Govt in Pak changes but Baluchistan continues to remain under fire

In a big embarrassment for the new Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s government, the Baluchistan region is witnessing fresh protests and acts of retaliation by the armed groups as the Pakistani security forces continue to carry out “extrajudicial killings”.

Pakistani security forces, in a recent incident, opened fire at unarmed, innocent Baloch people, killing six. People who protested the killings the next day too were shot at. There have been protests going on to fight for the rights of the Baloch people.

Earlier, the National Assembly was rocked by the protests over the recent incident of extrajudicial killings by the Pakistani Army in Baluchistan’s Chagai. Hassan Baloch, a Baluchistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M) senator said, “The cheapest thing available in the country right now is the blood of the Baloch people.”

PM Shehbaz Sharif inaction on the Chagai killings case has agitated the Baloch people even more. The only help that the Pakistani PM provided was saying that he would raise the issue with “powerful quarters”, an indirect reference to Pakistan’s Army.

New Shehbaz government and the one before it led by Former Prime Minister Imran Khan, both have been unsuccessful in addressing the plight of Baloch people. Defence Minister Khwaja Asif accepted that fact about excesses in Baluchistan however, he refused to blame the army, and rather justified the killings saying the military “institution is fulfilling its duties”.

Baloch people have long fought for their rights but even after several regime changes, the issue remains unaddressed. The oppression and “genocide” of the people of Baluchistan have raised serious concerns in the global community. People of Baluchistan have been blaming successive governments in Islamabad, which had been mostly dominated by the leaders from Punjab and Sindh.

The people of Baluchistan are losing hope as the reality appears grim. Statistics and surveys too suggest that Baluchistan is far behind on many human development parameters compared to other provinces in Pakistan.

Pakistan government’s survey on the social and living standards of 2019-20 showed that the situation of education in Baluchistan was extremely dismal as compared to other provinces, as per the media outlet.

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