|Khushhal (prosper) Balochistan, Mazboot (strong) Pakistan
Daily: Daily Times
The intellectual horizons of a community do matter to determine the boundaries of its
identity and association. Deprive the community of education and mobility and you will find
a restructuring of its intellectual horizon. Parochialism – ethnic nationalism – will rear its ugly
head and political sphere will shrink to be local in character. Reverse the phenomenon.
Expose the (local) community to the means of literacy (such as schools and colleges) and
to the means of mobility (such as roads and railways) and find the emergence of a national
community instead. That will be a community eager to join the mainstream thought and
process. The problem of Balochistan is sequestered in this cause-and-effect equation.
It seems to be the strategy of the federation to christen the unrest an insurgency and then
quash it: the cause cannot be addressed so suppress the symptoms. By the way, what is
being suppressed: an insurgency or unrest? The federal government is not interested in
looking for the causes of the unrest and the security forces are out to quell that unrest in
the name of insurgency. This is the story of Balochistan.
Just for the sake of academic discussion, even the unrest is considered an insurgency the
question is what the reasons are that have prompted the Baloch to resort to an insurgency.
Is the reason for the insurgency that Balochistan has become self-sufficient economically
and wants to disassociate itself from the poor rest to keep on treading the path of
prosperity and progress? Or, is the reason for the insurgency that Balochistan is lagging
behind in prosperity and progress and wants to get its due share and attention? Honesty
should prevail over all else. The past of Balochistan is laden with the incidents of
deprivation and consequent dejection. The frequent military operations have added fuel to
the fire. The unrest in Balochistan is a symptom of deep hatred against the policies of the
Centre. Can the strategy of treating symptoms yield fruit in Balochistan?
The federation should find out the reasons why the Baloch are still unhappy with the spate
of apologies (made by politicians) and still dissatisfied with the Balochistan package and the
7th NFC Award. Perhaps, the federation is failing to reach out to the common Baloch.
The federation through its long arms has been trying to suppress the Baloch unrest. The
strategy might have been a successful strategy when the Cold War era was prevalent and
the world had yet to experience globalization but when the means of communication have
grown immense and diverse, sticking to the policy of suppression may not work. Whatever
happens in Balochistan is splashed across the global news and information channels in
seconds and in most of the cases those incidents have been bringing a bad name to
Pakistan. Websites, blogs, Twitter, Facebook and whatnot have been revealing the plight of
the Baloch. Is Pakistan waiting for the international community to speak on behalf of the
Baloch? If that happens, the issue of the missing persons and mutilated dead bodies in
Balochistan will be embarrassing for Pakistan. The defence analysts who appear on
national TV talk shows to defend the position of the military on Balochistan will cut a sorry
Loyalty to a country is blind no doubt but then why the Pakistanis are emigrating to Canada
and other western countries. The naturalization process makes it mandatory on all
immigrants to pledge allegiance to the host country. Why are Pakistanis ready to take an
oath of new loyalties? The answer is it is economic prosperity that matters now; it is a
secure future that is valued now; it is an honourable survival that is required now. Not blind
loyalty but the stakes in the system are taking precedence over all other affairs. What
stakes do the Baloch have in the national economic and political system?
The question is why development work is not being undertaken in Balochistan. Why is
Balochistan deprived of roads and a communication network? Why are basic health units
not being constructed in Balochistan? An interesting question is: why has the army (and not
the provincial or federal government) taken upon itself to build schools in Balochistan? If
the army has to do the job of maintenance of law and order in Balochistan and if the army
has to do the work of provision of social amenities for the Baloch, what is the job of the
Smuggling is the bane of Balochistan. It is said that Balochistan has a parallel economy
dependent on smuggling. Local tribal heads and certain politicians are involved in
smuggling. The role of the police is confined to the municipalities while the rural area is
traditionally policed by the Levies. The ill-gotten money through smuggling is squeezing the
incentive out of local economic activity. The Chaman check post is considered a hub of
The Bolan area offers a lot for the generation of an economic activity. An irrigation network
can be established, cotton crop can be grown, ginning factories can be established and
livestock can be reared to accrue benefits to the local people. There is an urgent need to
generate an economic activity in Balochistan. Further, instead of allowing the army or its
allied departments including the ISI and the FC to remain active, the role of the police, IB
and CID should be strengthened. Balochistan needs to be administered on civilized
administrative terms. Only a prosper Balochistan can be a source of strength for the
federation. Only a progressive Balochistan can materialize the dream of a strong Pakistan.
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