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Balochistan: endless despair —Mohammad Akhtar Mengal

Inattention of the international community will further aggravate the current instability and a rapidly developing Darfur and Somalia-like situation in Balochistan will have serious implications for long-term peace and stability in the region.

The appalling poverty, desolation, unemployment, worsening health conditions, malnourishment, tribal in-fighting, mounting corruption, support for drug barons and religious fundamentalism in historically peaceful and secular-oriented Baloch society are the domino effects of systematic policies imposed by the Islamabad super-establishment
Although the British Raj ended in 1947, under Pakistan’s ethnically structured and politically over-centralised state, the concept and practice of second-class citizenry remains a common practice by the dominant group against the underprivileged people.
Initially, the East Pakistani population was the prime victim of this policy of systematic second-class citizenry; they were discriminated against because of their ethnicity, origin, and political aspirations. They were denied legal rights, civil rights, political rights and overall economic opportunities in a country that came into being through the extraordinary contribution of the Bengali political and intellectual elite.
Rebuffing West Pakistan’s neo-colonial policies, the Bengalis took a non-violent path to change their destiny. They voted in favour of the Awami League and sent a clear signal to the power base in Lahore, GHQ and Islamabad that the days of institutionalised slavery are over. The dominant civil-military establishment’s hawkish response to Bengal’s political verdict was ruthless, which resulted in millions of deaths, destruction and separation of East Pakistan.
After the fall of Dhaka, the same hawkish elite apprehended another opportunity to continue its policy of second-class citizenry, and this time the Baloch people became a soft target. Balochistan was wealth-looted, people-killed, land-grabbed for strategic use and its people were systematically kept underdeveloped.
Furthermore, the hawkish elite and ethnically dominant policy-making institutions imposed new methods to further suppress the ‘Baloch second-class citizenry’. Thousands of people were recruited in Frontier Corps (FC) from FATA, Punjab and other provinces, denying the right of employment to the locals. The same FC established hundreds of check posts during the 1980s to date, just to restrict people’s social, economic and development movements.
The appalling poverty, desolation, unemployment, worsening health conditions, malnourishment, tribal in-fighting, mounting corruption, support for drug barons and religious fundamentalism in historically peaceful and secular-oriented Baloch society are the domino effects of systematic policies imposed by the Islamabad super-establishment.

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