Elusive peace in Balochistan

NATIONAL Security Committee, which met in Islamabad on Wednesday, might have its own reasons to express satisfaction in improvement in law and order situation in Balochistan and appreciating the role of security forces in this regard but two developments on the same day cast a pall on its pragmatism. Bullet-riddled bodies of at least 15 men were found by the Levies from Buleda area of Kech district near the Pakistan-Iran border of Gurok and banned Baloch Liberation Front (BLF), headed by Allah Nazar Baloch, has claimed responsibility for the gruesome incident. And four people — a police officer and three members of his family — were killed and one passerby was injured in a gun attack in Quetta’s Nawan Killi area.
These are not stray incidents but a part of what is going on in the province since long because of internal, regional and global factors. Only last week, a DIG and two others were killed in a blast in the provincial capital. Non-Baloch civilians especially those from Punjab are being targeted as part of the campaign to drive other nationalities out and dozens of innocent workers also lost life in the vicious cycle. In recent weeks and months, media has also come under attack and the objective seems to restrict free flow of information. Attacks on state symbols, developmental projects and foreigners are also routines in the province and there are reasons to believe that foreign hand is involved in aggravating the situation. Balochistan has become centre of attention of different regional and global players because of its strategic location especially in the backdrop of prospects of its becoming hub of regional and world trade following operationalization of Gwadar Port and other CPEC-related projects. It is an open secret that India has long been using Afghan soil to destabilise Pakistan particularly Balochistan and there are also reports of Baloch insurgents getting training in India. Under these circumstances, mere developmental activities or administrative actions would not bring the much needed peace to the province and instead a meaningful dialogue process should be initiated for securing peace in the Province.

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