Asif Murad Umrani
China with robust intentions wants to rule all over the world keeping the eyes on trade and business through Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has now become the sole option for Pakistan’s economic and strategic stability and prosperity. The center of all these activities is Gwadar port, which is in the province of Balochistan.
Whenever we hear the word “Balochistan”, we imagine the beautiful Rocky Mountains, decent traditions and a land bestowed by immense natural resources. The reality is, Balochistan is in the grasp of deprivation where the people are surviving in a dismal state. Undeniably, Balochistan has yet not tested the fruits of CPEC projects. The rich Balochistan is devoting of it’s everything to the rest of the provinces unarguably. Such as earning poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, health issues, terrorism, and countless others. If it is as a tribute for Balochistan’s public in name of CPEC, we then expect nothing more.
The rich Balochistan is battling against extreme poverty. Shockingly, 71% of the population in Balochistan is suffering from multidimensional poverty. The 21st century has no difference over the stone age to the people living there.
Although Balochistan has the least population from the rest of the provinces, it still suffers a huge dramatic problem of unemployment. People beg for a job to earn a living. In broader aspects, this is why Robbery and other illegal acts are emerging just because people are compelled to do so. We eventually hear about illegal oil supply and other daily life goods from Iran’s border. To direct the idea, according to preliminary statistics, CPEC projects have created more than 75, 000 direct jobs for Pakistanis. Miserably not many Baloch from Balochistan can be found employed under CPEC projects.
It is obvious that the nation who reads is the nation who leads. Although we are fully aware of the significance of education in the present era, our government has not paid attention and neglected the preferences of education for Balochistan’s residents. Then how would Baloch come onto the pace of today’s world competition? The number of government schools in Balochistan is very depressing and these numbered schools are ultimately in dilapidated conditions. Many of them even consist of one room. More, several have turned out to be the paling of headmasters. It can be seen that there are cows and goats instead of teachers and students. Schools lack basic facilities such as chairs, desks, boards, libraries, toilets, and boundary walls. Woefully, science laboratories have no existence there. Most of the teachers never confront the face of schools but receive their salaries on time.
Balochistan is being utilized like a tissue paper that our government throws whenever it gets benefited. Will Baloch compete in the technological world with this rusted educational system for which has no amendment and implementation can be seen far and wide.
Overall, the literacy rate in Balochistan province is 41%. This clearly shows how much vigilance our federal and provincial governments are paying off. Let me demonstrate the apathy further, around 25,000 Pakistani students are studying in China on the basis of scholarship. Regretfully, there are only 200 Baloch students among them.
Then now, health issues in the province have ranged a gigantic obstacle for the public. The condition of government hospitals is as same as the government schools pertaining. The common health issues in the province are Malaria, typhoid, hepatitis, respiratory disorders, Tuberculosis and dreadful cancer, etc. Other non-profit institutions also do not stay there due to terror attacks. Yet even today, the ecosystem is devastated. As a result, children are born with genetic abnormalities. Like, eye problems, skin diseases, limb dysfunction, cancer and more.
Balochistan is in the grip of cancer and other diseases, the state has not established a single hospital for the people but rather the pleaded hospital is installed in Punjab and other regions. Balochistan has always been victim, compromised, and politicized on account of health issues. When the state bother to perceive the plight of the Balochistan populace?
Moreover, the existence of CPEC means nothing to Baloch because this project has not valued Baloch the day one. Gwadar port is the gateway to Central Asia and the Middle East. Actually the main asset of Balochistan is in the hands of authorities. Let it be cleared here, Karachi Lahore motorway, Lahore orange line, Sukkur Multan sections, these projects costing $5.874 billion are being run under CPEC. What about Balochistan? Consisting of one-way roads resulting hundreds of deaths each month. The people of Gwadar have no safe drinking water. They are forced to either buy water from costly tankers or travel miles in search of water. If authorities cannot heal the pains of the people of Gwadar, how can we expect brotherhood and sharing from their side?
Turning towards CPEC, the second phase of CPEC started with the USD one billion grant whose prime focus would be the socioeconomic development of population, including health, alleviating pauperism, education, agriculture, industrial collaboration, and vocational training through 20,000 scholarships. Do all these commitments match the interest of Baloch? We should get united and prove to be true patriotic citizens of Pakistan. We should always remember the proverb that says, “United we stand divided we fall.”
Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article are those of the author and Balochistan Voices not necessarily agrees with them.
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