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Balochistan: Facts and Fiction

Balochistan, the strategically important and the largest province of Pakistan, with 43.5 percent landmass of the country, is passing through a crucial phase of its history. Although there seems an unprecedented thrust for economic development of the province, the status quo is being disturbed and there is a clash of interest between the stakeholders. The centuries old feudal culture will be threatened. There is a conflict between certain sardars (feudal lords) and the government, the province and the federation, and the ethnic and sectarian entities in the province. Besides, there are grievances of the political parties and the people, related to the economic underdevelopment and quantum of autonomy for the province.
 
In fact, since independence in 1947, there have been intermittent disturbances in Balochistan. These are being variously referred to as deteriorating law and order situation, ‘militancy’, ‘insurgency’, and ‘uprising’ or ‘resurgent nationalism’. Whatever the nature of the trouble, Pakistan Government is confronted with a challenge how to deal with the prevalent situation. There is a need to improve law and order situation and to be sensitive to the underlying and immediate causes, so as to find suitable responses to satisfy the people. The causes for the disturbance and violence by certain elements and by certain groups of people, in certain areas, especially in Dera Bugti and Kohlu districts, as well as by the ‘nationalist’ political parties and upcoming intelligentsia of Balochistan, can be traced into history as well as in political, social, economic and external factors.
 
Authored by Dr Noor ul-Haq
 
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