It was perhaps a coincidence that on Monday both the government and the opposition paid attention to the Balochistan situation. The meeting that Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf held in Islamabad appears to have focused on development work and initiating efforts to improve the standard of life which has been deteriorating over the years. The formation of a committee to assess the funds needed for these projects is a good omen, though forming committees is generally associated with government’s lack of interest. Now with all the gestures and apologies that the party has accorded so far, it is hoped that this commitment would soon make itself known. One of the main matters bedeviling the ties between the centre and the province which is of course the disgruntled elements and their rebellion also came under Prime Minister’s consideration. The Prime Minister did well to say that the agencies cannot be given a free reign. The invitation of negotiations he held out to these rebels again however was not much of an improvement to what his predecessor had done. On the other side of the spectrum, PML-N chief Mian Nawaz Sharif has claimed that if he had not been ousted in 1999, his government would have completed all the projects related to Gwadar Port. He was addressing a press conference in Lahore in collaboration with the Gwadar Promotion Alliance. There is hardly any denying his assertion that the locals should have the first right to lay claim to the provinces’ resources. While one appreciates the concern of these two leaders, the fact remains that actual situation is fast deteriorating out of hand. The troublemakers have find in it an easy hunting ground to pursue their agendas, while the poverty that breeds frustration and contempt against the centre remains.

Some of the initiatives by the present government like for instance recruitment of locals into the Armed forces will help no doubt. These efforts will bear fruit and so must be carried on by the new Prime Minister. The matter of apprehending terrorists  is also urgent since the attacks on Shias have multiplied. But while tackling miscreants should figure high on the government’s agenda and while these forces are weeded out, the presence of FC and its operations should be reconsidered immediately.