Mariyam Mohammed Suleman
“I raise my voice not so that I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard.” Malala’s words often enlighten a hope for the deprived yet courageous girls around the world.
Today, we find three different reactions on birth of a girl child around the globe; the first type of reaction is when the society celebrates her birth, the second one is when the society mourns her birth and third being the most bizarre one, when birth of a girl child is neither celebrated nor mourned. The first two types of reactions at least set clear expectations for the girl but the third type often confuses her. As a result she doesn’t really know what to expect from the society.
Generally, in most parts of the country the third type of reaction is more common where a girl child is discriminated by the society. Nevertheless the situation is totally contradictory in Balochistan where a girl child is discriminated not by the society but by the government. Having no access to education, health care and lack of opportunities had slowed down the empowerment of women which has further been affecting the social and economic development of the province from decades.
Baloch society is often blamed for the poor situations of education and other basic human rights for women however in reality having a secular society woman empowerment is one of the most concrete mechanisms in Baloch dominant regions. The present devastating situation and underdevelopment of this region is the result of no interest by the government over the years.
While there is still space for change, actual change is achievable when women are supported through political commitments but unfortunately this region has previously been ignored. As a result today 90% girls in the rural Balochistan remain out of school according to rights activist and politician Fazila Aliani.
The educational emergency declaration of Dr. Malik brought up the fact that similar to every social and economic crisis, Balochistan severely deserves attention regarding education as well. Even after the particular declaration, keeping the villages aside the girls of a few so called mega cities in Balochistan are still deprived of higher educational institutions.
A number of foreign organizations are interested to help Balochistan to promote female education and develop the social sectors but surprisingly government herself has not been permitting them to enter Balochistan as it has become a no-go-area for foreigners. Such opportunities can bring numerous positive changes in the province but deliberate obstructions by the government have increased the misfortune for this region.
Having no access to most basic rights and with limited resources, Baloch girls have still never let themselves get discouraged hence their efforts can be seen in every field today. Forcing down the cultural barriers, marching and campaigning for justice similar to Farzana Majeed and Sammi Deem Mohammed, demonstrating for educational hindrances similar to the girls of Panjoor and playing a vital role in the economic sustainability Baloch women have been striving for making Balochistan a better place to live.
There is no doubt that women empowerment can play a dominant role in the socioeconomic development of Balochistan. Being rich with natural resources, Balochistan can be one of the ideal places for women only if the revenue from the resources is invested for actual development of people living here.
It is indeed the foremost responsibility of the provincial government to introduce policies that support quality, higher and affordable education in every part of Balochistan along with providing justice and working for social development of women.
Author is a Staff Writer of The Balochistan Point
Published in The Balochistan Point on October 17, 2014