On National Defence Day, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani stated that his decision to celebrate September 6 in Sui, Balochistan, was not a coincidence, but reflection of the “importance and honor which the Army keeps for Balochistan.” A passing-out parade of cadets in the Military College Sui took place in the presence of prominent military and political affiliates followed by General Kayani’s speech, which emphasized the contributions made by the military for the progress of Balochistan. The General’s declamation became interesting when he asserted there was no on-going military operation in Balochistan.

While it is true that there is no formally acknowledged operation in Balochistan, it would be disingenuous to claim that there is no operation at all. Critically relevant to this issue is FC Balochistan and its current activity, with relation to targeting nationalist Baloch political activists. The FC Balochistan works under the paramilitary command of Pakistan and is led by general officers of the Pakistan Army. It is precisely this, that negates the General’s assertion of no current military operation in the province. The contradiction in the claim grows even more visible with the increasing evidence in the Supreme Court, of FC involvement in the forced displacement of Baloch citizens and extra-judicial measures taken.

It is undeniable that militant attacks have indeed claimed the lives of FC personnel and it is also clear that the army has devoted considerable effort in the advancement of the education, medical and technological sectors of Balochistan, but the unmistakable seething presence of Baloch resentment against the army points toward a darker, distressing and counter-productive path. A perpetual cloud of despondency and fear looms over the province as protests are arranged almost daily demanding justice for missing persons, but in vain.

Although Chief Minister Abdul Malik Baloch stated that the incumbent government and army were at a “crucial juncture,” their resolve to haul the province out of its crisis was robust and ready. It is, however, difficult to imagine an immediate application of justice and peace in Balochistan, since the provincial impasse is of a nature often cloaked in euphemisms and not plainly spoken about. Resources are unevenly distributed, the menace of terrorism is uncontrolled and to further deteriorate affairs, FC Balochistan has become part of the problem with the abusive liberties it has taken, using the reasoning that this is to install 'stability' and tackle anti-state activity. With overwhelming proof and the Supreme Court’s criticism of the role of FC in Balochistan, the Chief's speech rings hollow.