Big talk and no results” adequately describes the futile tussle which has ensued for quite some time now between the Supreme Court of Pakistan and the security/intelligence agencies with regards to the Missing Persons case. After several court proceedings, which have served best for catchy headlines and charged talk shows, judges of the supreme judiciary yet find themselves unable to move intelligence agencies an inch from where they stand. It appears that the callousness of those responsible for the human rights abuse of the Pakistani citizens knows no bounds. The role of the elected governments has also been quite disappointing, to say the least.

In a “Meet the press” programme at Karachi Press Club, Balochistan Chief Minister, Abdul Malik Baloch, admitted his government’s failure in recovering missing persons, or even preventing further incidents of similar nature. It is unfortunate when a head of an elected government expresses his helplessness on a key issue, and has nothing more than a to-do list to offer. The promises of the Balochistan government to solve issues which continue to contribute to the instability of the province are turning out to be mere fantasies. It is no secret that the provincial government is weak. It lacks the authority and control which is crucial for any government to perform its duties effectively. But, this simply cannot go on. Someone has to step up and put an end to the prevalent illegal activities which violate the law of the country as well as the basic rights of its citizens.  

The PM should realise that appointing a Baloch as Chief Minister, and a Pashtun as Governor, will not eradicate the nuisance. The federal government cannot shy away from its responsibility. It must break its silence and pay heed to the cries of the suffering families. There is a great deal of talk about sovereignty in this country, but what happens when the actions of its own institutions paint a picture of lawlessness and anarchy. The fact is that in a democracy, it is the elected governments which are ultimately responsible for the affairs of the state. If they cannot control matters or take critical decisions independently, they lose their legitimacy and their right to rule. Bitterness and despair of the families of the missing is not without reason. With no one in the entire system able to help, there is no sign of any form of relief heading their way. That is simply unacceptable. The perpetrators must be brought to book, as no entity in the country should be free to operate beyond the scope of its constitutional boundaries. There is no moving forward, until or unless, the misguided practices which have held us back for far too long are completely abandoned.