08 March 2014

Government’s Anti-Balochistan Policies

Courtesy: The Baloch Hal


The Dr. Malik-led coalition government comprising of the National Party (NP), PashtunKhwaMAP (PKMAP) and Pakistan Muslim League –Nawaz (PML-N) has failed miserably. They have even crossed the limits of failure of Nawab Raisani government in terms of governance. Now, people of the restive province have lost hope in the government. It will not be unfair to say that the policies of current government of Balochistan are anti-Balochistan. Let’s see how.

First of all, let’s take a look at how badly the government has treated the education sector. Recently, the government announced 674 vacancies of college lecturers. These vacancies were for Baloch areas and therefore these were allocated to Baloch majority districts mainly. The district allocation arrangement was approved by the government including PKMAP who has the education portfolio. This was followed by a vicious campaign against these vacancies by certain quarters and due to which government cancelled the vacancies.

Now, the question arises that why the government did not advertise the vacancies on divisional basis initially? The answer is simple, most of the vacancies are in Baloch areas and allocating it through district-based quota can only fulfil them effectively. In case of Divisional quota the candidates selected from other districts get themselves transferred to other districts and the colleges of Baloch areas will continue to have deficiency of lecturers. Now, people are waiting when the vacancies will be renounced but government is not worried at all for the loss of students.

Continuing with education sector, government has started a new drama in the name of preventing cheating in exams. Recently Dr. Malik, CM of Balochistan, announced a crackdown against cheating and five teachers were suspended for failing to prevent cheating in an examination hall of Quetta. This led the Government teachers association to boycott the Matriculation exams and effectively kick started a crisis in educational sector of Balochistan. Current government doesn't seem to know but cheating can only be controlled by providing quality education to students which is missing in entire Balochistan. There are not sufficient teachers in almost all government schools and government doesn't bother to do anything about it but wants to solve the problem by preventing cheating. The entire drama of controlling cheating in exams is nothing but a political stunt at the cost of education in Balochistan.

Now let’s shift from education sector to Local Bodies elections. Balochistan was the only province that conducted Local Bodies elections after directives of Supreme Court in this matter. The elections were marred by abuse of power by ruling coalition who used delimitations, polling schemes and other tactics to win, especially in Quetta. Elections were conducted on 7th December last year and by-elections were conducted in mid January this year. Still there is no sign of convening the sessions of district councils and Metropolitan Corporation to select District chairmen and Mayor.

Government has not done much homework on the role of local bodies and their powers either. This fact was conceded by spokesman of CM Jan Buledi in a statement to media. Why is government waiting and not convening the sessions. Government is not interested in sharing power with the opposition members who have won in these elections. Secondly there is an issue of election on office of Mayor of Quetta. Ruling coalition partner PKMAP wants the office for its candidate but most of the independents have apparently opted for the candidate of PML-N. This is also causing an unnecessarily delay in giving power to local bodies.

Likewise, the situation in the development sector is not good either. Sariab Flyover in Quetta is still partially complete even after two years of commencement of work. There has not been much work on it since the current government took office. Presently, the work is stopped on the flyover due to lack of funds. How can this excuse make sense when government of Balochistan has a development budget of over Rs 40 Billion? So finances are certainly not the issue and the problem lies elsewhere. This government either is not interested in completing work in projects started by previous government or it’s not competent enough to remove any bureaucratic hurdles which are causing delays in the said project.

In the end, Security situation is the biggest problem of the Balochistan. There has not been any progress in this area. Dr. Malik and official spokesman of Balochistan government claim that situation has improved but these claims can’t be backed up from facts on the ground. Nawab Abdul Zahir Kasi, who was kidnapped couple of months ago, is still missing and Government is not taking any serious steps to pressurize the Federal government, apart from a token protest outside National Assembly.

At the moment Dr. Malik is under attack from all corners for failures in governance. The only support for his government is coming from the die-hard supports of ruling coalition parties who blindly support any wrong policy of the current government. Dr. Malik was called a middle class chief minister and it was expected from him to deliver. Unfortunately, he has badly failed and He is just a dream that has gone sour. Balochistan government should look beyond completing five years in office and take practical steps for welfare of public. Political stunts such as cracking down on cheating should be avoided at all costs if current government doesn't want to die the same political death as Nawab Raisani government did.

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