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Pakistan Today

Published Date: Oct 5, 2011

CONFERENCE ON BALOCHISTAN ASKS GOVERNMENT TO BE MORE JUST

Speakers at a roundtable discussion forum on Tuesday demanded that the centre should be more just in its dealings with the underdeveloped Balochistan so that the long-held disenchantment among Balochs is addressed.
In a roundtable discussion forum “Balochistan Rights’ Package and the State of Balochistan Economy” jointly organised by ActionAid Pakistan (AAPK) and Centre for Research and Security Studies (CRSS), issues related to current state of Balochistan economy, status and impact of ‘Balochistan Rights Package’ on it were discussed.
Speakers including Dr Rehana Siddiqui, director of recently established Centre of Environmental Economics and Climate Change (CEECC) at Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, Islamabad, Faisal Nadeem Gorchani, advocacy coordinator at Islamabad based Sustainable Development Policy Institute, and Mahrukh Khan of Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad said that the federal government should ensure the just distribution of local resources in Balochistan, so that Baloch people could take ownership of their land and resources.
Gorchani highlighted the importance of Balochistan and narrated the reasons for its economic backwardness. He said so far the centre had not owned Balochistan as a proper federating unit and consequently its economic resources were exploited mercilessly at the cost of local peoples’ under-development in almost every sphere of social and economic life.
He added that the government of Pakistan should share Baloch resources more generously with the local people of the province. On the contrary, Dr Rehana said the people were caught in bewilderment and were only discussing the outcomes of injustices to Balochistan, while neglecting the indigenous causes of prevalent under-development in the province. She said one cannot ignore the treatment of Baloch sardars with their own people and in a way they (sardars) were also equally responsible for the current miserable state of affairs in Balochistan.
Marukh, summing up the discussion, proposed that local people of Balochistan should step in to harness their true potentials not for subversion and violence but for the betterment of Balochistan. She said only active local peoples’ participation can change the current equation.
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 the political and bureaucratic issues were holding the province back.