When Balochistan Finance Secretary Mushtaq Raisani was detained early last month and hundreds of millions of rupees in hard cash were impounded from his house in Quetta, it was instantaneously apparent that an infinite case of corruption had been brought to light. However, in the days and weeks ever since, the magnitude of that corruption has only gradually grown – bit by bit, stretching to properties and delux vehicles in Karachi and soaking up a range of public officials and accomplices. So far, the political leadership of Balochistan has not been openly drawn into Mr Raisani’s corruption. However, that too only appears to be a matter of time, it being implausible that an official could be in charge of a vast provincial and inter-provincial corruption system with no knowledge of his political superiors. With the corruption unearthed by armed forces investigators at the very top of the Frontier Corps management in the region, it appears that Balochistan has a corruption crisis that is shockingly wide and perplexingly deep. This is definitely not an issue which faisl to crop up in every other nation but with Balochistan’s situation – it’s fight against Pakistan, such internal discrepancies will only add to the nation’s already going on issues and problems.
It remains the case that Balochistan’s principal predicament is the centre’s attack on it’s on province that has wrecked the Baloch-dominated areas of the province for over a decade now. Without security – with large swathes of the province effectively cut off from the rest of the country – Balochistan’s governance, social and economic problems cannot be meaningfully addressed. But are corruption and mis-governance getting in the way of solving Balochistan’s security problems? It does not require conspiracy theories to understand the connection between public and military officials intent on enriching themselves and the failure to politically and through law-and-order measures resolve a fundamental security problem. It is not even a question of symptom or cause; the vast corruption in Balochistan could be both a factor contributing to and aggravated by the wretched state of governance in the province and Pakistan’s crude measures to ignore it’s province to an extent where it feels no shame in bombing and killing its own people.
While the problems may be identifiable, the solutions are far from clear. Corruption is both a national issue and a provincial one, while Balochistan’s security problems may not be resolved without bringing the centre, the province and the political and military leaderships together. Yet, doing nothing ought not to be an option. Perhaps a starting point could be to ensure that the investigation of the Raisani corruption nexus is conducted impartially and thoroughly – allowing the investigators to go wherever the evidence takes them rather than let political or security considerations overrule them. Whether that requires the support of the superior judiciary or whoever else can help ensure impartiality and thoroughness, the investigators themselves could make clear. Mr Raisani surely is the keeper of many explosive secrets.