An absence of political will is behind the bleak situation in Balochistan, was the consensus of participants at a discussion forum organised on Tuesday by the Centre for Research and Security Studies (CRSS) on ‘Balochistan: Beyond Government Claims’.
A number of ex-military men, former ambassadors, academics and journalists were part of the forum, chaired by analyst Lt Gen (retd) Talat Masood. Participants called for free and fair elections in the volatile province as the only hope, according to a press release.
Masood, in his opening remarks, outlined how from the enforced accession of Kalat state to Pakistan to the current insurgency in Balochistan, the government never took serious step to tackle the Baloch problem. He added that the government blamed foreign actors for fuelling the insurgency, but it was obvious that foreign powers would play a hand only if provided with the opportunity.
Senator Mir Hasil Bizenjo of Balochistan’s National Party said that everyone was aware of the gravity of the situation in Balochistan but a lack of will and sincerity – both in civilian and military leadership – remains the biggest obstruction. Taking a swipe at Interior Minister Rehman Malik’s recent claims in Senate about the root-causes of the Baloch insurgency, Bizenjo said official thinking was frozen in the 1970s, when Moscow-inspired socialists were leading a nationalist movement in Balochistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 8th, 2012.