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Balochistan: development must follow talks

October 24, 2012


BALOCHISTAN has many faces to the world: many scandals, including the Reko Diq and the murder of Nawab Akbar Bugti, have brought it in the limelight. Today it is the source of many international forums for several indigenous reasons, as well as for certain vested interests.

But the history of trouble in the province, indeed, dated beyond the inception of Pakistan. So, it would be interesting to understand the issue of the province and steps taken by the government to alleviate the grievances of the Baloch.

Balochistan is suffering from basic economic and development problems, besides complex regional and international issues. Illiteracy, unemployment and state oppression are the symptoms of a prolonged ailment visible to the naked eye, but the underlying reasons for the status quo are complex and controversial.

Baloch tribes and settlers from other provinces have been deprived of the basic amenities such as clean drinking water, supply of natural gas and electricity in remote areas and the availability of health and educational facilities. In addition, there is no law and order in the province.

An interesting fact is that Balochistan has as many ministers as members in the assembly minus one who is a non-resident in the country. A total of 65 ministers empowered with development funds still have failed to carry out social development works in the province to improve of the quality of life of the people.

Since this assembly came into power, it has not been able to deliver though it has the financial resources available at its disposal in the shape of the NFC?

Where have all the funds gone? It seems that the crux of the problem is that parliamentarians are not interested in resolving the issue. If both the federal and the provincial governments do not address this issue immediately, then it would have serious consequences for the country’s future.

If the US can hold dialogue with the Taliban, why cannot our government talk to the dissident Baloch leaders to find a solution?

International interferences too in Balochistan are one of the major reasons that have led to the present situation. The rich oil, mineral and gas deposits in the province, along with its strategic location with regard to the Gwadar port, have drawn the attention of international players. The resolution by the US congress on human rights and the recent visit of the UN delegation to the province are noting.

Prioritising Balochistan’s problem to resolve it on a war footing is the need of the hour. Holding political dialogue and carrying out development are the only solutions to the issue. Development should be made through the elected representatives of the people rather than through the civil and military establishment.