LAHORE – While both the internal dynamics and external forces are vouching their ‘interests’ in Balochistan, politicians, academicians, and security experts strongly recommend that the government and the armed groups should agree to an immediate ceasefire to pave the way for peace in the poverty-stricken province.

They are also united on single agenda of resolving Balochistan imbroglio through initiation of dialogue, development and reforms.

‘After ceasefire, the government should identify the key actors of the Balochistan conflict’, a senior politician and MNA from Sindh province said, who preferred his name not be mentioned.

All the Marri, Mengal, Magsi, Bugti, Raisani, Zehri and other tribes should be engaged in consultations and the armed struggle should end, he said.

The Democracy Assessment Group convened by PILDAT conducted a fact-finding mission to Quetta recently and recommended that Islamabad should ensure that civil and military intelligence agencies operate strictly under the discipline of law and officially-declared policy and only for lawful action in support of internal and external security.

The development projects being implemented by the Federal government should be completed on an accelerated basis. Amongst other projects, priority should be given to Gawadar-Ratodero road and the Reko-Diq project, the group said.

A code of conduct for the Frontier Constabulary as also the police and the Levies to govern their dealings with the general public should be developed and its implementation should be ensured by the provincial government, according to the groups assessment.

It also suggested that since the missing persons remain a burning issue, the controversial claims continue to be made with regards to actual numbers and elements responsible.

The matter requires to be addressed by the Federal and provincial governments and their agencies on a high priority basis. Unless this issue is resolved normalcy is unlikely to be restored, the group warned.

Prominent politician and Baloch Senator Mir Hasil Bizenjo believed that the youth in Balochistan could still be taken on board to resolve the issues in the restive province.

A goal-oriented resolution to the issue of missing persons and bullet-riddled bodies in Balochistan should be set as a precondition for talks between the government and the Baloch people. As the Baloch people are no more a ‘tribal society’, therefore, empowering local Baloch in the large-scale economic projects proposed for the province will be a major step in winning their confidence.

President Asif Ali Zardari apologised to the people of Balochistan for the atrocities and injustices committed against them by the past governments and pledged to turn over a new chapter of mutual respect in the province. Likewise, Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, on October 11, 2011, declared that the government wanted reconciliation and remained prepared to hold talks with ‘dissident Baloch brethren’ to find an amicable solution to the issues of Balochistan.

Most recently, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, terming Balochistan issue to be of ‘grave concern’, has plans to talk with Baloch leaders – even those in exile. The PML-N President Mian Nawaz Sharif had also vehemently favoured the option of dialogue with the exiled leaders of Balochistan.

All agree that the fulfilment of genuine rights and redressal of long standing grievances can only discontinue blood bath in the resource-rich province - creating room and capacity for the dialogue process.

The political analysts say that the conciliatory and compromising attitude of the government was not liked by anti-Pakistan forces working to dismember Pakistan.  India is exploiting the bad situation by providing financial and arms support to the insurgent forces targeting important strategic installments in Balochistan. 

Similarly, the US has vested interests in the area as the strategically located Gwadar deep sea port is capturing the attention of the US as an alternative supply route for the US Army positioned in Afghanistan in the post-withdrawal scenario.

Therefore, the Americans are instigating some Baloch elements to share Gwadar port with the US and to halt the millions of dollars Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project.