Desperate times

Published: February 25, 2012

Baloch leaders are waiting to see if the amnesty announcement has the blessings of the military establishment.

It would have been hard for the government to miss the fact that the situation in Balochistan has reached dangerous levels. This issue has been in the news throughout the world and has also been taken up by the US House of Representatives, as well as courts at home. In the face of growing pressure and after a series of top-level meetings, the government has moved into what would appear to be a critical phase, with Interior Minister Rehman Malik making an offer of amnesty to Baloch leaders including several living overseas. The most prominent among them include Hyrbyair Marri and Brahmdagh Bugti.

Following a meeting on the Aghaz-e-Haqooq-e-Balochistan package, tabled many months ago, the government quite clearly feels it is running out of options. Given the claims that it had made over and over again, of standing up for Baloch rights, some reforms by now had become imperative. The prime minister, interior minister and others involved in the high-level talks seem to hope the voluntary return of key Baloch leaders can allow for new talks and a fresh start to be made in the attempt to stem the rot in Balochistan. But things may not be as simple as they seem. There has been no demonstration of reassurance from Baloch leaders sitting in exile in Dubai, Switzerland, London or elsewhere. Former Balochistan chief minister Akhtar Mengal has declared that the government is “non-serious” while others talk of a “trust deficit”, especially where Rehman Malik is concerned.

Given the institution which actually shapes the Centre’s policy for Balochistan, perhaps, the Baloch leaders are waiting to see if this announcement has the blessings of the military establishment. It would be excellent if that were the case because unless we want to be embarrassed further by lawmakers overseas tabling resolutions on Balochistan, it is definitely about time that the Centre changed its tack completely on the province and got serious about redressing Baloch grievances.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 25th, 2012.

Reader Comments (2)

  • M. B. F. H
    Feb 25, 2012 - 8:41AM

    Baloch issues must be handled by new players with totally new approach. Why? The old approach has failed time and again. There must be some “dramatic” breakthrough with new approach. Keep any offensive or unwelcoming parties outside of the conference, they can always be referred with later if the outcome is not favorable. Atleast prove the skeptical Baloch parties or persons the democratic government is working with honest effort here. It should not be an honor issue for non-participants. The powerful will remain powerful, instead it will make them more legitimate by letting democratic forces work it out among themselves. There of-course will be those who don’t like it anyway it’s served, some want to gain personal or political mileage, few will even become doomsayer. The bottom-line is no one said it will be easy. There is still experienced and fine political leadership present in the country that citizens can be assured they will pull this through, finally. There is no other choice, anyway!

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  • usman786
    Feb 25, 2012 - 4:17PM

    Everyone is fed up with staying united. Pathans, baloch, sindhi, saraikis, muhajir, hazaras, hindko, gilgitis can not tolerate each other. Media is not going in remote areas and every1 is weakening center of gravity – Pak Army although it has more pathans than punjabis.Recommend

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