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Neglected Balochistan

Sheeraz Sattar

This writer is a Senior TV and Digital Media Journalist.

Pakistan’s Balochistan is a historically underdeveloped region and had been neglected by the governments and the media. The recent devastating floods after monsoon rains in the province has badly damaged properties and more than 140 people have been killed as per govt figures, but the same old behavior in the situation is not being paid attention to as it demands. Neither media nor the government.

More than 140 people have died and one and a half thousand people are missing, while one million people have been affected by the floods and rapid water rails falling from the mountains, 50 thousand homes have been completely washed away or become habitable. The communication roads have been washed away, making it difficult for the victims to move to safer places as the river channels have overflowed.

Such a huge human tragedy is being ignored by all the channels and national newspapers, which is turning anger into hatred among the already angry Baloch people and they are realizing that the other nations of Pakistan and the government do not consider them human or theirs, they have been left alone in this hour of trouble. It has been identifying these issues with resources but its weak voice has failed to shake the federation or the power centers.

Balochistan is a southwestern province, bordering Afghanistan and Iran. It is home to Gwadar Port which is central to China’s Belt and Road Initiative. It comprises 44% of Pakistan’s landmass. But Balochistan is more than a place on a map. Baloch’s experience of Pakistani statehood is structured around political excesses exemplified in the unilateral annexation of the State of Swat in 1948 with Pakistan and economic exploitation manifested through the underdevelopment of the province.

There is no doubt that anti-state elements are also active in Balochistan which are pushing armed insurgency in the region, but what about the behaviour of the state and its institutions? Are they doing justice to the evolving humanitarian crisis in Balochistan?

I’m not saying highlighting Karachi’s situation after flashfloods is wrong, but the situation in Balochistan demands more time and seriousness from the stakeholders. The people of Balochistan should be assured that the government is concerned with rehabilitating them and carrying out efforts on warfottings. 

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