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Balochistan breaking point?

By: Yasir Babbar, Islamabad
Please note: Yasir Babbar is an Islamabad-based journalist working at The Frontier Post and the Pakistan Press International.
Courtesy: Himal Mag
After national elections in February 2008, optimism in Pakistan was brimming over. Perhaps nowhere did the elections have a more immediate impact than in Balochistan, the province that has been attempting to break away from Islamabad’s control for decades. The first positive signs from the national capital came after Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman (and now President) Asif Ali Zardari formally apologised to the people of Balochistan for the excesses committed against them in the past. He also announced that the new PPP-led government would call an all-parties conference to address the province’s long-entrenched problems, while also promising to form a truth commission to investigate the abuses. Such pledges, rarely if ever heard before, created a sudden blossoming of hope in the province. The three leading armed militant groups – the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), the Baloch Republican Army (BRA) and the Baloch Liberation Front (BLF) – even announced a joint unilateral ceasefire.

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