Pakistan’s army says it has arrested Baluch insurgency chief

ISLAMABAD (AP) – Pakistan top intelligence agency arrested a high-value target in an operation against a Baluch insurgent group in the country’s southwest, the army said Friday.

The military statement said Gulzar Imam, also known by the name Shambay, is the militant founder and leader of the banned Baluch Nationalist Army. An umbrella group for Blauch insurgents, the BNA was formed after two main insurgent groups merged: The Baluch Republican Army and United Baluch Army.

The army said BNA had been involved in dozens of terrorist attacks in the country, including those on security forces.

The military’s media wing said that Shambay’s visits to India and Afghanistan were on record and his suspected links with hostile intelligence agencies are being investigated. The military said the arrest was made possible after a monthslong intelligence effort, but did not provide further details.

The gas-rich southwestern Baluchistan province at the border of Afghanistan and Iran has been a scene of low-level insurgency by Baluch nationalists for more than two decades. Baluch nationalists initially wanted a share from the provincial resources, but later they initiated an insurgency for independence.

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