No one can take issue with the findings and recommendations of the latest report of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) on the situation in Balochistan. The HRCP has indicted federal and provincial authorities no less than the insurgents and security agencies for the deteriorating situation in the province. It has called for talks between the administration and the separatists enabling an end to the insurgency that has raged in the province since the killing of Nawab Abkar Bugti by security forces during the Musharraf regime, and supports a process for re-absorption of all disgruntled elements into mainstream provincial politics.
Several new factors have emerged to encourage all stakeholders to pitch anew for truth and reconciliation in Balochistan. First, a fair election has been held for provincial and federal representation. Second, and against all odds, a respected nationalist leader, Dr Abdul Maalik, has been accommodated as chief minister. Third, the federal government of Nawaz Sharif is fully backing the new CM, indeed he could not have become chief minister or formed a cabinet without Islamabad’s unequivocal support. Fourth, a change of army high command is due next month, which means that the new army chief can start on a clean slate in the province with a new team on the ground without being burdened by his predecessor’s passions and prejudices. Fifth, a recent earthquake in the province has stamped a sense of urgency on a bid for peace because relief efforts by civil-military authorities are being hampered by insurgent attacks that are hurting the cause of the poor and stiffening the back of the security agencies to pay back in the same coin. Sixth, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has held out an olive branch to both the Afghan and Indian governments (which are alleged to be hosting and fuelling the Baloch insurgency as tit-for-tat for Pakistan’s support to Kashmiri and Taliban militants hosted on Pakistani territory) and pledged his regime’s commitment to stop interfering in their internal affairs as a quid pro quo for similar policies towards Pakistan.
The HRCP’s proposals in this regard are realistic and fair. On the one hand, it has urged Baloch insurgents to cease war and denounce violence so that “undemocratic forces” are not strengthened and the new well-meaning provincial and federal governments are given an opportunity to confront “the actors within the state who are violating human rights on the pretext of furthering national security”. On the other hand, it has demanded an effective mechanism to investigate the excesses of the security agencies, especially “disappearances and dumps”, and punish the perpetrators. A string of other sensible suggestions are worthy of consideration too. These include transparent and effective SOPs for security agencies in the province; powers for the CM to input into the ACR’s of security personnel; reforming the police and enabling it to effectively “go after criminals and militants”; and a blueprint for a phased withdrawal of the FC from the province because it has become part of the problem rather than the solution.
Some people will criticise the HRCP for advocating “peace talks” with the Baloch insurgents “who are killing security personnel and Punjabi settlers” while scoffing at advocates of negotiating with the Pakistani Taliban. But a comparison between the two movements/militancies/insurgencies/terrorism should account for significant differences in origin, outlook and policy.
First, there have been five big or small insurgencies in Balochistan since 1947 and each has been a consequence of denial of provincial rights enshrined in the constitution. Since the last four insurgencies were brought to an end by negotiated settlement of grievances within the ambit of the constitution, there is reason to believe that this fifth one too can be amenable to a similar approach. This is in sharp contrast to the TTP that has not arisen out of any sense of provincial or regional grievances that can be redressed by peace talks but out of a global jihadist strategy by Al-Qaeda to carve out a base area in Afghanistan and Waziristan much like its strategy in Yemen and the Middle-East. That is why all previous 14 peace deals with the TTP and its franchises have foundered on the rock of Al-Qaeda intransigence and that is why the TTP seeks a complete overthrow of the constitutional democratic order in Pakistan and the seizure of state power to create an Emirate of global Jihad.
Second, the Baloch insurgency is predicated on mundane “push” (denial of provincial rights) and “pull” (backing by India and Afghanistan) factors, which can be reversed by changing national security policy and mending fences with them and their backers. But the TTP-AlQaeda movement is immune from mundane exchange state-policy considerations since it is an ideology-driven movement.
Despite sincere commitment, President Asif Zardari’s government failed to make headway on the Balochistan and Taliban issue because the PPP could not wrest national security and strategic policy from the military. Prime Minister Sharif would do well to heed the lessons of his predecessor’s failure.
IT is said failure is a stepping stone to success. A student fails. But studies hard and succeeds. Zardari failed. But Nawaz can succeed. simple. DO not steal and deny what belongs to the people of the land. constitution should be considered as sacred as QURAN . Distribute the wealth, make them the owners, Fund and develop . let Baloch personnel police. why punjabi army. A child takes it when his own parents admonish, but not from the neighbors.
