‘Balochistan Needs Affirmative Action for Development’

Quetta: Balochistan needs affirmative action for development, said Rafiullah Kakar while talking in the latest episode of Live with Adnan Aamir. He added that Balochistan has low commercial viability for most of the proposed investment projects hence the federal government has to engage in affirmative action to develop Balochistan.
The topic of the third show of Live With Adnan Aamir was “Why Balochistan fails to develop despite the spending of hundreds of billions of rupees?” Shah Jahan Baloch, a development professional who has worked in Balochistan for two decades, Rafiullah Kakar, the Director of Strategic Planning and Reforms Cell at Government of Balochistan and Maryam Zia Baloch,  a Fulbright scholar who has worked at the World Bank, were the guests of the show.
Speaking in the show Kakar said that the majoritarianism parliamentary system of Pakistan prevents representatives of Balochistan from protecting the interests of the province in terms of development. He stressed the need of empowering the Senate to better protect the rights of Balochistan.
He also lamented the fragmented polity in the province. “No single party can form a government in Balochistan and therefore there are four to five de-facto Chief Ministers in the government which derail the development,” He said.
Kakar also highlighted the ethnic divisions in the province which complicate the development decision making. “Balochistan should be divided into two provinces on an ethnic basis and Quetta should remain the joint capital of both for the next 50 years,” He suggested.
Shah Jahan Baloch criticized the ineffective bureaucratic system in the province which, he claims, is a big hurdle for development. “People hired as Naib-Tehsildar [low-level land revenue collector] get promoted and become the Secretary of Planning and Development and are clueless about the basics of development,” He revealed.
He further added that Balochistan is undergoing a conflict situation and there can’t be any development until there is lasting peace in the province.
Maryam Zia Baloch said that Balochistan is under-funded by the federal government for development. “Majority of the projects in Public Sector Development Program (PSDP) never get the full funding and most of them are dropped eventually,” She said.
She also lamented the fact that women are completely excluded from the economy of the province. “Balochistan can’t develop until women are treated as equals in economic terms,” She added.

Adnan Aamir, the Editor of Balochistan Voices, hosts the show every Saturday at 8 PM, Pakistan Standard Time. This show covers politics, economy, and society. It covers topics ranging from Belt and Road, conflict, development to the state of journalism.  This show is simultaneously live-streamed on Facebook and Youtube.
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