Interesting ‘disclosure’

Senator Nawabzada Lashkari Raisani, a former PPP Balochistan president, has made an interesting disclosure. He has said that a prominent insurgent leader of Balochistan, who lives in self-imposed exile, had approached Mr Raisani and agreed to lay down arms. Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Mohammad Aslam Raisani has welcomed this ‘news’. The said insurgent leader is now said to be ready to join mainstream politics. Since Senator Raisani did not disclose the Baloch leader’s name, we cannot speculate about his identity or the veracity of this claim. If we were to concede that a Baloch leader has made such an offer, there are implications for the Baloch resistance movement. There may be a leader or a group under that leader who do not see much future for armed resistance in Balochistan and want to give it up in order to join mainstream politics and address their issues through parliamentary means. From the point of view of the resistance movement, this could be a setback and would weaken it to some extent. From the government’s point of view, it would be considered an achievement and a move forward if an insurgent Baloch leader joins peaceful politics. But for this to actually materialise, the government has to successfully negotiate with the insurgent leader and ensure that he is able to return safely to the country. What happens to him once he returns is also critical if the government is serious about making this an example to win the trust of other Baloch leaders in exile or in the mountains.

What is even more important is that even when the said leader returns, gives up armed resistance and joins mainstream politics, the core and central issues related to Balochistan will not once more be put in deep freeze. In that case, the ‘offer’ could well turn out to be a one-off and not a successful model. We have argued many times in the past that there is no military solution to the Balochistan issue. There has to be a political settlement. The government must end the ongoing military operation in the province, bring the disappeared Baloch back to their homes, negotiate with all Baloch leaders – both in Pakistan and those living in exile – and give the Baloch people their due rights.

(my editorial in Daily Times)


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