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Balochistan in flames - again

Updated Jun 17, 2013 05:42pm


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A boy who was injured in a bomb blast is carried by his relatives as they move to another hospital in Quetta June 15, 2013. — Reuters Photo.
A boy who was injured in a bomb blast is carried by his relatives as they move to another hospital in Quetta June 15, 2013. — Reuters Photo.
It’s only a few days since the Balochistan Chief Minister Dr. Malik Baloch took oath and entered office. But within that short span of time, the troubled province has already witnessed the same kind of chaos and violence very reminiscent of the previous government’s tenure.

First, militants from the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), a separatist organisation, blew up the house in which the Quaid-i-Azam spent his last days, in Ziarat. A policeman also died in the attack.

Soon after, Laskhar-i-Jhangvi (LJ), a violent sectarian terrorist organisation, orchestrated a suicide bomb attack on a bus will with female university students. It then went on to attack the hospital in which the injured were being treated, and took over the medical complex, which resulted in a prolonged gun battle between the terrorists and the security forces.

So far, both the provincial and federal governments have made attempts at damage control after a day that witnessed multiple, dramatic violent incidents: The condemnations were swift, as were the vows to restore Ziarat House and catch the culprits.

But damage control is very different from addressing the root causes of such violence, and preventing their occurrence in the first place.

What do you think Dr. Baloch and Nawaz need to do first and foremost to ensure that the violence in Balochistan, which has escalated exponentially, comes to a halt? Should they negotiate with separatists? Is there a need for a much more serious, forceful crackdown on the LJ? Is it the police force that needs to be reformed? Should the security policy on Balochistan, mainly formulated by the military, be overhauled and rethought? invites its readers to express their views.

Comments (38) Closed

Rajab Ali Jun 17, 2013 04:44pm

Unless the borders with all the neighbouring countries are sealed effectively, all internal measures will prove futile

Agha Ata Jun 17, 2013 06:05pm

Nawaz Sharif and General Kiani should go to Baluchistan and stay there for a week or more, work with Dr. Khan ensuring the enforcement of all good policies they have on their agenda. Their presence would make a tremendous effect on the pain of the people of Baluchistan. Let your think tanks plan to give Baluchies something big, something affective right from the first day. Be serious and be sincere!

Abbas Jun 17, 2013 09:19pm

Its very simple, but requires courage. Extreme action against Baloch separatists and extreme inaction against LJ, must change. Give Baloch separatist respect and talk to them, while deal with LJ with Iron fist all over the Pakistan, specially Punjab, their home.

Bilal Jun 17, 2013 09:32pm

The question itself points to the double challenge - a violent insurgency on one side, and a terrorist group cut loose on another. Any state with transparency in statecraft would have been able to positively deal with both issues. Negotiating with the dissidents, employing CBMs and zero-tolerance for the terrorists, arrests, trials and sentence. However, no one appears to have any clarity on how to tackle the two issues. The confusion on the decision-making level translates at the operational level, with national security apparatus confident of quelling the insurgency by force. As for terrorists, the policy/tactics are even more bizarre. Maybe it is thought the terrorism genie would disappear by itself.

Since LeJ broke loose on the Balochistan theater, the insurgency also appears to have gained momentum. This may also be presenting a skewed picture to the observers, who only gauge the severity of problem through the magnitude of violence.

If Pakistan's plethora of problems have a single cause - it has to be terrorism. Yet all effort is wasted on rhetoric and state remains bogged down with inaction. Lest Pakistan becomes another Afghanistan or Sudan, now is the time for action. No steps to cut down governance costs, tax the poor more, or revive economy will bear fruit unless a uni-focal approach to eradicate terrorist elements is adopted.

kamran Jun 17, 2013 10:06pm

@Rajab Ali: when we are going to take responsibility of our own act rather than blaming on other people,for all these years politician were trying to convincr us that it's our neighbour who is meddling in our affair,we are nuclear nation and no body like us...........and so on,

Naru Jun 17, 2013 10:11pm

@Rajab Ali: This is the result of Pak direct policy of encouraging militancy against its neighbors in the name of Jihad for decades, now chickens have come home to roost. There is a say, "As you sow, you will reap!!", so enjoy the bombings now

Zar Khan Jun 18, 2013 12:05am

@Rajab Ali: I couldn't agree more. Additionally the govt. should deport all Afghans back to their country.

