Balochistan: Durable Peace Challenges

Naseebullah Khan
A new coalition government led by PML President Shahbaz Sharif as Prime Minister along with the second major coalition partner Pakistan peoples party has assumed the power again. At the same time, the new federal cabinet includes two ministers from Balochistan one from BAP party and one from JWP each whereas BNP Mengal,s two ministers have delayed taking oath as a protest over Chaghi incident where some drivers were allegedly killed. Will the new coalition government succeed in bringing peace in Balochistan? Will the PML,N and PPP change the previous policies with respect to Balochistan? Will the PML N and PPP strategists be able to wash the black spots of being the representatives of Punjab and Sind? The answers are uncertain.The security challenge in Balochistan is twofold vis_a_vis Baloch ethnic issue in Northern Balochistan while the sectarian and religious violence in central along with Southern Balochistan. Both challenges are linked to internal and foreign policy formulation. The Baloch insurgency is as old as the province itself as armed resistent of the Baloch had started after the initial years of Pakistan. Their demands have been by and large related to the control and share of natural resources of the province. Untill and unless their due demands within the framework of constitution are met, the dream of peace in Balochistan will remain a dream. Political reconciliation and peace building measures are vital and main features of a democratic setup provided that they are adopted holistically. The previous government had given task to Shahzain Bugti of initiating peace building measures. But all in vein owing to neglecting the true representatives of Balochis. More, the government has to understand the main issues of insurgents as no peace and economic initiative can successfull without concentrating on core issue of insurgency. Initiating a meaningful dialogue comprised of real leadership with full constitutional guarantee can help in reducing violence. Measures such as drawal of the FC, compensation to Baloch families whose members were killed in the conflict and the missing persons whosoever should be brought before the court can diminishthe anger of the insurgents. These initiatives can help in dialogue process meaningful. In addition, their concerns of natural resources must be entertained through abiding by articles 172(3) and 158. There is a dire need of providing due share to the province in management, revenue, and ownership of natural resources. Apart from this, the CEPEC should be used more inclusively an d its aphere should be enhanced to all province at least in electricity generation projects and establishing of economic free zones throughout the province. There must be alleviation of poverty for which increasing share in the BISP from 4 percent which is less then its population share, would be beneficial. Despite, accomodation of those dwellers who were unemployed due to border fencing and improve living standards of the people of Balochistan must be the priorities of the incumbent government. Another issue of violence in the province is related to religious and sectarian sphare which are further linked with our national and foreign policies. There is a dire need to reconsider our relations with Afghanistan. Moreover sanity demands that a balance of policy with Iran and Afghanistan ought to be adopted as soon as possible. In the war of others, we must not allow other countries interests to sabotage peace in our own country. Balochistan is burning. The policymakers must feel its sensitivity. The cosmetic economic development and repression have neither worked in past nor will in future. Security centric policy has never worked at large as a matter of fact that low scale violence has always continued in Balochistan due to its geographical features and landscape. Involving the real leaders in dialogue process with the Baloch insurgents, providing due rights to the province as per guaranteed by constitution, abiding rule of law, and finalizing no tolerance policy against religious extremism and sectarian violence are the only viable solutions for durable peace in the province.

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