Balochistan issues are again very much in the news. From the time of independence Balochistan is having periodic uprisings but its a pity that we are still unable to resolve the issues in Balochistan. Mismanagement by ruling Pakistani regimes and chronological grievances have allowed Baloch leaders to mobilize support for their nationalist cause and it also allowed foreign sponsors to exploit the situation.
Its not the first time that Islamabad is facing the challenge to convert the strategic assets in Balochistan into economic opportunities by starting different mega development projects but still couldnt learn how to deal with them.
We should also take note of the lack of confidence by the Balochs on Islamabad policies is creating hurdles in resolving the Balochistan recurrent troubles and Governments effort to control the situation through a strategy of restrain and development could not meet the Baloch demands.
Baloch were already having objections on Gwadar Port’s developments saying that they were not stakeholders in its development. In reality, they have been expelled from it. The rich non-Baloch elite has purchased the land where the city is to be constructed and large service industry groups are competing to purchase large territory for hotels and restaurants etc at cheap prices. The same mistake was repeated in the case of gold and copper mines contract by giving it to foreign companies at a throw-away price in Reko Diq, Balochistan.
Only lately, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry issued notices upon a petition filed by Tariq Asad advocate against giving away contracts of gold and copper mines in Reko Diq. It further asks that why the mining process could not have ever been carried out by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources and Mining Department.
To resolve such issues and to convert the Balochistan resources into economic development, government must take the political will before starting any development project and development plans should also include and benefit the local people.