Balochistan Needs Immediate Response
The apex court’s decision that the Balochistan government constitutionally failed to curb the incidents involving human rights violations, killings and kidnapping-for-ransom, has been received with mixed reaction by the people of Pakistan. To many, the issue was somewhat out of the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, as foreign countries, including the US, Israel and neighbouring India were behind the brewing security situation in the province. A few quarters were of the opinion that the decision of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry made during its nearly 80 hearings, was wastage of time since the court was helpless constitutionally in giving a result-oriented verdict. Others lash out that general and local bodies’ elections were the only constitutional solution to the growing security problems. Nonetheless, the federal government’s non-acceptance that the provincial government has failed to deliver that warrants stepping down of Nawab Raisani from the office of chief minister ship, ignited the mounting political turmoil of governance. This obstacle requires concerted efforts by Islamabad and provincial Administration to reach a solution through reconciliation and accommodation.
Balochistan has been simmering for a long time for the collective follies of civil and military regimes ever since the independence of Pakistan in 1947. The current democratic government has apologized to the people of Balochistan for the atrocities and injustices committed against them by the past Governments and pledged to turn over a new chapter of mutual respect in the province. The conflict in Balochistan is basically about inequitable distribution of funds, royalty of natural resources, provincial autonomy, etc. Resultantly, a deep rooted sense of insecurity marked by feeling of deprivation crept in the rank and files of common Balochis. Countless targeted killings coupled with a continuous series of missing persons have added more miseries to the lives of the Baloch people. The civil government is weak and lacks confidence of the people of Balochistan. The 13th CM of Balochistan Nawab Aslam Raisani has turned out to be an inefficient CM since taking over the government in 2008. The Balochs have genuine grievance against the post-2008 regime that their right to representative government was ignored. The situation in Balochistan could have never been so painful if the people of Balochistan were treated on the basis of justice and equality and given the same rights as given to the people of other provinces. The money that could have been used to reduce the sense of deprivation in the province and in improving the law and order situation was drain off through fake and ghost projects like repair of dilapidated roads, compensation packages for the CM’s family and nobody knows what happened to the Rs250 million development funds given to every member of Balochistan assembly. Nothing substantial has been done to improve the standard of living of common Balochs. The tall claims of Agaz-i-Huqooq-i-Balochistan package was termed as eye wash by the Baloch leadership.
The past four years of CM Raisani’s democratic rule under the PPP have been ‘good for nothing’. A crisis of governance all over has deepened with controversies ranging from rampant corruption to blatant disregard for the rule of law. No roads, no bridges, no industry and no development work; that is the situation in Balochistan that prevails since 2008. The developmental work is one of the foremost responsibilities of the Provincial government which is empowered to initiate projects regarding new hospitals, schools, roads and improvement in the living conditions of people. The political government could have won the hearts of the Baloch people if it had performed its duty in the real sense. Besides inefficiency and inefficacy of the political provincial government, other factors also complicate in deepening the situation of Balochistan. Firstly, the threatening environment is posed by the expatriates or their foreign patrons; the leaders of the armed resistance in exile have moved US legislator Dana Rohrabacher to highlight the so-called human rights abuses in Balochistan. Secondly, India is exploiting the bad situation by providing financial and arms support to the insurgent forces targeting important strategic installments in Balochistan. Thirdly, the violence in Balochistan is due to Indian intelligence operatives prowling in neighboring Afghanistan. The complicity of criminal elements with Baloch militants has further aggravated the situation - resulting in murder, kidnapping, willful destruction of public and private property of the non-Baloch. Fourthly, the Baloch sardars can not be left oblivious of the present situation. They are equally responsible as they receive royalty from the federal government and use it not to launch development schemes for their people through increasing education and health facilities but for personal gain.
Taking Balochistan out of the present predicament will require a colossal effort by all the political parties, selfless intelligentsia and social reformists on six dimensions: operational, developmental, administrative, legal, political and financial aspects of the situation A vast section of Pakistan’s population consider that a better course might have been a call to an all-party conference to pave the way towards a just and rational resolution of Balochistan issues particularly the case of enforced disappearances. In this connection, all the Marri, Mengal, Magsi, Bugti, Raisani, Zehri and other tribes should be engaged in the consultations and the armed struggle should be terminated. Our well-aware politicians need to display greater responsibility by avoiding their narrow political gains over the national interests. The media also needs to act more proactively. The salient of the startling recommendations are: a) The Federal Government should deal with Balochistan situation with the seriousness and urgency it deserves by inviting the heads of all opposition parties to help formulate a reconciliation strategy; b). the intelligence agencies should operate strictly under the discipline of law and officially-declared policy; c) Development projects should be completed on priority basis; d) FC be placed under provincial government; e) Provincial Government should acknowledge its own share of responsibility and ensure effective governance; lastly, f) cases of missing persons and target killings must be dealt immediately.