SOME major developments have occurred in Balochistan. Former Chief Minister Balochistan Sardar Akhtar Mengal was released on Friday. The release is welcome indeed. It is in line with the ruling coalition's promise to end the suffering of the Baloch. Moreover, the release seems to lend credibility to the apology tendered by PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari to the people of the province for past injustices. The Balochistan National Party leader was in detention for about two years over what he says were trumped-up charges by the then government. However, while appreciating the move and the sincerity of the political dispensation, one must not neglect what Mr Mengal said after his release. There is no denying his claim that it was not the issue of his incarceration alone, rather the real problem was with the province itself which had been denied its basic rights and opportunities for development. He minced no words in telling journalists that there was no deal involved in his release and that he would continue his struggle for the rights of the people of Balochistan. Citing the deteriorating condition of the province on all fronts, particularly economic underdevelopment, he appeared very lukewarm in extending a hand of cooperation to the present government. He was vocal in saying that his party would not engage in dialogue with the government unless serious measures to the address the plethora of problems plaguing the province were taken. Mr Mengal's demand for the release of the political prisoners and the recovery of the missing persons is perhaps the issue that fuels nationalist sentiment the most. There should be no doubt that a solution of these problems will bring about a radical change in the thinking in that province. The PPP had set up a committee, headed by Senator Baber Awan to talk to the nationalist leadership and possibly to the militants to bring peace to the province. But keeping in view the overall deteriorating situation there, the government would have to go the extra mile. While the FC had been called back from Quetta, its withdrawal from other areas must also be considered. Also, the need is to urgently rehabilitate thousands of people who have been forced to leave their homes in the Marri and Bugti areas in particular. The release of the Sardar Mengal yesterday proves that he is a responsible leader, just like any other politician in the country, and certainly not a terrorist as was thought by the previous regime. There is need to do away with the excessive paranoia that has plagued the country's power circles.