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Elections in Pakistan and the Baloch dilemma

By Hassan Hamdam

When Pakistan was carved out of India in the name of two-nation theory in 1947. The British Empire left its legacy of parliamentary system alongside other administrative governing bodies. After the independence of Bangladesh, the constitution of new Pakistan was framed to give the country a federal setup where provinces were given nominal autonomy in some areas of governance.

However, in practice, it was just a mask for the military establishment to rule the country through proxy when the military gave up the direct rule for some time. During the periods of so-called civilian rules, the establishment created various parties and nurtured social outcasts and drug peddlers to become the representatives of the Baloch and Sindhis. It brought forward one of its party to exhibit a body of government on the name of democracy in order to show the world and the neighbours that Pakistan is not behind in the modern way of the governing system. The real representative parties and respected personalities were one way or other not allowed to function freely or participate in the elections.

Three representative governments in Balochistan were dismissed in 1973, 1988 and 1998 after a few months in governance. It shows the intolerance of the establishment for the genuine representatives of the Baloch people.

One cannot deny the fact that Balochistan has been ruled through proxy by the nominated and selected individuals of the establishment having no social and political standing in the Baloch society. Now one wonders, how come a government be responsible for anything while taking the orders from its master. There’s not a shred of doubt in anybody’s mind that those governments were made a scapegoat, and yet there’s no shortage of these sexed-up parties lining up for the army establishment to be reconditioned and parade again and over again.

This is the actual shape of Pakistani politics and it may stay this way for sometimes. Now there’s time for the new general election in Pakistan and our Baloch parties and politicians going through a debate whether it is worthy to take part in the general election or not. Some may say the democracy in Pakistan is hopeless and Baloch have been through this before and after the new waves of army action against Baloch people we should not take part in this kind of game. There’s no doubt that these elections are not held to recognize and rectify the wrongdoing of the establishment and to lessen the miseries facing the people of Balochistan. However, the Baloch political parties must stay in the game otherwise the alienation would greatly harm the Baloch national interests and can further damage the fabric of Baloch society.

The isolation and boycott is not the solution for the Baloch issues in Pakistan. This kind of action can leave space for the lurking alien to parachute their representatives in all over Balochistan. The divided and weakened parties of Balochistan may not be able to completely curb the alien forces, but the presence of Baloch leadership in the filed can minimize the harm to our already suffering people and the society.

(The writer is a London based Baloch activist. The opinions shared by the writer are his own. The editorial board of Balochistan affairs invites the opinions of political activists and intellectuals on this matter to initiate a healthy debate on this  issue)

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