Chakar Baloch was ten years old. Over a week ago, he left for the bazaar in Turbat and has been missing since. A few days ago, his body was found in the Civil Hospital bearing torture marks. Furthermore, the apparent cause for the young one’s death was multiple gunshots. Chakar’s cousin, sixteen-year-old Sanaullah, was kidnapped a while ago and is still missing. Eyewitnesses to his abduction fear repercussion, so they refuse to give details of that tragic day. If it helps the reader to understand an inkling of this brutality, just remember that Chakar’s brother and father are active members of a nationalist movement. The family stated it had no enmity with anyone.

It would be misleading to claim the federal government’s treatment of Balochistan has been commendable. We offer lip service and hollow promises, we keep our Baloch brothers and sisters shrouded in uncertainty and constant conflict but above all, we refuse to see how state negligence only encourages more turbulence. In this seemingly endless commotion and turmoil, children like Chakar and Sanaullah are ensnared even before they are old enough to comprehend the complex nature of the politics surrounding their innocent lives.

Provincial and federal governments owe disenfranchised Baloch people an answer and a solution to their problems. Local feudal lords are equally complicit in negating the common man’s right to life. Whether it is the perpetual assault on dissenting Baloch citizens or the decaying condition of protection, education and health – basic rights of any human being – Balochistan has been a victim of dereliction on multiple fronts, but the most tragic reality is that young children like Chakar and Sanaullah suffer vicious ramifications of this chaos. Hope continues to wane and one begins to doubt even the compassion of the State. Let this be the last time a young child is robbed of his life – no one deserves this.