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Baloch people’s deprivations

A hint by Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Abdul Quddus Bezinjo that everyone including separatists will be engaged in talks is arguably a step in the right direction to end a long-running insurgency in the resource-rich province. Balochistan is the largest province of Pakistan in terms of land area, which covers 44 percent, and the smallest by population. It is the richest province of Pakistan due to the existence of valuable minerals like gold, copper and gas besides having a deep-sea port. Despite all these resources, the province is still backward and deprived of the basic amenities of life, while separatist movements by different factions have exacerbated the situation. Due to the apathy of successive governments, the residents of Balochistan have been entangled in many problems. Instead of addressing the concerns of the Baloch people, they have been deprived of their due rights. In fact, the Balochistan issue has become a festering wound. The government of Balochistan should take serious action, otherwise the situation will become worse in Balochistan.

In the context of deprivations of the Baloch people, unfortunately, they have been facing victimisation and the abuse of their basic rights for decades. There are a large number of reservations that have not been addressed yet. Many areas in the mineral-rich Balochistan are still deprived of basic utilities like gas, whose huge reservoirs exist in the province at Sui. Another grievance is the issue of missing persons that blemishes the image of the country at the national and international level. Reportedly, the courts are also helpless as the cases of missing persons continue to linger on for years without the provision of justice. The killing of the members of Shia Hazara community is another terrible phenomenon that needs immediate measures. In these circumstances, the chief minister is talking about the rights of Baloch people and addressing their reservations, which is commendable. Like all other citizens and federating units, the Baloch people must be given their rights according to the constitution. Royalties from minerals, gas, etc., should be spent on the uplift of Balochistan and its poor people. It may take time to clear the mess inherited from the past, but the first steps need to be taken now.

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