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Punjab had most of the time suffered from a deficit of popular political leadership. It had often remained under the domination of civil and military bureaucracy, feudals and mullahs. People’s movements were made ineffective or irrelevant in what is today known as West Punjab, to ensure that the source of recruitment for the armed forces was not affected.

On the other hand, Punjab was in terms of skill, enterprise, education and productive potential, far ahead of all the other provinces of Pakistan. Though East Pakistan was the majority province in terms of population, all the sources and levers of power were monopolized by Punjab – civil bureaucracy, armed forces, education, skill – all were under the command of Punjab. It was also the stronghold of feudal power. Making use of these instruments of power, the ruling elite of Punjab denied legitimate participation to others in the country’s governance. All policies and plans were drawn up by them, for them and any obstacle in their way was removed with the help of the bureaucracy and the armed forces. It has been like a cycle – some sort of toothless democratic dispensation running the country for a certain period, followed by army rule replacing it for a few years, then giving way to a civil dispensation for another few years – and so the cycle continues till today. ...

Mr. Bhutto’s four and a half years’ military action in Baluchistan gave birth to extremist tendencies among the youth. The subsequent decade of Zia-ul-Haq’s military-mullah rule further sharpened these tendencies, as Baluchistan continued to be denied its legitimate rights within the federation. Today, the political leadership of Baluchistan and in Particular the youth seem to have arrived at the conclusion that there is no future for smaller nationalists in Pakistan. I agree that this should not have been the answer to Mr. Bhutto’s and General Zia’s misrule and misdeeds. The answer, in my opinion. Should have been a redoubled commitment to waging a sustained struggle to overthrow their anti-people regimes through mass people’s movements. Given Baluchistan’s minimal clout in terms of manpower, it was not possible for the Baluch to initiate or lead such a movement. In the given situation, the immediate logical response was adventurism, taking the Baluch youth on the path of pointless sacrifice. -- Mir Ghaus Bakhsh Bizenjo