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اتوار، 15 اپریل، 2012

Quetta | Enough is enough!

Balochistan Governor Nawab Zulfiqar Magsi has expressed his deep concern over the deteriorating law and order situation in the province and come out with a very timely warning that a civil war would erupt if target killings continued unabated.

A man mourns the death of his slain relative outside a hospital in Quetta on Saturday
Balochistan Governor Nawab Zulfiqar Ali Magsi too has now spoken up. He has warned if targeted killings and worsening law and order situation in the province are not stopped, it may well erupt into a civil war and the situation may come to a point where army may have to be called in to the great ill-ease of the civilian government and administration. At least now, the alarm that the governor has raised so chillily should shake out both Quetta and Islamabad from the hibernation they have gone into over the disconcerting turn the conditions have taken in Balochistan. By every consideration, the province has become a vast muddy marsh of lawlessness and criminality of every sort over these past four years on chief minister Nawab Aslam Riasani's watch. And if Quetta is a frightened witness to incessant targeted killings, parts of the province are being rocked by the tsunami of kidnappings for ransom. Its special targets are though Hindu jewellers and businessmen, who in desperation are migrating to India, and the Parsi entrepreneurs, who too in fright are fleeing to the safety of pastures outside. Others too are not safe from this kidnapping incidence that indeed has become the province's most flourishing trade.And while a systematic slaughter of the Hazara community is raging in full fury in Quetta and other areas, a methodical ethnic cleansing of Punjabi settlers and hounding out of Pakhtuns from the province's Baloch belt is going on in full spree unrelentingly. Scared teachers, professors, doctors, engineers, lawyers and other professionals are fleeing the province in droves. And though rights activists and Baloch nationalists and politicos are speaking out volubly about missing persons and tortured killings, they too are mum about a far grimmer human tragedy happening in the province, probably because it doesn't fit into their narrow motivated agendas.Scores of innocent civilians, mostly children and women, have already lost their lives and limbs in booby-traps laid down by insurgents, particularly in the remoter parts away from the camera limelight. And many more are becoming the unsuspecting casualties of these landmines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) planted by insurgents on rural roads and pathways. Their woeful tragedy is going wholly unnoticed and unmourned, with no tear welling up even in any eyes of rights workers, nationalists and politicos. And not a feeble call has been heard from their quarters for compensation to mitigate somewhat the grief of the bereaved.Magsi has rightly debunked the jumbo-sized ministry that Riasani has assembled under his wings. Of what avail could be this mammoth leviathan if it has turned out such an utter failure in coming to grips with the Province's ever-deteriorating law and order situation, what to talk of bigger things like development and progress and combating out the low-intensity insurgency plaguing Balochistan for sometime?

Shia protesters shout slogans against killing of their community members by gunmen on Saturday. 
But horror of horrors, some of his own ministers are statedly involved in kidnappings for ransom. And there are widespread rumours that many provincial legislators too are having a finger in this fat pie, with no dread at all of the law.But Riasani has demonstrated conclusively that he is not cut out for the job he is holding - right from the outset. As he took over, instead of settling down to take charge of his province's affairs, he took to troubleshooting errands on his PPP high command's behalf. Most of the time, he spent in toeing and froing between Islamabad and Lahore to massage the longer-than-life ego of Mian Nawaz Sharif, in-between taking time out for sojourn in Karachi. So conspicuous was his prolonged absence from his seat of office, Quetta, that a disgusted citizenry of Balochistan in chagrin slapped on him the demeaning sobriquet of "the non-resident chief minister of Balochistan". After exhaustion from his futile troubleshooting missions, he went into a long swoon of languidly, waking up off and on to castigate one state arm or the other for his own failings. At times, he would accuse the Frontier Corps of running a parallel administration; at times, he would point a finger at the police and Frontier Constabulary for kidnappings. Never ever has it occurred to him that he was in office not to warm the chair but to administer and to deliver. On his watch, Balochistan has got mounds of cash from the centre on various accounts, with which he could have not only given multiple development projects but also a highly-toned-up law-enforcement projects to his citizens. But that huge pile shows up neither in development nor in law-enforcement, leaving one wondering where has disappeared that fabulous moolah. Laughably, so deep has been his disinterest in administering his domain that it took him years in knowing that his party high command may have given a Balochistan package ostentatiously but has no heart in it. But this was very much in the domain of public knowledge soon after that high command announced the package, as the people sensed no zest in this hierarchy to dress it up with the apparels of execution. But the time has come when Islamabad must get its own act together and also put Riasani on notice either to deliver or make an exit. Balochistan cannot afford to slip any deeper in turmoil. That would end up the province in anarchy beyond anybody's control. 



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