DESPITE governor’s rule being imposed in the province and the provincial government having been suspended, the Balochistan Assembly convened on Tuesday to denounce these actions. The move by the Balochistan Assembly is unlikely to change the constitutional position in the province — the presidential order is very much in line with the constitution and no court is likely to pay heed to the assembly members’ contentions because the Supreme Court has effectively already declared that the provincial government had lost the right to rule. However, what Tuesday’s little show in the assembly has done is underline a more important question: now that governor’s rule has been imposed, what next? For now, no clear roadmap to restoring security in Balochistan has been issued. The governor has given the chief secretary of the province the authority to make the necessary personnel changes in the administrative and police set-up and also to identify the areas in which some kind of targeted clean-up will be required. Some raids have already been conducted and with a more purposeful leadership at the helm — rather than the desultory chief ministership of Aslam Raisani — there is likely to be somewhat better security in place to protect the Hazara Shia community that is under siege and some attempt to go after the individuals involved in the killing and bombing of Hazaras.
Beyond that, though, it is difficult to see what the governor can do. The utter failure of the Raisani government was clear enough and indefensible but the real problem remains unaddressed: the security policy in Balochistan has effectively been dictated by the army-led establishment for years now and space for the civilians has been virtually non-existent. The security forces have their own grievances, in particular the lack of effective anti-terrorism laws and the superior judiciary’s attempts to curb illegal detentions, which have hamstrung the security forces’ attempts to bring further stability to the province — at least as far as the security forces are concerned. From the rampaging anti-Shia killers to a lingering separatist insurgency to the rise of criminality, Balochistan’s security problems are intense — and a solution far from at hand.