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Poverty in Balochistan

By: Munaj Baloch

I am not wrong to mention that Balochistan being the rich in resources province of Pakistan still facing the life taking diseases or problems, because in Balochistan we are lacking the sense of humanity. According to the geological survey of Pakistan, out of 50 minerals extracted nationally, 40 are obtained from Balochistan. The province has more than 200 million metric tons of coal deposits, one billion metric tons of copper, 2.5 million metric tons marble, 300 million ounces of gold and 1.5 billion tons of granite. It has the largest area for livestock grazing, over 750 km of coastline that is rich with fishery and for decades it has supplied cheap natural gas to industrial areas of Pakistan.

Despite being resource rich, the province has acquired the status of a “lagging region” where living standards and social indicators are amongst the lowest in the country. The real problem in Balochistan is poverty and it may be the biggest cause of violence here. Despite being the lowest populated province, more than 52%of the population lives below the poverty line, the literacy rate is around 29% female primary school enrolment is barely 20% and nearly one-third of the population is unemployed. The province has Pakistan’s most anemic growth record, worst infrastructure, worst water crises and weakest fiscal base. It has highest poverty, lowest social indicators and weakest state institutions.

The incidence of poverty in Balochistan is higher than any other province, despite the fact that it is endowed with reserves of gas, coal, gold and copper. Only 20% of people here have an access to safe drinking water compared to 86% in the rest of Pakistan. Village electrification is only 25% compared to 75% in the rest of the country. Only 6% of the land is cultivable and productivity is low because of the arid conditions. Balochistan is Pakistan’s most resource-rich province. Yet, it is also Pakistan’s poorest province.

Published in The Balochistan Point on October 26, 2016

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