by Muhammad Tahir
ISLAMABAD, Jan15 (Xinhua) -- Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has issued a presidential proclamation, formally imposing governor's rule in the southwestern Balochistan province with a hope of putting an end to target attacks and sectarian violence in the province.
The governor's rule was imposed days after a series of deadly blasts killed over 100 people, majority of them were Shiite Muslims. The unprovoked attacks prompted urgent calls by Shiite Muslims for dismissal of the Balochistan government and the deployment of the Pakistani army in the area.
The Shiite Muslims staged a strong protest shortly after the Thursday's twin blasts that ripped through a snooker club in Shia locality of Quetta, the provincial capital. They also refused to bury those killed in the attacks as part of their protest action.
The Shiite Muslims refused to end protest unless their demands were accepted.
The protest spread across the country as angry Shiites blocked several key routes in several cities in support of the Quetta protesters, which forced the Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf to rush to Balochistan to address to the demands of the Shiite Muslims and to convince them to end their protests.
After hectic consultations, the prime minister announced that the government of Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani who were blamed for failure to protect the lives of the people, and his cabinet, has been sacked and governor's rule was imposed.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan had ruled in October that the Balochistan government had lost constitutional writ in view of its failure to stop target attacks and to recover hundreds of missing persons in the province.
The court's order had stirred a debate over the legality of the provincial government and the speaker of provincial assembly refused to summon the assembly's session. The Raisani's coalition government voted out the speaker for his stand over the status of the provincial assembly after the court's verdict.
Political leaders and the analysts here said that the Supreme Court's ruling about the provincial government was correct and should have been implemented when it was delivered in October.
Now the new governor as the chief executive is empowered to exercise all powers to take urgent measures for a crackdown on all those who plan target attacks and kill innocent people.
Although the federal government dismissed the Balochistan government with the belief that the new system will deal with terrorism and will protect lives of the people, many do not agree with the notion since terrorism and sectarian violence are not confined to Balochistan but have spread to other parts of the country.
In fact on Sunday, a roadside bomb killed 17 Pakistani soldiers in North Waziristan tribal region where the local Taliban group has struck a peace deal with the security forces.
Such attacks reflected the serious threat to the security forces and in general to the public as terror attacks do not spare innocent people like a recent attack in a mosque in northwestern Swat district that killed 22 people.
The situation in Balochistan is very complex as the province is facing several challenges that included sectarianism and violent nationalist insurgents, who are fighting for more political rights.
The government of President Zardari of the Pakistan Peoples' Party has announced several development packages and the president even publicly apologized to the people of Balochistan over the past injustices but these steps have not yet been fully worked out.
Balochistan has also been the focus of the world attention due to alleged presence of Afghan Taliban in the area as what Afghan President Hamid Karzai and several Afghan officials have alleged on several occasions.
President Karzai had claimed that the bomber who attacked his intelligence chief Asadullah Khalid last month had come to Kabul from Quetta. Also when the bomber killed Afghan peace envoy Burhanuddin Rabbani in September 2011, Karzai said that the plot was hatched in Quetta.
The Thursday's bomb attacks in Quetta, which were condemned across the world and by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the ensuing Shiite Muslim protests have caused a huge embarrassment for the Pakistani government.
Analysts here said that in order to restore the trust of the people in the present government, Pakistani authorities and law enforcement agencies should come up with an effective strategy to eliminate all extremist groups not just in Balochistan but also in other parts of the country.