The killing of any human being in cold blood is the most dastardly, heinous and condemnable act which no religion of the world and society permits or condones. Islam declares such acts as a crime against the entire humanity. Unfortunately, Baloc-histan has become a theatre for cold-blooded murders. Target killings of Punjabis and settlers admittedly carried out by the insurgents and discovery of bullet-ridden bodies of Baloch nationalists are a cause of great concern to all patriotic Pakistanis. No amount of condemnation is enough to reject these acts of bestiality. But it is really a matter of concern that while some international human rights organisations and even a section of the media within Pakistan has been grilling the government for the spate of mysterious murders of Baloch nationalists and terming it as serious violation of human rights, none has ever bothered to show sympathy for the Punjabis and settlers being assassinated by the insurgents, as if they were not human beings. Most of the international human rights organisations have their own agendas outlined by their financiers, and their partisan view of the developments in a particular country is quite understandable. But the failure on the part of the local media to take an impartial view of the situation and call a spade a spade is quite surprising, which depicts its lack of understanding of the Baloch issue. No doubt, there does exist a sense of deprivation and excesses against the province by the federation against Balochistan, but, to a great extent, it is a sequel to a well orchestrated and persistent propaganda by the tribal leaders, who see development in the province as a threat to their authority and prefer to maintain the status quo. They have used it as a card to blackmail successive governments, who motivated by their narrow political considerations, preferred to keep them in good stead by adopting a policy of appeasement at the cost of the interests of the people of Balochistan. It is an irrefutable reality that huge sums of money were allocated for development projects in the province by every government, but they were purloined by the bureaucracy and tribal leaders as a price for remaining favourably disposed towards the government, except for the mentors and architects of the armed insurgency. These elements took up arms against the regimes of Ayub Khan and Bhutto, especially when he tried to change the political landscape of the province by abolishing the sardari system and established a network of colleges and schools. In addition, the attempts to build road network in the Marri area was fiercely resisted. Moreover, unfortunately, due to the unimaginative and self-serving policies of Musharraf, the ranks of these insurgent have swelled after the murder of Nawab Akbar Bugti, who was a pro-Pakistan leader and a balancing force in the province. When he was placed at the helm of provincial affairs in the aftermath of the removal of Mengal government, the province returned to normalcy. It is worth emphasising that the insurgents are in minority, while there are a great number of Baloch who still see their future in Pakistan. Anyhow, the present government has done well by giving a package on Balochistan and initiating a process of reconciliation in the province. It has already taken a number of steps to create job opportunities for the Baloch youth, besides making a considerable headway on the political front by acceding to the demand of withdrawal of army and not to establish further cantonments there. So far about 10,000 youth have been provided jobs, while a batch of 5,000 has been recently inducted into the army. The government has rectified a festering wrong by agreeing to pay royalty on gas pertaining to the period from 1954 to 1999, and enhancing the share of the province in the national divisible pool through the 7th NFC Award. Reportedly, it has initiated 133 development projects in different fields costing Rs305 billion out of which Rs128 billion have already been spent, and another tranche of Rs28 billion has been set aside. It is encouraging to see that undeterred by the insurgents, the government is determined to persist with its efforts to ameliorate the people of the province that will contribute to mitigating their grievances. The Bugtis can still be brought back to the national mainstream and sincere efforts must be made to woo them. That would surely reduce the level of insurgency, to a great extent. The government must take adequate measures to stop target killings of the settlers and Baloch nationalists to eliminate the element of propaganda against Pakistan by the international human rights organisations. The writer is a freelance columnist. Email: ashpak10@gmail.com