After the elections of 11 may 2013, Dr. Abdul Malik Baloch was elected from Turbat city as a member of Provincial assembly (MPA). It was for the first time in the history of Balochistan that a person was nominated and elected Chief Minister (CM) of Balochistan from Makran division. Political workers and common people appreciated this decision of federal government because instead of having majority in province Mr. Nawaz Sharif allowed Dr. Malik to form his coalition government.
These elections were not without controversy of massive riggings. Immediately after elections, allegations of riggings surfaced against the ruling parties. Ehsan Shah, opponent of Dr. Malik Baloch filed a petition for election rigging in PB-48 constituency of Balochistan assembly. Case of this constituency is still pending in Supreme Court of Pakistan.
Current government in Balochistan is dominated by National Party (NP) and Pashtunkhaw Milli Awami Party (PKMAP). These two parties in the past have severely blamed previous governments for corruption and inefficiency. There were a lot of expectations from this current government but so far they have failed to bring any meaningful change.
Incumbent government of Balochistan has already spent 22 months in the office. This government has presented two budgets and about to present their third budget. Yet, their governance related policies are unclear and they have failed to present a specific plan to solve the major problems of Balochistan. During the election campaign both NP and PKMAP made huge promises and so far they have not fulfilled even 10 percent of those promises.
Performance of current government can be evaluated by analyzing provincial level projects. This government started a new sanitation system for drain water in Quetta replacing the old system. This project has so far resulted in expenditure of Rs. 1.77 billion. However, the new system is far inferior to the old system of sanitation in the city. New system has used drain blocks on the roads that are weak and can’t bear the burden of even light traffic. As a result, vehicles crash into the drains every now and then. Apart from that rain water doesn’t properly enter through these drain blocks and that causes flooding of roads during rainfall. Whenever rainfall takes place roads of Quetta turn into foul smelling drains and it’s a small example of the performance of current government. The drain water when spread on roads causes several diseases and viruses for the poor people of Balochistan, who walk on these roads. Not to mention the massive embezzlement in funds of this project by the government officials and bureaucrats that has gone unchecked and without any scrutiny.
Actually the new water sanitation plan for Quetta was the plan of Shaheed Nawab Akbar Bugti when he was CM of Balochistan during 1989-90. Nawab Bugti wanted to give the contract of sanitation system to an Australian firm but the Federal government blocked his attempt. After a period of 25 years, current government took up the same old plan and gave the contract to a local firm. Local construction firms are mostly corrupt and use inferior quality of materials during the construction process. That’s the reason that still the old sanitation system of Quetta is being used for the flow of drain water.
Moreover, government has failed to bring any change in education sector notwithstanding their tall claims. Government is using the slogan of education for political point scoring and it has failed to achieve anything on the ground. Biggest problem in education sector is that of ghost schools and teachers. Reportedly, there are thousands of teachers who work in gulf countries and draw their salary as a teacher in Balochistan. Some sources blame Dr. Malik for the huge number of ghost teacher sin Balochistan. Dr. Malik was education minister of Balochistan duing 1990-93, during this period he appointed several teachers and most of them have become ghost teachers. Current government has not taken any action against the ghost teachers who receive billions of revive from Balochistan government while sitting at homes.
Likewsie, government is spending a great deal of resources on promoting their education policy. However they have not done anything for those schools where there are no boundary walls and only one teacher for an entire school. At the same time there has been no improvement in the quality of education in entire Balochistan. There is absolutely no way to check the teaching standards of thousands of government teachers in the province.
If Current Balochistan government is sincere in solving the problems of Balochistan then they should take practical steps and avoid political promotion. Education is the backbone of any society and Balochistan government should not politicize the sector of education. Government should take urgent and practical steps to solve the basic most problems of the education sector. Similarly, government should investigate corruption in sanitation system project and bring the perpetrators to justice.
Author is a Lawyer in based in Quetta.
Published in The Balochistan Point on April 15, 2015
Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article are those of the author and The Balochistan Point not necessarily agrees with them.