When subcontinent was partitioned in 1947 and Pakistan came into being, since then there has always been a problem between Pakistan’s central government and Baloch. Rulers of Pakistan, whether civilian or military have always termed Baloch as the source of problem. Why are Baloch always the Problem? The answer of this question can be deduced by analysing what Balochistan has given to Pakistan and received from it.
In Pakistan, Balochistan is known for its immense natural resources rather than the people living in it. Balochistan comprises of 43 percent land mass of entire Pakistan. It’s rich in natural resources of different kinds. Natural Gas discovered from Sui in Balochistan is fulfilling the energy needs of country for the last six decades. Balochistan has a coastline that stretches over 750 Kilometer in Length. In short, Balochistan is extremely rich in terms of natural resources possession but its people are still living a life like citizens of a third world African country. Districts of Balochistan have the lowest Human Development Index ranking in entire Pakistan.
Gwadar deep Seaport and Recodiq gold mines are center of attention in the region. Different countries are interested in them and making maneuvers to influence them. Unfortunately, Baloch, the sons of the soil have been completely kept out of the loop. They are not aware of what has been extracted from the Recodiq or Saindak. All agreements signed regarding these projects exclude participation of any Baloch. The height of injustice can be understood by the profit sharing ratios of Saindak agreement. Profits of Saindak project are shared between China, Federal government and Balochistan government in ratio of 50 percent, 48 percent and 2% respectively. Even for the small scale jobs in these projects people from other provinces are recruited and unemployed youth of Balochistan is ignored.
Whenever people of Balochistan have raised voice for their due rights they have been blamed as trouble makers. The demands of Baloch people for just share in natural resources have been met with allegation of succession and separatism. This type of unjust treatment has been meted out to Baloch not only in military dictatorships but also during the so-called democratic governments of PPP and PML-N.
One thing needs to be understood by the intelligentsia of Pakistan that Problem of Balochistan is not about a piece of land or natural resources. This problem is about the 6.5 million Baloch who want to live a good life in Pakistan but Federal government is preventing them to achieve that goal from the day one.
Veteran politician Sardar Attaullah Mengal says Baloch have reached point of no return due to attitude of Islamabad. There is a reason for disappointment of leaders like Mr. Mengal. Leaders of Pakistan have never understood the problem of Baloch people. During the last PPP government, Rehman Malik was the Federal Interior Minister. He used to say that; what is the problem of Baloch? What they want? The Baloch leaders must come and brief me about their problems. This sort of non-serious attitude is reflection of how much sincere are leaders of Pakistan in solving the Balochistan problem.
People of Pakistan don’t have much knowledge about the Baloch people. The main reason for this is Pakistani media who is apathetic to the sufferings of the Baloch people. News of marriage of Reema, clothes of Meera, Scandals of Veena Malik are breaking news in Pakistani Media. At the same time grave issues of Balochistan such as unavailability of gas and electricity, deteriorating law and order, injustice in sharing of Natural resources of Balochistan doesn’t even make it to news. This sort of double stands of Pakistani mainstream in general further fuel the sense of deprivation among the Baloch people.
The so-called Baloch problem can only be solved when Baloch are accepted as equal citizens of Pakistan, their language, culture and norms are given the due Weightage in making laws of the land and Baloch get just share in natural resources extracted from their land. Until and unless, Islamabad doesn’t embark on the aforementioned path, Baloch will continue to be a problem according to the definition laid down by decision makers in federal capital.
Author is a Lawyer.
Published in The Balochistan Point on March 18, 2015
Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article are those of the author and The Balochistan Point not necessarily agrees with them.