By Sikander Hayat
People who claim to speak for the Baloch Autonomy must make one thing very clear. If it is about peoples’ representation then we have unfortunately not seen such movement so far in Balochistan. The province’s leaders, for all the clamouring about rights etcetera, have woefully fallen short of reforming their social structures. The late Akbar Khan Bugti not only ruled his area like a medieval tyrant, Dera Bugti even today has the worst human development indices in Pakistan.
The same is true of other sardars who claim to speak on behalf of the people of Balochistan.
Is it possible, before the Baloch nationalists begin to talk about democracy and rights and resource allocation, that they could show themselves up to be “modern” rather than celebrating one of the worst tribal structures one can find anywhere? Walking on burning coal, burying the women alive and all that.
This, let it be said, is as important, if not more, than the issue of devolving powers to the provinces which must be done as per the original spirit of the 1973 constitution. Even so, without internal social reformation, no amount of provincial autonomy will help the Baloch develop meaningfully or join the development mainstream.
In fact, this is just the point which may help clinch the argument in favour of allowing development to go through, something the Baloch nationalists have not allowed so far, opting instead to cut their nose to spite their face. This social reformation should be the agenda of the moderates who must also negotiate with the Centre for greater rights.