The horrific attack


Surely, there is no landscape more blood-stained in Pakistan than Balochistan and no community more beleaguered than the Shias.
The heartwrenching manner in which nine innocent passengers [The victims, all of them men, hailed from Wazirabad, Mandi Bahauddin, and Gujranwala district of Punjab] were plucked from a bus not while moving through a warland but within their own country and killed in pure execution fashion in Noshki, Balochistan, has shown that some acts are too grotesque for the state to sit back and do nothing.
The government must take immediate action to ensure the safety and well-being of its citizens. Perhaps, the state, too, realises that militant outfits cannot be allowed to dismantle the writ of a sovereign, functioning country, and, therefore, everyone from provincial to federal machinery claims the culprits would not go unpunished. That anyone who orchestrates such horrific acts deserves to be called by no other name, but blood-thirsty terrorists sit at the centre of the government’s narrative. Because the horrors of Hazara graveyards are still etched fresh into the collective conscience, no one wishes to see a repeat of the neverending list of casualties where people are killed based on their ethnic identity or their domicile.
Last year saw BLA repeatedly claim responsibility for massacres of workers from Punjab who had dared cross the provincial boundaries in search of work.
Baloch separatists and religious extremists have repeatedly carried out such executions in the past. In October last year, gunmen shot dead six Punjabi labourers in Turbat. They were hired for a construction project in the area and lived in a house provided by their contractor.
Balochistan’s descent into utter anarchy continues explosively yet the outrage is still not enough for the authorities to come up with an effective strategy to deal with the militancy once and for all.
The most tragic of all remains the influence of those who wish to be given their due identity and constitutionally guaranteed rights all the while stripping others of their fundamental right to life. Do they actually believe that these war-hardened tactics would win them any sympathy for the Baloch cause? However, there’s no denying the immediate need for the government to sit with the aggrieved communities in the largest yet most underdeveloped province.
Empowering the masses, addressing their grievances and ensuring that the entire country moves ahead on a path towards all-encompassing development require political goodwill.