Interior Minister Rehman Malik carried on with his revelations in the Senate about the Balochistan cauldron, ratcheting up interest by squarely accusing Afghanistan of stirring violence. He bombarded India with criticism for inciting bloodshed in Karachi. Kabul, he said was providing Kalashnikovs, sniper rifles as well as training a large number of disgruntled youth from Balochistan to carry out attacks inside Pakistan, he charged while waving a dossier to the Senators. A day earlier, he had given the number of casualties both FC and civilians dying as a result of the foreign sponsored turmoil.

Though he must be applauded for being a skilled storyteller, one wonders if the situation could actually improve by telling the same story over and over again. Oratory is no answer when the province has gone up in flames of sectarian killings turning itself into a slaughterhouse for Shias. And who is stopping him from going after the fifth columnists, or the countries backing them? Much to one’s chagrin, he was mum, where he should have been candid: the issue related to the excesses committed by the state apparatus through objectionable strategies and actions strongly and repeatedly condemned by the Supreme Court. Leaders like Hasil Bazinjo just the other day called the agencies’ vehicles with tinted glasses, symbols of terror in the province. The recommendations, for instance, by a parliamentary committee on Balochistan formed about five years back, are gathering dust, courtesy hawks in the military establishment who are blamed for ‘hijacking’ it. Who would know better than Mr Malik or Prime Minister Ashraf for that matter that different state agencies are generally thought to have formed a parallel government inside Balochistan so much so that even successive civilian setups have confessed to be toothless before their unlimited powers. So when it is the ISI and the FC calling the shots, it is they who should be held accountable for their role. Since their rule is unbridled, it has not worked. Like in the rest of the provinces, where civilians rule the roost, local Baloch not only the Sardars but ordinary ones should be empowered in every sense of the word. Somewhere in his speech, he talked about the possibility of rapprochement with the angry Baloch, who he said were welcome to come back to the government’s fold. But chances are they are not listening, since they have taken to the mountains. Such words therefore should be addressed in person by Mr Malik himself or the Prime Minister Raja Ashraf who also appears to be quite disposed towards the conflict’s political solution.

As usual, the Interior Minister had very little to shed light on the steps taken by the government and the law enforcement agencies to curb the crime rate or if not why it was so pathetically helpless in the face of covert aggression. Why after four years is he giving only the figures of deaths and blasts?