Articles of the year 2005

The Gujrat Touch
Published on May 03rd, 2005

Chaudri Shujaat is to be congratulated on his negotiating a settlement with Nawab Bugti, in a manner acceptable to the Nawab, without the semblance of a payoff, or of blackmail. Chaudri Shujaat exercising the role of elder Statesman that suits him, and the circumstances prevailing in the Federal Provincial standoff. The situation needed a healing touch and this was provided by Chaudri Shujaat.

The hawks that have controlled all decisions flowing from Islamabad, that have cost many lives are silenced for the time being, till they cook up another scheme to bring the 'colony' to heel. If one looks at the history of Baluchistan from the days of Ayub,through the Bhutto and Zia eras, it has always been the attitude of the bureaucracy that the people of all the Provinces must obey the Diktat of the Federal Government regardless of the effect on the public at large. The Establishment has taken upon itself the supranational role in choosing to define and then execute such decisions as it feels appropriate, invariably in an arbitrary manner, with no appeal. Islamabad has a power virus in its atmosphere which makes for comfortable living for its denizens, but much discomfort for the rest of us Pakistanis. Chaudri Shujaat having suffered at the hands of various Govts and his Father having suffered before him, and not being a vindictive man, realized that the path of peace would be more productive, and cost less lives than the confrontation wished for by the hawks.

The achievement of Chaudri .Shujaat has not been highlighted in the media, nor is it likely to, for the Establishment has still to fully digest the agreement, and to think of ways to sabotage it. The redoubtable Chaudri,however should be more of a match for them. In a sense he is showing that he is capable of arriving at an agreement which will have to accepted by Islamabad albeit grudgingly. It also shows that the Politicians for once can rise to solutions keeping in mind the larger National interest. It has been too long that bureaucratic petty mindedness should be allowed to bring matters in Baluchistan to such a pass that the very development of an entire Province should be brought to a standstill. Now Chaudri Sb can apply his skills to the other areas where the dogma 'Islamabads will prevails' so that he acts like a super Ombudsman, for in solving the Sui problem he has acted as an Ombudsman, where the stakes were much higher, and the rewards equally important to all the players. The writ of the State was challenged, by tribes who felt threatened and exploited, lines were drawn and the blood shed had started. Thank God that is now behind us, and Chaudri sb has indeed delivered Pakistan from a very messy situation. Chaudri sb should now institute an enquiry, and the persons in the Federal Sectt responsible for such advice should be posted to Sibi ----- where else? So that they can get first hand knowledge of how backward an area can be, and the one claim is that it has the highest temperature in the world, surely these people deserve more than being just a footnote in Geography.

Chaudri sb's touch may not be that of Shahid Afridi the predator, but I am sure that the touch of Gujrat will be remembered for its long term effects on Peace in the Province. For there to be sustained development Peace is needed, and without this development , the Baluch people would remain poor and without a future. They can now look forward to trying to carve out a place for themselves in the economic boom that is evident in the rest of Pakistan, and they should enjoy the fruits of Gwadar, and the other activities that go with a modern Port.