A DAY that began with the desecration of a secular shrine, the Ziarat rest house where Mohammad Ali Jinnah spent his last days, continued with another episode of violence in Quetta. The perpetrators of these two crimes could well be worlds apart in terms of ideology, but so is the vision for Pakistan of one of the great, secular, non-violent leaders of the 20th century and the reality of Pakistan today where women, students, doctors and nurses are targeted in the name of a grotesque vision of the future. That the Baloch Liberation Army knew exactly what it was doing in destroying the Ziarat rest house is obvious: it was repudiating in a spectacular manner the idea of Pakistan and broadcasting its propaganda for a separate state. That the state has again failed both at the level of intelligence-gathering and preventing a terrorist attack from succeeding is also obvious. Unhappily, the more obvious these truths, the less likely it seems that anything will be done to address them.

Shocking as the destruction in Ziarat is, the message it sends is equally worrying. Was the bombing meant as a cynical welcome for the new Balochistan government, led by the moderate Baloch chief minister Abdul Malik? The BLA has over the years reserved an almost equal fury for the army-led security establishment as it has for Baloch politicians who advocate addressing Baloch discontent within the federation of Pakistan. If Mr Malik’s government is already in the cross-hairs of the separatists, then what chance of it helping establish peace in the province? Or was this yet another attempt to lash out against the army, part of an on-going dirty war that ebbs and flows for reasons unknown far away from the media spotlight and outside scrutiny? After all, the army controls and directs the security policy in the province and has for years tried to crush the separatists with brutality. And where the state’s violence often occurs in the shadows, dead bodies being the only evidence later, the insurgents rely on headline-grabbing attacks to make their case. Suffice it to say, attacking a site so associated with Mr Jinnah’s name and legacy is unlikely to signal a reduction in the tit-for-tat violence in Balochistan. The attack in Quetta, on the other hand, could well be the work of a group representing a different ideology. But clearly, whether the violence being perpetrated is the work of separatists or religious extremists, the establishment’s approach is not working. Why not? In that answer lies an even more depressing truth.

Opinion

Editorial

After the deluge
Updated 16 Jun, 2024

After the deluge

There was a lack of mental fortitude in the loss against India while against US, the team lost all control and displayed a lack of cohesion and synergy.
Fugue state
16 Jun, 2024

Fugue state

WITH its founder in jail these days, it seems nearly impossible to figure out what the PTI actually wants. On one...
Sindh budget
16 Jun, 2024

Sindh budget

SINDH’S Rs3.06tr budget for the upcoming financial year is a combination of populist interventions, attempts to...
Slow start
Updated 15 Jun, 2024

Slow start

Despite high attendance, the NA managed to pass only a single money bill during this period.
Sindh lawlessness
Updated 15 Jun, 2024

Sindh lawlessness

A recently released report describes the law and order situation in Karachi as “worryingly poor”.
Punjab budget
15 Jun, 2024

Punjab budget

PUNJAB’S budget for 2024-25 provides much fodder to those who believe that the increased provincial share from the...