Editorial : Sibi nightmare - Wednesday 27th April 2011

WHAT lows can our society possibly plumb? Pakistan is a country that has come to be overrun by barbarity, not by the majority by any means but a fringe element that is bent on destroying the values seen as sacrosanct by right-thinking people. Take, for instance, the horrific attack on a bus near Sibi late on Monday night in which a number of passengers, mostly women and children, were burnt to death. What was their crime? They were simply going from one destination to another, minding their own business.
While at this point it is difficult for investigators to say who carried out the attack, circumstantial evidence suggests personal or inter-tribal rivalry may have been behind it. Baloch insurgents have routinely targeted settlers from Punjab, and apparently none of the passengers fitted that description. In this context, it is also too early to say whether the attack marks the advent of a new trend in violence in the province, one where targets get increasingly blurred for political groups or clans wishing to impose their respective agendas. But what can be said with certainty is that when the woes of a province like Balochistan, which has for decades been denied its rights by the state, and has, in fact, been subjected to a high degree of oppression, remain unaddressed, the criminalisation of society is almost inevitable. Criminal elements thrive in an atmosphere of general lawlessness, as is becoming increasingly clear in Balochistan where a nationalist insurgency continues to rage. Unfortunately, the current government`s grand promises to give the province the autonomy, development and resources it demands have yet to materialise. Although the richest province in terms of natural resources, Balochistan continues to have some of the worst human development indicators in the country as well as poor infrastructure. Also, given the province`s appalling human rights record, as evident in the number of cases where suspected Baloch nationalists have been allegedly whisked away by security forces, only to be heard of no more or be discovered dead, it is no wonder that anger is growing in Balochistan. This has only added to the politics of hate and given impetus to the activities of ordinary criminals.
Whatever one`s ideology, killing innocent people is a coward`s game, and in the Sibi case there ought to be vociferous condemnation by all political groups, nationalist or otherwise, of a dastardly deed. Unfortunately, such acts of violence may become the norm unless the state makes an effort to deliver on its pledges and bring those guilty of committing crimes against ordinary people to justice.

Source : http://www.dawn.com/2011/04/27/sibi-nightmare.html

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