Speakers at the 50th Hameed Nizami death anniversary on Saturday predicted that foreign intervention in Balochistan could spark a terrible new war in the region. The breaking away from Pakistan of Balochistan, complicated by an increasingly hands-on US approach to Iran, could well set in place circumstances which could precipitate in another world war. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani also spoke on Balochistan saying that the army leadership was serious about solving its problem, to which his government was also committed, while remaining within constitutional limits. He was talking to media at Prime Minister’s House in Islamabad on Saturday. He moved a step back from the all-parties conference he had himself had decided to call, by saying that it would be called if the stakeholders, whom the government was consulting, agreed. Otherwise, he said, and thus acknowledged the possibility of its not being called, in which case the PPP would determine what steps to take on its own. This would mean that the PPP would use solutions it has already tried, such as introduction of the Aghaz-e-Huqooq-e-Balochistan Package in the province, and also through its provincial government there. The army's role in Balochistan is also the subject of much debate and deserves to be discussed with them at the table, to give a full briefing on Balochistan, an area which most federal ministers and politicians do not even hazard to visit.
The Prime Minister should note that the Balochistan issue has caused deep concern among all Pakistanis, mainly because it now poses an existential threat. The threat is now exacerbated by the country supposed to be an ally in the war on terror, which Pakistan has lost thousands of lives fighting. The Nation's Editor-in-Chief Majid Nizami, drew attention to the role of foreign elements in the current unrest in Balochistan, as repeatedly highlighted by the Interior Minister and most recently by the Foreign Office and the Foreign Minister. India's increasing engagement in Afghanistan and it's record of arming Baloch dissidents deserves strict examination and is a cause of greate consternation for all Pakistanis.
Mr Nizami indicated that Pakistan's uniting factor was the Two Nation Theory, an idea understood in letter and spirit by the majority of Pakistani's, even the Baloch. It was this spirit, which would convince particularly the separatists and help them understand why, as the Prime Minister had said, that the Baloch people had sacrificed for the country. The Prime Minister must quash talk of the Pakistan breaking apart, one hopes that he has decided in his meeting with the Governor and Chief Minister to go beyond the cosmetic measures that have characterized the government's response so far, even though the crisis is a very serious one. Without such measures, the government should expect the problem to worsen.