Get out of stupor!
Mohammad Jamil


Terrorism is stalking the entire land — Balochistan, Sindh, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab. However, unrest in Balochistan is posing a serious threat to the state of Pakistan, which needs a political solution. It is indeed the responsibility of the provincial government to come forward and negotiate with the dissidents. And at the same time take measures for alleviating abject poverty and to ensure better life to the people. For this purpose, Balochistan strategy must be evolved taking all the stake-holders into confidence and focusing on the core issues disregarding party or personal interests if any.

Nevertheless, all-out efforts have to be made to fight the menace of terrorism including target killing of settlers in Balochistan. There have been targeted killings of Punjabi settlers in Balochistan and scores of teachers and professors have been targeted. Ethnic and Shia-Sunni fracas has shaken the erstwhile ethnic and sectarian harmony, as criminal gangs backed by the foreign powers are stoking ethnic and sectarian divisions. The Great Game of the US strategic map-makers has been in full play in Balochistan province for quite some time, influential loyalties of some politicians, media men and so-called intellectuals are being bought.

They are trying to whittle away the nation-state by stirring turmoil and violence to achieve their evil designs. The ‘Baloch Society of North America’ is emblematic of the US meddling in Pakistan’s Balochistan province. Fomenting separatist movements along Pakistan’s western border has been on US geopolitical drawing board for years. Some palmed-off members of media, commentriat and politicos present highly exaggerated figures in regard to missing persons’ case, and our media and intelligentsia join the chorus orchestrated by international media. The Supreme Court has the prerogative to hear the complaints from the families of missing persons but remarks such as Frontier Constabulary is named for every third missing person and the media pointing its fingers towards the ISI and MI emboldens the terrorists and their backers. It is in this backdrop that the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances will visit Pakistan from September 10 to 20. It is hoped that it is not a follow up of the Resolution on Balochistan tabled by Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher in US Congress after a controversial debate in the sub-committee of American Congress.

They will assess the progress and also study the measures adopted by Pakistan to prevent and eradicate enforced disappearances, including issues related to truth, justice and reparation for the victims of enforced disappearances, said a press release issued on Wednesday. For some time there has been some paradigm shift in Balochistan politics and youth is not showing traditional loyalties to sardars. Sardar Ataullah Mengal is on record having said that the youth do not listen to them anymore. They need to be approached, guided and supported to enable them to become the new generation of politicians. It is unfortunate that Baloch MPAs have been misusing the funds provided to them for development purposes. Political leaders/MPAs were given huge development funds (Rs. 25 Crores per year each) but failed to spend these funds on the people of Balochistan. If the Balochistan package and other development funds were spent on the people of Balochistan, it would have helped in eliminating the sense of deprivation among the Baloch youth. Anyhow, nobody in his right sense would allow the miscreants or dissidents to challenge the writ of the state.

Unfortunately, many terrorists that were arrested for heinous acts were acquitted by the courts due to lacunae in the law, as either the witnesses backed out as they were too scared to risk the wrath of the militant organizations. The judges of anti-terrorist courts were threatened of dire consequences if they gave verdict against the terrorists. Our media in general and some analysts in particular blame the military and intelligence for not decimating the militants throughout Pakistan. It should be borne in mind that the military and intelligence agencies cannot fight terrorists everywhere especially congested localities in the urban areas. Their primary function is to safeguard the frontiers of the country, and take on the militants in an open or a difficult terrain like Waziristan where foreign terrorists are also active. On the other hand, urban terrorism is fought out primarily by the civilian administrations and their security apparatuses everywhere the world over. And so it has to be done here in this land, too. Why police, CID and IB are not being questions, as the terrorists move along in vehicles with explosives and other weapons on the roads where police has established check posts and barricades, and still remain undetected.

Through these pages we have been reminding that missing persons’ case is very complicated one. It has in fact many dimensions, as ‘players’ from the regional countries and beyond are active in Balochistan. Major General Obaidullah Khattak, the FC chief, said the issue of law and order and missing persons should be seen in a broad prospective because restoring peace and order was a joint responsibility of all institutions, adding that the force was rendering sacrifices for restoring peace and making efforts to recover the missing persons. “Fifty per cent of the attacks were directed against my force and it is not possible for any other institution to face the danger we are facing.” There is a perception that anti-terror courts out of fear have been looking for a point whereby they could acquit the terrorists. Having that said, the ruling parties, opposition parties, judiciary and all organs of the state should get out of stupor and must reach consensus on elimination of terrorism. The federal cabinet on Wednesday passed the “Investigation for Fair Trial Bill, 2012”. If passed by the parliament in its present shape, it will allow investigation by modern techniques and devices and authorise the state to tap people’s phone calls and intercept all other private communications in order to catch terrorists.