The recently assassinated Senator Habib Jalib was a significant figure in Balochistan who had been one of the most prominent among those vocal against 'disappearances. That is why some people blame the security agencies for his murder. Mr Jalib was otherwise a non-controversial person who just wanted to fight for the rights of his people, demanding their rightful place in politics and economics of the country. In my view, the over all role of the Army has been positive in Balochistan because it is making an effort to raise level of education of the Baloch youth. But the murder of Senator Habib Jalib has been a body blow to its image. The Balochs are only 3.57% of Pakistans total population but the political and economic discrimination with their province has turned them into a crippling problem for Pakistan. Their grievances are not new but the tragic turn of events have converted their demands for greater cultural, economic and political autonomy from Centre into outcry for an independent state of Balochistan. The wave of anti-Punjabi operations started by armed groups of Balochs has caused many casualties among Punjabi professors of Balochistan University. Surprisingly, the teachers in the religious seminaries have remained unharmed. But that is probably because almost 95% of religious schools spread all over Balochistan are owned and administered by leaders of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI), a pro-Taliban party. These religious schools have given birth to an alternative political force that counterbalances the influence of Baloch nationalist politics. Militant religious groups are rapidly gaining a stronghold in Balochistan. Traditionally, keeping arms had always been a sign of prestige and strength that has been reinforced by the culture of feudalism and Sardari system that underpins the tribal society of Balochistan. The ordinary people want development, progress, peace and prosperity but are helpless in the face of a few elements that are working against it. Indian interference in the internal affairs of Pakistan by the way of promoting terrorism in Balochistan is also reported. India has exploited the aspirations of Baloch people. Other foreign powers that might be helping in destabilizing Pakistan include the British and Americans. They are playing a double game here, assuring Pakistan of their help and helping Baloch separatists too. -ATTIQA AHMED, Rawalpindi, July 28