Equal representation of Balochistan in Senate does not troubleshoot the negligible representation of Balochistan in National Assembly – Abdul Wahid Baloch

Interview by Hussain Raza
Abdul Wahid Baloch is a lecturer in Department of Governance and Public Policy at National University of Modern Languages (NUML), Islamabad. Hussain Raza from Balochistan Voices interviewed Abdul Wahid Baloch on what he thinks about different issues of Balochistan
Balochistan Voices: What is core problem of Balochistan which is causing sufferings for the people?
Abdul Wahid: Balochistan has only one core issue which is the “financial issue” and this issue is source of all issues and roots causes of all conflicts. Even, foreign proxy intervention, chauvinist Baloch separatism, provincial nationalism trend and grievances with federation, all these are not different. In fact, these are all sub phenomenon of the financial issue which is being demonstrated in geopolitical, sociopolitical and political economy.
Abdul Wahid Baloch during Interview
Balochistan’s land is one of the richest lands in the world by fertility of natural resources therefore, imperialist powers are sabotaging the stability of Balochistan by their proxy intervention and meanwhile people of Balochistan are facing deprivation even they are real “sons of soil” of the Balochistan’s rich land. The greed of imperialist powers to loot the Balochistan’s resources and the grievances of Balochistan’s people due to their deprivation, both are financial matters, therefore we can say that Balochistan’s real core issue is one which is financial issue.
What are breeding factors of Balochistan’s financial issue?
Like Punjab and Sindh, Balochistan does not have fertile lands rain fed nor irrigated lands. Moreover, Balochistan also does not has any river like Punjab, Sindh, KPK, FATA, AJK and GB. Even, survival of ranching is also conditional with rainfall, and drought causes the famine of food and water. Like remaining Pakistan, Balochistan does not have multi sources of gross domestic product like agriculture, trade, import-export and industries. In fact, in Balochistan there is only two sources of gross domestic product which is Balochistan’s mineral resources and its coastal belt including fishing and ports, and these sources of income majorly are distributed between federal government and foreign or corporate companies. So Balochistan is being deprived to get its deserving share from its gross domestic product.

Equal representation of Balochistan in Senate does not troubleshoot the negligible representation of Balochistan in National Assembly especially on financial matters

As a consequence, Balochistan is feeling ignored and federation is not seeing active participation of Balochistan in state’s affairs. The resolution of this problem could be found by formation of new resources sharing formula which should be able to pay deserving share of Balochistan and Gwadar Port should be also included in it. With respect to Balochistan’s gross domestic product, it is hope that the “Kacchi Canal” project will bring agrarianization in Balochistan but this project is still under construction, and till then Balochistan is relying on mineral resources.
What reservations Baloch have with Afghan refuges in census and what Baloch people perceive about Hazara Community?
Baloch has reservations with Afghan refugees not only for their ethno identity but also for national security of Pakistan. Afghan refugees in Balochistan are disturbing the demography of Balochistan and in case if they are counted in census as Pakistani citizens then it will make their controversial settlements in Balochistan against actual social order legitimate in eyes of laws. Even, Afghan refugees are also bringing their drugs smuggling and sectarian terrorism cultures in Balochistan with their settlement which have infiltrated in old settled areas of Balochistan and Hazara Killings is example of this phenomenon which is sabotaging the intra provincial harmony of Balochistan.
Moreover, overall, currently, in Pakistan the chains of terrorism are meeting with Afghan refugees and due to these Afghan refugees whole Nation is facing the complex practice of CNICs verifications, while, in future, the settlement of Afghan refugees in Balochistan may be abused by Afghanistan as a “Trojan Horse” against Pakistan on Durand Line issue. However, Baloch do not have any tension with local Hazara Community and local Pashtun population of Balochistan, they are as son of soils of Balochistan as the Baloch, because by generation they have been living in Balochistan as local inhabitants since before formation of Pakistan.
In business of federation, Balochistan can’t actively participate like Punjab, Sindh and KPK, what are reasons behind that?
By area Balochistan is a large province of Pakistan, economic and strategic importance of Balochistan demands more role and share for Balochistan in federation than current status. In current circumstances, Balochistan by design is paralyzed to actively participate in state affairs. For example with 14 general plus 3 reserved, total 17 seats are Balochistan’s participation in National Assembly. This makes the provinces participation especially on Finance Bills negligible. Meanwhile, as Senate is not authorized to pass financial bills, therefore, equal representation of Balochistan in Senate does not troubleshoot the negligible representation of Balochistan in National Assembly especially on financial matters. Same like this, in key position of cabinet such as foreign, interior and finance, there is no Balochistan origin Minister serving.
In conclusion, Balochistan should by awarded more seats in National Assembly on parity bases. Senate should be empowered like National Assembly especially on financial bills, and in case of Ministries distribution it should me made conditional that in key ministries the representation of all provinces will must be brought like Lebanon’s Constitution wherein Presidency, Prime Ministry and Speaker of Parliament cannot be come from one identity group. So this is a way by which Balochistan’s participation in affairs of state may enhanced.
How Balochistan’s Nationalist politics should be perceived?
In Balochistan, “Separatist Movement” and “Patriotic-Nationalist Parties” both are unpopular, but Balochistan’s Nationalism is popular, because Balochistan’s issue is not about anti-federation or pro-federation ethno-identical motives. Therefore they do not support separatist movements. While, Patriotic-Nationalist Parties are also unpopular due to this reason that they are not trying to understand the real issues of Balochistan, therefore only Balochistan’s Nationalist parties are popular in Balochistan because Balochistan actually has material issues. The tendency of Nationalism politics in Balochistan is struggling for more rights, more share than current status. Therefore, Balochistan’s Nationalist tendency should not be considered and perceived against integrity of federation. For example, a Baloch-Nationalist politician named Dr. Abdul Malik Baloch brought reconciliation and normalization in Balochistan against those grievances which were caused by Musharraf regime and military operations. And it happened because Balochistan-nationalists are as patriotic as Punjabis.

Federal Ministries distribution should me made conditional that in key ministries the representation of all provinces is mandatory like Lebanon’s Constitution wherein President, Prime Ministry and Speaker of Parliament cannot be come from one ethnic group

As an educationist, tell us what kinds of problems students of Balochistan face when they go out of province for higher education or for job seeking?
Majorly they face three types of problems. First is linguistically communication problem, because Balochistan’s students come from remote areas of Balochistan wherein they only communicate in native accent of Balochi or Pashtun Languages. So in beginning they face hurdles due to their non-fluent Urdu and very weak English. Therefore, they live in their ethnic grouping for their needs, but their posture is approached as their ethnic bigotry from host province’s people. However, as soon as they become fluent and used to of host cultures they interact with locals as locals interact with locals.
Second is that due to poverty background, majority of Balochistan’s students do not have enough purchasing power to afford at least reasonable accommodation and meal. Moreover, self-finance expenditures comparatively are also too much expensive for the Balochistan students who belong to a province which has a low income rate.
Third is that student wings and unions of religious parties and local right wing parties in educational institutions mostly persecute Baloch students when they celebrate their cultural activities. In Punjab University Lahore, the aggressive behavior of Islami Jamiat Talba is a befitting case study of this phenomenon.
Are you satisfied with current literacy and educational improvement efforts in Balochistan?
Although, it is a good omen that literacy trend of Balochistan is growing but its growth is too slow. Educational scenario is not satisfactory, because still in Universities and colleges of Balochistan there are lack of quality staff and standard infrastructure. But, situation is becoming better day by day.
DisclaimerViews expressed in this article are those of the interviewee and Balochistan Voices not necessarily agrees with them.
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