Balochistan wants a divorce

Published: October 4, 2012

While the proposals put forward by Mengal need not be seen as a threat, there is no denying that the ultimatum, if not taken seriously, might trigger another bloody civil war. DESIGN: ERUM SHAIKH

It is difficult not to admire Sardar Akhtar Mengal for his frankness. With all other avenues exhausted, the concerned quarters have little else left to do, but start working to salvage the situation in Balochistan before it is too late.

From the lessons this state should have learnt in the past, one of them is not to make exceptions when negotiating.

It is important to not just appease certain groups, but all separatist hardliners. If the government continues to choose who to talk to and who to disregard, it will achieve the same degree of success it has achieved while dealing with the Taliban.

Enforced disappearances are a tricky issue to deal with and the courts cannot expect to tackle the same by drawing moral lines in the sand. While foreign delegations should not have to pore over the country’s internal plights, local courts need to chalk out a clear strategy to deal with the matter.

Only once the intelligence agencies start producing these ‘missing’ persons will the dissident elements be able to trust the establishment.

When Mengal spoke of opting for an amicable divorce instead of a ‘bloody one’ his words reverberated an ominous warning. Under the current circumstances, mere rhetoric will not only fail to address the law and order situation in the restive province, it might well add fuel to the fire.

The six points put forward by Mengal need to serve as a roadmap for negotiations. Failing to do so will send the authorities back to the drawing board with little to show in the way of reasoning.

While the proposals put forward by Mengal need not be seen as a threat, there is no denying that the ultimatum, if not taken seriously, might trigger another bloody civil war.

This time, however, hundreds of miles of another country does not separate the two factions. And despite the comparisons, Mengal’s points are not separatist like Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s.

Hence, there is little reason why the Constitution cannot be used to ensure that we don’t disintegrate.

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Ali Haider Habib

Ali Haider Habib

A senior sub-editor on the National desk at The Express Tribune who tweets @haiderhabib (

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Shakeel Khan

    No,it doesn’t.This narrative of a separate Balochistan is the favourite of those wanting to run down pakistan at every chance they get.The media and human rights activists should hang their heads in shame at their hypocrisy.They remain completely silent at the ethnic cleansing of Punjabi & Pashtun civilians & only make a noise about the Baloch.Are Punjabis any less human than the rest of the people?Recommend

  • Asif

    First,there has to be accountability for the genocide of Punjabi settlers in Balochistan.The Hundreds of Punjabis brutally murdered & the lakhs more forced to flee their homes & businesses must never be forgotten.They have faced a horrific genocide only for their crime of being Punjabis.The plight of the Punjabi settlers has to be accounted for in any settlement on Balochistan.Recommend

  • Bilal Soomro

    It’s only a few tribal sardars who want to become the kings of their independent fiefdom who want to break up Pakistan.The media has built up this one sided narrative in which pakistan is bad and separatists are good.If the state hasn’t been good to the baloch,then neither have their Sardars.The sardars want total control of the financial resources of Balochistan so they can keep all the money for their own personal wealth while giving nothing to the average Baloch.Recommend

  • Noman Ansari

    Don’t get a divorce lawyer Balochistan. We can make it work with a councilor.Recommend

  • vvd

    Agree for a decent divorce without acrimony ,or the resultant conflict will claim the lives of millions & further dismember Pak into multiple small states without any future.We shall maintain good ties with India since we have no quarrel with them. Recommend

  • ashrafrehman

    This same land near the Indus used to prosper with riches and beautiful civilizations, until the foreign mercenaries and invaders came and imposed their faith upon the people. Then again there was peace although little prosperity because of rise of radical and overly fanatical mindset. Radicalism has slowly grown so much like in all the brotherhood, that now all that is left is complete doom. Still wonder why those invaders came, world would have been a safer place to live and let live. Recommend

  • A. N Baloch

    @Bilal Soomro:
    @Shakeel Khan:

    Sardar narratives has become outdated now, the entire baloch movement is now in hands of young baloch. For your information, Mengal, Marri, and Bugti are our political leaders, not sardars of baloch nation. Recommend

  • Ahmad

    save balochistan because its very important for Pakistan survival.Recommend

  • Aqsa

    FIRST OF ALL, its mengal who wants this not BALOCHISTAAN…!
    Secondly, who is mengal to demand so?does he represents Baloch people?
    couldn’t even get more than 2 seats in election 2002 while mujeeb got 160+ seats..
    akhtar mengal doesn’t even represents mengals.. how can he represent the whole Balochistaan?
    do speak about missing persons, thats the real issue… but don’t use this issue as a tool to fulfill the aims f the Pakistan’s enemies(ET’s friends)Recommend

  • Abhi

    In the map of the article on Indian part of Jammu and Kashmir is shown as disputed. To be factually correct whole J&K including Pakistani Kashmir and G&B should be shown as disputed teritory.Recommend

  • ali sindhi

    the problem with Punjabi junta and Punjabi at large they think they are sole savior of Islam what brand of islam they preach is pure and ultimate the fact is we know for you Baluchistan is just mines,gas reserves, coal reserves, gwader port, and list goes…..your so called strategic depth ends in Baluchistan…… its the only piece of land if tomorrow get independent rest of land of pure is just a toilet paper for world…..and tumhara khun khun humara khun pani Recommend

  • amal typepad

    I have to explain our thanks to your kind-heartedness supplying assistance to individuals that really require assistance with all the concept. Your personal determination that will get the message around became exceptionally beneficial and also have continuously assisted employees like me to get to their particular targets. The useful recommendations suggests much to me and also more for you to our acquaintances. Thank you; from everyone of people.Recommend

  • naive

    Aksai Chin is not shown as a disputed territory. Instead it is shown as part of China. Recommend

  • Shahid Butt

    Can ET explain its position?I hope MODERATOR will let this question be posted.Recommend

  • jamshed kharian-pak

    Balochistan province of pakistan there are one in Ir Iran Sistan-Balochistan and one in Afghanistan before during 1965 war we pakistanis used to call Crush-India! 1971 then came death of east-pakistan Bangladesh was born! we pakistanis are still doing things not normal! China India south-Korea Ir Iran became very powerful 2012 we are still thinking not normal! of course in Pakistan there is press freedom freedom to do what to you like respecting pakistanis laws is authorised we have lots of God givein riches but there is some thing wrong with Pakistan but what? speaking english and considring some parts of pakistan not knowing english are backwards is a criminal in my sense! 2012 we pakistanis are still educating our childrens in english in my mind this is one of the CRIME our education departement in pakistan is doing Since 1947 Creation Of Pakistan after 65-years now we have not chosen find our way english-elits in pakistan needs to think what they have done to pakistan? if Balochistan is crying you canot blame neighbor! normaly we dont need a Islamic Revolution bacause Pakistan was Created on the Name of Islam Pakistan Islam ka qila hai etc but in fact our laws govt offices are english! military police is english or practicaly english!!! maybe pakistan need help from the NEIGHBORS! if we can succeed with out destruction bloodshed it will be wonderful Long Live Strong Islamic PakistanRecommend

  • Stay On Topic

    Balochistan is a pressing issue, one that must be solved by taking all the players into account. Sure, the Punjabi settlers deserve justice. But so do the masses which have felt disaffected since day 1.

    @Abhi, can you and your lot kindly look beyond the childish, immature and idiotic Nationalistic-jingoistic partisan view you cling to so strongly, and talk about the issue at hand? Nationalism is juvenile.Recommend

  • saleem

    Please mind your ways, look at the title….be matureRecommend