The national conference convened by the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) in Balochistan has produced some excellent advice for the authorities. Lawyers, politicians, representatives of NGOs and human rights activists speaking at the conference called for an end to the role of military and intelligence agencies in Balochistan. Many would agree that the key to the problem lies in the manner in which the agencies have acted in the province and their hand in picking up hundreds of people who have gone missing over the years. The bodies of at least 57 have been found this year alone. It is vital that this process be ended if any kind of peace is to be restored to our most restive province.
The conference also called for a verdict on the key question of who murdered Nawab Akbar Bugti in August 2006. The death of the tribal and nationalist leader led to a spike in the struggle being waged in Balochistan by forces who seek autonomy. Rage runs high over the killings during a military operation and also over the spate of violence by state agencies which continue.
Other discussions on Balochistan were also held and it is clear that there is a need to involve all stakeholders in the province to find some means of restoring normalcy within it. The tactics adopted so far by the government have not worked. The rights package for Balochistan has barely been implemented. This means much more is required for the sake of the health of our federation. The meeting called by the SCBA has raised some very pertinent points. What is vital now is that the authorities recognise that the crisis in Balochistan cannot be resolved unless the agencies are plucked away from the province and other means are adopted to resolve a crisis that continues to grow by the day. Until the killings and disappearances continue, there can be no hope of unraveling the situation that has reduced our largest unit to complete chaos and created so many complexities that it is now increasingly difficult to unravel the web without getting badly bitten.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 11th, 2012.
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