Mengal’s points


Mr Akhtar Mengal was very frank, blunt and extremely honest to voice the concerns of Baloch nationalists by stating that Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Military Intelligence (MI) had involvement in enforced disappearances of missing persons and conduct of covert and overt military operations by ‘death squads’ operating under the supervision of secret agencies. This forced the military leadership to immediately deny the accusations and by doing so consider itself being absolved/vindicated from the accusations. Easy said than done; the accusations stand and so does the frustration and anger of people of Balochistan.
Where does this take us from here? The Baloch are true nationalists no doubt but so are the majority of ethno-nationalist Pakistanis who all want to be part of one independent, democratic, pluralistic and viable country. Unfortunately, it is not the people but the leadership that seems to be working on cross purpose.
Mr Mengal, despite being very disappointed and frustrated, must get out of the ‘hopelessness mode’ and advocate the way forward to the people of Balochistan by recommending association with the political process. Especially when elections are fast approaching and there is a growing feeling that Baloch nationalists will boycott the elections. Mr Mengal knows well that the democratic assemblies are the best platform to fight for the rights of the province and for its people. Believing and asking the people of Balochistan to believe in the independence and neutrality of the state institutions like the judiciary and election commission may just be the right step towards a hopeful and viable commitment leading to reconciliation.
Prospects for reconciliation between the Baloch nationals and the state have never looked promising in the past but the recent public accusations by Mr Mengal followed by immediate denial by the state respectively has further harden and tighten the position of the two parties. Yet both parties cannot give up finding a middle ground for ‘solution seeking efforts’ even after the extreme positions that the two sides have taken.