THE prime minister has said his government is considering an all-party conference on Balochistan. What Mr Gilani didn't say was what purpose this would likely serve.
Does he seriously need an all-party conference to suggest solutions to him, to strengthen his hands? The passage of the 20th Amendment earlier in the week demonstrated his support in parliament. What greater moral authority does he require?
The only 'party' he needs to have on board is his own military leadership, if he can, before offering a real and meaningful olive branch to the estranged Baloch.
The situation is challenging but as Senator Hasil Bizenjo said this week two immediate steps would help. "This killing and dumping of bullet-riddled bodies must stop ... The 'establishment', agencies or whoever is responsible must stay their hand."
"Then a dialogue initiated. If they [the militants] talk of breaking up Pakistan, let them. But draw them into dialogue. It happens all over the world," Bizenjo reasoned. PPP leader Senator Lashkari Raisani's views are no different.
In a TV interview last Thursday, Mehran Baloch (Marri), the younger brother of separatist leader Hyrbyair Marri, said they were committed to an independent Balochistan, but also said nobody from Pakistan had "knocked on our door".
This isn't to say it isn't a complex issue. Late last year after visiting Balochistan, a column aimed at bringing to the reader the thinking there, triggered this email exchange.
"Hello ... read your post [column] of Dec 24 ... the well-orchestrated, pro-Baloch militants article was quite irrational ... why do you people pollute the minds of innocent people reading newspapers? Do you think Brahmdagh is innocent? Do you think Bugti was innocent? And, do you think Dr Allah Nazar is innocent?
"Just to pollute minds of the people some of you are writing whatever you can because you can blackmail anyone who goes against you. Although you have not taken an oath of serving this country, you are bound to be faithful to this country like others. Why don't you ever write about the killings of security forces? The way they are being tortured and beheaded ... What a shame ... Biased journalism!"
It was apparent the anonymous writer was a soldier, so the response: "You use a bullet to deal with 'polluted' minds/views, others feel national interest is best-served by reaching out. I didn't call Brahmdagh innocent or guilty but who had Prof Saba Dashtiyari killed? You sadly forget '71; others who lost friends and family in the tragedy wish to remember it.
"And terribly unkind of you not to acknowledge that I have often talked of the heroism of those battling mercenary zealots and those proud sons who are beheaded, martyred.
"Read through the past issues. They keep files in all Services libraries. Please don't accuse me of blackmail when your own leadership with its strategic depth obsessions are handing over the country to people who don't even acknowledge our daughters' right to education.
"Apologies. I get very emotional about the Pakistan of Quaid-i-Azam's ideals being destroyed "Thank you for your 'rational' and, dare I say, official feedback."
The imperative of engaging with someone caught up in the midst of a conflict not necessarily of their own asking became clear as he wrote back:
"Abbas Sahab, I'm a war victim with a disability but still serving with whatever capabilities left in me. .. I believe now I don't need to explain how emotional I am when I talk of MY Pakistan. I'm sorry I didn't mean to point a finger at you but I am talking about the overall sit[uation]of journalists ... I have one grievance with all you journalists ... Why do you stop after 'advertising' the so-called ill-doings of the army?
"Why don't you people write the possible strategy for them ... Sir I have seen my comrades beheaded by those Baloch militants ... but still I feel they are misguided [and not worse]. Who has stopped you all journalists from going deep into Balochistan and furnish [facilitate?] talks with the militants? If you people can access them for high-profile secret interviews then you can also access them for a better cause as well ... Sorry for being rude. Take Care"
A quick de-escalation isn't possible as those who have lost kith and kin in the conflict are unlikely to forget their loss, particularly in circumstances as tragically questionable as in many instances in Balochistan.
This was so movingly illustrated by Mohammed Hanif in this newspaper a few days back when he told the story of a Baloch father, Qadeer, whose son had been killed while in the custody of agencies.