Why Balochistan fate is hanging in balance?
China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a blessing for the impoverished segments of Balochistan. This economic corridor can change the fate of the province which is mainly the hub of this entire project. Balochistan is rich in natural resources but owing to the extremely harsh geographical environment and under-developed civil infrastructure including roads, energy and water supplies, these natural resources could not have been tapped adequately in the past. With the launching of CPEC, there have emerged ample opportunities for tapping these resources to pave the way for unprecedented economic activities in Balochistan.
From the perspective of natural resources, opportunities include, but not limited to, development and management of water resource, mining of coal and minerals, exploration of unexplored hydrocarbons, exploitation of dimension stones and construction material, and the establishment of related and subsidiary industries. All these activities require human resource development, better health, and educational facilities especially institution for technical and skill development of masses and most importantly the sustainable development of water resources and reservoirs for drinking, municipal and industrial purposes. In this paper key natural resources of Balochistan are identified in the context of their sustainable use under the CPEC induced development projects. large number of mega projects including development of deep-sea Gwadar port, power generation plants, highway construction, and the establishment of special economic zones have been part of the CPEC and are already being undertaken. Ever since the inception of Pakistan, Balochistan has remained a victim of uneven distribution of resources due to which it has witnessed abundant troubles and distresses in the face of ethno-nationalism, separatism, extremism and terrorism. Its role in the mainstream political landscape has always been lopsided which has created a sense of deprivation among the inhabitants of the province. Notwithstanding, Balochistan contributes immensely to the national economy by producing natural gas, coal, minerals, fisheries, mining, manufacturing industries and other services rendered by public and private sectors. However, Baloch people benefit the least from these economic activities. Due to this increasing marginalization, deprivation and disenfranchisement, the indigenous people bear the brunt of untold grievances such as chronic poverty, unemployment, poor education and health facilities, and other socio-economic disparities. Moreover, since the arrival of multi-billion-dollar project, CPEC, these forces of mercenaries have become more belligerent and involved in carrying out nefarious activities in line with external powers like India to thwart it. Within a span of few weeks, the foreign-funded separatist group, Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) has martyred several valiant military personnel of Pakistan Army. Despite the wave of such timid attacks, Pakistan army and our law enforcement agencies are safeguarding Balochistan and CPEC, which depicts the steadfast commitment of state to accomplish the dream of prosperous and stable Balochistan.
But, the lack of development in education sector in province shows the criminal negligence at the helm; provincial and federal governments are not taking this issue seriously. Millions of children are deprived of quality education which is deplorable. Lack of universities in the province also creates a sense of disparity amongst the students. The elite class of province go to top quality educational institutions but the lower class is compelled to live with the rotten system. Therefore, government must take concrete measures to establish universities in the province so that a layman’s son or daughter can also achieve the blessing of education; merely paying lip service will not suffice rathar a pragmatic approach is required to sort out this significant issue. The menace of unemployment is also being faced by the inhabitants of the province albeit this pivotal issue can be resolved by constructing special economic zones, which will be a major boost to those who are jobless. There is a utmost need of reviving industry in the province, and Chinese investment can ultimately be fruitful in rejuvenation of province’s industry. No country can realise its potential without ameliorating industrial sector, which is the backbone of country’s economy.
The people of Balochistan have audaciously fought the haemorrhaging war on terror and made a everlasting sacrifices for the enduring peace of the country which depicts the resilience and the preservance of our beloved, patriotic Baloch brothers and sisters. CPEC has not yet brought a significant change in the living standards of people in the province. Another crime which is on rise in Balochistan is rampant corruption which continues with the same degree and magnitude even in Naya Pakistan. No stern accountability has been done in the province. The sheer negligence of the tourism sector of province is another issue to attend. Owing to lack of interest of provincial Government this sector is not thriving either. Due attention to this sector can bring prosperity and create innumerable opportunities to the locals to earn their livelihood. Another thing which is very hearting for the people is that Quetta Gladiators, which represents Balochistan does not have one Baloch player in whole team. Needless to say, the government must come up with substantial plans to uplift the main province of the country and should take concrete steps to address the grievance of the people of this resource-rich but poor province.