In the wake of the ongoing bloodbath, with the recent deaths of 8 men in Quetta on Saturday, the Balochistan provincial government has announced a security roadmap to arrest the rising incidence of sectarian killings. Only time will tell how effective this plan turns out to be since this is not the first one and besides already the miscreants seem to be having a field day.

What is alarming is that at the receiving end of this sectarian violence are the people belonging to a minority group living in areas of Balochistan and Gilgit Baltistan. The killings are regular but the worrying thing is that the criminals are killing almost with impunity given the law enforcement agencies’ lacklustre performance. The violence is so systematic that the members of the minority group are executed on the basis of their name and sect mentioned on their ID cards. The despair and helplessness of the victims beggars’ description as the only resort they can have is to take out protests. In the absence of any meaningful police action from the state, they live in the constant state of fear that they are sitting ducks for the miscreants. Given the killing spree that has left scores of these people dead, there should be hardly any doubt that a certain force with a particular agenda of destabilising Pakistan is behind such attacks. Most shocking amongst the ongoing incidents was the massacre of 16 people in Kohistan area this February which was followed by a string of deadly attacks in Quetta again targeting members of the same minority group. The perpetrators have been trying to cash in on the fact that Quetta and Gilgit Baltistan areas are vulnerable to such ethnic tension. Hence the violence is being committed with the aim to turn the areas into a tinderbox so that the unrest could envelop the rest of the country. For instance, the situation in Gilgit has deteriorated to such an extent that a curfew was enforced a few days back. The unrest makes it pretty clear that it is a Balochistan in the making.

The federal government has on occassions stated that a foreign hand is involved but it has to also see to it that these foreign elements are driven out. The problem is that both the federal and the provincial Balochistan governments are busy passing the buck. Neither of the two setups seem ready to step forward to carry out a planned campaign against those who are so freely plunging the country into chaos. The ethnic tension should be stopped before the scourge spreads like wildfire.