Reconciliatory efforts are required to make the necessary amends in the relations between Balochistan and the centre. For the longest time, no progress was witnessed because several Baloch groups were involved in subversive activities against the state. They felt marginalised and the elected body was not able to articulate their interests effectively.
However, in a recent chain of events, 434 militants have surrendered to the state. They include members from several banned organisations - Baloch Republican Army (BRA), Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), and they have carried out several attacks in Quetta, Dera Bugti, Sui and other parts of the province. This step is the key towards establishing a stable Balochistan, a reconciliation between the those fighting and the state. The move to disarm them must be followed by a rehabilitation policy. For establishing trust between both parties, funds and development projects in Balochistan are key. It may also be so, that these commanders recognise that they may just be pawns in the hands of RAW, and a puppeteer in the shape of Brahumdagh Bugti, sitting safe in Switzerland while seeking asylum in India. The fighters have admitted that they were deceived, and would never fight for India. With the capture of Kalbhushan Jadev the Indian link has been exposed, and the people of Balochistan have to struggle to maintain their autonomy within our federal structure, and demand that the state make economic space for their progress. Separatism will do them no benefit as the demand may not have enough momentum, and will only result in civil strive and eventual exploitation by external power.
In Balochistan, the Pakistani state’s inability to capture citizens hearts and minds through and inclusive narrative and policy has resulted in other ideas and narratives taking root. Political positions have only become more polar - and in many cases more violent, and so has the states repression of dissent in Balochistan. One of the major reasons behind the current state of affairs is governmental apathy in education and literacy, and the lack of a Balocist voice heard in other parts of Pakistan. In the vacuum left by the government, sectarian and separatist ideologues compete for control. Education and the economy is the only way to proceed and the federal and provincial governments share the responsibility.
Balochistan is Pakistan’s largest province, but also its most neglected. It shares a border with Afghanistan and Iran; two neighbours that are already wary of the diplomatic ties with Pakistan. In such circumstances, it is important to remove internal clashes and chaos, and keep them to bare minimum.