Baloch autonomy move comes from people's psyche, says Pak editorial

     As Baloch Nationalist Party leader (BNP) Sardar Akhtar Mengal laid down his 6-point plan in the Pakistan Supreme Court as a precondition to hold talks with the government, his words indicated just how deep the idea of 'Baloch autonomy', along with a possible option of separation from the nation, has sunk into the Baloch psyche, an editorial in a Pakistani daily has said. According to an editorial in The Express Tribune, Mengal, who has been in self-exile in London for a long period of imprisonment, which began under the Musharraf tenure, came in from London to attend the hearing by the Supreme Court on the law and order situation in his native province Balochistan. In a hard-hitting speech, Mengal spoke of death squads operating in Balochistan and the need for the central government to put operations there to a halt. He asked why an amicable divorce should not be preferred over a bloody parting if dead bodies continued to be handed to Balochistan, the editorial said. As a precondition to hold talks with the government over the Baloch issue, Mengal presented six recommendations before the Supreme Court, which focused on building trust in Balochistan. He said that the implementation of those points is the key to assuage the people of Balochistan, and if the government doesn't address them, then the province would push for a peaceful separation from the country. Putting forward the voice of the Baloch openly for the first time during the hearing, Mengal also made it clear that the issue of disappearances was a key one. Though the issue has been known and highlighted for a long time now, little has been done by the Pakistan Government to address or tackle it, the editorial added. Mengal's 'talk of divorce' should be alarming for Pakistan and it must now very seriously consider if there is any way of salvaging a marriage, as Balochistan cannot accept more abuse that has been meted out for far too long, the editorial concluded.

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