ISLAMABAD, Dec 21: Speakers at a book launch on Friday said the official policy on Balochistan had not changed in years.

The current tug of war in the province is between two major groups: one wants to revive the glory of the Sardari system while the other - the official machinery - is busy in promoting the influence of its own brand of Sardars.

“But in the meantime, there is a third force representing the ordinary people. Now, it is difficult to judge whom to talk to,” said MNA Ayatullah Durrani of the PPP.

He said nationalists were engaged in their struggle for survival of the traditional Sardars but there was a new breed of Sardars and Nawabs who had been created by the establishment. They too are involved in exerting their power.

“Since Pakistan has not allowed freedom of political movement in the province, the educated and literate people have started their own course of action,” Mr Durrani said.

‘Balochistan: Masla Kya Hai’ is the reproduction of a book written by Mujahid Barelvi in 1984 when progressive and left wing leaders, mainly belonging to Balochistan, were facing the Hyderabad conspiracy case.

Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf leader Shafqat Mehmood deplored successive governments for not resolving the issue.

“We can see that not much has changed during these 28 years and the six points presented by Akhtar Mengal clearly showed that he was a pro- Pakistan individual.”

The speakers compared Akhtar Mengal’s six points with that of Sheikh Mujeebur Rehman and said despite various development packages the situation had not changed much in Balochistan.

Senator Humayun Khan Mandokhel added: “Since they ignore the masses, there are too many players in the conflict-like situation and the nature of the conflict is complicated too ranging from criminal activities, sectarianism to pro-independence movement.”

Leader of National Party Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo said the situation was still manageable if authoritarian styles were replaced with democratic norms.

He highlighted the political history of the province and said that National Awami Party (NAP) that was banned by the Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s government in 1975 was the foremost flag-bearer of all the progressive and left wing groups in the country.

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