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Youth of Balochistan and CPEC

 By: Ejaz Magsi

Balochistan as being the largest province of Pakistan in terms of area seems economic hub and encompasses territorial importance; its much exploitative natural resources and geographically rich territory have almost fascinated every state to put a glance on this region. Almost half of states of the world consider this region as the heart and future of Pakistan. Pakistani analysts and think thanks predict the foreseeable future of the country lies in the development of Balochistan. The youth of this territorially rich region seems to be in undermining condition. Culturally, the youths of Balochistan are very rich; they view custom and traditional norms as an integral part of Baloch identity.

It is doubtless to be believed that youths of Balochistan have talent and are intellectuals. The efforts of youth who are educated have much importance in the literature of Balochistan. Most of the young graduates are deemed to be deeply interested in history. One of the reasons of being interested in history is, because in social gatherings, the legendary figures of baloch tribes who served their lives for the cause of tribal significance are repeated as one of the important narrations. For instance, Chakar and Gohram two lords of Baloch tribes, every educated and uneducated is aware about their history. Educated youths are reinforced by their company to study history. Their aspiration to history resultantly causes them to read various books related to their searches for aimed objectives. Culture of reading books generally enhances knowledge related to history and particularly makes youth mature in decision making.

Mostly, the educated youth of Balochistan seems in search for high level of government positions, such as civil services of Pakistan that have authority and power. Because of their curiosity to bureaucracy, the culture of reading seems to have become as their fashion.  Interestingly, achieving significant positions demands deep study, where educated graduates of Balochistan appear diligent to their arduous journey. Those who are backward in education because of impoverishment are known to have much interest in cultural, musical and traditional things. Uneducated individuals love their cultural identity putting on long shalwars as one of the identifications of Baloch culture.

The chief of army staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa termed the youth of Balochistan as future of Pakistan urged them to spearhead their efforts in all fields to take Pakistan to the status and glory that the motherland deserves. He said due to sustained efforts, nearly 20,000 sons of Balochistan are serving in Army, including 603 officers. At this very moment, 232 cadets are undergoing training at PMA.

This is only the representation in Army; the number gets even higher when we include Baloch representation in Pakistan Air Force, Navy and other Law Enforcement Agencies. 

“Allah willing, that day is not very far, when one of you will be standing at my place and talking to the youth of this great Province.

Despite rapid increase of Baloch in army, still people are dying owing to, lack of pure drinking water in Gwadar where a massive economic project has been pledged by china aimed to develop infrastructure and railway tracks. China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), according to experts is a fate changing project that the Chinese investment to Pakistan would stabilize the stagnant economy of Pakistan. The project’s almost investment lies in the development of Gwadar and its deep seaport but people of this region are in miserable condition despite the huge investment. Fishermen who had huts and fishing sanctuaries from they earn money and fulfill necessities of life, the area of source of income of fishermen has remained critical point for further investment. This policy has affected the source of earning of fishermen and could not deal with providing comforts and reliefs to them.

Indeed, most of the insurgent movements in Balochistan have been linked with a sense of deprivation and underdevelopment. The people ofBalochistan, as indicated, have been living in miserly conditions for too long. CPEC appeared to be a ray of hope. If that too fails to impact their lives for the better, the possibility of a full-on civil war, akin to that waged by the LTTE in Sri Lanka, can’t be ruled out.

Balochistan has been teetering on the brink of collapse for many years. Since 2003, there have been 817 deaths caused by suicide attacks in Balochistan, with more than 1,600 people severely injured. Sectarian outfits also continue to roam around freely in Balochistan. Since 2009, more than 760 people have been killed in sectarian clashes.

Balochistan has historically been mired in conflicts that have shaken the security apparatus from within. It’s important to understand that the violence in Balochistan is not just a question of terrorist safe havens; the insurgents are, to a large extent, local people longing for their constitutional rights and welfare.

Balochistan’s ethno-sectarian fault lines are quite fragile. Common Baloch has no influence on tribal chiefs and as well dependent channels of voice, thus tribal chiefs are deemed to be influential over what destiny decided for people and sentiments are violated due to have been strengthened monopoly when and how be they in their control.

First the increasing violence and uprising in balochistan can only be halted if the terrorist outfits are rooted out from the soil. Organizations like Jamaat al Ahrar, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, and Jundullah pose a terrorist threat to the country. These need to be dealt with accordingly as per the national counterterrorism strategies. Sub-national groups, on the other hand, should be encouraged to come into the national fold by addressing legitimate concerns.

Second Pakistan’s Baloch policy should no longer be strict; if someone is guilty of convincing with non-state actors then he or she must be subject of normal court proceedings. Even rampant missing persons in heavy toll must be stopped in order to stabilize the region which for decades known to be one the poorest region of Asia. Survival of CPEC lies in the development of Balochistan, it is indispensable to adopt those policies that could lead the country to progress and meet with the grievances of disgruntled people of Balochistan.

 Ejaz Magsi is a researcher, blogger and social activist.

 Published in The Balochistan Point on March 31, 2017


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