By Muhammad Nawaz Khan —
Politics of Balochitan has always been dominated with traditional baloch tribal system. However, underdevelopment in Balochistan is also linked to the callous and vested interests of tribal system. It is believed that Balochistan has deliberately been kept economically weak, politically unstable and illiterate to sustain power. Resultantly, the province is in a deep sense of deprivation, alienation, grievance, violence. It is now an open secret that the enemy in Balochistan is neither the local Balochies nor the Pakistani army but foreign forces.
It is evident that the army has launched and supported numerous economic development and educational programmes for Balochistan, which are creating a positive environment within the province. These developmental projects have provided employment to thousands of Balochs and are being looked upon as a way by the military to bring peace to the region. Given the wish of the Baloch nationalists, plan to construct military cantonments in Sui and Kohlu has been abandoned; instead the two are being converted into educational cities where number of Army Public Schools, colleges and technical/vocational institutes are being opened both for boys and girls to provide free of cost education. The Army has planned to recruit 20,000 Baloch youth during 2013-14. Inter Services Selection Board (ISSB) selection standards have been lowered for them and special education cadres arranged to enable them to get inducted into Army as officers. Likewise, the Navy is also working on a comprehensive programme to induct Baloch youth in Navy. The Frontier Core (FC) has also undertaken host of welfare projects. Greater induction of Baloch youth in the FC and Frontier Constabulary is taking place. The FC has also been requisitioned by provincial government to restore law and order. Its determination to combat foreign aided terrorists is what troubles the separatists and their patrons.
Furthermore, the Army, Navy and FC are in direct communication with the common Balochis and addressing their day to day problems and striving to better their lives. Besides, earthquakes, devastating floods and deluge of biblical proportion have wreaked havoc in the province, namely the floods of 1950, 1973, 1976, 1977, 1992, 2000, 2010, 2011 and 2012, drought in 2000 and cyclone in 2007. History of Balochistan shows that Armed Forces of Pakistan play a crucial role in development of Balochistan and also in bringing peace. They not only responded to the call of duty without demur or complaint and reached out to help their Balochi brothers and sisters whenever the need arose.
In fact, there are many seminars and conferences as well as workshops held across Pakistan to assess and explain the situation in Balochistan. Nevertheless,
Balochistan’s question remains to be solved through political means and the military has made itself very clear that it supports a political solution to the Balochistan issue.
The problem of partisan media in Pakistan is also a problem as the role of Pakistan Armed Forces in Balochistan has never been projected in an unbiased way. The so-called liberal media (foreign funded) in Pakistan and liberal puppets living on foreign dole have been blaming the Pakistani state for all the wrong doings in Balochistan. These ‘Trojan Horse’ tactics in the information age may not be much effective. Such tactics aim to demonise the army, intelligence agencies, divide the people of Pakistan, create political confusion, and galvanise terrorists so that mayhem abounds, leading to the paralysis of the state. However, to handle such negative propaganda and vice agenda, there should be a frequent and strong projection of positive role of armed forces and FC in the province in order to bring peace in Balochistan.
Also, the issue of the missing persons in the province is clearly a blame game where the FC is being dragged into. FC cannot operate independently without prior orders from the provincial government. Pakistan military has identified a lot of these missing persons to be in the Ferari Camps (separatist camps) but no one highlighted that thing.
Thus, role of the security forces of Pakistan must be respected for their sacrifices and contribution for national unity and stability. It is high time for our media to show maturity and sense of responsibility to confront foreign intrigues rather than become a part of conspiracy of defaming our security forces. Furthermore, the media can help positively resolve to the Balochistan problem by encouraging reconciliation with the Baloch and discouraging foreign interference. Also, the army can further augment its information warfare capabilities. The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) has recently become more effective in projecting the army’s viewpoint. It should concentrate more on Balochistan solution with army’s positive contribution. The Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) while brilliantly guarding Pakistan needs to expose the foreign agendas and hostile agencies fishing in Balochistan’s troubled waters. Hence, the need of the time asks for everyone to work together rather than adopting approach of negative propaganda.