The abduction and subsequent execution of eight Punjabis in Hub, Balochistan is yet another reminder of how powerless the armed forces and the government are in keeping peace in the province, and providing safety to the different ethnicities in Balochistan. The United Baloch Front (UBF) has claimed responsibility for the murders, but the armed forces must not respond with brute force only. Intelligence must be used to find its key members, and those involved in the execution, and they should be brought to justice in a court of law, instead of treating them the same way they did their victims. Hundreds have died and over 300,000 people have been forced to move from the province ever since the insurgency picked up pace a decade ago.

Law enforcement agencies should do all they can to bring the murderers to justice, but need to remember that the policy of picking anyone and everyone off the streets for interrogation (read: torture) is what got us here in the first place. The Balochi separatist movement is centered on the government and the armed forces treating its people as subjects instead of citizens. The Balochis are also not wrong in claiming that the province has not seen the same amount of development the other provinces have, even though the abundance of natural resources in Balochistan has been taken full advantage of by the rest of Pakistan. Apart from basic survival necessities, Balochistan is deprived of education, healthcare facilities and an effective police force.

Crimes like this will continue to take place even after the capture of those responsible unless the government actively works towards improving ethnic relations within the province, and addressing the very real resentment the Balochis feel. By granting rights to citizens, providing them with basic needs, and ensuring that laws to protect the people are properly implemented. The separatists remain citizens of this country, and apart from some hardliners that speak out against Pakistan, will only continue to identify themselves as Pakistani if the state gives them enough reason to do so.