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What went wrong in Balochistan?

Senator Sanaullah Baloch


What went wrong in Balochistan?

The situation in Balochistan has reached its lowest ebb since the military operation began in Balochistan in January 2005. The entire province is besieged; provincial government is abandoned, where the centre is directing the policies at its own will with the gun and stick by terming it development, assistance and people’s betterment. The establishment has itself opened up a war inside Balochistan at all fronts. This has resulted in increasing polarization between the Baloch population and the federal government particularly with military.

The much-talked about Parliamentary Committee on Balochistan formed in September 2005 was supported and backed by all Baloch Nationalists Parties. According to the resolution passed in both houses of parliament, the timeframe for the committee to finalize its report was 90 days. Its first meeting was held on 7th October 2004, it was decided that two sub committees were to be formed, with the task of looking into the current crisis in Balochistan and second committee was assigned to look into the issue of larger provincial autonomy.

I, as a member of sub-committee on current crisis, presented my detail presentation to the committee on 12th October, and all members agreed to the issues, like Gas Well Head Price (Balochistan-47/MBTU. Punjab222/MBTU), excess of Para-military forces in Balochistan through their illegal 700 check posts, allotments in Gwadar district, Cantonments issue, jobs in natural resources related departments, and major socio-economic plan for uplifting of common population of Balochistan.

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What went wrong in Balochistan?

The committee failed to implement 10-point CBMs approved in the first meeting, which were initially introduced to gain the public confidence on the committee’s working. The CBMs were about releasing some political activists, removing Para-military check posts from the civilian areas, cancelling land allotments in Gwadar, and stopping intelligence agencies from interfering in political affairs of the province. Instead of adopting CBMs, in November 2005 Police and Intelligence agencies picked up more than 300 political activists of BNP and other nationalist parties in November2005. In the last 56 years out of 23 governors, 13 have been sent from outside to govern Balochistan, and they have proved more problematic. This time again, Governor, IG Police, IG FC, Heads of all intelligence agencies have been sent from outside and assigned a tough task to eliminate Baloch democratic forces which are demanding control on socio-economic and political policies of province. These unwisely and hasty decisions of federal government further fueled the frustration in province. Baloch websites have been banned, name of most of the Baloch political leaders are on exit control list, families of prominent politicians have been victimised. Baloch TV channel was banned and men behind the establishment of TV channel were picked up from Karachi airport are still missing. Common social and political businessmen affiliated with Baloch struggle arrested or picked up by the agencies have disappeared. These frustrated moves from agencies against the Baloch families further raised the anti-government and ant-military sentiments in province. The absence of rule of law and neglecting of the basic human rights is creating more insecurity among the

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What went wrong in Balochistan?

population,

instead

of

respect

and

support

for

government.

Government and officials cannot get rid of the Balochistan issue through filtering news and blocking access to the media in the region. Picking up political activists and killing people will not be helpful for long term solution of Balochistan problem. The following steps can provide peace and stability in the province. (a) Immediate cease fire in the conflicting areas of Balochistan between government and fighting forces. (b) Release and appearance of all abducted Baloch social, political and tribal elders. (c) Withdrawal of Para-military forces from the civilian areas. (d) Deputing politically more wise and indigenous politicians on important positions in Balochistan. (e) Intelligence agencies? work should be limited. (f) Engaging all political parties in dialogue regarding long-standing political and economic issues of province. (g) Blame game must be stopped and patriot Baloch politicians should not be blamed as anti-state and (h) Balochistan political and economic issues should not be mixed up or confused with tribalism.

The writer is a member Senate from Balochistan

PUBLISHED IN THE NATION, PAKISTAN SATURDAY, AUGUST 5, 2006

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What went wrong in Balochistan 2006