Caz Jun 18, 2013 01:03am

Pakistan must bite the bullet of its miscreation and find a peaceful and sustainable option with its bigger, better and stronger eastern neighbour.

tajammul hussain Jun 18, 2013 01:12am

What Lashkar i Jhangvi is doing not only against Islam but this is genocide under any number of international instruments Pakistan is a state party. An eye for an eye. The LEJ must be rounded up and totally exterminated. The example of the Tamil Tigers is clear enough. You either let this problem grow or wipe them out. There is no other way.

T. Siddiqui Jun 18, 2013 01:23am

First Thanks for having these forums as they allow exchange of ideas. Having lived and worked in Baluchistajn, I feel people people of Baluchista have suffered. Governmnt should reach out to all parties including BLA. There should be a reconcilliation comission.

T. Siddiqui-Houston

Deb Jun 18, 2013 02:10am

@Rajab Ali: Please do it. Sealing (permanently) the border with India will be greatly appreciated by all Indians including it's Muslim citizenry.

Glen Jun 18, 2013 02:41am


Salman Khan Jun 18, 2013 04:21am

Clamp down on the 'divisive' media; most (DAWN included) are only interested in fomenting hatred and promoting their own agenda to 'up their ratings'.

Honey Jun 18, 2013 07:07am

The solution in Baluchistan is multi-prong. First of all the problem in Baluchistan is not any different from Punjab or Sindh. The only difference is that the people of Sindh and Punjab sees the problem with the establishment and trying to resolve the issue with the power of vote and peaceful protests, while people of Baluchistan mandate has been hijacked by terrorists. What is solution? 1- Seal border with Afghanistan until the problem is solved. No human moment at all. 2- Anyone who wants to solve the problem with gun or bomb, eradicate them comprehensively without any political pressure, give Army and FC free hand in solving this. 3- Anyone who wants to negotiate the problem peacefully, support them sincerely 4- Bring law and order into entire province 5- Give Bloch full rights they deserve, 6- Protect non-Bloch who are living in Baluchistan right within the constitution of Pakistan 7- Offer same rights to rest of the provinces of Pakistan

Lets make Baluchistan Pakistan's rising stat

Farooq Ali Jun 18, 2013 08:51am

Inside out is a must , for public and common Pakistani the names like BLA, and Lashkare Jhangvi are more like ghosts than reality , instead of banning bring them in open field and expose them to people and media let them present their view point and ask them to prove their majority by vote , I am sure they will run away. As regards role of army it is same in entire world the security forces and army are a symbol of unity and they have to play their role Pakistan is not unique in this.

Hasan Hasni Jun 18, 2013 09:31am

Stop giving money to parliamentarians from Baluchistan and give directly to people of Baluchistan through bank account only in a very transparent manner. Announce reward for any public member who led for arrest of the terrorist. Award should be substantial not peanut and not for agencies including police

youth Jun 18, 2013 11:26am

The insurgency in Bolochistan is 20% indigenous & 80% infiltration & interference by neighbors. A combined action of carrot & stick may help, however there should be a time frame to settle the matters in an amicable manner.

Bilal Jun 18, 2013 02:15pm

PM, federal cabinet, CMs of all provinces, heads of all agencies & Army chief should sit on a table. Formulate a unified strategy and announce it in the media. Everyone should openly announce full support for Dr. Malik and let him exercise power at his will. InshaAllah Balochistan will start going in a good direction.

mareena Jun 18, 2013 02:23pm

I think intelligence agencies should be questioned as its a big security lapse. They should have disclosed this attack. Quetta has become a security state and if this kind of incidents could not be stopped then its a big question mark on performance of security agencies.

Nizamuddin Ahmad Jun 18, 2013 07:06pm

Mr. Sharif: Stop the circus. Go to Quetta and talk to the people, before they bleed to death. The Baluchi nation deserves better than this. We all know the real problem. Please do not pretend that every thing will be all right.

Khalid Abbasi, Esq. Jun 18, 2013 07:20pm

There can not be a military solution to the problem it has to be reached through dialogue. Intelligence and all organs of the state has to be under civilian control. Military has lost its trust and respect with the citizenry and after the prolonged war against terrorism it has also lost its sense of invincibility. . No army has ever historically survived a conflict with its own people. Pakistan should not have to look too far away. Bangladesh (EAST PAKISTAN) is a daring and glaring, example within the life times of those at the helms of affairs today. And, please don't blame India for the outcome in East Pakistan - which civilized society will tolerate mass killing and destruction of life and its values, mass rape, mass looting with the placard name of "national security". No, we are to be blamed not India. Not USA. Not any one else but we. Please killing your own people, even if you perceive them as terrorist get them to courts. Build up your respect oh my beloved Pakistan Army, please I beg you with eyes wet and hand shaking clasped together. Remember it is your own children you are killing.

