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WHILE Gen Kayani’s statement on Friday that no military operation was under way in Balochistan may be technically correct, the reality is that the province is far from stable. And the way the military — specifically its intelligence apparatus — has handled the separatist insurgency has had a large part to play in fuelling Balochistan’s discontent. Speaking at a Defence Day event at Sui Military College in Dera Bugti, the army chief said that the military had stopped work on building additional cantonments in the province. He added that Baloch youth were being enrolled in army-run educational institutions and were also being recruited in the armed forces in greater numbers. These are all positive steps. Yet any goodwill such gestures generate is negated when Baloch activists go ‘missing’ and the dumping of their corpses continues. BNP-M leader Akhtar Mengal, who recently re-entered electoral politics, told newsmen some days ago that nothing has changed since the new provincial government took over. The Baloch politician added that a “fifth operation” was continuing in the province. Even the Supreme Court has reprimanded the Frontier Corps — headed by army officers — for failing to resolve the missing persons’ issue.

Balochistan’s problems are complex and many, ranging from separatist and sectarian militancy to poverty and lack of development. We have repeatedly said that extrajudicial counter-insurgency methods have only alienated the province further. The security apparatus can play a positive role by addressing allegations that it quietly supports kill-and-dump tactics by cracking down on any such impunity within its ranks. The provincial government has also to get its act together and be given the freedom to pursue a political solution to the Balochistan crisis. The federal government, which seems to have left the province to its own devices, must also play a more visible role in addressing the province’s myriad issues. Combined and sustained efforts from all these stakeholders will create the ground from where the reconciliation process in Balochistan can begin. Statements and photo opportunities will mean little otherwise.

Comments (4) Closed

Gohar Sep 08, 2013 11:03am

There is no seperatist insurgency in Balochistan. There just terrorists groups who are against development and who terrorize the poor people of Balochistan. This article is not factual. Also, Balochi's like myself want development, prosperity and living standards like the rest of Pakistan. Unfortunately, some illiterate and misguided people use violence as a means to express their disatisfaction. Also, the majority of royalties should go to the province or region from where the produce is coming from! Just saying!

Feroz Sep 08, 2013 11:56am

stop blaming the civilian Government in Baluchistan. There is nothing it can do to stop disappearances as it does not hold the Guns.

Ijaz Sep 08, 2013 10:51pm

@Gohar: Bro Happy to hear what you said but Unfortunately, unless the people of Balochistan work by themselves for creating a parity in social structures (Sardar / Clan culture Vs Commercial / business culture) the development disparity will remain there. This difference you can even see in areas within Punjab, Sindh and KPK. Hope you will try to see positive in my words instead of trying to defend stubbornness in certain cultures

Omer Sep 09, 2013 02:20am

@Gohar: Kudos Mr Gohar! Most of these "disappeared persons" can be found in the terrorists' training camps across the eastern and western borders. I fully agree that the situation has been created and being accentuated by handful of myopic sardars who want to keep the great Baloch in perpetual slavery.