Baloch Still Not Seen as Equal Citizens of Pakistan, PM’s Views Suggest

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77 years after independence it appears that the Pakistani state refuses to treat all its citizens equally. The recent statement by caretaker Prime Minister Anwarul Haq Kakar that “Baloch militant outfits were being funded by Indian intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) for carrying out terrorist acts in the country” is disingenuous and does not behoove the post that he occupies.

At a press conference in Lahore, the caretaker prime minister stated “The criminal justice system is not right. They commit 80-90 murders after taking money from India. I announce that they do all this with funding from RAW. Deny that they don’t.”

As someone who is Baloch it is also sad that he holds such views.

The Baloch have a long history and a proud culture and civilization. Their grievances are genuine, and they need to be treated with respect. Instead, over the last few decades Baloch activists have been kidnapped, tortured, forcibly disappeared, and killed. The recent long march led by Baloch women was met with the brute force of the state and such statements as made by the caretaker PM.

The Pakistani state has long dismissed the concerns of its religious minorities and ethno-linguistic sub-nationalisms – whether Baloch, Sindhi, Seraiki, Muhajir, Pashtun or others. Instead of treating them as equals, the Pakistani deep state, and its proxies – of which Mr Kakar is a representative – have chosen to label them as anti-national or agents of a foreign state, almost always India.

It is time that the state understood that the way forward for Pakistan is to start dialogue with all its sub-nationalities and treat all its citizens equally.

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Author: Alia Khan