A wind of change in Balochistan

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Dr Muhammad Khan

BALOCHISTAN Province, constituting 43% of Pakistani landmass, remained disturbed for over a decade owing to lack of development, low literacy rate, bad governance coupled by regional and international conspiracies. The people of the province are very simple, loyal and dedicated but largely unaware, thus easy to be exploited. The exploiters on the other hand are mostly foreign sponsored, act as tool and make use of the poor masses to further the agenda of their sponsors. This misleading campaign continued for years and years until there came a realization among the people about the conspiracies, they were plunged into in the name of Baloch nationalism.
In last few years, there has been visible change in the outlook of the province, which can be attributed to the awareness among the people of Balochistan. The masses have started rejecting those elements and their anti-state narratives, which mislead them and kept them backward for decades. The people of the province are now more vigilant and futuristic about their youth and development of their respective areas. Now they support development of their area, education for their children and civic facilities for the masses. The betrayed masses seriously regret their past practices at the hands of the few locals and their foreign sponsors. As witnessed, many armed groups have surrendered their activities and requested the authorities for their mainstreaming after they publically laid-down their arms, denouncing the militancy.
This realization has been felt from the top to bottom; the deceived masses as well as the betrayed leadership of the province. Sincere Baloch leaders from inside and from abroad have always expressed their concerns about Indian sponsored insurgency in Balochistan. In this regards, it is worth mentioning that, Dr Jumma Khan Marri, a self-exiled Baloch nationalist leader and intellectual has recently parted ways from Baloch separatist elements like Brahamgagh Bugti, Hyrbyar Marri and Mehran Marri accusing them of being completely controlled by Indian intelligence agency RAW. One of the main reasons for Dr Jumma Khan’s changed stance is the exposure of India in support of Baloch unrest. Lately, revelations from Chairman of American Friends of Balochistan, Mr Ahmer Masti Khan have caused real embarrassment for those fighting Pakistani state in Balochistan. As a matter of fact the startling revelations of Mr Ahmer Masti have exposed the entire game plan of RAW hatched since 2001 to stage terrorism in Balochistan.
Besides, there are news that the RAW is lifting her hands off the so called Baloch insurgent leaders considering them useless and ineffective. The leadership of these organizations and intellectual front-men have failed to satisfy their masters about their usefulness. There are reports that the RAW is focusing on younger generation and opting for soft revolutions. Fortunately for Pakistan, they have failed to find a Manzoor Pashteen in Baloch youngsters. Baloch people have thoroughly understood that the so called Baloch insurgent leaders sitting and enjoying abroad are sincere to none other but to their personal self. Those chanting slogans of freeing Balochistan are paid for each slogan and for each poster. Those playing in the hands of RAW also need to lay down arms and join the mainstream like Dr Jumma Khan for the development of the province and education of youth.
There is a visible change in the province with return of normalcy; a wind of peace, stability, awareness and economic prosperity. The farsighted people of the province get the credit of this change; after all, nothing could have been possible without their willingness, since they rejected the militancy and RAW sponsored centrifugal forces. Nevertheless, the Federal Government and Provincial Government have played their roles for promoting peace and stability in the province. Whereas, the role of civil government (s); federal and provincial has been admirable, this wave of massive change and return of normalcy in the province could not have been possible without the dedicated and hectic efforts of Pak Army, ISI and Frontier Corps Balochistan.
Indeed, over the years, the local populace of province was misled through various misperceptions, created against the state and Military through vested interests. It is to be mentioned that, the province has been host of foreign conspiracies for years and years, immediately after Pakistan came into being. In order to do-away with these misperceptions, the military created a campaign of awareness among the local masses through education. The awareness campaign was followed by motivation for the mainstreaming of the masses and particularly of those elements, who were betrayed and adopted militancy as a profession.
The awareness campaign led the people, involved in militancy to lay-down their arms and join mainstream to spend a normal life. This strategy of Pak Army has indeed proved effective, motivational and futuristic for the mislead class of the province. The most significant and the needed aspect was the promotion of basic education among the masses of rural Baloch population. Armed forces of Pakistan, established a number of educational institutions and in many cases, the willing youth were taken to various cantonments by Army, Navy and PAF for better education, with bordering and lodging afforded by the military.
With the upcoming of Gwadar Port and CPEC, the people of Balochistan Province are going to be benefitted more and more. There would be more economic opportunities for the youth of the province. The local youth need to learn the skills and get acquainted with technological know-how. Involvement of the local educated and skilled manpower would further address the local grievances of the province. Let’s hope that the few betrayed self-exiled leaders, still outside will join back the province soon to play a constructive role for the future of province in particular and Pakistan as a whole.
— The writer, Professor of Politics and International Relations, is based in Islamabad.

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