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Thursday, February 15, 2024

How to uplift the people of Balochistan

Mr Mushtaq Jumma talks about how Balochistan despite being rich in many resources faces socio economic problems. He highlights how real estate developers and agents can help by signing partnerships that will help in improving economic conditions and what opportunities CPEC can provide once its completed.

Rahim Baloch, the owner of Mehran Hotel in Karachi, is a UAE national with Pakistani ancestry. He has a few hotels in Dubai also. While in PIA I developed an intimacy with him and used to have interesting talks until he lost his youngest son of 22 years of age in an accident in Dubai and he barely contacted me since then out of sadness. He once said to me that Baloch people are my nation and are unique as whenever I offer them a job in a city they hardly join, rather, they prefer to stay back in the desert despite being jobless.

I observe they are similar to Arabs who are less skilled but rich in having natural resources. So, if they are pitched against other nations to compete for jobs they might end up with unskilled laborer jobs only. Candidates from Lahore and Karachi who have “en masse” access to quality education and OJT (on job training), grab most of the jobs.

Read more: The unfortunate reality of education in Balochistan

The Poorest of All Provinces 

As per UNICEF Pakistan Annual Report 2020, a Quarter (24.3 %) of Pakistanis live below the poverty line. Balochistan population is a little more than 12 million out of which, as per report of Development Policy Institute, Balochistan is the poorest of all provinces with 52% population living below poverty line.

In another study by Borgenproject.org the percentage of people under poverty in Pakistan by the end of 2020 was predicted to jump to 40%.  It means numerically, the poverty population would increase from 69 Million to 87 Million and a value of 87 million is quite high in proportion to the country’s population of 212 million.

Nevertheless, since 2018, socioeconomic reforms especially in poverty alleviation, malnutrition, climate change and fiscal policy stabilization have been initiated. Public Sector Development Programme budget allocations which accounted for 8 percent of GDP in 2018/19 have increasingly shifted towards pro-poor spending.

Read more: Emerging Balochistan: Ignored yesterday but succeeding today

Balochinazation: Giving Partnership to Individuals working in companies there 

Availing CPEC opportunities that includes, inter alia, developing Gwadar Port Complex, Floating Liquefied Natural Gas facility, Gwadar International Airport, construction of the East Bay Expressway – a 19 kilometre controlled-access road that will connect Gwadar Port to Makran Coastal Highway, various Power Plants, a 300-bed hospital, desalination Plant,  various manufacturing zones, logistics hubs, warehouses, and display centres, the advantage must be extended directly to the local individual people by making them partners by all Pakistani and Foreign companies in line with Kafala system of Gulf countries.

If a ship is anchored at the port, many dozens of transporters, freight forwarders, shipping agents, customs clearing agents involve themselves initially remotely and afterwards establish permanent offices once they settle down. Temporarily or permanently, in both cases they must be allowed to work on the condition of making partnerships with local Baloch people. The partnership agreements with locals may be extended to Balochistan’s “Hub Industrial area” situated near Karachi.

Currently hundreds of estate developers and agents are involved in making money. They should all be made bound to sign  individual partnership agreements with the locals individuals. Individual Baloch fishermen be given partnerships in foreign fishing companies operating in and around Gwadar sea.

Read more: Why is Balochistan becoming an epicenter of militancy?

While on other side, in the area of Chaman along the border of Afghanistan where most of Logistic movement takes place, into and out of Afghanistan, the Pashtun people (who comprise 36% of Balochistan province) be made partners with logistic, custom clearance, transport and other companies in line with UAE and Saudi policy for uplifting local people.

Mushtaq Jumma is an Ex-Airliner and Business Consultant. He can be reached at mushtaqjumma@hotmail.com. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.