After being elected as the Chief Minister of Balochistan, Dr Abdul Malik had made an offer for talks with the Baloch militants, sectarian groups and others for talks restoring traditional peace and amity in Balochistan. Similar offer was made by the Federal Interior Minister but with certain conditions. However, Dr Malik did not impose any condition knowing the ground realities and background of all the issues that had plagued Balochistan for the past eight years or since Nawab Bugti was assassinated. It is generally believed that all non-Baloch rulers, Ministers, officials and public servants made talks offer in the past. But they were not sincere and they were unable to understand the core issue and crux of the problem, mainly the Baloch conflict. They treated Balochistan as an issue of mere law and order and they refused to recognize that a section of Baloch people had adopted militancy in order to regain their usurped national rights. This perception had never been accepted by the non Baloch rulers, Ministers and Generals presumably for political or other strategic reasons.
It is not the case of Dr Malik and he and his entire party is part and parcel of the broad Baloch society and most of its leaders, including Dr Malik, were involved in polemics on parliamentary politics or militancy for the past many decades. So the perception of Dr Malik is totally different and contradictory from all the non-Balochs who made ceremonial offers for talks with the Baloch militants and specifically for public consumption. The talks offer did not materialize merely because the non-Baloch rulers were insincere and they never wanted to resolve the Baloch conflict amicably. They believed in use of force only. Rather, they had no power to take any decision. Others were on the driving seat and the civilian rulers at the Federal level were involved in public relation exercises. In case of Balochistan, civilian Ministers were given a shut up call from the day one and asked to leave politics for ‘more competent functionaries’ and mint millions and billions during their entire tenure. Now there is a visible change on the political scene of Pakistan. Tenant Zardari is dislodged from power in most unceremonious manner and more powerful and assertive elements from Central Punjab had come to power in fresh elections and they got the courage and determination to take some decisions, including on Balochistan. If Dr Malik is also drawing strength from the leaders of Central Punjab, there is a dim light in the unending and dark tunnel that some progress will be made on this issue. Presumably for this reason, some elements are seeking ‘immunity’ for all concerned involved in enforced disappearance, extra-judicial arrest, detention and killing or operating illegal places of detention in all parts of Balochistan or elsewhere in Pakistan. It is an indication of some progress on Baloch conflict.
Dr Malik is a shrewd politician and he did not come out with the details of this plan how to proceed with his talk offer. Mere extending an invitation for talks will not be sufficient for talks with the Baloch militants. He should explain his views or confirm that he too was involved in back channel diplomacy on Baloch conflict. To us, it is not difficult to improve the situation substantially, if we are unable to resolve the Baloch conflict completely. The key to the solution is that the security forces be sent back to barracks or their peacetime position and place the civilian Government on the driving seat giving full power to deal with any situation. We firmly believe that the Baloch population will never cooperate with aliens on any issue, at any stage and extend full cooperation to the empowered civilian government to make complete peace to the satisfaction of the people.
Editorial by Siddiq Baluch
(Courtesy: Daily Balochistan Express Quetta)
Republished in The Balochistan Point on July 17, 2013