A new awakening is taking place among the residents of Gwadar and other districts in Balochistan about their rights. They have rallied against their decades long deprivation. Not only men, but women and children are also taking part in the protests against usurpation of their basic rights. The launch of China Pakistan Economic Corridor was being presented as a game changer for the province but the residents are finding it as a big threat to their livelihoods. From fishing concerns to not getting health, education, water supply and other basic amenities, the issues are many. The concerned authorities need to address the people’s genuine grievances.
The province of Balochistan is beset with many problems including the issue of missing persons, ongoing militancy, persecution of members of the Hazara Shia community and last but not the least, the decades long deprivation of Baloch citizens. Take a break and ponder on the issue with a different outlook. Why does resentment exist in volatile regions of Pakistan particularly in Balochistan? Why do external forces win local support? Why is there no end to the ongoing militancy in these restive areas? The answers to these questions are not very difficult. There is a history of abuse of rights in Balochistan. The sense of deprivation prompts them to stand against the state and wage a war for their rights. While all disturbances and revolts are attributed to ‘foreign hands’, the centre never ventures to ponder on what makes Balochistan a hotbed for such anarchy. A cursory look instantly reveals that it has been an acute state of injustice, provincial inequality and continuous military repression that have pushed Pakistan’s largest province to the brink of rebellion. For quelling such protests in Balochistan, the state needs to ensure provision of basic rights to Baloch citizens. They need schools, hospitals, proper sources of earning livelihood and infrastructure development.
Self-correction is the need of the hour. If the authorities themselves take action against the abuse of rights, no external force can do anything to exploit local people. In order to avert future tragedies, the state has to make a self-analysis for rectifying all faults that caused crises in the past. The government needs to make Baloch citizens the real stakeholders in all development works in the province. Balochistan has become a festering wound and needs clinical surgery on an emergency basis.