Treat the demands of Balochistan, Sindh & other small provinces with utmost seriousness
by Khalid Hashmani, McLean, Virginia, USA
The writer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Baluch people have been struggling for their rights since Balochistan became a part of Pakistan, when the country was created after the partition of British India in 1947. Unfortunately, instead of establishing Pakistan’s constitution and setup on the lines 1940 Pakistan resolution that contained the commitments of sovereign and autonomous provinces, the civilian and military dictators, and bureaucracy have created a highly centralized system that is dominated and controlled by the largest province of Pakistan (Punjab). The people of three small provinces (Balochistan, Sindh, and NWFP) have been demanding provincial autonomy and adherence to the commitments that were in the 1940 resolution for decades.
About 18 months ago, a group of Baloch men and women led by Akbar Bugti were bombarded by the security forces in which scores including Nawab Akbar Bugti were killed. Since then, the Baluch struggle has taken a more vigorous turn as they have given their hope that Punjab will ever accept significant provincial autonomy and are now demanding outright separation from Pakistan.
In my remarks at the Washington DC-based Baloch organizations rally in front of the Pakistan Embassy on Friday, April 17, 2009, I urged the current government of Pakistan and its establishment (that actually runs Pakistan) to treat the demands of Balochistan and other small provinces with utmost seriousness as the delays in addressing the issues of autonomy and sovereignty of provinces is only hardening the attitude of the grieved people. I, further said there is an urgent need that the Pakistan’s National Assembly immediately pass overdue amendments in Pakistan’s constitution abolishing concurrent list, which enables the federal government and the federal establishment exercise complete control on almost every aspect of the country including revenue collection and how that revenue is spent and distributed to the provinces. Any further delay in addressing the issue of provincial autonomy would further complicate the already entangled affairs of Pakistan.