THIS is apropos of your editorial ‘Wrong diagnosis’ (June 4). Of course, the underlying causes of the Balochistan unrest haven’t been properly explored.
Often, the so-called sardars have been accused of hindering the non-existent development process in the province and thus ‘deliberately’ keeping the people indigent and impoverished. But this reason doesn’t hold much water because a significant portion of Baloch society have no sardar and a few sardars that are still present actually hold limited power confined to a very small number of their respective tribes.
The actual guilt for the Balochistan mess lies with the Punjab-dominated establishment that is unwilling to concede legitimate rights of smaller provinces; and the kind of mindset that has ever disregarded the wishes and aspirations of the people living on the peripheries of the state.
The fundamental source of distress, unrest and perplexity in Balochistan is political mismanagement and not economic deprivation.
In his recent visit to Quetta, Prime Minister Gilani has recounted steps that his government has taken to economically enpower the unfortunate province like restructuring the NFC award and providing jobs to the youth.
But these steps are meaningless because the problem of Balochistan is essentially political. Had the economy been the sole concern of the Baloch, then the Balochistan package would certainly have yielded some positive results but it didn’t.
The solution of the Balochistan question is increasingly growing complex as more and more middle class educated youths refuse to embrace, what the say, oppressive Pakistani state that is bluntly encroaching upon their fundamental rights.
Here are a few measures that may be helpful in removing the overwhelming sense of alienation, victimisation and anger found among the people of Balochistan. And if these steps do not bring them back into the national mainstream and win back their trust, then perhaps nothing can.
a) The fundamental rights of the individuals shall urgently be restored with the prime focus on the Articles 9, 10 and 10A of the 1973 Constitution.
b) All missing persons shall urgently be located and recovered; those responsible for their ‘enforced disappearances’ shall be held to account and severe punishment be awarded to perpetrators of such a heinous crime.
c) Provincial autonomy shall be granted to all provinces, including Balochistan, on the pattern of Northern Kurdistan in Iraq.
d) All federating units shall truly be made financially independent by giving them 100 per cent control over their natural resources and seaports; they shall have the power to use them the way they want.
e) Constitutional and international guarantees like that of the UN shall be provided to all federating units as to the protection of provincial autonomy.