The imposition of Governor’s rule in Balochistan by the federal government came not only because of the refusal by the families of the victims of the Alamdar Road snooker club blasts on Friday to bury the martyred, but also because of the genuinely outraged protests that it engendered all over the country. The protest did not just take place in the metropolitan areas, but spread to small towns and villages, thus showing that the plight of the Hazara (Shia) community was felt throughout the country, and thus the blasts were not merely a provincial problem as a national one, though the burials did not take place until Monday. It was thus appropriate that the announcement of the imposition of Governor’s rule was made by Prime Minister Raja Ashraf when he went to Alamdar Road to condole with the victims’ families. The provincial government has been handed over, under the Presidential Proclamation under Article 234 of the Constitution, to Governor Zulfiqar Magsi, a former chief minister, during whose period in office, in 1993-6, the province was not under such stress. Aslam Raisani’s reacted most shamefacedly at his removal, calling it an ambush. He was so out of sync with reality that he saw no justification for this hasty act.

There are two issues that need dealing with. The first is the need for the new dispensation to solve the problems being faced by the Hazara community. It has been said that the perpetrators are known, but were being protected because of political expediency. Unless Governor Magsi brings these criminals, irrespective of political protection they enjoy, to book the danger will continue of their being repeated, and so will the Shia community’s agony. He must keep sight of why the governance of the province is once more in his hands. He should also tackle the other issues that afflict the province’s law and order, so as to leave his successor a peaceful situation.

This would raise the other issue, of what justification remains for not dissolving the Assembly and opting for the fresh elections that offer the only real prospect of yielding a government which could bring some kind of peace to the province. There seems no justification for any notional benefit, such as the satisfaction of completing the Assembly’s maximum possible tenure, in the face of the Alamdar Road tragedy, which was just another episode in the agony of the Shias. However, such is the problem facing the province, and so close is the end of the Assemblies’ tenure, that some sterile wish to complete that tenure, must not be allowed to stand in the way of what is right and proper. Balochistan being in the national mainstream, its problems are the whole nation’s, and the solution is national.