A crackdown by the police resulted in the arrest of thirty three suspects following yet another cold blooded killing of policemen on patrolling duty in Quetta on Saturday. Such attacks have become a matter of routine leading to customary condemning statements from those in power. Our leaders should realise now that such expressions of sympathy with the affected families and the institutions have lost their meaning. Balochistan is undergoing an insurgency fully supported by the Indian Intelligence Agency RAW, the incontrovertible evidence of which has been with the Pakistani authorities. The indolence of the Pakistani authorities in sharing this evidence with the Indian government and with other friendly states is not comprehensible. The issue deserves urgent measures at a diplomatic level with India as well as with other foreign powers that can persuade the Indian authorities not to destabilise the region. The ripple effects of an unstable neighbour are surely going to emerge on their own land too. Pakistan has already expressed its willingness and is on its way to mend fences with Afghanistan.

On the domestic front, the federal government seems to have ignored the fact that there is a clear difference between law and order, and war. The country is fighting a war within its own boundaries against terrorists and insurgents, who in the case of Balochistan seem to have joined hands. The federal government should stop putting all the responsibility of fighting this war on the provinces in the name of law and order. The federal budget has allocations of billions of rupees to build concrete structures but no allocation or policy guideline has been given to save the lives of the individual members of civil and military establishments. In the backdrop of frequent killings of the members of the uniformed services in guerrilla attacks, the government could easily have announced the provision of bullet and stab-proof outfits to all those engaged in this war. This measure would not have cost more than a few billion rupees but saved precious lives, reduce the incidence of fatality and given more confidence to the fighting forces.