Make Quetta the Summer Capital of Pakistan


​Pakistan’s whipped up war hysteria ensuing the deadly pre-dawn ambush of the Indian Brigade Headquarters in Uri, has done little to deliver a fitting reply to India’s Baluchistan stance which has long become a bleeding wound in Pakistan’s porous Foreign policy.

​Successive Pakistani governments despite realizing the interminable deprivation of the Baloch people, have failed to come up with a political solution to this issue. This prevalent vacuum of political insight has provided reasonable ground to the military establishment to intervene and restore the writ of the government with an iron hand, symbolically, doing exactly what India is doing in Kashmir.

PictureGovernor House Quetta

Using coercive tactics on its own people and forcing the “unjust” and “corrupt” writ on them only leads to more problems and the eventual outcome is a model somewhat similar to present day Kashmir.

The resentment among the Baloch youth is trending at an all-time high and the Pakistani flag is now confined to the roof tops of Government buildings even on the Independence Day.

​The political leadership, however, continues to conveniently turn a blind eye to such harsh realities. 

PictureJinnah Road Quetta

The idea of a Summer Capital was first introduced by the Mongol warlord Kublai Khan who ruled the vast stretches of the 13th Century China.

The Yuan Dynasty established by Kublai Khan overlooked the undulating grass lands of the Steppes on the west all the way to the cold and breezy Korean prefecture, controlled from the capital set in modern day Beijing.

​In the summers however, Beijing turned into an incinerator of a different kind, forcing the cold-loving mighty Mongol retreat to his “Summer Capital” in farther north called “Shangdu” or present day Dolon Nor. 

PictureSt. Lukes Church Quetta 1910

Lords of the British Raj escaped the scorching summers of the Indian plains effectively utilizing the subtropical highlands like Shimla, Srinagar, Nainital and Murree. The ruling elites, Al-Saud family of Saudi Arabia, regularly move to Taif to escape the scorching summers although the Kingdom continues to be operated from Riyadh. 

​Apart from all the bad history that it carries, and being associated to all the tyrants and imperialists, the idea of “Summer Capital” still holds a unique significance, presenting an out-of-the-box solution to Pakistan’s seeping Baluchistan quagmire.  

PictureZiarat Residency

​A serious consideration of this idea will first require the reinvention of the model of a summer capital in its entirety.

Perhaps an improvised version, in coherence with the modern political and democratic norms and one which is also feasible, will surely raise the spirits of the Baluchi people if not address their deprivation. 

PictureQuetta Railway Station

As the Maxim goes, “Pakistan starts 12 kilometers from Islamabad”, it remains a widely understood fact that the government writ starts wearing out as you move away from the center. Relocating the major government machinery like the Prime Ministers Secretariat, Prime Minister House, or even the more laid off Presidency, will gradually wipe out the feeling of detachment among the people of Baluchistan.

The cost of this relocation is certainly not more than the cost born by the government agencies, the military and whatever little political efforts being made to address the concerns of the Baluchis.