Balochistan is tearing at the seams. Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch has admitted that there has been no progress in his efforts to initiate talks with self-exiled Baloch leaders living abroad. He said he would not rule out the involvement of a foreign hand in the law and order situation in Balochistan and by now it should be pretty clear to us that there is a lot of interference into our politics from the outside. Apart from India, Afghanistan and Iran have also been the source of trouble. The province is in disarray and even coalition partners are openly criticising the CM for failing to contain the spiralling law and order situation. The PMLN, PMLQ, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party and the Baloch National Party in the coalition government are at odds with each other. Are Balochistan’s elected representatives incapable of running their province?

The criticism of the CM is not just because of the law and order situation, but the tribal elite is clearly uncomfortable with a member of the Baloch middle class running the government. Military governments in Pakistan and intelligence agencies regularly backed tribal elites as the Chief Minister of the province in the past, and the PMLN and PPP have also preferred tribal chiefs to be in charge. Outside interference and internal corruption and privilege have gone hand in hand. And then we have a bigger question. Are all important matters pertaining to Balochistan still decided in Islamabad and Lahore? Our government recently passed a highly objectionable law, the Protection of Pakistan Ordinance, which legalizes, instead of criminalizing, enforced disappearances. Islamabad has a huge hand to play in the slow destruction of the province. Rather than acting like an invading power, Baluchistan should have been assimilated and adjusted into the national narrative.

But we have never been able to do that as a nation, have we? The majority of our military is made up of people from northern Punjab and KPK. The other place where recruitment can be done from is Sindh. The Baloch people have never featured into the state and executive mechanism, and economic growth and integration has been even worse. Baloch politics is broken up inside itself as well. We had better get our house in order before KPK and the tribal areas meld into Afghanistan, before Balochistan becomes independent and India takes over Kashmir and whatever else it can. The US, Afghanistan, Iran and India are not our friends. We have been a buffer state and at this time, seem to be a thorn in India’s side, standing in the way of cheap gas form Central Asia. The preservation of Baluchistan is essential to our survival as a state.