Balochistan is not a security turmoil
IT would be unjust and flawed approach to treat Balochistan as a mere security crisis. This instead of solving the already deteriorated state, has further exacerbated the issue.
Balochistan is seen from the glance of Indian, Iranian and Afghan threats as the gateway for foreign proxies. The second view is that of insurgency.
The militias such as BLA, BRA and other nationalist armed insurgencies have turned the region into a cauldron of blood. These two prominent factors have overshadowed the other primary issues which have led the country into internal chaos.
Even after decades of independence, Baloch society has succumbed to chains of subjugation and social evils.
It is highly laudable to remain connected to one’s roots, celebrate one’s culture and live by the traditions as long as you are in alignment with varying trends of the rest of the world else the nation drops to secondary status.
To adapt to change is the highest level of intelligence is what history teaches. However, in the case of Balochistan, the society still runs on tribal customs where individuals have little freedom and say over their own lives. Tribes are the ultimate authority and the state.
This has led to accumulation of power and wealth among very few families at the top of this hierarchy.
The tribal chief exercises unquestioned power over their tribes. One such tribal leader in an interview to BBC had proudly confessed about how he had murdered a man without any reason when he was just 12. Such strict tribal codes have served as bulwark against any modern thought or progress.
Quality education and high living standards are held by Sardars who then get votes without any democratic legitimacy. But to our surprise many Baloch brethren might not treat it as a problem since it is the only way out for them against Islamabad’s indifference and a voice for their rights.
Anyway, it is hard to free people from the chains that they revere as Voltire said. The recent enlightenment in students towards equality, justice, and freedom would surely change the Sardari System which has its roots in the British Regime.
Since most of the population is illiterate and unskilled, the stake of unemployed people in the province are very high.
Despite the fact that Balochistan contributes a major part of the revenue, 2nd after Sindh, both provinces have millions of unemployed youths. The natives have often raised the issue calling it unconstitutional plundering of their resources. To this the government’s response or excuse is the unskilled masses.
No serious step has been taken for vocational education of Balochs to enable them to make most of the riches found or produced from Gwadar, Riqo Diq, Sui and other places.
There has been lots of debate about security issues in the province which is indeed a matter of concern but the root causes of the eruption of the conundrum are not addressed.
The government must make its top priority to educate the people and improve their financial conditions by giving them access to their resources.
Moreover, the border should be fenced and scrutinized to avoid any transnational terrorism. It is a commendable step from the Government to bring the nationalists to table but it would not yield any fruit as long as socio-economic problems linger on. The politics of fear must end. East Pakistan was also viewed as a security crisis which created hatred among the natives.
Had their legitimate demands been paid heed to, Pakistan would not have lost her limb. It’s high time to learn from history and to work for the betterment of the people of Balochistan.
—The writer is contributing columnist, based in Sindh.