India hasn’t done it; neither has America nor Israel. I am behind the crisis; I created it and I am responsible as well as answerable. Yes, India and America, both opportunists par excellence, are now taking advantage of our weaknesses but no one can break Balochistan away from me but me.
Baloch demands have always been political in nature-political empowerment and economic freedom. Balochistan as a whole has never demanded secession and whatever the large majority has been asking for has always been within their constitutional rights. A large majority of Balochistan has always wanted-and continues to want-to remain within Pakistan’s constitutional and democratic confines.
Over the years, there have been three major Baloch demands: effective political representation, administrative control and an end to exploitation of indigenous resources. Over the years, Rawalpindi has always responded with a military solution. But, pure political problems have no military solutions. Baloch opposition has been-and is being-pushed from being political in nature to militancy and insurgency. The Baloch, in that sense, have been forced to pick up the gun.
The Army has always responded with three of its most favourite tools: an indiscriminate military operation, a divide-and-rule policy plus bribing the Sardars, the Mirs and the Nawabs. Imagine; dividing up your own population, using Pashtun religious elements against Balochs and strategizing that this would bring Balochistan under centralized control. Imagine; appeasing the Sardars but leaving the other seven and a half million Baloch residents marginalized both economically and politically. It never has worked nor will it ever work.
GHQ has no solution. What then is the way out? How can we keep Indian and American wolves at bay? As a first step, here’s a set of six recommendations from the International Crisis Group (ICG) that makes lot of sense: An immediate end to all military operations; release all political prisoners; no political role for any intelligence agency; produce all detainees before the courts; give provincial jurisdiction over policing and ensure local stakes over each and every provincial resource.
In the next phase, bring about a new Balochistan run by a representative political as well as administrative structure-and no more cantonments please. Why is Gwadar Port Authority’s head office in Karachi?
Why is the wellhead price in Sind and Punjab up to four times higher than for wells in Balochistan? How many Baloch residents sit on the Boards of PPL, OGDC or Sui Southern? To be certain, America is not going to determine the future of Balochistan. Neither will India or Israel. What I do in the following 360 days is what will determine the future.
One out of every two residents of Balochistan is below the poverty line. Only one out of every two residents of Balochistan has access to clean drinking water. Only one out of every two children goes to primary school. Only one out of every three children is immunised. Balochistan’s crisis is surely heading in the wrong direction and there is no military solution.