Speakers said that the current crisis seems to flow from a one-point agenda of the PPP-led coalition government i.e. to serve their party/personal interests. But, there is general perception about provincial government that all funds it gets from the center are being pocketed by members of a government whose head only briefly visits Quetta after prolonged family stays in Islamabad.
Baloch missing persons, for which the Supreme Court has set a new momentum in motion, target-killings of Hazara/Shia community, kidnapping for ransom, particularly of minorities, highway robberies, and dismal state of the social sector appear to be the issues that require urgent attention, but the ruling coalition, speakers insisted, seems to be preoccupied with other priorities.
Most participants agreed that minorities, Hindus and Shia Hazaras in particular, have become “soft targets” for all those wanting to destabilize Balochistan. They also pointed out that in the absence of the chief minister, who spends most of the time in Islamabad, the entire government machinery also doesn’t seem interested in seriously addressing issues such as spiraling crime, and development issues of the province.
Media representatives as well as development workers are all wary not only of the government’s indifference to fundamental human rights, but also live in a state of fear. We are caught between the military, the militants (both ethnic and religious) and the criminal mafias, observed a journalist who works for a national tv channel. Another journalist complained that even political parties react to media the way militants and security forces do. The social environment, they said, has become very intimidating and increasingly insecure. We are hostage to fear, intimidation, reprisals and dictation, said another journalist, bureau chief for a national daily ( all names withheld upon the request of journalists).