Let us move towards some solutions, says Quetta-based historian and writer Dr Shah Muhammad Marri, pointing out that there has already been enough storytelling on Balochistan’s bloodshed. The question now is where to look for a solution. One thing that everyone keeps highlighting as key to finding a solution is the need to bring Baloch separatists back to the negotiating table. How easy or difficult will that be — given that, over the last few years, 400 mutilated bodies of mainly Baloch young men have been retrieved from different parts of the province following their disappearance from their hometowns? Is it possible for separatists to see any meaning in offers for negotiations while young Baloch men continue to disappear after mysterious encounters with security and intelligence agencies?
And then there is history. That may be one reason why the military establishment continues to treat Balochistan the way it does and always has, says Marri. Balochistan’s inclusion in Pakistan, despite the fact that the Kalat state assembly had voted against accession, set the tone for the future — even in the initial years after Independence, there was an anti-state armed rebellion in the province. Since then there has been a feeling within the establishment that Balochistan did not join Pakistan by choice; there has been a constant fear that the province would secede from Pakistan if and when it could, says Marri. This fear has compelled the military to adopt a perpetually repressive policy towards Balochistan, he adds.