The Supreme Court Bar Association’s conference on Balochistan did not produce anything new to solve the situation in the country’s largest province. Held in Islamabad on Thursday, and attended by leaders of political parties, it passed a resolution aimed at decreasing the distance between the province’s political parties and the federal government, as well as a political dialogue. The resolution also called for the withdrawal from the province of the Frontier Constabulary as well as the trial of those responsible for the authoring and killing of Nawab Akbar Bugti. It was also agreed to consider another Charter of Democracy, have a peaceful transfer of power and the forthcoming elections to be held in a free, fair and transparent manner.

It is interesting that the PPP representative proposed that there should be a grand alliance between the Judiciary and Parliament. The fate of the missing persons, as recognized by all speakers, is central to the Balochistan issue and must be solved, but the PPP must also ensure the obedience of Parliament to all the judiciary’s orders. It must also ensure that the killers of Nawab Bugti are brought to justice, for that killing has apparently become a symbol of how the Baloch are oppressed. It must be realized by the PPP that matters have gone beyond issuing out some development funds or jobs.

It was instructive to see that the consultation was arranged by the SCBA, and the government lacks the credibility to hold the all-parties conference that was originally announced. The political parties attending must view the election-related demand as not just national in scope, but also intrinsically related to the Balochistan issue, as showing that the province must be allowed to make a fair choice, so that it could be properly represented. It must be noted that, apart from Maulana Sherani of the JUI-F, the Baloch themselves were not represented at the consultation, and the representatives of Balochistan in the federal legislature, were not there as well. It cannot be right that there should be a ‘Balochistan problem’, as if it was not the problem of the whole country. Such a division is only possible when people are not properly represented.