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Who’s ruling Balochistan?

It is high time the people of Balochistan get to decide who should govern

Momin Manzoor

Balochistan is the largest province in the country, but has the smallest population. This region is said to have a minimal role in mainstream politics, however, this notion could soon be changing.

Since the toppling of the Pakistan Muslim League — Noon (PML-N) government in Balochistan, Balochistan’s position seems to have changed. What happened in Balochistan is not a coincidence. The party is suffering from some political leg pulling — and this was only possible in Balochistan because of certain conditions.

Politics in Balochistan is prone to fluctuations. Party leaders can exit their party to enter another in a matter of minutes. Sardar Doda (father of Sana Zehri and Israr Zehri) aptly highlighted the problem when he said, “we do not change parties, but governments by becoming a part of them.”

Political control in Balochistan is kept by a very small pond of fish. A handful of political tycoons wish to remain in power all the time — and manage to do so by going after their vested interested, by any means.

General Elections are just around the corner and political parties are once again engaging in a wide range of activities. Similarly, parties in the province have kicked off their election campaigns — which are bitter and acrimonious. To say that political engineering is underway in the province would be an understatement.

Many players that were previously a part of the PML-N-led government are now finding new platforms to run with. It seems that many are siding with the military establishment. Political engineering is beneficial for those who are in a disadvantageous position. They get a parachute arrangement in reaching the corridors of power.

Balochistan has for long been a troubled province. Democracy is the only way to pacify it. A state where democratic culture takes firm roots is less prone to violence and conflict, because it can solve its problems through participation, dialogues and negotiation

All other political parties in the country are seeing the situation as being against the spirit of democracy. As mentioned earlier, this is not the first time this is happening in Balochistan. Those blaming the military establishment today were themselves busy dismantling the political system present in Balochistan during the 1990s.

It is surprising that people who themselves were part of this problem in the past are the ones criticising others today. This can be confirmed by going through the profiles of their political careers; they never adhered to a single party or agenda. The Murree Accord of 2013 is living proof of this. It effectively made Balochistan a centre-controlled province.

The Murree Accord was a black chapter in our political history, through which nationalist parties compromised the sacred autonomy of this province because of their petty interests.

The common people have had to withstand the worst of all this political engineering. The deprived people of the province were never given a say when it comes to the electoral process. The people should be the ones choosing their leaders. The tragedy is that democracy in Pakistan, and particularly in Balochistan, is feudalistic.

The role of the people is confined to casting votes and hoisting flags. People in the province feel like it is not the people of Balochistan that make decisions for Balochistan, rather it is the people of Punjab who are making all the decisions.

Balochistan has for long been a troubled province. Democracy is the only way to pacify it. A state where democratic culture takes firm roots is less prone to violence and conflict, because it can solve its problems through participation, dialogues and negotiation.

It is high time the people of Balochistan get to decide who should govern them.

The writer can be reached at

Published in Daily Times, June 13th2018.


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