WHAT President Musharraf told a TV channel would be widely seen as an exercise in spin combined with some pipedreaming. His stand that a separatist movement has started in Balochistan which was not there before the elections is bound to be characterized as a patent untruth by anyone who has been reading the papers or viewing TV channels during the last few years. There is a need therefore to set the record right. The suppression of a legitimate and peaceful movement for provincial rights under President Musharraf's personal directives moved it to become violent. Military operations subsequently isolated the pro-federation Baloch parliamentarians, some of whom were forced to resign. The disgruntled youth subsequently took to the mountains and initiated an armed struggle. President Musharraf disregarded advice by responsible politicians and the mainstream media to abandon the use of force and take recourse to talks. The recommendations of one of the two parliamentary committees set up to resolve the issues of Balochistan were allowed to gather dust because, as Senator Mushahid Hussain recently told the Senate, hardliners in the military establishment were opposed to these. The reckless decision by President Musharraf to physically eliminate Nawab Akbar Bugti, who stood for the solution of Balochistan's problems within the federation, the arrests of hundreds of political workers and the disappearance of scores of innocent people strengthened the hands of secessionist elements. The BLA, which has indulged in acts of sabotage and claimed the killings of numerous innocent people, was formed not after the elections, but when the PML(Q) ruled both the Centre and Balochistan. The elected government has apologised to the people of the province for these injustices and is trying to undo some of them by creating hopes that the issue might be resolved peacefully. Some retired generals have alleged that President Musharraf's keenness to seek international legitimacy led him to pursue a highly defective policy of launching military operations in FATA. Instead of containing extremism and terrorism, this extended the reach of the terrorists to the entire country. President Musharraf has failed to realize that the elections were in fact a referendum against him. He says he can neither be a silent spectator nor "leave the boat in the vortex" and is meditating to initiate a reforms agenda. This is highly preposterous in the presence of an elected government. Most people in Pakistan would like him to resign and let the government work peacefully.