News Analysis |
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, chairman Pakistan People’s Party, has constituted a four members committee to win the support of Akhtar Mengal, chief of Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M). The committee includes Nayyar Hussain Bokhari, Farhatullah Babar, Raja Pervez Ashraf, and Khursheed Ahmed Shah and their task is to win Mengal’s support to convince him to vote against the government’s budget bill, media reports suggest.
The committee is expected to meet the BNP-M chief today and likely to focus on his six-point agenda which he presented before the nation before joining the ruling alliance back in 2018. Mengal’s six-point agenda includes recovery of missing persons, implementation of the National Action Plan, implementation of six percent quota for Balochistan in the federal government, immediate repatriation of Afghan refugees and the construction of dams in the province to resolve the acute water crisis.
The Balochistan National Party – Mengal (BNP-M) and PPP have been allies in the general elections 2018 when PPP supported BNP’s candidates on NA-272 Lasbela-Gwadar and PB-51 Gwadar whereas, BNP backed PPP’s candidates on PB-39 and PB-50.
There is an ongoing insurgency in Balochistan where India and Afghanistan are playing their role to exploit identity fault lines to urge the natives to stand up against Pakistan
The PPP is now certain to give a tough time to the incumbent since it failed to get any deal which might have helped Asif Ali Zardari to evade ongoing accountability proceedings. Analysts believe that the PPP now is likely to use all channels and urge the allies of the PTI to revolt against the government.
BNP’s Position in PTI Government
The BNP has 4 seats in the National Assembly and nine in Balochistan assembly. It established a working relationship with the PTI-led government and demanded the development of the province. Experts believe that PM Khan is committed to ensure the implementation of a six-point agenda signed with the BNP to lessen the anger of the people of Balochistan who have historically been ignored and exploited. In a recent development, the Pakistan Armed forces voluntarily decided not increase the defense budget and according to the prime minister, this money shall be spent on the development of Balochistan and tribal areas of Pakistan.
As per the government’s commitment, several missing persons have returned back to their homes just in a few days. According to reports, Mehran Khyiazai, Abdul Karim Musazai from Saindak, Haji Ghulam Dastagir Mohammad Hasni from Dalbandin, Kabir Ahmed and Mohammad Ewaz Killi from Qadirabad Noshki, Abdul Samad Langove and Mohammad Ibrahim Kalat, Khalid Naveed from Mashkay and Khan Mohammad Bugti Kashangi from Noshki have safely returned to their families.
Balochistan is richest province in terms of its resources but least developed when it comes to education and infrastructural development. There are experts and academics who attribute the state of underdevelopment of the province to the local political leadership that has traditionally been self-centered. But politicians from Balochistan allege that the federal governments have never sincerely focused on the development of the province which resulted in the creation of ethnonationalism.
There is an ongoing insurgency in Balochistan where India and Afghanistan are playing their role to exploit identity fault lines to urge the natives to stand up against Pakistan. Kulbushan Yadav, an Indian spy, has admitted that his role was to help out the separatists in Balochistan to destabilize Pakistan. Governments’ negligence to understand and address the problems of common Baloch help the separatists convince more and more people to get their support.
Dr. Rehana Saeed Hashmi, Associate Professor of Political Science at Punjab University, has argued in her research that the state of Pakistan needs to understand the nature of ethnic politics in the country, especially Balochistan where groups feel a sense of internal colonization. She further argues that if such ethnic movements are not addressed immediately foreign enemies hijack them and destabilize the country.