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August 23, 2009

TheBaluch.com editorial
By Wendy Johnson

In 'Balochistan burning' (Sunday Times, Aug 23, 2009),' Ameen Izzadeen writes that all Pakistani officials wonder 'why should India maintain 26 consulate offices along Pakistan's border with Afghanistan and Iran?' If India does, in fact, maintain 26 consulate offices along Pakistan's border, we wonder if they might they actually have something to do with consular and reconstruction activity?

While Pakistan busily undermines stability in Afghanistan with its continuing stealth support for the Taliban (and America is complicit in that support), India has been extraordinarily busy trying to help the Afghans. Peter Wonacott details in 'India Befriends Afghanistan, Irking Pakistan' (Wall Street Journal, Aug 19, 2009) that 'From wells and toilets to power plants and satellite transmitters, India is seeding Afghanistan with a vast array of projects. The $1.2 billion in pledged assistance includes projects both vital to Afghanistan's economy, such as a completed road link to Iran's border, and symbolic of its democratic aspirations, such as the construction of a new parliament building in Kabul...'

Whether India's intentions are philanthropic or motivated by realpolitik, long-suffering Afghans stand only to benefit. And if Pakistani officials are concerned with Indian designs, why don't they generate some goodwill of their own by providing something useful to Afghanistan--perhaps aid for reconstruction versus support for the Taliban who are notorious for undermining the good work of others.

Ameen Izzadeen also notes that Pakistanis say Dr. Wahid Baloch's request for Indian support for their cause is 'testimony to the Baloch separatists' goodwill with India.' Of course it is. And why not? The Baloch have been trying to secure a fair deal from Pakistani governments for six decades. At this point the Baloch would welcome help from any corner of the world. Pakistani governments don't listen and they don't negotiate; they obfuscate. They blame India. They blame Balochistan's sardars. They blame newspapers, webmasters and students. They target everyone, but the real culprits: Pakistani leadership and a military industrial complex that has devoured untold sums of money fighting battles that won't be won with tanks and gunships.

So what does a resource-rich, poverty-stricken province do in this situation? It revolts. As did America. When the pleas of colonists fell on deaf monarchic ears, its people chose revolution. Yet incredibly, with so many histories of world insurgencies written, with so many answers available, Pakistani officials, for six decades and counting, are still 'wondering.'