Balochistan: Missing Opportunities

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Naseebullah Khan

In 2004, the federal government constituted a parliamentary committee on Balochistan headed by Chaudhry Shujat Hussain. The Committee further formed two sub-committees one led by Wasim Sajjad and the other subcommittee chaired by Mushahid Hussain. The subcommittee of Wasim Sajjad focused on Constitutional reservations of the province while the Mushahid Hussain subcommittee suggested the accomplishment of economic, and other concerns. After long meetings and discussions, the subcommittee of Mushahid Hussain presented its report in which some of the recommendations were as such: 1.Review the checkposts manned by the Frontier Corps and the Coast Guards in interior Balochistan, removing those not needed; redirect the focus of both security agencies on border patrol and interdiction of arms and narcotics; train levies on the police pattern and provided the requisite logistics. 2.Halt construction of military cantonments until all major issues are resolved. 3.Increase royalties to the gas-producing districts of Balochistan, with the federal government paying arrears. 4Ensure maximum provincial representation immediately on the boards of PPL, OGDC, and Sui Southern and put PPL privatization to the CCI; require that oil and gas companies invest 5 percent of total expenditures on social sector projects in consultation with public representatives; distribution companies should provide gas on a priority basis to the areas where it is produced. 5.Shift the head office of Gwadar Port Authority from Karachi to Gwadar, Appoint the GPA chairman and half the board of directors from Balochistan and allocate 7 percent of the GPA’s gross revenue, other than federal levies, for Baluchistan’s development. while giving locals employment preference followed by people from Makran and then the rest of Balochistan; fishermen, displaced by the project, must be reimbursed and relocated near the East or West Bays. 6.Address under-development in Gwadar, Quetta, and Sui, facilitate social sector development province-wide, especially in health, housing and education. 7.Make the development level and degree of backwardness the first criteria for NFC awards. 8. Strictly implement the 5.4 percent employment quota for Baloch workers in all federal ministries, divisions, corporations, and departments and consider special measures to compensate for the lack of recruitment of the Baloch into the armed forces and civil security forces; and 9.Create parity between the Baloch and Pashtuns in Balochistan in all spheres of life. Had these suggestions been implemented with true spirit, the situation in Balochistan would not have been so brutal as the people of the province have been facing. The current surge of violence in the province reflects that we don’t learn from the past. Sanity must prevail.

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