Since its inception Pakistan has faced, multitude of problems, both external and internal. It has lacked political unity and cohesion and the major challenge it has faced has been in terms of province-centre relationship. The establishment, availing of the security situation and threat perception from a hostile neighbour India has sought to strengthen the centre at the expense of provincial rights. The economic and security policies were formulated in total disregard of the federating units, creating a deep sense of alienation among the provinces with deadly consequences. The fall of Dhaka and dismemberment of Pakistan was a logical culmination of this sense of deprivation and lack of participation in the governance of the country. It was in recognition of this factor, that the 1973 constitution provided a definite mechanism and institutions such as Council of Common Interests (CCI) and National Finance Commission (NFC) to safeguard the interests of smaller units of the federation. The provision of bicameral legislature was primarily to provide a constitutional safety valve to ensure that rights of provinces shall not be trampled in the name of Pakistan's security. However, in practice these constitutional safeguards have been violated with impunity. Balochistan became a prime example of this policy of neglect and deprivation and with the passage of time this policy of denial led to militancy which soon grew into open insurgency. Instead of dealing with the core issues in a spirit of dialogue and discourse both civilian and military regimes preferred to use force which enraged the Baloch and the radicals took to the mountains and guerrilla warfare. Massive violations of human rights and excessive use of force fuelled the movement. In the recent past Musharraf instead of dowsing the flames followed incendiary policies by enlarging the scope and intensity of military operations resulting in the killing of Nawab Bugti in August 2006 and of Baloch Mari. These tragic deaths compounded with the disappearance of the Baloch nationalists leaders and their families. The military operations against major tribes Mengal, Bugti and Mari have led to the escalation of terrorist activities by BLA, widened the area of conflict and created deep division and hatred against the Centre, threatening the very fabric of Pakistan. However the situation received the attention rather belatedly. In 2004, during the brief tenure of Chaudhry Shujaat as PM, a parliamentary committee was set-up to address the issue in detail. Two sub-committees, dealing with the political and constitutional issues, were set-up under Senator Mushahid Hussain and Senator Wasim Sajjad. The sub-committee headed by Mr Hussain held detailed and substantive discussions with all the stakeholders and taking their views and demands presented its reports on June 2005, with 36 recommendations as remedial measures. But that was the end PM Gilani now recognising the volatile situation in Balochistan announced some positive steps including the withdrawal of FC troops from Gwader and Quetta, halt to the military operations, withdrawal of cases against Akhtar Mengal and his release. Equally significant was the formation of the Reconciliation Committee and proposal to convene the APC in order to address the issue. The APC was to be held within ten days of the announcement. But more than a year has since elapsed and there seems to be no move in that direction. There is an urgent need to accord priority to Balochistan question bears reiteration. Perhaps a beginning can be made from where the Mushahid sub-committee left and build up on its findings and recommendations. The major issues are still the same viz share in the natural resources, good governance, political participation, army operations, missing persons, rule of law and relations between centre and provinces. The issue of missing Baloch is the most sensitive one and calls for urgent negotiation. The next move should be to do away with Concurrent List. The Concurrent List has been long overdue for cancellation. It was originally thought to be for a 10 year period, which expired some fifteen years ago. There is national consensus on the need to annul the List, and hence the constitutional procedure should be set in motion to get rid of this provision. The constitution provides mechanism and modalities to settle these nettlesome issues. CCI and NFC should be revived and consensus developed on the distribution of resources between the centre and provinces keeping in view the legitimate demands of smaller provinces. In the backdrop of the current volatile situation within and around Pakistan and threat to its integrity, it is imperative to develop national cohesion and unity to bravely face the challenges. Balochistan must be pacified and its legitimate demands met. The alternative is risking Pakistan's very existence. The writer is a former ambassador