Balochistan, the biggest province in the country, which is endowed with the most precious mineral wealth and is run by the PPP, has come out openly with criticism of the federal government, ironically also led by the PPP, for its callous disregard of the reign of terror and lawlessness in the province. Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani said on Wednesday that anti-state elements were being helped by hostile foreign forces to disturb the peace. Addressing a meeting of the Development Authority, he accused the ruling federal setup and bureaucracy of neither being able to comprehend the problem, nor being serious about solving it. Nawab Raisani maintained that the issue was very simple, but the indifferent attitude of Islamabad was paving the way for enemy countries to interfere in Balochistan.

At the same time, the PML-N-governed Punjab, the province housing the country’s largest population and gifted with plenty of natural resources, has, for a considerable period of time, been unsurprisingly critical of the central setup on account of its unabashed record corruption, rank misgovernance and discrimination. Of the remaining two, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh, the former with the ANP in the saddle there as well as at the Centre has but rarely accused the federal government of leaving KP to its fate, with particular reference to militancy. The Sindh province, a stronghold of the PPP, has never dared speak a word against the ruling federal setup. But that does not mean that it does not entertain any grouse against it. For, there is little doubt that the law and order situation in Karachi, complicated by the involvement of all the three parties in power in Sindh – PPP, MQM and ANP – could only be resolved if the federal government composed of these very parties decides to come to grips with the situation.

That, unfortunately, is the state of affairs of Pakistan and at a time when the best way to effectively and successfully face the grave challenges it is confronted with, is for the nation to demonstrate unity. There should be no room left for finger pointing and bickering if all were to work for the good of the country and in unison. The internal differences provide the most fertile ground to exploit by foreign agents who are out to advance their countries’ national interests to the detriment of our own. That is how they were able to find a foothold in Balochistan. To be fair the provincial government cannot entirely be absolved from the blame. There are charges against three provincial Ministers running the abduction racket. But the federal authorities must do their bit and sincerely apply themselves to removing the sense of deprivation among the local population.

Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif is not alone in blaming corruption for ruining economy. That is the consensus of economic experts. According to a report published yesterday, economist Dr Shahid Hasan Siddiqui said that Rs 1,200 billion were lost to corruption every year and tax evasion, not yet accounting underhand practices, which cost the country Rs 1,900 billion. Such leakages, coupled with our unwise entanglement in the war on terror causing insecurity and financial drain, cannot but wreck our economy, as Mian Shahbaz rightly points out.