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Roadmap to a prosperous Balochistan

Industrialisation and development of model cities will not only improve security situation, but also put Balochistan on the road to development

Roadmap to a prosperous Balochistan

Though successive governments have introduced various packages to pacify the restive province of Balochistan, all the chest-thumping development projects ended in fiasco. The tall claims by the central figures of every government failed to bring any visible change in the lives of the people or improve political milieu of the province. There lives a majority of the poorest population in one of the richest provinces of the country. The lip service of the local and national leaders reveals the fact that actions speak louder than words.

After the 18th amendment to the constitution, the province is free to make its own economic, political and industrial policies, but the governments in all the four provinces still looks toward the centre for assistance and Balochistan is not an exception. The authority of the chief minister is not less than that of a prime minister of the country. All the budget allocations and resources are in hands of the provincial chief executives.

The development of only a few model cities in parts of Balochistan will end the sense of deprivation in the poor Baloch areas and resolve the problem of insurgency once for all.

If packages from the central government have failed to bring Balochistan at par with other provinces, the law of the provincial autonomy also brought little changes in the lives of poor citizens. The central government has its own portfolio of anomalies to its credit. The vast region has been left on the mercy of international conspiracies. The powers hostile to Pakistan are free to play games against the state and challenge writ of the central and provincial governments at every level.

India has reportedly set up special cells for Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Karachi and Balochistan and has developed various doctrines against Pakistan. After the Bharatiya Janata Party took over the reign of the government in New Delhi, it has accelerated anti-Pakistan activities in all parts of the country. India has found local agents in the troubled areas, including Karachi and Balochistan. They speak the language of their masters and are ready to die for nothing.

They fail to condemn the killing of innocent Baloch and Punjabis at the hands of insurgents. The recent harrowing incidents in which dozens of poor Punjabis were killed by insurgents in remote areas of Balochistan should be an eye-opener not only for the government but also for the law enforcement agencies.

Hundreds of nationals from so-called friendly and brotherly Islamic countries are ever ready to hunt threatened species in Pakistan every year, but chose European Union and the North American countries for business, trade and investment. If common Pakistanis are looked down upon as the poor workers in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirate, the governments and business communities of these countries are least interested in choosing Pakistan as their investment destination. If there is investment of the kind in banking and some other sectors, its volume is peanuts as compared to their investment in other countries of the world.

The solution to Balochistan’s problem is not a rocket science but as easy as a pie. Only will is required to implement it.

The development of only a few model cities in parts of Balochistan will end the sense of deprivation in the poor Baloch areas and resolve the problem of insurgency once for all. The investors from Gulf States, European Union, Russia and China, could be offered tax holidays and vast investment opportunities to set up industrial parks and zones around the model cities to offer all kinds of jobs to local population. The model cities should have educational facilities from pre-school to the university levels as well as state of the art hospitals to provide free healthcare to the local population.

A network of modern industries, education and healthcare, all together, will resolve the pressing issue of poverty which is common across the province. The province could be divided further on administrative lines and self-governance in small provinces will make the treasures of natural resources accessible to the local population. China has already been investing in the region and leasing of land should be for a purpose and not for developing personal relations with elite classes of the partner countries. Industrialisation of the region and development of model cities will not only improve security situation, but will also put Balochistan on the road to development.

Aftab Afzal Ranjha

aftab zain
The writer is a Lahore-based journalist. He may be reached at aftabzain@gmail.com

One comment

  • The wealth of Dera Bugti is burned from Karachi to Peshawar, but life of Baloch is miserable. Common Baloches need fiscal independence which will rescue them from the clutches of sardars. There is a need to establish special housing projects in Quetta, Sibbi, Kalat, Lasbela and Pisani apart from Gwadar for common Baloches. They be given jobs, education and health facilities at their door steps. Lifting up the living standard of Baloch is key to the development of Balochistan.

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