Editorial : Exit from Sui - Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The announcement by COAS General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani to pull the last battalion based in Balochistan out of Sui within the next two months will go down well in a province that, from the perspective of its people, has seen far too much action from the men in khaki since the 1950s. The step, if it is taken, will be especially significant as it will mean an end to the military presence in the Dera Bugti district, an area that has become a hotbed of nationalism over the past five years or so. General Kayani has made it clear that in the future there will be no military intervention without the consent of the government in the province. The decision to step up recruitment to the army from Balochistan may also help young men in the province move into careers. Unemployment is one of the evils stalking the sands of our largest province.

General Kayani’s decisions could help reduce the resentments that simmer in Balochistan. But on their own, they cannot be enough to solve the problems of the province which have grown rapidly over the years. It urgently needs to see development. The educational institutions run there by the army, whose role has been highlighted by General Kayani, cannot achieve this on their own. A great deal of input is required from the central government, in cooperation with the provincial leadership, to place development on a fast-track in the province and, by doing so, persuade people of a genuine desire to change things. This could set in place the solid foundation needed to initiate a process of dialogue, discussion and debate in Balochistan, for a move to be made towards finding solutions. The government needs to adopt measures that can prevent further deterioration in a province that has seen accelerating violence over the past few years with no end in sight.

Source : http://thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=42567&Cat=8

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