Pakistan recently launched an international offensive against India over the capture of an Indian spy who was responsible for incidences of violence in Balochistan. Not too much time has passed for the dust to settle that an agent working for the Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) – Afghanistan’s premier spy agency – has been arrested from Chaman district in Balochistan Wednesday morning by FC personnel. If this is indeed the case, foreign involvement in the conflict-torn province will be proven beyond doubt and that too perhaps a bit too late for comfort.

The involvement of RAW and NDS in Balochistan has long been alleged. While both countries have denied such allegations time and time again, the advent of real, living evidence will be hard to deny or ignore. The two “spies” appearing on the radar of the authorities in such a short period of time is hardly a coincidence, and this begs to ask the question, can one really hope for reconciliation in Balochistan after decades of violence? The security agencies and the governing bodies seem to be on the same tangent for now to rid Balochistan of the foreign elements that have wrecked havoc in the province.

However, the establishment must not use this involvement as an excuse to reinstate the age-old policy of carrying out extra-judicial attacks against students, teachers and political activists in the province. Within the murky mix of separatists, tribal politics and foreign elements lie the innocent citizens, the ones who have suffered on both sides of this conflict. In order to properly make Balochistan a secure place, the genuine concerns of the people must be addressed, and essential services such as healthcare and education must be provided.

Allies, India and Afghanistan, have some introspection to do. If there is any sincere wish for peace in the region, countries must stop pitting against each other and bring a certain transparency in their international affairs despite the deep-rooted mistrust that they share. All three countries suffer from terrorism from extremist groups that use the divide and rule mantra to tip tense international relations in their favour. It is not necessary that these countries use legitimate security agency personnel to insinuate terrorism as well and aide the cause of those who kill for the sake of killing. Involvement must be a thing of the past so the vision for the region can be future oriented.