Solution to Balochistan Issue
By Faheem Belharvi
The decision to convene an APC on Balochistan was announced by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani who constituted a committee of ministers and PPP leaders to contact politicians all over the country to convince them to participate in the conference.
The way out of this situation demands that we should learn from history. The Balochistan problem must no more be seen in the security perspective only. Focus must be shifted on its strong political and social elements. Let me add a few recommendations for resolution of this simmering issue.
First, there is a dire need to popularise education in the southern part of the Balochistan where the literacy rate is minimal as compared to the northern part that is predonimantly a Pashtun area. According to an NGO working on education in Balochistan, a large percentage of children do not any get education because there are no schools in their locality. Those that exist here and there are in fact ghost schools.
Education is regarded as a panacea for all ills because it brings tolerance and moderation in society. In order to bring enlightenment and moderation in Baloch-dominated areas, it is, therefore, necessary for the government to invest in the education sector so that people may not be used by foreign players to serve their interests and work against the integrity of Pakistan.
Secondly, as the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project is going to start working soon, the government should ensure that all employment opportunities must go the local Baloch people. By doing so, we can achieve two objectives; one, the security of the pipeline that will pass through this province for almost 1,000km; second, the employment to the Baloch people.
It will help bring peace and prosperity to the poor people of Balochistan, as well as help contain the law and order situation that is getting worse day by day.
Thirdly, the government should implement the NFC award in letter and in spirit which may lessen the worries of the Baloch masses, as Balochistan stands to gain much.
Fourthly, companies which are working on Gwadar Port and on other mega projects must be made liable to train Baloch people through internship and later provide them jobs.
Fifthly, Baloch parliamentarians and the provincial government must strive hard to end the tribal and sardari system by making Baloch people free from the cruel control of the sardars and tribal lords. This step will also empower the women and will help them get rid of all outdated traditions and practices prevailing in their society.
These measures may go a long way in overcoming the difficulties faced by the people of Balochistan and help the government to establish its writ in the province.