The last week of March was very significant as far as the upcoming general elections are concerned. The Baloch nationalist political parties finally agreed to participate in the elections which is a happy omen for the democratic process in the country and is bound to go a long way in strengthening the crumbling federal structure of Pakistan. It is also a great accomplishment on the part of the Election Commission of Pakistan for convincing these parties not to repeat the way they did in 2008 and credit for this goes chief election commissioner, Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim.
In the elections of 2008, a great number of Baloch nationalist political parties boycotted. It was done as protest against the ongoing military operation in Balochistan and killing of the nationalist leader Nawab Akbar Bugti. The law and order situation in the province has not improved much during the last five years. The government appears to have failed to provide security to the lives and property of the inhabitants. The issue of enforced disappearances, target killing, ethno-sectarian cleansing and kidnapping for ransom are some aspects of the miserable condition prevalent in the province which instead of improving during the rule of an elected government has gone from bad to worse. These were reasons which were discouraging the parties to jump into the electoral arena for want of security. Some separatist factions were also threatening to disrupt the process. Baloch Liberation Army and Baloch Republican Army have threatened to go all out to block election process. But against all these odds, now all the parties have agreed to take part in the May elections for which caretaker government of Balochistan and the Election Commission have vowed to afford sufficient security to all the candidates. The army chief General Ashfaq Pervaiz Kiyani has also urged the political forces of the province to contest the upcoming elections and that no one would be allowed to deprive the people of their right to elect their own representatives.
This is highly refreshing and promising for the future of democracy in Pakistan. The estranged Baloch brothers would become part of the political mainstream where they would be able to make their voice heard and be able to air their grievances. The previous provincial government of Aslam Raisani was not believed to be the truly representative government of the people of the provinces because the main nationalist political parties had refused to go to the polls. Now, when all political stakeholders are ready to take up the responsibility, and when free and fair elections are being promised, the future appear promising. The popular problems would be resolved by the popular leadership and this would in turn strengthen the federation. So, it can be rightly asserted that all inclusive elections in Balochistan are really a happy omen for the cause of democracy and only through democratic means the grave problems of the province as well as of the country can be resolved. Hence, readiness of the Balochistan based political parties to contest the coming general elections shows light at the end of tunnel for the future of Pakistan.