The meeting on Friday of a Hazara delegation, led by a PPP MPA, with Balochistan Governor Zulfiqar Magsi was triggered by the Alamdar Road blasts on Thursday, which killed over 100 people, but it prompted him to say that the Raisani government had failed. The delegation did not insist on the demand made by the Quetta Yakjehti Council (QYC) that Quetta be handed over to the military. The QYC said that until its demands were met, it would not bury the blast victims, and kept the bodies at Alamdar Road, Govrnor Magsi did hint at the use of his powers against the Raisani government by saying that he was regularly meeting the Chief Secretary and the IGP and exhorting the rectification of the situation. Governor Magsi is a former Chief Minister and thus personally aware of what he said, that law and order was the responsibility of the provincial government.

However, as Governor, it remains his responsibility to advise the President (or rather the federal government) that emergency be imposed in the province. The proclamation imposing that emergency will also make arrangements for the governance of the province, and could conceivably include provision for military rule. However, both the Governor, as well as those making the demand, need to think about the consequences of involving the military. Apart from the general sentiment against such involvement, there is a peculiar danger in Balochistan, where the accusations of military involvement in forced disappearances, through the intelligence agencies, have only recently been highlighted by the Supreme Court hearings on the law and order situation. The Supreme Court’s strictures on the Raisani government provoked a parliamentary crisis, which caused a change in the Balochistan Speaker.

The Governor’s remarks are not isolated, and thus do not reflect solely his personal opinion. It is for the Chief Minister to see the writing on the wall too, and not force the Governor’s hand. There is no reason why the Raisani government must hold on to the bitter end of its tenure, except false pride. With so little time left, there is nothing to stop advice to dissolve, so that the province can elect a government capable of stopping acts of terror. The present government simply does not have the time to stop them. This is a task best left to the incoming government, and it may be that the election campaign in Balochistan revolves around this issue.