Policy Perspective on Balochistan

Pakistan’s pursuit of peace and reconciliation in Balochistan is truly praiseworthy. Despite the formidable challenges it has faced, including a longstanding separatist insurgency, the country has remained steadfast in its efforts to bring stability to the region. Balochistan’s troubles have not deterred Pakistan from actively addressing the root causes of the conflict and seeking a path toward a peaceful resolution. One remarkable example of Pakistan’s commitment to peace in Balochistan is the recent arrest and public apology of Gulzar Imam Shambay, the founder and leader of the outlawed Baloch National Army (BNA), a prominent militant group. Shambay’s capture, which involved a complex intelligence operation across multiple locations, demonstrates Pakistan’s dedication to bringing militant leaders to justice.

What is even more extraordinary is Shambay’s public appearance and plea for forgiveness. During a press conference organized by the Minister for Home and Tribal Affairs in Balochistan, Ziaullah Langu, Shambay humbly requested clemency and urged his followers to surrender to the authorities. He also encouraged disillusioned Baloch individuals to abandon armed struggle and join hands with the national mainstream to foster the development and prosperity of Balochistan and Pakistan as a whole. This unprecedented act of reconciliation by Shambay serves as a testament to Pakistan’s magnanimity and its willingness to engage with those who have opposed it. It showcases Pakistan’s readiness to acknowledge past mistakes and take responsibility for its actions. The country is determined to rectify the longstanding neglect, marginalization, and exploitation that the people of Balochistan have endured.

Pakistan has implemented various measures to create opportunities for the success of Balochistan’s people. Notably, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has been initiated, bringing unprecedented economic prospects and social benefits to the province. Efforts to enhance education, employment opportunities, and the exploration of mineral resources are underway, aiming to promote prosperity in the region. Additionally, Pakistan is actively promoting dialogue and engagement with all stakeholders in Balochistan, including political parties, civil society groups, tribal elders, and religious leaders. The country recognizes the importance of addressing genuine grievances and aspirations within the framework of its constitution. Pakistan believes that dialogue is the only way to foster trust and understanding among diverse segments of society.

Pakistan’s pursuit of peace in Balochistan is driven not only by its own national interests but also by a sense of responsibility towards its fellow citizens. The country understands that by listening to the perspectives of individuals like Shambay, it gains a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by misguided youth. This knowledge will be instrumental in shaping a better future for all. Moreover, Pakistan recognizes that peace in Balochistan is not only crucial for its own security but also for regional stability. With successful law enforcement actions in the province and the fortification of the Pakistan-Iran border to prevent the movement of militants and troublemakers, the security situation has notably improved. Pakistan is determined to maintain this positive momentum and prevent any external interference or sabotage.

Pakistan’s pursuit of peace in the region is not only courageous and noble but also practical and pragmatic. The country understands that with the arrest of Shambay and the offer of reconciliation, the time has come for dissidents and anarchists to reintegrate into the mainstream by surrendering to the state, allowing the military to transition back to peace-time locations. Ultimately, Pakistan’s quest for peace in Balochistan is a hopeful one. The country firmly believes that peace is the real game-changer, and integration and reconciliation are key objectives for a better and prosperous Pakistan. Peace serves as a prerequisite for development and prosperity, as progress and growth are unattainable without it.

The establishment of peace in Balochistan will not only benefit its people but also Pakistan as a whole. Geographically positioned at the crossroads of Asia, Europe, and Africa, Balochistan holds immense strategic importance. It boasts abundant natural resources such as gas, coal, and minerals, which can drive economic development. Additionally, with projects like the Gwadar port under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Pakistan has the potential to transform into a regional trade hub, fully leveraging its geo-economic power. Moreover, peace in Balochistan will foster a sense of belonging among all segments of society toward Pakistan as their common homeland. It will ensure equal rights, opportunities, and representation for all citizens, irrespective of their ethnicity, religion, or region. This inclusive environment will create a society where everyone feels valued and respected.

Pakistan’s quest for peace in Balochistan represents a pursuit of a brighter future for the country and its people. It is a quest that deserves recognition, admiration, and support from the international community.

 

Shaimin Raja
The author is an M.Phil. scholar of Peace and Conflict Studies at National University of Modern Languages, Pakistan.
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