Analyse and accept. some militaries cannot face external enemies. India failed against china. Pak failed in BD and kargil. USA against viet congs. Russia against taliban. How can army control determined alienated internal mob. Army can cut the hands and legs but not the minds of people. withdraw FC.
The greatest commando seems to have dabbled everywhere. Lal Masjid, Kargil, and Bugti. He had impressed only his close family members. The world is enjoying respite from his lecture tours. Pl ensure the continuity.
If one can keep once house in order why others step in. you have lost FATA, SWAT, WAZIRISTAN, KARACHI and MALALAS . Do not lose Baloch
@Sethi, How could you do do this. Blame it on Karzai. He could not pay for his house expenses if he did not have rich sponsors.On top of that you also blame and justify India’s role as tit for tat.Indeed, our good allies from NATO are only there to liberate Afghan women. HRCP is just doing their job, blaming Pakistani forces for all the killing. Your tribal Sardars are just doing their customary things robbing, abductions, gun running, drug smuggling. The provincial government does not even have a proper police force. It is easy for HRCP to write their reports, why don’t they go to quake hit area and do some work and save some women from their slavish condition.
Chief mister has a huge task and I not sure he would if he would survive depredation of tribal leaders.
Thank you Najam Sethi Sahib, for writing this article on Balochistan. We highly respect your opinion and HRCP’s recommendations, but the problem is that who is going to listen and stop the military, the FC or convince the GHQ and establishment to give up of their illegal and unconstitutional parallel government in Balochistan and let Dr. Malik fully and freely exercise his powers as a Chief Minister to deliver without being held hostage. Even though Dr. Malik has been “accommodated” as a “middle class” Chief Minister over the traditional greedy opportunist Nawabs and Sardars, as a result of a pre-planed ISI setup and “selections” in the name “elections”, where ISI and FC’s fevorite candidates” including the “evergreen” Nawabs and Sardars, despite having no popularity among Baloch masses in their constituency, were declared as “winners” to keep the status quote and balance in Balochistan assembly to keep Dr. Malik hostage of all of them.
it is obvious that Baloch mandate was never truly accepted by FC, ISI and the Establishment to allow it to translate effectively into Baloch representation and empowerment. FC is still running its illegal and unconstitutional parallel Government in Balochistan, kidnapping and killing Balochs and burning their houses with full impunity and Dr. Malik has been unable to stop them. He is being held hostage by FC, ISI, Establishment and greedy corrupt Baloch Nawabs and Sardars to not execute or exercise his powers as a FREE Chief minister to deliver and bring the change that is desperately needed.
We all agree with HRCP recommendations and conclusion that FC is the main problem and not a part of any solution. As long as FC, which is an anti-Baloch force mostly consists of Pashtuns soldiers and Punjabi officers, continue to stay in Balochistan and maintain their illegal and unconstitutional parallel Government in Balochistan, the deteriorating situation get worse.
FC has been intentionally placed in Balochistan to conduct genocide of Baloch people and give them a sense of being occupied, subjugated and slaves. FC has a track record of being involved in extra-judicial killings and kidnapping of Baloch citizens and their political leaders. Baloch people see FC as a foreign occupying force imposed upon them by Punjab.
Baloch people’s demand is to remove the FC from all Baloch cities and towns and replace it with jobless local Baloch youths. This will not only create an atmosphere where some confidence building measures can be put in place to create some room for initiation of a dialogue with the insurgents but it will also help to improve the law and order situation and restore people’s trusts. Without such conducive measures there is no way things can get better in Balochistan.
Baloch People took part in the elections hoping things will get better but nothing has changed. Those who had some hopes that Dr. Malik’s government can deliver, but those hopes are gone. There is a complete state of desperation. When you block all the peaceful and democratic means of struggle then people have left with no choice but to pick up the guns and fight for their right to defend themselves.
Pakistan Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) in its conference on Balochistan, held in Islamabad on may 27th, 2012, in which all political leaders including current Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif, attended, adopted a 14 point resolution to help solve the Balochistan’s problem but Pakistan military and establishment rejected them and none of them were implemented.
Balochistan National Congress, a Washington D.C based Baloch political organization, also suggested similar 14 points of genuine Baloch demands to help solve the Balochistan’s problem within the federation but Islamabad gave them a deaf ear. They insisted to conquer Baloch using force instead of accommodating them with honor and respect.
