Balochistan: Hopes And Realities

Dr Baloch while struggling for the rights of the Baloch people refused to go along with the separatists. He chose to wage a political struggle against all atrocities.

The announcement by Nawaz Sharif to try General ® Musharraf on charges of high treason is the caviar, especially for the Baloch people over some good news which give them hope of better days ahead. More than any, the Baloch hated Musharraf’s total disregard for human life. Akber Bugti’s murder was just the most famous one; otherwise, as we all know, he never tried to stop the phenomenon of missing persons or the turning up of distorted. dead bodies of apolitical and peaceful persons at the doorstep of their family homes.
The appointing of Dr. Malik Baloch as chief minister, Pushto speaking Mohammad Khan Achakzai as governor and add to this the decision to nominate Musharraf as prime accused in Akbar Bugti case, are all psychological factors which should go in somewhat appeasing the ordinary Baloch’s anger against the Islamabad government.
Dr Baloch is a known figure who while struggling for the rights of the Baloch people and the due share of his province in national pie; nevertheless, refused to go along with the separatists. He chose to wage a political struggle against all atrocities. He and his party were the most vocal in raising their voices against the missing person phenomenon and senseless murders. There is a general sense in Balochistan that by appointing Dr Baloch as CM, the civilian government in Islamabad wants to atone for the past wrongs.
The decision by the government to nominate Musharraf as the main accused in Bugti’s murder case, also, serves as sign to the Baloch’s that the days of treating common Baloch and their leaders with disdain are about to be over.
The appointment of Mohammad Achakzai as governor is no less important. Not just that the new governor himself is said to have a clean career as bureaucrat, he is the brother of Mahmood Khan Achakzai and has his backing. Both the scions of the late Abdul Samad Khan Achakzia feel carry a very credible name among the Pashtun population of Balochistan. It has, also, been the demand of Pashtuns that if the chief minister of the province is a Baloch, the governor should be of their ethnicity and vice versa.
Having said so, the above mentioned facts cannot be treated more than Confident Building Measures (CBM). Both the governments in Islamabad and Quetta have to reduce the level of violence and put a stop to the occurrences of men going missing and turning up dead to make the hopes raised come true.
There is a huge factor of anti-Pakistan militants in Balochistan. The different groups though having divergent ideologies seem to be getting funds arms and ammunition from the same parties who are said to be of foreign origin.
Much will depend on our intelligence agencies and the coordination among them. The enemy in Balochistan is not a visible one. It is mostly shadows that suddenly materialize and strike. That is what may have been the cause of the missing persons as these agencies try to catch the militants by doubting almost everyone and trying to squeeze information from them and going to the extreme in the process. This groping in the dark must stop and agencies should be able to have and act upon more precise information and sure footed action. While such actions maybe not out of ill intent, nevertheless, these are illegal and added to popular resentment. It is also true that corrupt officials and moles take advantage of the situation.
The agencies and troops have to be on the same page with the civilian government both in the centre and Balochistan as they fight terrorism. Also the spectre of sectarianism must not be forgotten. The curse has different dynamics and has to be dealt with accordingly. However, one thing is certain that because the criminal mostly are not caught and escape unhurt, crime and terrorism is not for only the rough characters. Even the weaker elements have joined the unruly crowds.
In the coming days we will see on the ground the difference that the recent steps taken by the central and provincial governments. Only restoring peace will satisfy the people there; nothing else.

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