Political solution of Balochistan
Dr. Raja Muhammad Khan
While wrapping up the discussion on the Balochistan situation, the Chief Justice of Pakistan, remarked on June 1, 2012 that, “The entire province is on fire but those at the helm of affairs seem to be insensitive and nobody is showing any interest in arresting the situation. The security agencies and people of the province appeared to be pitted against each other. We are persuaded to believe that perhaps no immediate measures are being followed for the recovery of the missing persons.” The court also directed Mr Khushnood Lashari, the Principle Secretary to PM to consult Dfence and Interior secretaries and come up with a clear statement “about the rising number of incidents involving disappearances, kidnapping for ransom and recovery of dead bodies in the province.”
Following the order of the Chief Justice, and his assessment of the worsening situation in the province, Prime Minister, Gillani chaired a high level meeting on Balochistan with key persons of his cabinet and Balochistan Assembly. He also decided to visit Balochistan, starting from Sunday, June 3, 2012. It is yet not clear whether; PM would only meet the political leadership and those responsible for the law and order in the province or has the plans to meet the aggrieved Baloch masses. Nevertheless, it would be most appropriate if Mr Gillani could meet the masses and real representatives of the province during this visit; otherwise, Balochistan Chief Minister along with his key ministers mostly remains in Balochistan House in Islamabad.
At the end of this high-level meeting, the Prime Minister announced some cosmetic measures, apparently to improve the law and order situation in the province. Apart from ceasing the Rahdaris in the province, vehicles with fake number plates or without authorized documents will also be disallowed to ply in the province, a task impossible in Balochistan. PM also directs “extraordinary vigilant of inimical forces which are creating disturbances in the province.” A realistic assessment of these so-called additional directives would reveal that, Law enforcement agencies (LEAs) should have these as their routine duties and responsibilities to perform. There is nothing new, which this high-level meeting could suggest. Probably, it was in the response of the Supreme Court orders and to show it to the Baloch masses that, political government is doing a lot for them. Premier also called for a new legislation for the recovery of the missing persons in the Balochistan province, as if no law exists currently.
Amid these meetings and cosmetic measures of the political leadership, IG FC Balochistan, Major General Obaidullah Khan Khattak, gave some awful revelations on June 2, 2012, in a Press Conference held in FC Headquarters, Quetta. He mentioned about the conspiracies against Pakistan and this largest province of the country. The IG revealed that over thirty militant camps are operative in Afghanistan to train militants, who creates law and order situation in the Province. For this purpose, external forces are indeed spending billion of dollars. Gen Khattak also indicated 121 insurgent training facilities to train the locals. There have occurred 550 terrorists’ incidents in the province during the current years. So far over 100,000 people have migrated from the province, owing to the worsening law and order situation in the province.
The revelations of the IG FC Balochistan clearly indicate the level of foreign involvement in the province. The situation is very serious and calls for immediate steps to overcome it. The remarks of the Chief Justice of Pakistan are realistic and needs immediate response from the executive. The biggest question arises, why the political government is still not very serious and determines to take bold actions. Balochistan needs political solution, rather a military one. Though this Government has given maximum funds to the province in last four years, in the form of Aaghaaz-a-Haqooq Balochistan Package and redistribution of resources in the NFC award. But, the Government could not ensure the implementation of these packages and resultant improvement in the social well being of the people of Balochistan. Those administrating the province, gets Rs 250 million each as the discretionary funds of the MPAs, but not spent a single penny on the development of their respective constituencies. Thus, the retaliation of the locals under such a situation is natural. Why Federal Government failed to have a check and balance in the affairs of Balochistan, while knowing fully the capabilities of Balochistan Government.
As decided by political and military leadership of the country on May 29, 2012, the issue needs a political tackling; there is a need to get serious about the situation in the province. Whereas, the FC and intelligence agencies deny their involvement in the case of missing persons and killing of the Baloch masses, why cannot the leadership trace the other avenues, like global conspiracies against the Province and the country. Just imagine, who would be the beneficiary of this killings; FC and intelligence agencies or the external element, determined to destabilize Pakistan. Whereas, the employment and deployment of FC Balochistan is now given to the Chief Minister of the province, we have to see, whether the incumbent CM is capable of doing that in the best national interest of Pakistan and the Province. His mental state and stability mostly remains questionable and who would guarantee that this force would not be use against the political opponents of the CM in the tribal society of Balochistan. Those at the helm of affairs must ensure timely decisions and implementations, but there is requirement of the maturity of the decisions too.
At this trying time of the history of Pakistan, just allotment of funds and formulation of committees and commissions would not resolve the problem. Nevertheless, the implementation on ground would really matter a lot. An indiscriminate socio-economic development of the province in this regard would play a major role. There is a need that representatives of the federal and provincial governments (both elected and potentials) along with responsible bureaucracy must visit the province physically to know the real problems and to address their grievances on spot. These visits should no be restricted to Quetta, but at least at the level of tehsils and sub-divisions. These groups should have a mandate to decide things on ground and later in consultation with the respective governments should initiate long-term projects. The youth of the province, irrespective of their academic level, should be given jobs to absorb them in the larger Pakistani society.
The rapidly deteriorating situation of the Balochistan demands an immediate action plan. Rather a blame-game, the situation warrants a consensus political solution. Whereas, the diplomacy must play its part in dismantling the terrorists’ camps, established in Afghanistan by contacting Afghan Government, our own LEAs must stop infiltration of foreign elements into the province.