A critical appraisal of Balochistan
Dr Raja Muhammad Khan
Global conspiracies are not new for the people and soil of Balochistan. Only there has been change of the actors. Nevertheless, the role remained the same. Today’s conspiracies and interventions are more sophisticated and refined, compared to earlier ones. The neo-colonial powers like US are making use of soft power to change the perception of the people about their own Government(s). People like Dana Rohrabacher are acting as tool for the US neo-cons. As per US writer, Christine Fair, “the hearing and the Resolution that followed it have much more to do with partisan politics, and possibly resource-grabbing, than with any interest in the ongoing human rights crises in Balochistan. Indeed, the great game is for the possession of the resources and occupying strategic locations.
While the external powers are doing this all, the Government of Pakistan has not been able to satisfy the masses in the province, ever since the start of renewed uprisings in the province in 2003/4. There was a requirement that the provincial government and elected representatives could have visited the disturbed areas to satisfy the masses, particularly those playing in the hands of foreign actors. Unfortunately, nothing of the sort has been done so far. Announcing a general amnesty for those Balochs who adopted collision course with the Federation of Pakistan by the Government is indeed a good step.
Federal Government offered to “withdraw all cases against top Baloch insurgents Brahamdagh Bugti, Harbiyar Marri and other Baloch leaders if they were willing to return back to the country”. Even the Interior Minister said that he would personally receive those, if they opt to come back. The Government has also offered reconciliation and dialogue with all nationalists, who somehow got betrayed, owing to various factors. This indeed was a great announcement by the Government to provide an opportunity to all those who really believed in positive steps. Unfortunately, response of those few who fled the country on provocations of foreign elements remained much below the expectations.
Rather giving a positive response, the violence and killing has increased in the province. The Hazara community and other non Baloch population has been the biggest target of these sub-nationalists. The months of June and July 2012, witnessed some of the unprecedented increase in the killing of innocent people in the province. The pilgrims of Hazara community going to or coming back from sacred shrines in Iran have been the most frequent targets. In most of the cases their vehicles are stopped en-route and innocent pilgrims are lined up and then fired upon, killing all. These scenes are most inhuman and barbaric in nature. In other cases, people are being abducted and then after a few days their bullet ridden and at times disfigured bodies are found at various locations.
Unfortunately, no one has ever tried to reach out to the elements behind all this inhuman massacre and lawlessness. More recently, on July 6, seven miners, kidnapped by unknown people from Dagar and Marwar areas were found dead. It is pertinent to mention that these miners were working for a private coalmine company in Marwar called United Mineral Company. A doctor named Ishaq was also among those killed. Balochistan Liberation Army, a separatist and anti-state terrorist group has claimed responsibility of the incident. All these miners were Pathan and belonged to Swat area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
A close observation of the pattern of killings in the province since 2003 would reveal that there are some particular groups and communities which are being targeted. This mainly include; those inhabiting the province over the years, not the natives. Since Hazaras are also part of migrants, thus are being targeted. Over the years, settlers from any other part of the country are being killed. Most of these settlers were playing very significant role for the development of the province and the local masses. Those being targeted include; teachers at all levels, doctors, industrialists, technical work force and others contributing towards the uplift of the province. It is highly unjustified that those serving the people of the area are being killed. Their killers are not common Baloch populace, but, the militants of BLA and other armed groups, playing at the hands of anti-Pakistan forces.
The recent killing of the miners is indeed part of the same strategy. This process is deliberate and well planned, rather being incidental or occasional. The militant organiszations like BLA are indeed openly carrying out this massacre and provincial Government with countless number of ministers apparently seems helpless to tackle it. Should not the Federal Government ask the Provincial Government of Balochistan about this lawlessness in the province? Who is after all responsible for the maintenance of law and order in the province? Is it the Army, Frontier Corps or some other agency responsible for the maintenance of law and order in the province?
Chief Minister of Balochistan mostly remains in the Federal Capital and occasionally visits Quetta. Nevertheless, his ministers live in Karachi or Quetta, but never find time to visit their constituencies or the disturbed areas of the province to at least listen to the grievance of the masses. Billions of rupees, allotted for the development of the province either by Federal Government or through the provincial budget, are further allotted to the ministers and MPs of the Province are not spent for the right cause. This money goes either to these lawmakers of the province or at least not to its designated place.
Resultantly, there is no development in the province, thus the masses of the province remain the ultimate sufferers. This situation of being desperate and restiveness is then fully exploited by the terrorist organisations like BLA, having a long list of supporters domestically as well as among international actors. What seems most important in the entire episode of this restlessness in the province is that, Federal Government never dared to ask provincial government for digging down the reasons of this uncertainty and anxiety among the masses and then to overcome that.
Should not the home ministry of the Balochistan province be considered responsible for this entire chaos in the province? Have the home minister been sacked for his failure of controlling the situation, anyhow? It is very easy to apportion blame on Frontier Corps (FC) Balochistan for all wrong doings, but the question arises, whose primary responsibility is it to maintain law and order in the province. The corps of ministers and entire provincial machinery that include; police, levy and other divisional and district administrations are for what purpose. Just for the protocol and ceremonial duties for each other and eat away the provincial budget or have some utility too.
The Frontier Corps denies its involvement in the case of missing persons. After all, why should, FC involve itself in these heinous crimes, they are meant to protect and secure the populace and geographical boundaries of the province. Thus, neither they are expected nor they undertake such acts. Nevertheless, FC should not allow terrorists to attack its troops and installations? Once attacked, they have the right to retaliate to the attackers and arrest those attacking them and the Government installations. Arrested miscreants are then handed over to the police as per procedure in vogue. Should not they protect the national borders, assets and themselves too? As an estimate, miscreants have attacked more then 2000 times, killing hundreds of soldiers and officers in the last few years.
The Supreme Court should be appreciated for the role it is playing to check the lawlessness in the province. However, the Federal Government should hold the Provincial Government and the administration there as responsible for the worsening law and order situation in the province. It is incorrect that, Army, ISI, FC and other security agencies are to be blamed for all ills in the province. It is quite pertinent to mention that during his tenure as Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination, Senator Mian Raza Rabbani once said in the National Assembly that it is incorrect that, agencies (FC Balochistan and ISI) are responsible for the unpleasant situation in Balochistan. Though he agreed that, law and order situation in the province is poor and not under control. Indeed, as a visionary and realistic politician, Mr Raza Rabbani understands the elements behind the uncertain situation, but his recommendations are not executed in letter and spirit.
In the province of Balochistan, no doubt, the cases of the missing persons pose serious challenges, thus need immediate attention and impartial investigation. Nevertheless, it is not the only reason of the lawlessness in the province. Whereas, Government must find out who is behind the missing persons’ mystery, it should ask the provincial Government under Mr Aslam Raisani to take control of the situation or else take stern action under the Constitution of Pakistan. Let there be no compromises on bogus name of democracy. It is about time that we must take care for integrity of Pakistan, rather playing politics.