BLUF extends 72-hour ultimatum


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The Baloch Liberation United Front (BLUF), which claims to have kidnapped John Solecki, the American head of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) Balochistan sub-office, announced on Monday the extension of its previously set 72-hour ultimatum on the request of Baloch nationalist leaders.

The ultimatum could be extended for 15 to 20 days,” speculated Khalil Ahmed, a senior Quetta-based correspondent of the Urdu language news channel, Express News.

The ultimatum was renewed as the previously fixed deadline of the BLUF for the acceptance of its demands expired on Monday. The captors of the UN official, who was abducted on February 2nd in Quetta, are demanding the release of six thousand missing Baloch, including 141 women and the settlement of the Baloch dispute under the Geneva Conventions. The breakthrough occurred in the wake of reported backdoor contacts of the UN officials with the leading Baloch tribal leaders.
“The kidnapers have apparently been influenced by an appeal issued by Nawabzada Harbiyar Marri, who demanded an extension of the ultimatum in an appeal from London,” said a source. Harbiyar Marri, a son of seasoned Baloch nationalist leader, Nawab Khair Baksh Marri, 90, was acquitted in a London court from three terrorism-related charges. In his statement issued to the press seeking the extension of the ultimatum, the junior Marri had said he could understand the anguish of Baloch people but wanted an extension of the deadline so that it could help in resolving the Baloch issue.

A self-proclaimed spokesman of the shadowy BLUF, Shaik Baloch, told reporters here at Quetta Press Club in a telephonic interview that his organization had decided to extend the 72-hour deadline for a ‘few more days’ on the request of the Baloch leaders. However, his organization stood on its previously stated demands about the release of the missing Baloch people. “The government of Pakistan is lying that no Balochs are in its custody. We have no faith in Islamabad,” he said.
Meanwhile, the UN officials have embarked upon a series of secrete contacts with the key Baloch leaders in order to use their influence to ask the kidnappers to release John Solecki. Well placed sources told this scribe that some officials of the UN would unofficially meet Nawab Khair Baksh Marri at his Karachi residence on Tuesday.

Chief Minister Nawab Mohammad Aslam Raisani has confirmed that a team of the American Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has arrived in Quetta to investigate the kidnapping of the UN official. “The team has arrived in Quetta but I have not met it yet,” said the CM.

Appeals have been made by the Balochistan National Party (BNP-Mengal) and the National Party (NP) as well for the release of John Solecki.

Security forces on Monday continued their search operation at various refugee camps on Monday for the second day in Chagai district. The Frontier Corps (FC) raided refugee camps at Girdi Jungle, Bramcha and Yakmach area in connection to the John Solecki case. However, the security forces have made no breakthrough in the case yet and nothing has been learnt about the whereabouts of the kidnappers.

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