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Published Date: Apr 13, 2015

Socioeconomic disparity between Balochistan, other provinces too wide

ISLAMABAD: “People of Balochistan have been denied their rights by the powerful elite which has hampered their development,” renowned columnist and Baloch rights activist Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur said at a seminar on Monday.

The seminar titled ‘Social and Economic Disparities in Balochistan’ was organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI).

Mr Talpur, who participated in the Baloch nationalist struggle in 1972, said he condemned the killing of all innocent people.

“The Baloch rank the lowest on the development index and Dera Bugti is the most underdeveloped area of Balochistan. Those who claim that Dera Bugti was liberated in 2006, should show how many schools were built there after 2006, when there was no Sardar to prevent the construction of schools,” he said.

“Socioeconomic disparities between Balochistan and the developed parts of the country are far too wide to be reconciled. The human development index provides a clear view of the situation in Balochistan. Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi are at the top of the index, while most areas of Balochistan are at the lowest,” he said.

Referring to the cancellation of discussion on Balochistan at Lums, he said that silencing sane voices would further aggravate the situation.

Former Senator Afrasiab Khattak of Awami National Party said honest debate was the key to development and a political way forward. He said history showed that East Bengal was the only province of India which had a clear pro-partition stance, yet Pakistan lost its eastern wing.

“The reason was a breakdown of dialogue,” he said.

He said Bengali was not accepted as one of the national languages of Pakistan, even though Bengali speaking people formed a majority.

“The ruling elite has imposed its decisions on the nation and ignored the Constitution on numerous occasions,” he said.

SDPI Executive Director Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri, in his introductory remarks, said if the people of a province were not given ownership over their own natural resources, it created political problems. He asked what the poor labourers murdered in Turbat had done to deserve such a death.

During the question-hour session, a Nust student said ordinary people of Balochistan were not involved in the political process in the province, so no elected official delivered.

Another student commented that the Pak-China corridor should not be allowed to pass through Punjab and Sindh which already have a network of infrastructure.