Analysis: Balochistan’s chief problem

Published: May 25, 2013
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I think the decision of choosing the next CM is difficult as the new leadership of the federal government is trying to get the Baloch factions to come to a consensus on one name. PHOTO: NNI

I think the decision of choosing the next CM is difficult as the new leadership of the federal government is trying to get the Baloch factions to come to a consensus on one name. PHOTO: NNI

Good governance in Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa remains one of the critical dimensions of our approach to dealing with our biggest issue: countering militant insurgency. On the appointment of the Chief Minister in K-P, as we all know Khattak’s background and we have all witnessed his words of wisdom in his first press conference, there is really not much to say. 

However, the choice of Balochistan CM remains a tug-of-war. The CM in the last term, who ran the province from Islamabad for five years, was the pro-establishment Baloch sardar, Nawab Aslam Raisani, set in place by the PPP government. He had been elected to the provincial assembly four times by the Raisani tribe in his constituency of Mastung/Quetta.

Running his administration by remote control, especially when the barbaric attacks on the Hazara community generated country-wide sympathy, he never even attempted to condole with them.  As a result, the President had to oust him from his position. Another long sitting CM we can mention is Jan Mohammad Yusouf hailing from the royalty of Lasbela.

Seeing the way the majority of the people live in Lasbela, that alone is enough to tell you about his commitment to his people. These tribal leaders each ‘ruled’ the province for five years at a stretch, while others got shorter terms. In general, there is hardly any evidence, so far, that a Balochistan CM had resolved local problems or demonstrated any commitment whatsoever to the people of Balochistan. In most cases their commitment was restricted to their tribal elites and/or to the establishments who supported them in gaining these positions.

I think the decision of choosing the next CM is difficult as the new leadership of the federal government is trying to get the Baloch factions to come to a consensus on one name. The people of Balochistan have never had a single party that represented their collective interests. This provincial government has always been a weak coalition of several parties. Despite all the glaring issues Balochistan has been allowed to fester for decades under self-promoting tribal chiefs who were born into their position.

The Pakhtuns, by contrast, have achieved greater success through a joint stand.  The Hazaras have also organised under one main front.  The Baloch however remain divided with each of the rival tribes nurturing age-old animosities, and one sardar refusing to accept another. That is the reason many are suggesting Dr Maalik, the head of National Party, as the next CM. He is not a tribal chief, but a Baloch leader who is acceptable to Pakhtuns, Hazaras and a wide range of the Baloch people. He should be acceptable to the Federal Government as well as he is clearly not a separatist and is focused on resolving the political and economic problems rather than grabbing money and power for his tribal elite.

Whether the centre is interested in resolving the problems of Balochistan is a separate discussion, but these problems have become so overwhelming that they can no longer be considered local problems.

Although the political problems of Balochistan are complex, the continued appointment of tribal chieftains has accentuated its problems. Balochistan needs a leader who is backed by a parliament that is serious about resolving these issues.

The rest of Pakistan should be supportive of an open process of dialogue among all parties. The appointment of the next chief minister of Balochistan was never more important than it is today. If the right decision is made, this can be a turning point for Balochistan rather than another round of inept governance from the same fragmented and inept elite tribal leadership.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 25th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (5)

  • Humayun
    May 25, 2013 - 6:45AM

    Pretty decent analysis. Devil is in the details.

    However, I am not sure why Sardars, Khans and Nawabs are always made escape goat. They may be part of the problem but they are not the entire problem. Islamabad, civil and military bureaucracy needs to open up its ears, eyes, mind to really listen (not hear), understand and address.

    Besides, those Sardars, Khans and Nawabs have been enjoying those title with related privilieges not merely as their ‘Birth Right’ but also under the continued Official Recognition, Patrnoage. I my memory serves me right in terms of recent events, Mir Aali Bugti was ecorted by FC to Dera Bugti for official declaration of Tumandar of Bugti Tribe.

    In my view, Balochistanis need to be made stake holder in Pakistan.

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  • raheel khan
    May 25, 2013 - 4:01PM

    i think Dr. Malik shouldnt be allowed as he doesnt have majority of the votes.. the other independent candidates have all joined PML-N president Nawab Sanaullah Zehri, who is also a nominee for the CM Post.. he has also been declared as the leader of the house. so why not him..Recommend

  • Adnan
    May 25, 2013 - 4:24PM

    A very balance article, simply Good one
    National Party chief Dr. Abdul Malik is good politican, I think he is acceptable by more than 60% to 70% population of Balochistan.

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  • Ali Baloch
    May 26, 2013 - 12:00AM

    WOW!!!! is all I could say. Once again another useless article blaming the Sardars, Nawabs and Chiefs and in the end the Baloch people. If we are not united then how does the “esteemed” and “learned” writer explain the 3% turnout in Baloch areas??? The Baloch are united and their leader is Allah Nazar Baloch also a Dr. and also from the Middles Class and from the Mokran Division. The sooner Pakistani people understand this fact the better.

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  • Mansoor Ahmed
    May 26, 2013 - 12:45AM

    Balochistan is a national issue and Balochs need a CM and provincial government fully supported by federal to seriously think and resolve the problems. The sense of negligence from federal governments and establishment is deep routed in Baloch youth and nationalists. Sardar and Nawabs although Balochs but have never been interested in development of Balochistan and its people. We as Balochs remained divided among different groups and refuse to accept each other. All this has been allowed and supported by consecutive federal governments due to their own political interest. Dr. Malik Baloch and his party is sincerely working to unite Baloch as a nation than divided in different tribes. At this point of movement of Balochistan politics, establishment has to realize its years of mistakes and respect the well of Baloch nation choosing a Baloch nationalist leader to govern and fight for Baloch rights.

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