With the re-emergence of insurgency in Balochistan, the common masses of the province have been suffering more than enough from the state institutions. Sometimes a killing in a “fake encounter” and other times “false allegations – presently affecting the students and women in specific – either inside the province or any other part of the state – to have affiliations with banned outfits” have enhanced the sense of deprivation of the Baloch nation. The recent wave of ‘enforced disappearances’ of Baloch women and students in particular is fueling the fire of ‘hatred’ of the inhabitants. Such a discriminatory attitude of the state towards Baloch can cause a bigger headache to the state in the near future.
One of the students in Quetta, Abdullah Baloch says that the number of persons raising their voices against enforced disappearances in Balochistan is abruptly increasing each day even they know that they could be disappeared if they raised voice. The people in the province have ‘realised’ that whether or not they speak up against any injustice, they would be picked up merely based on their identity – the Baloch. “Therefore, state should change its aggressive policy of disappearances and accept the truth that it can neither send all the persons behind the bar nor can it stop them from raising voices against the illegal practice,” he concludes.
The Baloch youth feel ‘their identity’ is sickening the state institutions. If you are a Baloch, they believe, no matter where you are and what you are doing, you are ‘profiled, abducted and tortured’ for no other crime but of the identity of the ethnic nationality. It ultimately results in more resistance from the youth and women instead of moving towards a political solution of the Baloch issue. Parliamentary political figures of the Baloch, including Sardar Akhtar Mengal’s Balochistan National Party (BNP) and Dr Abdul Malik’s National Party (NP), deem the Baloch issue is only and majorly political which can solely be solved through political means.
During his tenure, the former Chief Minister of Balochistan Dr. Abdul Malik tried such a solution in practical by meeting with ‘Baloch leaders’ in exile. According to the ex-CM, he had entered into successful negotiations with the Baloch leadership there, but then he was not let to proceed by some factors. However, the militant leaders have “rejected all the talks with government” demanding the presence of foreign, neutral powers and after the deporting of the military from the region.
Senior journalist and anaylist, Hamid Mir said in a statement that state needed not to be “reactionary” towards the Baloch people which, he added, had already rendered severe losses to the state. “State has to be compassionate towards the Baloch and speak to the Baloch on their grievances.” He believes, like the political parties of Balochistan, that the Baloch issue was more possible to get resolved applying the political channels and not military.
Shah Meer Baloch, a reporter for The Guardian reporting from Pakistan’s Islamabad, feels the same. He says that state needs to be very precautious before taking any step as the previously “Kill and Dump” policy which can cause “heavy losses” to the state. “It can face harsh resistance from the people in case of any hard policy used against them in reaction.” He considers that the state should adopt a broader and wider approach to bring Baloch leadership on table.
The discussions on resolving the Baloch issue had not ended when the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) of the state arrested-cum-disappeared two Baloch women – Noor Jan Baloch from Hoshap and Habiba Peer Jan (poetess) from Karachi – after which certain resistance followed as a reaction from the Baloch nation. As women are symbols of honor in the Baloch society, such acts of the state departments are likely to add to the tensions of peaceful ties of the state with the Baloch people.
Right after the disappearances of the two Baloch women, locals had blocked two important routes connecting Turbat city with Quetta and Karachi: Hoshap’s residents blocked the N-8 highway from Hoshap and the Baloch residents of Turbat and Tump continued their sit-in in the D-Baloch area of Turbat. After some unrest, Habiba was released without giving any reason of her detention, while Noor Jan was set free on bail with criminal charges which are yet to be proved.
In such a critical stretch, when state becomes reactionary and disappear Baloch youth, men and women, without producing any sufficient proofs, the future can be very bleak for the two. There ought to be political efforts to resolve the Baloch issue.