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Thursday, May 25, 2023

Emerging Balochistan: Ignored yesterday but succeeding today

According to Muhammad Mustansar, Balochistan faced severe neglect under the previous governments, causing its people to suffer. However, PM Khan promised to uplift Balochistan, and with the vast number of development projects happening in the region, the PTI government seems to be delivering its promise.

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Balochistan has immense potential with respect to tourism and transit trade. God has been kind to this region because it has huge minerals and other natural resources which seem to be the backbone of the region’s economy as it can help elevate poverty and strengthen its people in economic terms.

Unfortunately, Balochistan has been the victim of terrorism and militants activities since the inception of Pakistan due to the nationalist approach of the leaders of this region. They wanted an independent state because of the negligence of the previous governments.

Arch rival neighbor (India) also exploited the situation and started funding these organizations to fight against the institutions of Pakistan. The armed forces of Pakistan caught Indian spy Kulbhushan Yadev red-handed in Balochistan in 2016. He was involved in terror activities and accepted that he ran a terror network to sabotage the peace of this region.

Read more: Confessions of RAW officers- the diplomats in disguise

Baloch Liberation and some other separatist groups joined hands with India to fulfill their vested interests. Keeping in view the situation, Pakistan Army, in the recent past, played a great role in countering terror activities and militants in Balochistan, so now the law and order situation in the province is much better as compared to the past.

Prime Minister Imran Khan is set to have a dialogue with the nationalist parties of Balochistan for the peaceful future of the region and he also allocated Rs 731 billion for the development and prosperity of the region. The provincial government has Rs 180 billion for the well-being of their people. PM Khan has taken Balochistan very seriously as he wants to see a prosperous Balochistan.

Developments in Balochistan

The local government and armed forces of Pakistan are working hard to maintain a peaceful atmosphere after many decades or so. This province has been neglected by previous governments either intentionally or unintentionally and with the lack of commitment and incompetence, the people of Balochistan suffered the most.

However, the incumbent government of Pakistan has taken the matter of Balochistan very seriously and has planned to build 16 dams that will be helpful in the irrigation of 150,000 acres of agricultural land that will profit the agriculture sector of this region.

Read more: Balochistan’s water-crisis: Tailored solutions before its too late

The development of an olive processing unit and three dates processing units will help to lift up the local farmers. In addition, only 57 percent of the total population is getting electricity in Balochistan, Federal and local governments are concerned about this issue, and they are working on it. Prime Minister of Pakistan approved electricity projects in which South Balochistan will be connected to the main grid. PM Khan has an emphasis on electricity and water as these are the biggest problems that create lots of issues for the people of this area.

Upgrading education and health 

The local government has been focusing on the education sector of the region. They are upgrading 5 girls’ schools from primary to middle and 53 girls’ schools from middle to high schools. They are also reforming 45 boys’ schools from primary to middle and middle to high schools.

Education can prove to be the game-changer of this region because it creates opportunities for the youth of Balochistan to lead their region with capability and integrity. The government has appointed more than 1550 teaching and non-teaching staff too.

The government is also rebuilding the Bolan Medical College which will prove to be a great asset for medical studies. The government allocated Rs 50 million for each hospital to upgrade the system which will help to tackle any kind of health emergency.

Fatima Jinnah hospital is doing a great job in this ongoing pandemic. There are certain labs on the agenda of the government just to improve the testing facilities in the region. Job opportunities in the health sector will also control unemployment.

Read more: ‘Historic achievement’ adds 126 MBBS and BDS seats in just one year in Balochistan

PM Khan recognizing Balochistan as an asset

The government is also well aware of the tourist capacity of the region so they are building tourist resorts. Balochistan Board of Investment and Trade (BBIT) is the biggest development initiative in previous years. It can attract investors globally.

China is supporting socio-economic projects such as livestock, agriculture, and fisheries. Rs 30 Bn worth of projects have started. Connecting Balochistan with Sindh via Sobatpur (road) to Kashmore will bring great change.

PM Khan just launched the second phase of CPEC. This phase comprises 2200 acres of land. PM Khan is concerned about the water problem faced by the people of this region and he initiated a sanitization plant to solve the water problems. PM Khan has given worth Rs 600 billion packages to South Balochistan for its development projects.

Read more: CPEC speeds into the second phase under PTI

Foreign investors are also showing their great interest in Gwadar port projects especially in Special Economic Zones or free zones. Trade traffic increased in Gwadar Port from 13,000 metric tonnes to 60,000 metric tonnes.

There is no doubt that the incumbent government shows more concern about the wellbeing of the people of Balochistan. Development projects in the province will prove to be the beacon in the coming days with regard to the other developed cities of the world.

Read more: Balochistan: The Decade Ahead

The author is a senior columnist based in Islamabad. He has worked for Dunya Tv and Reuters News Agency. He can be reached at:mustansarbaloch@gmail.com. The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.