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EDITORIAL: There is no let-up in terrorist violence in the restive Balochistan province. Last Friday, former Federal Shariat Court and Balochistan High Court chief justice Mohammad Noor Meshkanzi was assassinated and his brother-in-law seriously wounded in a gun attack as they offered Isha prayers in a mosque in their native Kharan town.

An insurgent group, the Baloch Liberation Army, claimed responsibility for it. The same day, three people were killed and six others injured in Qabu area of Mastung district when the two vehicles they were riding in, hit an improvised explosive device planted at the roadside.

According to a Levies official, the target of the convoy was a tribal elder, who luckily escaped unhurt. No one claimed credit for this act of violence, but it bore the hallmarks of insurgent attacks.

Just as the insurgency seemed to have lost intensity, attacks on civilian and military targets have increased. Since the beginning of this year, there have been a number of attacks on high profile targets, including Chinese interests in Balochistan as well as Karachi.

These militants may have lost their sanctuaries in Afghanistan since the Taliban returned to power in Kabul, but they receive all kinds of assistance from this country’s traditional adversary, which makes no secret of its desire to destabilise Pakistan and also to undermine the China Pakistan Economic Corridor. Blaming the outsiders, nevertheless, is of no use.

They, of course, will want to take advantage of the situation and do whatever suits their purposes. The cause of the trouble needs to be recognised for what it is and properly addressed. The feeling of being meted out step-motherly treatment is pervasive in the province.

Leaders of mainstream Baloch parties have consistently been complaining of being powerless to resolve issues at the root of insurgency, the fifth one since Independence. The province may have autonomy granted under the 18th Amendment on paper, they say, but its affairs are still micromanaged by Islamabad.

Periodic announcement of financial packages and promises of development projects and jobs have not helped resolve anything. Nor will help what Baloch nationalist parties’ leaders and others describe as imposition of politicians who have no popular backing but are installed in government by the powers that be for their willingness to do the Centre’s bidding.

In this regard they point to the Baloch Awami Party (BAP) which has been running the day-to-day matters of governance since 2018, though without having real authority. Which is why, goes the argument, the BAP has failed to usher in political stability. The powers that be would be wise to listen to pro-federation nationalist leadership so as to find a workable, durable solution of the issues fuelling insurgency.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022


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