Ms. Maliha Zeba Khan
Baluchistan is the largest province of Pakistan as it makes 43.6% of land mass of the country. It is the region which is rich in natural resources ranging from the minerals, oil, and natural gas, to the maritime resources. The socio-economic progress of Baluchistan has remarkably been slow since ages as the region had been facing discriminatory behavior due to number of reasons. Despite the fact that Baluchistan had immense potential of socio-economic growth as well as unimaginable resources on land and maritime sectors, it could not reach at par with the rest of country and yet has been one of the most under-developed areas of Pakistan.
Since beginning of the new millennium, Baluchistan has emerged as the region which is an epicenter of geo-politics due to its strategic significance and being situated on cross-roads not only for Pakistan but for the whole Asian continent. The importance of this region has been multiplied since the initiation of multiple projects of economic cooperation and regional integration, particularly the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). As Baluchistan has been low on development index; therefore, Baluchistan is needed to be improved strategically and to make it a valuable part of the national mainstream. For this purpose, it is required to enhance the gains of the individuals too as well through comprehensive policies and long-term, long-range strategies. The individual gains are important because such gains increase positivity in general, and bring improvement in socio-economic conditions of the people.
Strategically, the approach to deal with the Baluchistan issue should not be uni-dimensional rather multi-pronged strategy will be more effective. To be specific, investing into basic education, health, equitable provision of social services like water, electricity, gas, infrastructure is fundamental pre-requisite to create conducive environment to positivity and creativity. Similarly the vocational training is important to make people self-sufficient and even they can go for entrepreneurship. Such specializations will allow the people of Baluchistan to choose for their route of development and will surely increase the opportunities as well as positive competitiveness. However, it should not be a sole responsibility of the government to play role in the development of the human resource of Baluchistan as there are numerous stakeholders at domestic as well as the international level which could be used effectively.
For international stakeholders, the specific approach of identifying the medium and long-term, but long-range objectives should be adopted, and inculcate them into effective foreign policy. At the domestic level, the executive organizations and agencies of the state like federal and provincial governments, different ministries and their departments, military and para-military forces, and law-enforcement agencies should play their role to deal with the challenges emerging in Baluchistan. One such stakeholder in Baluchistan is Pakistan Navy which is humbly serving the people of Baluchistan, and enabling them to improve their socio-economic conditions.