Balochistan issue

Fida Bazai
The Balochistan problem is spinning out of Pakistan’s control. Islamabad does not have any clear long-sighted strategy to tackle the Balochistan crisis. It still relies on a myopic military plan. The situation is getting worst and exacerbating with every passing day as Islamabad couldn’t come out with a tangible policy to access Baloch nationalists. This situation of increasing uncertainty has profoundly affected trade and business in Quetta. Pakistan civilian government has given up on the Balochistan issue and left it at the mercy of intelligence and military. The track record of these two institutions on conflict resolution is not impressive. All sections of Pakistan’s domestic or foreign policies under the auspices of army and intelligence have always been counter-productive. International pressure Pakistan’s financial and emotional investment in Kashmir and Afghanistan for the last three decades has resulted in chaos and anarchy in Pakistan. Both dimensions of Pakistan’s foreign policy were undisputedly under army control. Pakistan doesn’t only face a mounted international pressure on both issues, but also suffering from an insurmountable series of religious and nationalist insurgencies. It shows that our armed forces don’t have any prudent approach to political problems. Unfortunately, Balochistan, which is the largest poverty stricken province with abundant resources, is falling in the domain of military. If Pakistan’s civilian government doesn’t come out with a comprehensive political solution to the Balochistan issue, it will reach to an irreconcilable position. It is time to confess publicly and deliver practically to reduce the misery of the people of Balochistan. They have been deliberately kept backwards and at the disposal of Nawabs and Sardars. The Government has neither established good institutions nor provided any health facilities. The ratio of poverty is exceedingly high and chances of employment are extremely low. If there is any position, it is filled by any candidates from outside of Balochistan. Even the ordinary jobs of clerks, peons and drivers are allocated to non-local people. The young section of the population, who is graduating now or graduated within the last few years, has increasingly felt these severe discriminations. It is significant to understand that the current insurgency is driven by the youth force of Baloch. The University of Balochistan is the epicentre of all anti-state activities. Insurgency The present insurgency is led by Berhamdagh Bugti, who is the source of eminent aspiration for young Baloch. Another important dimension of the movement is the participation of female youngsters. This is the first time that Baloch girls are actively participating in the movement and wholeheartedly supporting a nationalist demand of independence. The central government has to approach Baloch nationalist parties before it become very difficult to reconcile them. As a confidence building measure the government should stop intelligence operations, release missing people, announce new packages for Balochistan and execute them fairly. It is the government’s last chance to sincerely approach Baloch leaders and take them in confidence as well as award them some extra advantages to reduce their sense of deprivation. It is politically important and strategically significant to understand the composition of Balochistan. The eastern part of Balochistan is inhabited by Baloch people, but Quetta and the West of Balochistan exclusively consist of Pakhtun population. The award of extra favours to the Baloch should not be at the expense of the Pakhtuns in the province, who are currently peaceful and religiously abiding law and order. The packages and jobs should be announced from Islamabad and particularly for the backward areas of Baloch. There should not be any extra-leverage in the present setup to disturb other peaceful segments of society. For instance, Islamabad can announce the establishment of colleges and universities in the Baloch area and then preferably recruit Baloch people for most of the positions. Similarly, more hospitals and health institutions should be established and then staffed by local people. It is, however, extremely unfair to other nationalities, particularly Pakhtuns, who constitute a big chunk of the province population, to be ignored or marginalised at the expense of the Baloch people. It is the federal government’s responsibility to avoid any clash among the resident ethnic groups in Balochistan and bring deprived Baloch youth in the mainstream national politics.

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