Azm Aftab Jun 18, 2013 07:44pm

In my opinion the govt must initiate massive development projects all over Baluchistan. Like all human beings they too want employment, shelter, health and safety. Start projects like schools, housing schemes, markets, sporting facilities and entertainment industries. Its amazing that out of all the four provincial capitals Quetta is the only city not to have a cricket stadium. Terminate all military operations and get them to train the locals for incorporating THEM into the police rather importing the police from other provinces. We have to give the control of the land to its people rather than the state acting like a mafia and telling them what to do and how to do it. Back the police with good intel agencies and state of the art equipment to counter any threat. The local security should be completely taken out of the hands of the army and handed over to the Police. Slowly and gradually push the army to the borders and task them with the responsibility of stopping the cross border infiltrations. People who are suggesting an operation like the Tamil tiger should know that Srilanka is very small unlike Baluchistan which is the largest of our provinces. Anytime an operation takes place, the land is too big and the perps simply run away. Tamil tigers didnt have that luxury. Having done this would result in decline of the support that organizations like BLA and LEJ have. Then invite these organizations to revoke their militant wings and allow them to run for office, incorporate them into the political fore and lets see if people give them the mandate. Our media should also play a role in exposing the Indian agencies and their hand in Baluchistan. Their media cries foul and blames ISI everytime a rickshaw backfires in India. I am not in favour of that either but we have to make use of investigative journalism and make sure we substantiate our claims. Those claims should them be presented to the local and international audience as a serious matter. Right now our media is politicised and ineffective, our politicians are corrupt, our armed forces are doing the job of the police (and not doing a good job at it), the police is non-existant and highly corrupt and there is absolutely no development what so ever. What i have said isnt rocket science. In simple terms we need to build our institutions and make them effective and make sure that they do their job and THEIR job only.

IBN-E-ASHFAQUE Jun 18, 2013 08:10pm

@Caz: Only if the bigger neighbour stops its covert and overt actions against Pakistan. In any case India is one country that has issues with all its neighbours.

Naren Jun 18, 2013 08:56pm

@kamran: AMEN

Javed Rahman Jun 18, 2013 09:34pm

To solve the problem of terrorism in Balochistan shoot all terrorist involved in it and also all members of Balochistan Liberation Army which attacked Pakistan foundation by burning Quaid's house in Ziarat. It is time army should be called in to flush the country from these terrorists.

Mustafa Jun 18, 2013 11:09pm

@kamran:Paki himself is responsible of these all, not only politician you all set of administration & cleric are responsible for this , be in int, govt, miletry, mullah.all these ill minded people is been created by yourself for other country & just see now they are killing you, so just stop arming general citizen to instigate problem in neighbor, one day same people will hit you & it is happening.

Mustafa Jun 18, 2013 11:13pm

@Rajab Ali: If they will fill then how can they create a problem in neighbor, ab be sudhar jao yaar, don't let h@ter mullah speak in gathering like Saeed.

Mustafa Jun 18, 2013 11:15pm

@Agha Ata: This is your problem, y Mr .kayani ???? he should come under PM & adher a PM decision, stop giving power to Milletry people that what you are doing from last 60 year.if you continue like this Allah know what will happen with you guys, May Allah bring peace in your region & Mind.

Abdul H Quraishi Jun 19, 2013 12:10am

@Deb: Speak for yourself, I want open borders and jailed criminals.

HYadav Jun 19, 2013 07:15am

Initially they were blaming BLF and India for the attacks.... Pakistanis are so stereotypical they know who did it.... they are finding not showing what they said before

Aziz Jun 19, 2013 09:28am

Involve the Baloch in the rebuilding of Balochistan and Pakistan as a nation.

Give them respect and dignity. Give them love and give them decent living and employment, education and health. Involve our angry brothers and sisters by admitting that we have treated them badly. They are our people and we are them.

Balochistan is Pakistan too!

jaffri Jun 19, 2013 09:57am

1) Sectarian issue is very old in Pakistan. It culminted when federal govenment under leadership of Zulfiqar Bhutto started deciding who is muslim and who is not. Since then it is fanned by successive federal governments. People are still deciding this question by violent means. Solution: federal government should stop interfering with people's believes and declare neutrality towards all religions and sects. Sectarianism will fade away when economic agendas will be main issues in federal elections 2) Nationalist issue is also very old in Pakistan. First Baloch nationalists were hanged in 1958. A series of martial laws have fanned nationalism among smaller nations because martial law is not a representative government. Solution: No further violation of constitution. Repeated elections will bring all elements into mainstream politics

