Initiative on Balochistan development
Monday, March 04, 2013 – Since the inception of Pakistan, Balochistan is considered the most deprived and backward province of Pakistan.
Reasons behind this deprivation are multiple and manifold. Historically speaking, British during their rule did not pay much attention to the development of Balochistan due to the highly centralized policies. Consequently, It remained one of the most impoverished and neglected regions of the subcontinent socially as well as economically. After the creation of Pakistan, no significant change could take place for one or the other reasons. The sense of deprivation among Baluchi people kept on building up and had great impact on their social, economic and political lives.
The successive governments took number of steps to control the deteriorating condition of Balochistan and to develop the sense of belongingness among the people of Balochistan but significant results were not achieved. The present government of PPP took notice of the deteriorating socio-political condition of Balochistan because being a nation – state, it is necessary to impart the sense of equality, and harmony among the people. The areas on which the government focused during its democratic rule were economy, employment, education and infrastructure development.
On 24 November, 2009, the Federal Government of Pakistan announced Aghaz- e- Haqooq Balochistan package to bring Balochistan in the main stream of the country. The basic purpose of this initiative was democratic rapprochement with an apology for the wrong doings done in the past and to assure the people that they will be compensated for all mistakes of the past. This package deals with three sets of economic issues, i.e. job creation, royalties and share of the development and exploitation of existing oil and gas resources and shared power over decision making in launching new mega development projects and managing the existing ones.
Unemployment is one of the major issues faced by the people of Balochistan. To tackle this problem on primary level, 5000 Balochis were inducted into service under Aghaz Haqooq balochistan. 10000 interns and 5959 posts in federal departments are being allocated in 2nd part of Balochistan package. The government of Pakistan is committed to provide the Baloch youth employment opportunities in order to address their grievances. The people of balochistan are also being employed in Pakistan army. 5000 balochi youth from all over Balochistan passed out to join the Pak army at Quetta in October 2011. With this recruitment, now over 10000 young boys of Balochistan have joined Pak army as officers and jawans during the last two years.
Pakistan is located at a place that is geo-strategically important. Nobody can deny the importance of Gwadar port in the geo-political scenario and for the socio- economic uplift of the country. The port will provide strategic depth to the country. Likewise, the government has devised a plan to establish a free economic zone in Gwadar port city and to address the grievances of Balochs on the issue of unemployment, Gwadar Port Authority had been asked to give more jobs to Balochs.
The present government has left indelible imprints regarding socio-economic uplift of the province. No doubt, there is enough room to do more and challenges ahead are many. However, nobody can blame the government that it has not done anything substantial for resolving socio-economic crisis of Balochistan . In every setup, there are some elements that always remain unhappy and have reservations on different issues. Same is the case for Balochistan . One should remember that undue criticism leads to confusion and disharmony among different sections of society. This is the time not to create confusions but to be united as a nation to face all the internal and external challenges.(Nawal Ali)