned Baloch Republican Army (BRA) and United Baloch Army (UBA) (UBA).
It claimed that the BNA had carried out numerous violent terrorist attacks in the country, including attacks on law enforcement agencies in Panjgur and Noshki.
“Imam also served as Brahamdagh Bugti’s deputy in the BRA until 2018.”
According to the military statement, the apprehended militant was instrumental in the formation of the Baloch Raji Aajoi Sangar (BRAS) and served as its operational chief.
“His visits to Afghanistan and India are also on the record, and his connections with hostile intelligence agencies are being investigated,” the statement said.
It went on to say that hostile agencies attempted to use the militants to work against the state of Pakistan and its national interests.
“The arrest of Gulzar Imam is a serious blow to the BNA and other militant groups that have been attempting to destabilize Balochistan’s hard-won peace.
The arrest of a militant leader of such stature, according to the statement, demonstrated “the capability and resolve of the LEAs to uproot the menace of terrorism as well as speaks volumes about the successes garnered through supreme sacrifices of unsung heroes.”