Misplaced emphasis

BalochistanThe lack of wisdom authorities are showing over the Balochistan issue seems bound to widen the distance between them and the estranged Baloch leadership. The US Congressional hearing and tabling of a resolution on Balochistan has perturbed both our civil and military leadership to the extent that their focus has shifted to other foreign countries where many Baloch nationalist leaders have taken refuge and are living in self-imposed exile. To prevent them from lobbying for their cause in foreign countries, Pakistan has sought assurances from their governments, including Switzerland where one of the main leaders of the Balochistan movement, Brahamdagh Bugti lives. The statement of the Foreign Office spokesperson, Abdul Basit on Friday verifies such efforts. However, such assurances would not withstand the test of reality. In foreign countries where there is rule of law, one’s activities for rights cannot be restricted unless he/she is found guilty of a serious crime or advocating violence.

Recently, the PPP’s top leadership in its meetings with the Chief Minister, Governor and newly elected PPP Senators of Balochistan appeared focused only on development projects in the volatile province, as if the solution of the crisis lies only in this sphere. The approach reflects the government’s miscalculation of the issue’s gravity and misplaced emphasis. Had it been the only matter, the President’s apology to the Baloch and commencement of the Aghaz-e-Haqooq-e-Balochistan package would have yielded the result of mollifying the angry Baloch. The nature of the crisis has grown serious and complicated over decades and calls for sincere and unconditional efforts on the part of the government to address the on the ground harsh realities. Balochistan’s people have been kept impoverished despite being blessed with a land full of enviable natural resources. The province is literally in the control of the Frontier Corps (FC), which has been brutally crushing dissenting voices since long. Forced disappearances and the kill and dump policy are continuing unabated and with impunity. Until these unrelenting practices of repression are ended and the brazen role of the intelligence agencies in Balochistan is reined in, the Baloch nationalists cannot be pacified. The present situation in the province and the reaction of the international community is a natural culmination of the decades-old injustice done to Balochistan. The government has to deliberate upon the issue and act wisely. The passing of the Human Rights Commission Bill, 2012, into law by the Senate restricting the agencies’ illegal activities is praiseworthy. However, only its implementation in letter and spirit would help change the bitter reality.- Dailytimes