Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami
The deputy head of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards alleges that Pakistan arrested and then released the leader of Jundallah a few days before a suicide bombing claimed by the terrorist group.
“We have precise information about the movement and places where terrorists are hiding,” Fars news agency quoted Brigadier General Hossein Salami as saying.
“On September 26, Abdul Malik Rigi was arrested in one of the streets of Quetta but after one hour he was released following the intervention of the intelligence service of our neighboring country,” he said.
At least 42 people, including 15 Revolutionary Guards members, died in the October 18 bombing in the Sistan-Baluchestan town of Pisheen.
“How is it possible that this guy can move freely (unless he is) under the protection of the intelligence services?” the Guards’ number two said, according to Fars.
It is an established fact that Jundullah took full advantage of the lawless areas of Pakistani Baluchistan; establishing their main base within the boundaries of this safe haven.
Pakistan did manage to arrest the brother of Abdul Malik Rigi, Abdul Hameed Rigi. However for a considerable amount of time, Pakistan continued to deny his very presence and arrest. Only after a rash of suicide bombing and attacks took place in Iran and a large amount of pressure was leveraged upon Pakistan, did Pakistani authorities hand over Abdul Hameed Rigi to Iran. By then, it had been a full year after his initial arrest.
Iranian Media has recently raised the question that if Pakistan continued to deny the presence of Abdul Hameed Rigi for such a long period of time, then how can they be trusted that Abdul Malik Rigi is not operating Junduallah from within Pakistan?
Also being discussed in Iran's media is the fact that when Pakistan handed Abdul Hameed Rigi over to Iran, there were particularly angry demonstrations of Baluchs in Quetta City. Naturally, this has the Iranians suspicious as to why so many Baluchs on the Pakistani side of the border are so supportive of Jundullah.
Then there was the case of the Pakistani TV Channel in Quetta, which actually broadcast an interview of Abdul Malik Rigi, himself, portraying him as a saviour and hero of of Iranian Sunnis and Baluchs. The interview, broadcast throughout Baluchisan, left little doubt that Abdul Malik Rigi resides in Pakistan, and that he is generally well regarded by certain elements of Pakistani Baluch society.
The Iranian government has made it clear that it doesn't view the Pakistani central government directly involved in Jundallah terrorism. But it does concede there are certain pockets in Pakistan's government that are, at the very least, sympathetic to its cause.
Meanwhile, for the Pakistani central government, it is not so easy a proposition to simply remove Jundullah, for it would most likely result in further unrest amongst its own restive Baluch population.