We believe still it is time for Punjab to decide to whether they want to take the Balochs on board or not? if so, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif must take some bold step and tell his military men to stop their carnage against the Baloch people at once and give the civilian government a chance to find a political solution of this chronic decades old conflict. The political solution rests upon in honoring the genuine Baloch demands, which includes;
1. The removal of the Non-Baloch Pashtun force the Frontier Corp (FC) from all Balochistan’s cities and towns and replacing it with local jobless Baloch citizens.
2. Military operation must stop unconditionally and immediately and ISI and FC’s meddling into the internal affair of Balochistan must end.
3. All those Baloch who have been forcibly disappeared by FC and are missing must be released and allowed to re-join with their family members and law-enforcement officers, including military officers, who broke the law or committed crimes against Baloch citizens must be brought to justice.
4. Hefty and direct compensation in a transparent mode to the families of all those who got killed, kidnapped and tortured.
5. The homeless Baloch IDP’s must be returned to their hearth and home with honor and dignity, rehabilitated and compensated.
6. The Gwadar port and Baloch resources should be used by the Balochistan’s government to uplift the Baloch people to remove their sense of derivation and poverty in Balochistan.
7. All the FC check posts should be dismantled in Balochistan and the Pastun-based Frontier Corps should be deployed along the Afghan border in Pashtun areas.
8. All Afghan refugees living in Balochistan must be returned back to Afghanistan and their names removed from the voter registration lists.
9. The historic territorial integrity and demography of Balochistan, land of the Baloch, must not be changed. Balochistan’s boundaries to be redrawn based on historical, ethnic and linguistic line and all Pashtun areas of Balochistan should be joined with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
10. Baloch secular national identity and culture must be honored, preserved, restored and respected and Balochi language must be declared Balochistan’s primary language of learning.
11. Pakistan should be declared a federation of four autonomous individual States, Viz, Punjab, Sindh,Balochistan and Pakhtunkhwa, where all federating units should be treated and represented equally in all federal departments, including the armed forces and foreign
12. Center should only keep defense and currency and all other departments, including the foreign trade, taxation and Communication, should be given to the federating units with full provincial autonomy. Every federating unit should be allowed to take care of their internal security apparatus according to their needs and resources and all federating units should be free to promote their National identity, heritage, language, culture and traditions without any fear, intimidation or coercing.
13. Baloch, especially the ordinary middle classes, must be well represented at the federal level and in foreign services to remove their sense of deprivation and alienation to make them feel counted citizens.
14. Confidence and trust building measures should be put in place to prepare the ground for dialogue, negotiations and finding an everlasting solution.
None of these Baloch demands constitute any threat to Pakistan’s security or it’s territorial integrity. If these demands were accepted and implemented, Baloch would not fight Pakistan. Still it is time for Punjab to accept these genuine demands without any further delay to end the conflict peacefully through dialogue and negotiation and end the bloodshed. This is better for Pakistan and for the Baloch people both, if not Balochistan will go on its way like Bangladesh and nothing will stop this.
Dr. Wahid Baloch
Baloch Society of North America (BSO-NA)
1629 K Street NW, Suit 300
Washington D.C., 20036
Tel: (202) 349-1682
Fax: (202) 331-3759
report of Baloch society is shocking . Is Nawaz and Army generals are so dumb, that they have forgotten what and who created Bangaladesh. Americans were doing carpet bombing of VIETNAM for years. They withdrew , ran for their life under sustained determined gorilla attacks of raw viet congs. Americans squandered billions of dollars and wasted. where as viet congs just walked on foot and kicked them out at least cost.
I wish the handful of mislead Kashmiris read this report couple of times. they will know what will happen to them when they leave.
Pak govt and army is unable to protect girls going to school. Unable to administer polio vaccine. Unable to keep FATA, SWAT, KARACHI, PESHWAR, QUETTA free from regular bombings. how are they going to ensure peace, prosperity and progress to Kashmiris.
Are there no brain storming sessions among top generals. Are they not reading documents on what had happened in 1971 . is there no single general who could talk sense for Balochis. Are they all sycophants. yes sir No sir you are right sir .
Common generals. you and your forefathers have already done enough damage. you could not kill all Bengalis. you could not hijack Kargil . You are not able to silence taliban . you are not able to prevent mass killings of chirstians, shias etc. why keep needling balochis. pl play more golf. there will be peace and balochis will be happily calling themselves as PAKISTANIS.
Balochistan today has become the Achilles heel of Pakistan (the other is the Taliban) largely due to the discriminating practices of the state and rather than taking it head on by solving the issue the government is trying to bring the India, Afghanistan interference angle to skew the debate and brush it under the carpet. Unfortunately for Pakistan this may not carry any credence internationally because of its track record.