Huffington Post Media Group; The Berggruen Institute on Governance
Pakistan has become sadly immune to terrorist attacks in terms of the news cycle but a string of bombings in the volatile province of Balochistan on June 15 of this year were particularly alarming. The attack on the final residence of the founding father of Pakistan Muhammad Ali Jinnah in Ziarat, and a bomb targeting a bus of Shia women students at Sardar Bahadur Khan University and Bolan Medical College shocked Pakistanis at home and abroad. Although the two attacks were unrelated, their occurrence a few weeks after the election was not coincidental. Secular Baloch nationalist fighters and anti-Shia fanatical outfits are still intent on driving home the point that they are at war with Pakistan. Though the modus operandi of both groups is terrorism, the Pakistani government must be willing to differentiate between the two in terms of an engagement strategy. The Baloch separatists are driven to violence by a combination of alienation and worldly enticements of resource nationalism. They believe that by gaining independence they would gain control over their natural resources and assert their cultural primacy and become an affluent (and possibly secular) state. The difficulty of reaching these aspirations through separatism and finding alternative paths to addressing grievances of the Baloch can be negotiated through persuasion and tough bargaining...