Mobashir Ahmad Jun 19, 2013 11:10am

I have lived in Muslimbagh and worked in this area and in the area of Wad, near Khuzdar, from 1986 to 1989, both areas are in Baluchistan. The people, Pathans in the fomer and Baluchis in the latter are both "very good people." I believe that the provincial and federal authorities need to get the support of the local people by getting their views on the problems facing them. These local people need education, hospitals, and jobs from the authorities. Secondly, the leadership structure of these areas needs to be dismantled, that is the local tribal leaders need to be removed. The leaders in these areas exploit the poor people and also give them improper advice, which results in terrible events. If the government can get the support of the local people, then this is the best defense, as these people can and will eliminate the terrorists, if they believe that the government is honest; which it hasn't been thus far. As far as the terrorist organizations are concerned, there should be no mercy shown on the perpetrators as they have "murdered" innocent citizens, bombed a hospital and destroyed a historical landmark of Pakistan. Thus, the solution is to get the support of the locals and provide them with the basic necessities of life which they are not getting at present. Incidentally, I was the General Manager of Pakistan Chrome Mines Ltd., and one of my associates was Mr. Ghulam Mohammad, a local Pathan in Muslimbagh who was my lead Group Manager. I talked to him a few months ago and I am happy to know that his son is now a professor at the Baluchistan University. Yes, progress can be made but it has to be through leadership by example and by helping the people of Baluchistan in realizing that government can help them not just be a nuisance.

Ehsan Jun 19, 2013 04:51pm

As long as you keep ignoring the Khaki elephant in the room, there will be NO solution. For 60+ years, you have been trying to kick the baloch into submission. It didn't work. But you keep on trying the same and LYING about it shamelessly and repeatedly ("There is no military operation going on in Balochistan: EVERY CHIEF FAUJI / ISPR). You should have had learnt from '71 but no....This is INSANITY, literally!

Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Was reading Challenges faced by Dr. Malik only a few days ago here and found this bit a bit funny:

The Baloch did not turn out to vote. And, the kill-and-dump atrocities that have been the norm rather than the exception continue....

Every one knows that even if we accept the jali votes, still only 5% of the people voted. Put another way, 95% DID NOT VOTE. Yet we keep calling this a legitimate election? (what was fumny was Dr Malik stating that and yet considering himself to be the legitimate Chief Minister? LOL) As long as you keep pretending PML-N is the most popular party (PML-Q in the last election), you are NOT looking for a solution. Period. Of course the kill-and-dump atrocities have not only continued but escalated and yet you continue to brush it under the rug or literally celebrate it and encourage it.

Usual LIES told by the media (and repeated here): -- It is India/Raw doing it -- It is the Sardars' fault -- It is the Americans/CIA/Mossad spreading it

I am sure there is some truth in it but these are all "symptoms" but the "disease" wears Khaki. And the disease contagious and spreading in the North West under the pretense of inoculation aka "War of Terror" ....So soon you will have TWO "Balochistans" to worry about :)

Dolat Khan Jun 19, 2013 08:26pm

Balochistan has to fight its existential fight, no matter what would be the cost. This fight for the soul of a nation to grow is already more than 100 yrs late, let them fight their war and come out strong and recognized in the world. It is not your matter rest of Pakistan, i appreciate your concern Pakistanis brothers and sister and your comments no matter for or against us. But we have decided to fight our war and not let it go this time, we can not afford anymore to avoid this existential struggle and left it for our coming generations. this generation has to perish for our next generations to live in honor in this world. Let us fight our overdue war my enemy brothers and sisters:)

Salman Jun 19, 2013 08:48pm

Parliament should rise up & issue a notice to security agencies for the failure in Baluchistan. Army Chief should be questioned in writing about security lapses in Baluchistan. Army should be advised very humbly that it should not create a 1970/71 East Pakistan situation in Baluchistan. They should be advised not to fight with their own people. Their present mind-set only lead towards direct clash with the masses of today's Baluchistan & perhaps tomorrow with Punjab & rest of the provinces.

naseem Jun 20, 2013 12:51am

@Naru: India has a long history of poking its nose in its neighbors affairs. Don't tell us that your hands are clean. Remember East Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhuttan, to name a few. What about your own insugencies and the brutal crack down.

fazalpai Jun 20, 2013 03:02pm

In my opinion, the only solution is an action against the illegal arms, and banning on legal weapons until the result achieved. This may apply to any worst affected city or province. Having weapons with someone PUMPS his approach to feel a heavyweight or don. IMPARTIALITY IS THE ONLY REQUIREMENT, which, very sad to say not found in any responsible stakeholders.