From the target killing of Baloch leaders and political activists and Punjabi teachers and small land holders, the situation has taken yet another ugly turn in Balochistan where two serving judges have gone missing while travelling from Sibi to Osta Muhammad. They were District and Session Judge of Sibi Jan Muhammad Gohar and Senior Civil Judge Muhammad Ali. Neither are their whereabouts known nor has any group accepted responsibility. This, by any standard, was a daring incident and should ring alarm bells in Islamabad. In a similar attempt the Deputy Commissioner of Jhal Magsi was kidnapped and released later. The situation in Balochistan is getting from bad to worse, with insurgency going on for long, and yet, one does not see either the provincial government or the federal authorities making any serious attempt at addressing the burning issues of the Baloch community. A majority of the nationalist leadership has left the province and is residing in either Afghanistan or India. Some of them are reported to have crossed over to Iran. As of today, there is no contact between these angry leaders and the ruling PPP. These Baloch leaders do not consider the elected provincial leadership worth talking to since they believe them to be nothing but puppets. On various occasions, the nationalist leaders have said that there was no question of any negotiations till such time that the army operation was halted and Frontier Constabulary and Rangers deployed across the province were withdrawn. On the other hand, the federal government is insisting that establishing the writ of the state is the top priority. That would put a stop to kidnapping and target killing incidents. In its view, the rebel Baloch leaders have become tools in the hands of foreign powers which are bent upon destabilizing the mineral-rich province. It may be recalled that Interior Minister Rehman Malik has stated on the floor of the National Assembly that foreign element was at play using the local population for killings and kidnappings. The federal government as well as the provincial authorities must act fast before it is too late.