Shying away from the truth doesn’t make it disappear magically. Similarly, turning a deaf ear and blind eye to the cluster of dilemmas in Balochistan won’t solve the problems it faces; much less address the root cause of it all. From the very beginning, the largest province of Pakistan has been treated like an opportunity instead of a region inhabited by citizens with constitutional and social rights. The case of this scarcely populated province should not be viewed as a blame-game; both the federal and provincial governments are responsible for the disparity and poverty in Balochistan. So, the most recent statement from the representatives of the provincial government should not surprise – or offend – anyone sitting in the capital.

Balochistan’s Chief Minister Dr. Abdul Malik Baloch may have lodged himself in the bad books of those in Islamabad but the veracity of his claim is indisputable: Provinces are the sole owners of natural resources within their borders. Depriving Balochistan of its legal right to its very own resources is not only an infringement of its autonomy but it further aggravates extremist sentiment among existing and potential miscreants while widening the chasm between the federal government and the common people of Balochistan.

Reinforcing this argument, Adviser to Sindh CM for Finance Syed Murad Ali Shah stated that the 18th Amendment augments the right of provinces to their own resources including gas and oil reserves. Refusing to give the power of decision making to the provincial government will only lead to more acrimony, as if it isn’t already glaringly obvious. Some may argue that it is becoming trite and repetitive to hear that Islamabad’s negligence is behind destitution in Balochistan – from missing people to nonexistent access to resources – and the regression in Sindh but it is, unfortunately, reality.