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Missing political approaches

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THE recent upsurge in incidents of terrorist violence, mainly in Sindh and Balochistan, by violent ethno-nationalist groups has revealed two things. First, the threat of terrorism from both religiously inspired and nationalist groups persists. Secondly, the underlying factors of terrorism as well as conflict cannot be eliminated through force alone; it requires a holistic approach including political reconciliation and negotiation.

In Balochistan, the state has largely tried cosmetic and half-hearted political options, which is why results have remained elusive. One reason for the state’s reluctance to engage politically is related to the fear that a softer approach towards violent actors would be interpreted as the state’s weakness. Critics of this attitude, however, argue that political engagement and negotiation will only earn the state the trust of the marginalised and aggrieved.

But state institutions believe they can deal with the issue through hard security approaches; even the weak reconciliatory processes of the past happened under the influence of this perception. While the nationalist insurgency in Sindh is not even considered a threat to national security, the one in Balochistan is assessed to be on a low to medium scale. But there are few prospects that these movements, mainly the Baloch insurgency, will disappear soon. Constant security engagement, however, has its own financial and political costs, and it also builds up anger in communities, especially the youth.

The Balochistan Liberation Army has emerged as a major violent group in Balochistan, and its operations have increased, especially after the launch of CPEC. The BLA’s Majeed Brigade is........

© Dawn

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