THE Balochistan Package has finally been tabled in Parliament. Following the mind shift reflected in the NFC deliberations and agreements on certain principles, this package also reflects a major shift in the thinking of the ruling elite at the Centre. The measures suggested in the Package reflect a recognition of the rights of the provinces, the need to move towards autonomy, to rid ourselves of the concurrent lists, to allow the people of the province a larger voice in their development and to respond to the sensitivities of the Baloch people to the presence of the army in their midst. There is also an acknowledgement that Balochistan has been alternatively ignored, or exploited and dealt with unfairly for decade after decade. The government has suggested all manner of economic initiatives and reforms as well as a political outreach to the people of this province. The Package contains proposals for the release of political prisoners and a call for the return of the exiled leaders. Cantonment-building has been stopped and the FC will replace the army inside the province. On the face of it, the Package has much going for it and offers more than anything the ruling elite has offered before, to the people of Balochistan. Its title, "Aghaz-e-Haqqooq-e Balochistan" though says it all. Sixty two years on, the state of Pakistan is merely beginning to move towards giving the people of Balochistan their rights. No leader, military or political, moved on this for all these years. Therefore it is not surprising to find the Baloch leadership, including the nationalist parties, not jumping for joy at this Package. Many feel that without the relevant constitutional amendments, the Package will not be able to deliver on all it promises. Most important, the major political grievance has yet to be fully accommodated. That is the removal of all cases against the Baloch leaders, both within Pakistan and in exile. There is an unacceptable conditionality attached to the return of exiles and political prisoners in terms of not removing all the politically-motivated criminal cases registered against them. After all, if the NRO could whitewash murder cases of the political leadership of other provinces, why should there be selectivity in terms of the Baloch leaders. As things stand, most of those in exile will not be able to return. Merely "facilitating" their return is a vague suggestion signifying nothing. Again, in the case of the murder of Nawab Bugti, constituting a commission is simply not enough, given how commissions have a record of being used to delay matters. The government should have given a timeframe, identified the commission members and their terms of reference to have given some credibility to this particular proposal. The Package is good but unless the Baloch leadership can be taken on board, the Package becomes meaningless - regardless of good intent.