Former Chief Minister Balochistan Dr Abdul Malik Baloch’s government, acclaimed as non-tribal and middle class, has completed its rule without addressing the core issues of the province, including dialogue with the angry Baloch, recovery of missing persons, kill-and-dump incidents, kidnapping for ransoms, sectarian killing, etc.
Political circles were glad when Dr Malik Baloch took charge as chief minister. But all hopes went in vain when his government could not play its role in resolving the core issues, especially holding dialogue with the estranged Baloch nationalists. The common people had also attached a lot of expectations with Dr Malik Baloch and Senator Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo of the National Party, who, they hoped, would fill the political vacuum and restore law and order in the province.
Dr Baloch became Chief Minister of Balochistan in June 2013. He is the first non-tribal leader from Turbat who has been pursuing his political activities since he was a student. He did MBBS from Bolan Medical College, Quetta.
A high-level meeting was held in Murree for formation of a coalition government in Balochistan in June 2013. The meeting was presided over by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Mir Hasil Bizenjo, Sardar Sanaullah Zehri, Mehmood Khan Achakzai, Shahbaz Sarif, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Dr Abdul Malik Baloch and retired Lt Gen Abdul Qadir Baloch participated in the meeting, representing the PML-N, NP and Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party.
It was decided that during the first half of the five-year term, the chief minister will be from the National Party, which nominated its president Dr Abdul Malik Baloch for the post. After the first half, PML-N’s provincial president Sanaullah Zehri has replaced him, under the agreement.
However, political observers term the Murree Accord to be nothing more than crass wheeling-dealing based on non-political motives, albeit made by political parties. It was meant to loot the provincial resources unchecked by increasing the partners in the spoils, they allege.
Chief Minister Malik Baloch was deemed a partial remedy for the wounds of Balochistan. The abduction of political workers allegedly by government agencies increased with the passage of time and took a new dimension when bullet-riddled bodies of missing persons started surfacing throughout the province.
Some months after the formation of the National Party-led government, Abdul Qadeer Baloch, known as Mama Qadeer, marched for more than 2,000 kilometres from Balochistan to Islamabad along with Baloch children and girls to register protest over the issue of Baloch missing persons. It was the first failure of Dr Malik’s government, which did not play its role for recovery of the political workers. Meanwhile, a mass grave has been found in the Tutak area of Khuzdar district. According to government officials, 17 bodies were found in the mass grave. Mama Qadeer claimed that the number of bodies in Tutak was more than the official figure. Unfortunately, an investigation carried out into the matter has also been buried in official records. Not a single person responsible has been arrested.
Human rights organisations, including the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, also expressed their serious concern over “kill-and-dump” incidents in Balochistan. Besides this, sectarian killings dramatically increased in Balochistan, particularly in the provincial capital, and hundreds of members of the Hazara Shia community fell victims to targeted killings or bombings. Apart from other crimes, kidnappings for ransom increased alarmingly in Kalat, Mastung and Khuzdar. Hindu traders were targeted by criminal gangs. A large number of members of the Hindu community have been forced to migrate from Kalat, Mastung and Khuzdar to others areas.
Several girls’ schools in Turbat, Panjgur and Gwadar have been closed down by their managements after receiving death threats from extremists. An educationist, Zahid Askani, was also killed in Gwadar. He had opened an English medium school in Gwadar and was promoting education among girls. Zahid Askani was a highly educated person, who had got education from abroad. He wanted to promote women’s education in Balochistan.
The people of Balochistan were terrified when girls were attacked with acid in several parts of the province. No group has claimed responsibility for the acid attacks but it’s obvious who is behind them. The same forces of darkness that forced the closure of girls’ schools in Balochistan are behind the acid throwing attacks.
There is a hopeless situation in Balochistan. The middle class government had no clear policy to resolve the above-mentioned issues. People of Balochistan did not recognise Dr Abdul Malik Baloch as a true ruler because he did not have genuine authority. The middle class leadership finally handed over the Balochistan government to a powerful tribal leader Sardar Sanaullah Zehri in December 2015.
Balochistan, at present, is passing through the worst political, social and economic crisis of its history. The situation has remained the same since long and the decisions taken by the rulers in the drawing rooms of Murree don’t appear to emanate any ray of hope for the ruled.