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جمعرات، 26 جولائی، 2012

Constitutional break down in Balochistan

 Chief  Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhary has once again emphasised the need for taking corrective measures to restore normalcy in Balochistan. A three-member Bench of the Supreme Court, headed by the CJP, expressed annoyance on Tuesday over Government failure to pay attention to the affairs of Balochistan and added that there was constitutional break down in the province.

 The Supreme Court has ruled that there is complete constitutional breakdown in Balochistan. The province has indeed become a stinking cesspit of official inaction, sloth and apathy over these past four years or so. Veritably, it is in the throes of lawlessness, criminality and insurgency terribly. Yet, the administration is evidently just hibernating.

Balochistan is not being blighted by the plague of missing persons alone. Still more horrific happenings are taking place over here. An unmourned ethnic cleansing of Punjabi settlers, Urdu-speaking migrants and now also of the Pakhtuns in the Baloch-dominated areas is leading up to their mass exodus from those places and also to a baneful brain drain from the province. The sectarian mayhem of the Hazara community is on unrelentingly. There is no letup either in targeted killings and street crimes. And kidnappings for ransom have gone beyond the alarming proportions.

Yet, the administration is sitting pretty, just inert and inactive. Not pushed is it even about the ransom abductions, even as the incidence carries international implications as well. Since the Hindu jewellers and businessmen are among the main groups being targeted by kidnappers, quite a large number of Hindus have migrated to India with no intent to return to the homeland. Their travail could easily be exploited by the international vested interests and hostile lobbies to defame and malign Pakistan worldwide.

But, shockingly, no concern is in evidence either in Quetta or even in Islamabad over this explosive migration. Indeed, there is a bewildering official unconcern both at the centre and in the province over the way crime and criminality are worrisomely wresting the province away from the state writ. Rather, both the provincial and federal hierarchs appear unrepentant and unchastised. A stark shocker it really was that chief minister Nawab Aslam Riasani delivered the other day. Conditions in Balochistan, he said, were not that bad; it is only the media which was exaggerating.

If it is the media, then why is so much of restlessness right inside Balochistan? The people across the spectrum are crying hoarse that they feel safe neither in their homes nor on the streets and in their workplaces. The horrible fact is that the provincial administration has thrown the citizens at the mercy of terrorists, insurgents and criminal gangs. And the sorriest part is nobody in Islamabad is bothered about it. All that one gets from there is silly political rhetoric and tall talk about a Balochistan package which is neither here nor there.

 Both the federal and provincial hierarchs keep clamouring that foreign hands are involved in the troubles in Balochistan, which sure is right. But neither do they identify those hands for reasons best known to them, nor do they act robustly to chop them off. There seems no coordination between the provincial and the federal security apparatuses; all seem acting independently, if at all. The worst part is that the provincial administration doesn't appear intent on preparing the provincial security apparatus fighting fit to take on criminals, terrorists and insurgents triumphantly.

Over these past years, enormous monies have flowed into the coffers of the provincial government from the centre in various heads. With those billions, it could have not only equipped the provincial law-enforcement apparatus with good training, sophisticated weapons and other gadgetry, but also spent a lot on human development to marginalise anti-social and anti-state elements. But it has done neither. Believably, those billions have been divvied up between themselves by the ministers and lawmakers to fatten their own treasures.

The province is really in a pathetic state. To get out of its travails, it needs honest leaders who are also good statesmen and no-nonsense administrators. But to its utter misfortune, it has at the helms those who are not even passable politicians. They are petty dwarfs, not fit to rule even a municipality. And, to its great grief, it has a non-resident chief minister, who loves spending more time in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi than his seat of power, Quetta. When the top is so feeble and insouciant, what feats could reasonably be expected of its subordinate bureaucracy?

No wonder, Balochistan is in such a spot. But someone in Islamabad has to wake up and come alive to the lawlessness, chaos and anarchy holding in their vicious clutches this crucial province of Pakistan so tightly. It can't be let go down all like that. At every cost, it has to be saved and secured for its preponderantly impoverished people to live safely and grow assuredly. A drastic decision in Balochistan has now become inevitable. Will Islamabad take it or let Balochistan sink in the quagmire it is stuck up in so frighteningly.

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