The missing persons


Balochistan’s flabbergasted CM admits failure


Accepting failure takes loads of courage, more so when it is coming from a politician, for it could show him the unceremonious exit. In that backdrop, CM Balochistan Dr Abdul Malik Baloch’s candid admission that in case of missing persons he has been a letdown must be appreciated. But the upfront and sincere acknowledgement must be taken in its context. What the CM seems to be saying is, “it’s not just I who has faltered, it’s the entire system that has taken a pasting”. Here is why: the political governments in the last five years have tried to recover the missing persons, or at least made the right kind of noises, starting with the PPP and Asif Ali Zardari apologising to the Baloch people right at the outset in 2008, the assemblies passing resolutions, and lastly the apex court trying its utmost. It has all come to naught.

Dr Malik is right. The issue is an obstruction in the way of bringing the dissidents to the table so that the insurgency could come to a close. The very proof of the government’s sincerity and ability to deliver on its promises relies on the recovery of missing persons in the province. It is outrageous that the federal government cannot get them back and reunite them with their families and friends so that it could be able to talk to the insurgents. To be fair, the incidence of bullet-riddled or tortured bodies being found has been on the decline but that alone is not enough of a confidence building measure to satisfy the dissidents enough to enter into a dialogue. It is appropriate that Dr Malik has the issue as his ‘top priority’ for the forthcoming APC in December on Balochistan. But again it could yield tangible results only if the APC’s decisions are implemented. It’s a moot point whether even the provincial and federal governments together have the muscle to make that happen.

To draw the attention of international community by putting the issue of missing persons under the spotlight, a group of protesters has started a long march to Karachi. The march too represents the failure of institutions to guarantee life and liberty of its citizens in the restive province. What is the purpose of institution like parliament, the Balochistan assembly, the government and Supreme Court if the spymasters are to continue their transgressions unchecked?


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