‘Wooing the angry Balochs’

A recent Op-Ed in local English daily by the same title has provided ample evidence of Indian meddling in Balochistan. The author has quoted studies conducted by renowned research organizations like Rand Corporation and a leading US expert on South Asia, Christine Fair’s analysis, in which she provides eye witness accounts of Indian Consulates in Iranian town Zabul, bordering Pakistan and along the Durand Line in Afghanistan, teeming with Indian RAW operatives conducting their clandestine missions under the garb of consular activities. He provides a long list of Indian heinous aims in Balochistan as well as overt and covert evidences available with the Pakistan Government about the complicity of few angry tribal chieftains with India in fomenting trouble in Balochistan. Towards the end of his detailed study, he makes recommendations for the Government of Pakistan to counter the Indian machination.

The fact remains that Balochistan has been a neglected province, both by successive federal governments as well as the Balochis at the seat of the provincial government. The rot could have been stemmed, if the federal government had taken the bold step of banning feudalism in Pakistan as India did just after independence. The feudal lords in Pakistan and more so in Balochistan have been ruling their fiefs with stern authoritarianism. They have ensured that their serfs as well their progeny remain ignorant, uneducated and backward, lest they demand their rights. The woes of the angry Balochis have multiplied because a majority of the development projects in the past have either been sabotaged or scuttled, with corrupt officials pocketing the development funds. The people of Balochistan have not benefited even from the resources that are available to them in Balochistan. The Sui Gas, various minerals, including the gold and copper mines at Reko Diq, all have either been utilized by other provinces, with little or no royalty to the Balochistan province or the rights of mining have been sold for a song without the gains accruing to the ordinary Baloch.The Daily Mail opines that the situation in Balochistan continues to remain uncertain and volatile, seeking immediate attention of the authorities concerned. To win over the public support, there is a need to improve governance in Balochistan. It is imperative that the media takes up the cudgel to educate masses about the consequences/costs of insurgency as India continues to instigate few leaders for her own nefarious designs, as mentioned in the exposé above.

Balochs are patriotic people and they will frustrate all hostile efforts to destabilize Balochistan if they are told the truth. The media must produce more research based studies to project the Indian role through invisible means using her Consulates in Afghanistan, to create unrest in Balochistan. Once the nefarious designs of India are unearthed, this will help reduce anti army feelings in Balochistan intensified by Indian propagandists. The Armed Forces of Pakistan have made a significant contribution towards the socio-economic uplift of Balochistan province and bringing the Baloch youth into the mainstream through their induction in Armed Forces. The involvement of external forces and nefarious designs of anti-state elements operating in Balochistan have exploited some angry and disgruntled Baloch elements. Some of these nationalist leaders have become instrumental in the hands of foreign forces and are working against the interests of Pakistan. They can be won over not by coercion or force but through reason and proof of the development programs and uplift endeavours launched by Pakistan Army. The Chamalang Education Programme, Sui Education City, Balochistan and Gawadar Institutes of Technical Education, Kassa Hills Marble Project and the Army’s enhanced recruitment from Balochistan are but a few examples. All segments of society must realize that situation in Balochistan is getting tense day by day. The province has been targeted by our worst enemy India and other likeminded states. The negative slide in Balochistan situation demands real reconciliatory steps/actions, which can be enhanced through collective efforts. – Dailytimes