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Balochistan ‘consensus’


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ALL significant statements on the national level these days lead to Balochistan. Last month, Sardar Akhtar Mengal, the self-exiled Baloch leader, came up with his six-point demands for the state to start the process towards normality in Balochistan. Then, some 10 days ago, Gen Ashfaq Kayani pledged the army’s support for any political process within the constitution for an end to the province’s woes — also saying that the armed forces abided by the government’s directives. The momentum picked up when, within the span of a few hours on Friday, both the National Assembly and the Supreme Court added their weight to the ‘campaign’ for a solution to Balochistan. In Quetta, the apex court strongly censured the provincial government and sternly asked the centre to look for remedies — within the constitution. The court said that while Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani’s administration had lost the authority to govern, all the federal government had done was to deploy the Frontier Corps in the province. Around the same time, in Islamabad, the National Assembly adopted a rare unanimous resolution seeking an ‘all-parties’ commission to “rectify past mistakes and ensure the supremacy of the constitution, the rule of law and dispensation of justice” in Balochistan. The House recognised that the urgently sought commission will also have to include parties outside the elected assembly to be effective.

In theory, this appears to be a concerted push towards exit from a precarious situation. But Balochistan and its people have for far too long been victims of clashing interpretations and positions which are not always reflected in statements and vows for upholding the constitution. In fact, these grand pledges often thwart a realistic look at the issues.

The problem in the province is taking ever newer dimensions and the bomb blasts at Sibi and Dera Bugti recently are brutal reminders of the intent on the other side. Against this threat, the allusion to the need of political process would mean reconfirmation of Balochistan not just as a law and order issue but as a political problem. An earnest follow-up would require more than a rhetorical recourse to the constitution. The politicians are supposedly in charge of the effort, yet they happen to be the least trusted and the most easily blamed. They are also the ones who have set an example by owning up to “past mistakes”.

The Supreme Court order, the resolution by parliament, the soldier’s oath will only live up to their theoretical promise if the academic exercise of swearing by the constitution yields to an honest and frank acceptance and assigning of responsibilities with regard to the parties involved.

Comments (1) Closed

imrankhan Oct 14, 2012 01:00pm
It is very unfortunate that most of the resource-rich regions of the world are experiencing insurgency.The Balochistan is endowed with the valueable resources for which many Imperialist forces are eyeing on the region. Deep rooted regional disparities in pakistan stems from the neglect of certain regions creating lop-sided development. The govermnent must focus on the development of health and education related infrastructure in the province to adress the long-standing grievance of the Baloch people. As the anti-state element in the Balochistan are pushing the issue towards a point of no-return,the govermnent does not have a luxury of procrastination. The silver lining to the issue of Balochistan is the awakening and fexibility shown by the different instituion to reach at the political solution. The govermnent must stop treating the Balochistan issue as an extra-ordinary law and order situation and resolve it through the indiscriminate use of brute force. It is a political issue in which the people of the Balochistan are denied their political rights to contribute in the affairs of the federation.It is an economic issue in which the people of certain regions were not economic benefits which they deserve. The politicians must be allowed to take lead to reach at the political settlements.