LAHORE - The government has totally failed to arrest the situation in Balochistan which has deteriorated to an alarming point with the possible involvement of the foreign powers, said PML LikeMinded Balochistan chapter President Mir Mukarrum Zehri while talking to The Nation on Monday.

Young Zehri, who spent most part of his life abroad, counted the murder of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti as a major factor behind flaring up of the restive situation as, he said, the incident has not only aggravated the sense of deprivation among the Baloch but has also kindled fear among other Baloch leaders of meeting the same fate.

Mukarrum said today local elements, out of sheer poverty, are falling in the hands of the foreign forces which are busy in executing a ‘great game’ in this province. Mir said unlike the past when Balochistan had meager funds, the province is getting handsome amounts from the federal pool as well as under Aghaze Haqooqe Balochstan but it has failed to ally the sense of deprivations of the masses because these funds end up in the pockets of rulers and the officialdom. The public funds spending in Balochistan needs to be strictly monitored, he added.

Mukarrum blamed the Musharraf regime for worsening situation first through launching military operation in Balochistan and later by murdering Nawab Akbar Bugti.

He said, at present, no one knows exactly who is killing who as even Balochis were not being spared, what of say of the people from other provinces. He said the way in which the people are being killed does not match with the thinking of the Baloch people who, he said, are loyal and faithful to the country.

The LikeMinded leader said the deprivations and joblessness is drifting the Baloch youth to separatists and the foreign elements. He admitted that the Opposition in the Balochistan Assembly is also not that vocal and active to highlight the situation and take the government to task for not providing for the masses and being failed on all counts.

He said it looks as if the government itself is not interested in addressing the Baloch problems.

Mukarrum said if the restive situation is to be controlled, first of all, the issue of hunger, which is source of every problem among the Baloch, must be addressed and they be given respect. And Baloch culture, their way of living and their customs must be understood to decide the things. Secondly, he said, Nawab Meran Ali, the grandson of Nawab Akbar Bugti, should be allowed to go to Dera Bugti where the people of his tribe are looking forward to him. He said Balochistan fire could be largely put out if Ali is given access to his people.

He also blamed the Musharraf regime for mishandling the BLF, which under Dr Allah Nazar, he added, is now demanding separation from Pakistan. He said to a question that a genuine representation through free and fair elections, could help defeat the present critical situation as the people not only believe that majority of the present lot of assembly is not genuinely elected but also suppressing their rights.

Mukarrum said the PML-N, with which Likeminded has agreed seat adjustment in the next elections, is fast gaining popularity, apart from attracting attention of nationalist parties of the province. He expressed the hope that through free and fair elections their joint candidates will make a marked difference in the next elections.