The ignorance exhibited by the Interior Ministry in its report to the Supreme Court on the Balochistan situation is monumental, and cannot be papered over by the clarification it later issued, that a word had been omitted due to an oversight. The error not only exhibits a monumental ignorance of the official position on the Kashmir cause, but also the lack of control of the Ministry by its political boss. Otherwise, it shows something more sinister, how the Ministry is merely complying with the government’s own desire to butter up India, especially in the matter of Kashmir. It should not be forgotten that India will blow up this report, and keep mum over the clarification, so that the rest of the world gets the impression that Pakistan has withdrawn from its principled stand on the issue. The context also reflects the laziness of some Interior Ministry official who probably lifted wholesale some Indian report on the insurgencies taking place there. Not only is the classing of the Kashmir freedom struggle alongside Punjab, Nagaland and Assam odious, but also its being described as an insurgency, even though it is a freedom struggle and a dispute recognized by the international community through resolutions of the UN Security Council. It is a separate debate whether the Balochistan situation, while serious, bear comparison to any of the insurgencies experienced by India.

Still, the failure of the entire supervisory mechanism of the ministry, including that of the Minister, for a report made by the Secretary personally to the highest court in the land, reflects on it very poorly, and throws into doubt not just the value of its conclusions about Balochistan, but also its supervision of the FC there. It also makes doubtful its overall role as the ministry meant to monitor the provincial police forces. It perhaps cannot estimate the damage it has done by this carelessness, both internally and externally.

There is perhaps no way of making this harm go away, but there must be a thorough investigation. The ministry’s officials will try to make it a whitewash, but blame must be affixed and condign punishment meted out. If this is not done, the suspicion that this report was deliberate will only be confirmed. This is something which a government facing an election, with a poor record of governance, and already suspected of being soft on India, cannot afford, not just so that there is no blot on some bureaucrat’s career.