Lessons from 8 August

Editorial written by me for Daily Balochistan Express on 08th August, 2018

Perhaps now it is difficult to count. Balochistan has wounds that are many and deep. As the years pass,

the number of such gory incidents pile up, plucking many lives only to bury them; their desires for bright future;

their plans for promising careers and hopes of their parents, deep down tons of soil.

The lives of as many as 70 highly qualified lawyers, among them many journalists,

of this province were plucked from the bustle of life within seconds and hundreds others still live with the haunting memory of the day when they had gathered at Civil Hospital Quetta not only to mourn but to question as to who slay their colleague Shaheed Bilal Anwar Kasi.

Who would know the freak of nature that the actual target of this inhuman incident were actually the mourners themselves?

The incident took the right to breath from a generation of highly qualified people who were lawyers, journalists, human right activists, brothers, fathers and supporters of right cause.

It should have been a wake-up call for the security managers and intelligence apparatus of the country to deal with the financers, facilitators and culprits of such incidents once for all.

Alas! the recent incidents of Mastung that and Sariab proved that lessons from the past have not been learnt and the masses of this hapless city and province are still at the mercy of goons whose virulent ideology spares none.

Counter terrorism strategies introduced so far in the country seem to be nothing more than a piece of paper.

The National Action Plan (NAP) that surfaced following the heart-wrenching incident of Army Public School Peshwar doesn’t seem to be implemented in letter and spirit after a lapse of three and half years.

Among other points, the worth-mentioning points of the NAP were strict action against the literature, newspapers and magazines promoting hatred, decapitation, extremism,

sectarianism and intolerance but no major crackdowns have been reported by the concerned quarters in this province against such hate literature. Moreover, it also said that the defunct outfits will not be allowed to operate under any other name.

This too seems far from an achievable goal as there were many organisations’ whose heads should have been under watch were even allowed to run for the General Elections.

In addition, it promised establishing and deploying a dedicated counter-terrorism force that had the capacity to dismantle the terrorist organizations. But, very unfortunately,

the matters of Balochistan’s security are run under adhocism as Frontier Corps (FC), which is basically a frontier force,

is still engaged within the province to look after the matters of security with provisional police mandate since 2012.

No such force seems ready to take the charge from the paramilitary force to allow it carry out a better border surveillance on the 2250 km Pak-Afghan border.

NAP also promised the choking of terror financing but one wonders how do they manage to finance such attacks repeatedly in the province still. Recent bloodbaths are cases in point.

It should not come as a surprise that the Christian minorities came under attack in the heart of provincial capital yards away from Red Security Zone despite the clause in NAP that end to religious extremism and protection of minorities will be ensured.

Quetta Safe City Projects even proved to be house of cards.

Similarly, no visible policy seems in action for the registration and regulation of religious seminaries that was promised under the Plan and all the seminaries in the province are working autonomously to this date.

Two very important clause were related to this province. First, to empower Balochistan government for political reconciliation with complete ownership by all stakeholders and that still seems a far cry.

Second, formulation of a comprehensive policy to deal with the issue of Afghan refugees,

beginning with registration of all refugees but both of these  issues still need immediate attention of the established centres of the power within the province as it seems that these issues have been left unattended by design.

The heavy losses of lives suffered not only by the masses but also by the security men do provide justification to the sane minds to ask tough questions from the policy makers and pivots of power over failures.

higher than Himalayan heights as how long people of this province would continue to mark anniversaries of incidents like 8 August with sobbing eyes.

Have we learnt anything to be decisive once for all?


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