The people of Balochistan constitute the truest example of the democratic function that can be found in any fledgling democracy. As a province with a vast and valuable reserve of natural resources, much of it is yet to be utilized, perhaps its greatest resource is its population. A rugged and courageous people embodying the indomitable spirit of the region, they have stood time and again to face a variety of challenges and obstacles. Anyone fortunate enough to be entrusted with the office of chief minister for such a diverse body of people, must first recognize that he can no more hold one alliance dearer than another than have a favorite child. The need of the hour is a comprehensive and cohesive plan to deliver basic amenities to every citizen, in every corner of the province. Being the largest province of Pakistan, Balochistan lives with its inherent strengths since historic times where it played a central role in international trade routes and politics. It acted as a buffer between major powers for trade wars. Although the province is rich in mineral resources yet it is poor as per the socio-economic indicators. Balochistan remains the most important province of Pakistan due to its strategic location in emerging geopolitical stage. It houses the most patriotic and resilient people of Pakistan. The very basis of Pakistan’s future hinges upon the prosperity, integrity and development of Balochistan, being the heartland of the country. The several attempts by our adversaries to destabilize Pakistan by instigating unrest in Balochistan speaks volumes of its absolute importance. The reality is that the people of Balochistan from the day of independence to date remained loyal and committed to the ideology of Pakistan’s existence.
Balochistan has recently acquired connectivity and security which are the vital precursors of development. These diversified opportunities are a result of relentless efforts by security forces to maintain law and order in the province. One of the biggest security dilemmas in the province has been the porous nature of international border with Afghanistan and Iran, used by the terrorists to escape to the safe havens. For better border security management, it was decided to fence the border to prevent the entry and escape of terrorists. 1200 kilometer stretch of the border fence has been completed which has immensely contributed in improving the overall security of the province.
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. 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.
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. Industrialization of the region and development of model cities will not only improve security situation but will also put Balochistan on the road to development.