Murky Politics in Balochistan

Editorial written by me for Daily Balochistan Express on 6th August, 2018

Vistas of political landscape in Balochistan are yielding different colours following the general elections 2018. Apparently many parties have been crying foul to contest the results of elections throughout country; case in Balochistan is not different in any way. With majority seats in her lap, the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), hitherto an unknown player in the murky corridors of politics in Balochistan, has been reaching out other parties and independent candidates to be able to achieve simple majority for formation of government in the province.

Two other parties, MMA, the alliance of religio-political parties and Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP) led by Sardar Akhter Mengal are in a manovouring position with 10 and 7 seats respectively in the Provincial Assembly. Whereas BNP has taken a principled stance over some issues that require immediate attention by any party in the government, their alliance with PTI seems less likely either in province or centre.

Addressing to a press conference at Islamabad, Mengal announced his six points that included, among others the repatriation of Afghan refugees honourably to their country sooner than later, 70 percent share on the revenue on all the resources extracted from Balochistan, redress of reservations on CPEC and missing persons’ safe recovery to their homes.

Whether PTI or BAP after formation of their governments at centre and province respectively would heed any of his six points in the future or not is for the time to tell but it must be clear that as long the genuine issues of Balochistan are not addressed peacefully through political means, the province and its people would continue to suffer.

No cosmetic measures are going to pacifying the political temperature in a province that has been ragged by poverty, corruption, lack of development and years of intermittent insurgencies with subsequent military operations, to say the least.

Balochistan perhaps has not seen a genuine and popularly elected government in the saddle for a decade and half. Very unfortunate as it is, the political patterns of the province had been decided by who rules in the centre.

For instance, PML-Q ruled the province during Mushraf’s controlled democracy and majority of the leaders occupying treasury benches in the then assembly enjoyed the good will and patting of the established centres of power at centre.

The elections of 2008 were not different in any way as Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP), winning majority in the centre, turned out to be in a government forming position in the province for the first time.

The rule of PPP from 2008 to 2013 was one of the most devastating with a CM who often sounded non-serious on the issues that faced Balochistan. The hydra-headed monster of terrorism, suicide bombings, presence of various splinter groups of Taliban, issues of missing persons, enforced disappearances, kidnapping for ransom, target killing incidents and numerous other ills were the rule of the day during those times.

It was the time when Frontier Corps (FC) were delegated the power of police to control the situation as police had suffered colossal losses owing to lack of modern equipment, training and funding to cope up with the non-traditional warfare.

There came the government of National Party (NP) and PML-N as a result of notorious Mari Deal. The people of Balochistan initially celebrated a middle class man Dr. Malik as CM but their hopes were soon shattered when the Mari Deal was exposed. PML-N government in the centre and PML-N government in the province with the same players who had been shifting their political affiliations with the changing circumstances was placed in the province. Nothing tangible was achieved apart from some cosmetic measures such as sports festivals, some songs on Pakistani nationalism in local languages and surrenders that were contested by many.

The scale of corruption, lawlessness, poverty and terrorism could not be abated. Needless to mention the arrest bureaucrat who had troves of wealth at his house, the malaises manifested their ugly face in the incidents such as Mastung and Sariab incident.

As rise of political parties to the governing seat was questioned in 2002, 2008 and d2013, the rise of current majority party too is seen with suspicious eyes by political pundits of the province. However, if it succeeds in addressing the core issues of Balochistan, it would have the history spare it in the future or else history spares none.

 

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