Balochistan is in flames and there is hardly any time to waste in finding faults as to who was responsible for the current scenario. It is now the time to resolve all burning issues so that this strife-torn province and its people could see peace. Federal and provincial authorities had failed miserably in normalising the situation that has witnessed a huge human toll. Incidents of target killing, frequent discoveries of mutilated bodies, disappearance of innocent civilians have remained a norm for long enough. Disgruntled and deprived youth have opted to rebel against the system by joining such entities that talk of independence or separation and thus becoming canon fodder to dismember Pakistan. There has been a lot of talk about involvement of a foreign hand including India and the United States whose evidence was provided to the joint parliamentary sessions by Interior Minister Rehman Malik in 2010 and 2011. With all such international anti-Pakistan conspiracies, there is a dire need to take decisions to set things right. The three-member Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry hearing a case about law and order situation in Balochistan has taken the first step in the right direction. The Bench has directed the provincial government to immediately hold local body elections that would be instrumental in resolving problems of the people at the grassroots level. It said by not holding local elections all the four provincial governments were violating the constitution. It rightly directed the Attorney General and four chief secretaries to submit report on why these elections have not been held so far. The Chief Justice further observed that three provincial ministers allegedly involved in cases of kidnapping should be arrested and seven persons picked up from Saryaab Road be produced before the court failing which the Inspector General of Police and concerned officers would be suspended.

It is high time the federal government diverted its focus to Balochistan. Implementation of the NFC Award and provision of benefits pledged under the Aghaz-e-Haqooq-e-Balochistan could well be the starting point besides initiating a process of dialogue with angry leaders within and outside the province. Balochistan is a strategically important part of Pakistan enriched with enormous mineral resources. Therefore, timely restoration of peace and beginning of the development process is the need of the hour. Without any further loss of time, the ruling elite must change its priorities and place Balochistan at the top of its agenda. That is what the people of that province deserve.