Roundtable discusses situation in neglected province


Speakers at a roundtable on Tuesday asked the Centre should to deal with the miserably underdeveloped Balochistan in a justifiable manner, so that the persistent disenchantment prevailing among the Baloch people could be addressed.
The gathering titled ‘Balochistan Rights’ Package and the State of Balochistan Economy’, jointly organised by ActionAid Pakistan (AAPK) and Centre for Research and Security Studies (CRSS), discussed the issues related to current state of economy in Balochistan, status and impact of ‘Balochistan Rights Package’ and the way forward out of the prevailing entangle in detail.
Dr Rehana Siddiqui, the director of recently-established Centre of Environmental Economics and Climate Change (CEECC) at Pakistan Institute of Development Economics Islamabad, advocacy coordinator at Islamabad-based Sustainable Development Policy Institute Faisal Nadeem Gorchani and Mahrukh Khan of Institute of Strategic Studies said the federal government should ensure a just distribution of local resources to enable the Baloch people taking ownership of their land and assets.
Gorchani highlighted the importance of Balochistan and narrated the reasons for its economic backwardness. He said the Centre had not owned Balochistan so far as a proper federating unit and consequently its economic resources were exploited mercilessly at the cost of local people in almost every sphere of social and economic life.
He added that the government should share the resources more generously with the local people of the province.
On the contrary, Dr Siddiqui said, “We are caught up in bewilderment and only discussing the outcomes of injustices to Balochistan, while neglecting the indigenous causes of prevalent underdevelopment in the province.”
She said one could not ignore the treatment by the Baloch chieftains of their own people and, in a way, they (tribal chiefs) were also equally responsible for the current miserable state of affairs.
Mahrukh Khan, while summing up the discussion, proposed that the locals in Balochistan should step in to harness their true potentials not for subversion and violence, rather for the betterment of Balochistan. She said that only their active participation could change the current equation and status quo situation in Balochistan.
Participating in the discussion, PPP leader Syeda Abida Hussain said that there can be no progress and prosperity in Balochistan without political stability. She was of the view that it is the political and bureaucratic issues which are holding back the province.