Balochistan: Islamabad Must Finally Deal With Situation

In the wake of turbulence in the region, a fact-finding mission recommended the Pakistani government to address the situation in Balochistan by reconciling all members involved.

April 25, 2012

Below is an article published by the Pakistan Observer:

In view of the unrest in Balochistan, the Democracy Assessment Group convened by PILDAT conducted a fact-finding mission to Quetta on April 13-14, 2012. Based on the important points raised by various stakeholders during extensive discussions, the following recommendations have been formulated: The Federal Government should deal with Balochistan situation with the seriousness and urgency it deserves by inviting the heads of all opposition parties, inside and outside Parliament and the Provincial Assemblies, to help formulate a reconciliation strategy strengthened by consensus.

The Prime Minister and Heads of all Opposition political parties must visit Balochistan preferably once every month. There is a need for a more explicit and candid articulation by the Federal Government of its approach to dealing with the unrest in Balochistan. The Federal Government should ensure that civil and military intelligence agencies operate strictly under the discipline of law and officially-declared policy and only for lawful action in support of internal and external security.

Development projects being implemented by the Federal Government should be completed on an accelerated basis. Amongst other projects, priority be given to Gawadar-Ratodero road and the Reko-Diq project. A code of conduct for the Frontier Constabulary as also the Police and the Levies to govern their dealings with the general public should be developed and its implementation should be ensured by the Provincial Government. The Election Commission should ensure the next Elections at the Federal, Provincial and Local levels are held in a free, fair and transparent manner.

The Federal and the Provincial Government should take special measures to ensure that all political parties and stakeholders are facilitated for their unfettered participation in the forthcoming Election. The elected Provincial Government which has so far failed to fulfill its mandate should acknowledge its own share of responsibility and ensure effective governance. Missing persons remain a burning issue. Controversial claims continue to be made with regards to actual numbers and elements responsible. The matter requires to be addressed by the Federal and Provincial Governments and their agencies on a high priority basis. Unless this issue is resolved normalcy is unlikely to be restored.

The size of the Provincial Cabinet should be decreased from its present disproportionate scale to its Constitutional limit. The excessive amount (e.g. Rs. 250 million to each legislator) being allocated for development fund quotas to MPAs should be substantially reduced and reallocated to the Public Sector Development Programme. Funds allocated to MPAs should be subject to rigorous audit. A transparent procedure should be applied for the utilization of such funds.

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