Historically Balochistan was divided in two regions, British Balochistan and Kalat state. In British Balochistan, Britain was directly ruling on the region through its administration and people of the region sometimes it is said they called them to restore peace and protect the population from neighbouring regions invasion and looting.
In British Era the Balochistan region was strategically very important for them. It provided place for Britain to engage with Russia in mountainous region to control them and stop Russia from expanding to the warm waters. For this Britain developed more than 500 Km railway tracks across the region and it was just for military use and it did not contribute to the development of the native population.
Many of the critics today are of the opinion that CPEC is becoming another Britain policy in the region especially in Balochistan, because today Balochistan is passing through the hardest times in its history.
Britain has gone seven decades ago, while their legacy of divide and rule is still in practice in Balochistan. After the death of Samad Khan and other Baloch visionary leaders we rarely see and hear collective voice for the prosperity of Balochistan. Balochistan’s politics is divided on ethnic basis and our leadership failed to unite masses under one name Balochistan. They failed to unite Balochistan under the name of Islam, but it is hoped Balochistan can be united under “Balochistanism.” It is responsibly of every child in Balochistan to think about Balochistan first because it is not given to us in a gift but it is given to us by our ancestors after sacrificing many lives for its sovereignty and prosperity so that the future generations could not remain without right to life and right to progress.
Today Balochistan is far behind in achieving HDI indicators in the world as well in the country. Over all Balochistan’s literacy rate is 28% and it is the lowest in the country. Gender wise literacy rate among men and women is respectively 39 and 16%. With this literacy rate the fruits of all development projects including CPEC are for those who are not part of Balochistan. Share of Balochistan in CPEC in available data is an eye opener for the masses. Across Balochistan there is no any economic zone in Balochistan even Gwadar port does not have the facility of exporting and importing zone. Other projects like drinking water project, and Gaddani coal power project were cancelled by Chinese investors due to having less economic advantages for investors. So all the projects are for those who will only do business from far away offices and people of Balochistan will receive the dust and smoke of Chinese containers and ships in Balochistan.
Balochistan is place of maraka and meirh. We need to mobilize people about their legal and constitutional rights in the country, because we have seen enough so called development projects in Balochistan but we have not seen the fruits of all those projects. In past all projects were for those who planned them from somewhere else and eaten up its fruit in Islamabad and Lahore.
In 21th century, developments must be planned locally and its results and benefits be utilized by native people. We need to raise our voice at every forum so that it can become a game changer first the people of Balochistan and later for others. Balochistan is place of diversity and acceptance and it always played vital role in changing world economically and politically but we did not managed to utilize all those changes for our benefits and future generation. Now Balochistan needs a voice of “Balochistan First” and after Balochistan everyone is welcome to gain from CPEC otherwise CPEC will only remain just a dream like in past development and prosperity remained only hollow desire of masses.
Writer is a Mphil scholar at department of Anthropology Quaid-i-Azam University Islamabad.
Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article are those of the author and Balochistan Voices not necessarily agrees with them.
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