PSX Attack: It Is Important That The Baloch Feel They Have A Stake In Pakistan
It is important that the Baloch feel they have a stake in Pakistan. A failure to achieve that is not going to help. Similarly, the Baloch must realise that they are part of Pakistan and the best option is to seek substantial autonomy within Pakistan, writes Dr Ishtiaq Ahmed.
I waited some time to get a handle on the attack yesterday on the Karachi Stock Exchange by armed men whom the Balochistan Liberation Army has claimed as their operatives.
All of them were killed and the attempt to enter the Stock Exchange foiled but not before four police officers were also killed.
This is the second attack in about a year and the reports suggest that it is meant to challenge the increasing Chinese presence and involvement in the CPEC projects in the province.
The Baloch have always complained that their interests have been subordinated or even ignored and usurped regarding the benefits which accrue from investments in Balochistan.
The Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi alleged an Indian hand behind the operation. It was observed by Pakistani officials that such an operation was not possible without external involvement of states: India and Afghanistan.
While concrete evidence of such involvement has not been found, it is understandable that such activities are connected to many intelligence agencies and that foreign agencies may be involved is not surprising.
It is to be recalled that when the Mumbai Terrorist Attacks took place on 26 November 2008, Shah Mahmood Qureshi as Pakistani foreign minister was in Delhi holding peace talks!
He and others quickly returned to Pakistan.
It was clearly established that the attack in Mumbai which claimed more than 170 lives was linked to Pakistan – to so-called Non-State Actors!
One terrorist Ajmal Kasab was caught. The same day Pakistani journalists visited Kasab’s village Faridabad in southern Punjab and talked to his father who admitted that the person the Indians were showing was his son. Geo TV showed the video all day and then it disappeared.
To my very great shock, I had a brief interaction with a prospective PhD candidate in Pakistan who said that Kasab was from UP, India, and not a Pakistani.
I am sure that PhD candidate will get a degree! This is the level of research in Pakistan.
India has denied any involvement in this latest outrage in Karachi, but some of my friends say that RAW is active in Balochistan, as are Afghan agents.
I have always said, terrorism is terrorism, both state terrorism and terrorism of so-called non-state actors and organizations fighting for independence and so on.
The only solution which will last will be one based on the principle of non-interference in each other’s internal affairs. This applies to India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.
I think Pakistan is wasting time on Kashmir. We have 220 million people in four provinces and some territories. That is a big population and large enough territory for us to take care of.
I strongly believe that the 18th Amendment was good and it should be implemented in letter and spirit.
It is important that the Baloch feel they have a stake in Pakistan. A failure to achieve that is not going to help. Similarly, the Baloch must realise that they are part of Pakistan and the best option is to seek substantial autonomy within Pakistan.
Having said that, I am quite convinced that nobody is going to listen to me.
The writer is Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Stockholm University; Visiting Professor Government College University; and, Honorary Senior Fellow, Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore. He has written a number of books and won many awards, he can be reached on [email protected]