Balochistan: Provincial Autonomy Needed To Avert Deepening Crises
In response to renewed criticisms regarding the level of autonomy and jurisdiction given to Balochistan’s Provincial Government, renewed calls emphasise the importance of regional governance in solving the series of poverty, employment and crime crises Baloch communities currently face.
Below is a statement released by Dawn.com:
Historically, Balochistan has constantly been ignored. Its people are angry because they have been let down, deprived of their inherent and basic rights.
We do not have time to waste over trivial issues detrimental to national interests when other nations are growing in every respect at a fast pace.
Pakistan can change its fate once its leaders learnt that they have not to sit back and waste time in useless activities.
Balochistan should be our top priority as the province lags behind in everything.
Those at the helm of affairs must not squander a single moment and should follow in the footsteps of the Father of the Nation who always struggled for the betterment of Pakistan.
Even during his last days in Ziarat he kept working hard for a bright future of Pakistan. Mr Jinnah, from the very beginning, was aware of the pains of the people of Balochistan, as is evident in his famous 14 points (1929) in which he asked for reforms in Balochistan.
In fact, betterment and integrity of Pakistan lies in addressing the grievances of provinces, especially those of Balochistan. What the government needs to do is to listen to its people.
Furthermore, the government should take steps to educate people by establishing more educational and vocational institutes in remote areas of the province as education brings tolerance and moderation among people.
Further, the people should be provided jobs in the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project. Short-term projects like Aghaz-i-Huqooq-i-Balochistan package will not help the province to get out of the swamp of crises.
Therefore, the government needs to place the Gwadar Port project under the control of the provincial government and create job quotas for locals at the port and related projects.
The government must ensure jobs for the people in Sui and other oil and gas extraction projects.
It should also encourage oil and gas companies to hire and train Baloch workers and allocate funds for social development of the province which is its right.
Federal and provincial governments should use all their resources to transform the barren land into an oasis by irrigating the province and building dams in rural areas.
As for energy needs, the government should make maximum use of solar panels in the province.
Balochistan needs hospitals, technical colleges and high schools in every district, besides universities. The youth must be recruited in the Army, while paramilitary forces must be withdrawn from the province.
The prosperity of Pakistan lies in the betterment of its federating units. For this, longstanding problems should be addressed and the ignorance and illiteracy must be eliminated.
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