The current decision of the government to take on the resurgent groups in Balochistan smacks of the US approach towards Afghanistan. Both are confident of solving the problem through use of stick- with a proportion of carrot in varying degrees. In both the cases, history, culture and the ground realities have been ignored. Seen through the prism of history, Pakistan and US both have failed to apply a pragmatic and realistic approach to solve the problem. If the US has learnt nothing from the Afghans long history of pride, resilience and impregnable will against British and Russians, Pakistan has also done the same vis--vis the Baloch people. To be realistic, both have met with utter failure. Since the Dhaka debacle, successive governments have failed to learn any lesson from the Balochistan imbroglio. The reason is obvious; ignoring the people of Balochistan and appeasing the tribal Sardars. The policy of appeasement can never work with the Balochi (or Afghani) culture especially their love to fight indefinitely. Essentially, their fight for freedom is their raison dtre. The fact of the matter is that we have always ignored the Balochi people and, as a natural corollary, these people have always been exploited by the Sardars. Hence, the prevailing degree of resentment. We must realize that the Baloch are our brethren who should be treated with respect. Their problems need be solved on a priority basis. At the same time, foreign elements, which are involved in exploiting the situation must be dealt with seriously. The humiliation suffered by the Americans in Afghanistan is a classical example of ignoring the majority and trying to run the affairs through minority - hence, an utter failure. We as nation and as a state must wake up and settle the Balochistan imbroglio before it is too late. DR SHAHID MEHMOOD, Faisalabad, October 19.