A suicide bomber targeted the emergency services ward at Quetta’s Civil Hospital Monday, killing at least 93 people leaving scores injured. Two journalists, Mehmood Khan and Shahzad Khan lost their lives reporting on the protest where the attacker struck. CM Balochistan Minister Sanaullah Zehri was quick to blame RAW for the attack. Strange that such clear intelligence was gathered so swiftly. IS Khurasan has claimed the attack according to reports. The contradiction is terrifying in its implications of our understanding of the war on terror in our country. Who exactly are we supposed to be fighting?

Balochistan is a society under siege. Lawyers have been targeted several times in the last few months in Balochistan. Advocate Bilal Kasi, who was shot dead on the morning of Monday’s blast and was being treated at the hospital, had strongly condemned the murder of Advocate Alvi shot on August 3, and announced a two-day boycott of courts proceedings. Those who died today were well educated, professionally trained, and an asset for Balochistan. Those who cut them down wish nothing but evil upon the Baloch.

The problem is compounded by the fact that media coverage of Balochistan is limited to Quetta; those missing are missing from the news as well, and those using the province as a base to wreak havoc have free reign. Public opinion and pressure will never be able to come to the critical point where national attention is specifically directed to provide solutions to Balochistan – solutions that work, solutions agreed to by the Baloch. The military provided security in Balochistan is failing to create peace or reconciliation. While the military will probably promise retribution and security operations, the problem is not just a security problem, it is socio-economic deprivation that is killing Balochistan. Its solution, not matter how many Rangers are deployed, will be political. The will or the army must be aided by civilian interest from the federation, and not just to suck resources out of Balochistan, but also to provide economic and social uplift.

In the grander sense, the tragedy exposes the realisation that the new era of militancy in Pakistan is less anti-state and more anti-society in nature. While terrorism fifty years ago used to focus on state targets, over time, mass killing of civilians has become the easy way out for militants across the board. The most appalling aspect is the lack of guilt or value for human life and we are all to share the blame for this, from the man with the suicide jacket to the state, and the intelligence agencies.