THE situation in Balochistan is deplorable to say the least. On Friday, a judge and a member of his staff were shot to death by unknown miscreants. Apart from that, there has been a string of deadly attacks: the targeted killing of a Baloch leader Mureed Khan Bugti and his cousin; a bomb blast in Dera Murad Jamali that injured 15 people; and a grenade attack on the office of a goods company in Hazargangi - all indicative of the degree of violence the region has plunged into. Meanwhile, every day that goes by, the sense of alienation among the Baloch keeps on growing. The confidence of the leaders like Sardar Akhtar Mengal in the PPP led government has shattered to the point where he has demanded that the UN be made a guarantor in the talks between them and the government but it is incumbent upon him and others to realize that they would only be making the situation more complex if they were to continue making unacceptable demands. Mr Mengal's demand for the right to self-determination or the call for independence by Brahamdagh Bugti and other resistance movements make matters worse. They would be serving the people best if they give up their separatist agenda and sitting at a conference table to find a negotiated settlement of the problems of Balochistan. At the same time, the government cannot escape the blame for the pitiable state of affairs in the province. Given the pace at which things are heating up there, it had better gird up its loins to resolve the Balochistan issue. President Asif Zardari who tendered apology to the Baloch for the past atrocities and injustices must follow up on his words with definite moves. The government ought to implement the recommendations of the parliamentary committee on Balochistan formed in 2005. Moreover, the Parliament could do well to lend a helping hand and address the issue of provincial autonomy, a longstanding demand of the people in smaller provinces, particularly. Since, the people of Balochistan have been for long at the receiving end of social and political injustice by various indifferent regimes, it should not be hard for the government to get to the bottom of the major problems that rankle with them. The facts are known, but each time, a new government comes to power, it feels no qualms in wasting precious time in debate and rhetoric, as if it has no idea what the Balochistan crisis is all about. Time is fast running out.