BALUCHISTAN: The Other Side of the Picture

 By Abdullah Khan

Half-truth is always more dangerous than full lie. Unfortunately a section of our national media is telling half-truth about Baluchistan issue. The ‘truth tellers’ insist that the public should accept their half-truth as full picture of the issue. I don’t know real motives behind this practice as I am not a believer of conspiracy theories however, apparent victim of this ‘truth telling’ campaign is the credibility of our security forces and intelligence agencies. Without highlighting the role of regional and extra regional forces in destabilizing Baluchistan all the blames are leveled against institutions of national security. Human rights violations by the militants active in the province.

The other side of the picture is that for achieving their long term vested interests against Pakistan a well-orchestrated campaign is unleashed by the regional and extra regional powers inimical to Pakistan`s politico-economic and security interests. There is hardly anyone talking of the good works done by the government and state institutions. The improvements of communication infrastructure, Gwadar Port, Dams, establishment of Cadet Colleges, ever increasing enrolment of Baloch youth into the Armed Forces and educating Baloch youth in prime institutions all over the country are few to mention. Bulk of elected representatives from Baluchistan province in national as well as provincial assembly is Baloch.

Those playing into the hands of Pakistan’s enemies are a fraction of the Baloch population in the province. Why after all this small fraction and its leadership sitting abroad through well thought-out plans are visibly more effective than the majority, needs to be pondered at by the media and civil society. Who whisked away Braham Dagh Bugti from Kabul to Switzerland and who has stationed Herbyar Marri in London with almost no resources of their own as confessed by themselves and maintaining princely life style are some queries that patriotic Pakistanis must raise at every forum. Beside the role being played by forces hostile to the interests of Pakistan, our federal and provincial leadership cannot absolve itself from providing the much needed fodder to this tiny fraction through their sheer inefficiency and criminal negligence of not giving Baluchistan its due focus. Where has the impact of Aaghaz-e-Hqqoq-e-Balochistan, the NFC Award and Eighteenth Amendment been lost? Who is responsible? Is there anyone to answer? While the role played by Intelligence agencies and Law Enforcement Agencies may need improvement and more coordination with the political arm, these institutions are subjected to a well thought-out negative campaign by the visible and invisible hands to tarnish their image in the eyes of common people which is part of a greater design. So what needs to be done?

• Through APC and institutional input a National Vision Statement for Baluchistan be formulated which should be relentlessly pursued both in policy formulation and subsequent execution.

• An across the board developmental program needs to be initiated impacting the common people without any further loss of time. Health, education and employment opportunities should lead the priority list. Any price to be paid is considered less.

• While doing the above, the views and input of tribal elders must be respected and accommodated.

• Inter-tribal/intra-tribal disputes/enmities should be addressed through a commonly agreed council of elders.

• Isolate those elements not wanting to be working with in the constitution of Pakistan through the visible developmental work for winning the hearts and minds of common people while leaving a door open for them to return into the mainstream at will.

• Main stream media should be regularly briefed in camera by the security agencies exposing the role of foreign players.

• The role of foreign/ foreign funded NGOs should be subjected to strict scrutiny in Baluchistan.

• Through diplomatic efforts the liberty of action and role of Indian consulates operating at Zahidan in Iran and Qandahar and Jalalabad in Afghanistan be minimized or preferably closed as these consulates hardly perform any counselor functions.

• Atrocities committed by the nationalist militants should be highlighted in mainstream media. This step is important to cope with the negative and one-sided propaganda against our national institutions.

The writer is Director at the Conflict Monitoring Center Islamabad

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