The attack on Jaffer Express close to Mach on Friday that left 7 dead and 19 injured, is a lasting reminder of the inability of the Pakistani state to bring a relatively manageable separatist movement (by international standards) to lay down its arms. Attacks on train tracks and trains is the go-to attack technique used by many separatist outfits, as well as attacks on gas pipelines. BLA itself has done this many times before. It is not easy to monitor train tracks all over the restive province, but that does not mean that the state deserves no blame for this constant assault against important infrastructural installations.

There have been politicians that have pointed their fingers east once more, towards India, and even if this is true, the allegations will not serve to address the real problem of security lapses in Balochistan. Pinning the blame on Indian support in Balochistan would give us quick answers as to how incidents like the attack on Jaffer Express take place, but it would be highly irresponsible if we refuse to look inwards and attempt to shirk from the root problem. The Indian government will not have an opening to sow insurrection if the people of Balochistan have no reason to be dissidents. The Indian side understands this too; that the Baloch insurgency movement can be easily swept aside by Pakistan if it takes the right steps, which is why it is imperative that the Pakistani state does not alienate its own citizens.

The separatist movement is real and ideologically indigenous – and although Indian support exists – it should be treated as such. Some within the largely fragmented movement might want to cause discord within Pakistan for ulterior motives, but many have genuine grievances against rights abuses and marginal development in the province, which means that they can be reached out to, provided that the government is ready to address legitimate concerns.

This is the only sure-fire way of establishing lasting peace and stability in Pakistan’s largest province. It is virtually impossible to provide foolproof security to all important installations in Balochistan. But it is possible to bring all those that have the best interests of the province in mind to negotiate a draw-down of violence. People picked up by the state, allegations of torture, mass corruption and a multitude of rights abuses need to be answered for. Stability in Balochistan means that Pakistan can bring its largest region at par with the rest of the province, and provide the people of Balochistan with a reason to love their country more than they already do.