Balochistan’s slide into veritable anarchy and chaos is hardly difficult to ignore. There has been much comment on it everywhere. But it is rather frightening when a top official of the land himself concedes that the province is in a state of anarchy, and asks why the government is doing nothing about this. The Governor of Balochistan, Zulfikar Ali Magsi, appeared genuinely upset by the situation as he spoke to a delegation of the Hazara Democratic Party, which had called on him to protest the repeated incidents of targeted killing in the province. Six more members of the besieged community, as well as a police constable were killed on April 13, taking the toll to over two dozen dead in the past few weeks. That these killings continue to happen again and again means that either the law-enforcement agencies are completely inept, or complicit. The governor’s warning that civil war could lie ahead is a frightening one. Certainly the warning appears to be one that carries weight.
The fact that the governor has spoken openly, without restraint or the mincing of words, may perhaps have a silver lining. He has asked why the deaths continue in the presence of the Frontier Corps and police, deployed across Quetta and also other cities. This is certainly a question many of us would like to ask, and also get good answers to. The state of affairs in Balochistan is worsening as we watch. This is not something that can be tolerated — with distrust and hatred worsening by the day. The governor has warned that if things do not improve the army will need to be called out. This is something we need to avoid given the Baloch distrust for the military, as well as the paramilitary FC. While it is clear the killing spree needs to end, the question arises also of the need to think out a longer term solution for the province. They need to be dealt with in an organised manner, with all parties involved, so that a way can be found to restore the calm Balochistan so badly needs and restore peace to a province in chaos. A first much-needed step will be a halt to the abductions of suspected troublemakers.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 16th, 2012.