Govt doing well in Balochistan
Courtesy: S Rahman
Implementation and good, pragmatic prioritisation are the salient features of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government as can be evidenced every now and then in the form of development projects and reconciliation initiatives undertaken by the government including the latest Balochistan development schemes and conciliatory moves.
In fact, the Nawaz Sharif government is convinced from day one that stability in any part of the country is contingent on progress, prosperity and restraint.
It also believes that the estranged Pakistani citizens, whether they are leaders or the led, need to be given due respect, honour and a sympathetic hearing, not only because that they enjoy equal rights like other citizens but also because ‘enough is enough’.
One of the senior most leaders within the ruling party, confiding to this correspondent has clarified that in our jargon and in our perspective, ‘Enough is enough’ means that we have had enough of fighting and armed conflicts and clashes inside Balochistan. That has in turn led to escalation at times with the result that the ultimate option of olive branch could not be exercised earlier.
Now the armed forces and the government, with the support of the people, have reached such a stage where the nation can talk with confidence and from a position of strength with the insurgents including those insurgents who have been leading armed rebellions against the state. The only precondition is that these armed rebels must surrender and lay down their arms and enter into an agreement of peace.”
As for the position of strength, it has not only come from the government’s and the armed forces’ iron resolve to do away with terrorism and militancy but also from the economic empowerment of the people of Balochistan for which the government has initiated a number of development projects whose inauguration ceremony was performed by Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on August 6 last.
These projects include: Rs9,853 million-Mungi Dam for which the funds would be provided by the federal government; allocation of Rs4,589 million for the establishment of Agriculture University at Quetta to be completed within three years’ time and Rs1,499-million Samungli Road Flyover.
The people of Balochistan have long been demanding the construction of Mungi Dam and the aforesaid Flyover. According to the Baloch people, this Dam possesses sufficient potential to meet the local water and energy needs whereas the construction of Samungli Flyover would connect important parts of the region, thus creating new job opportunities besides multiplying the available employment opportunities.
As regards the establishment of Agriculture University at Quetta, that was direly needed in the province. Such universities like, for instance, the University of Faisalabad in Punjab, have already contributed tremendously towards agricultural development and growth in the wake of research carried out in crucial areas of agriculture. It is a well-known fact that good quality seeds giving higher yields of cash crops and other crops have been produced in agriculture universities.
Establishment of Agriculture University in Balochistan will turn the barren lands into cultivable farms. And Balochistan is blessed with thousands of acres of agricultural land which, if reclaimed, can enable us to produce surplus agricultural produce for earning valuable foreign exchange by exporting surplus agricultural items.
In addition to these economic development steps, one major step taken by the government is the sagacious announcement of a package by the Prime Minister for the arms’ wielding rebels who opt to surrender and accept the authority of the state besides owing their allegiance to the law of the land that every citizen of Pakistan is duty-bound to obey in letter and spirit, whatever his caste, creed, clan or tribe.
This package announced by the prime minister aims at bringing those estranged Balochs back into mainstream national life who had risen up in arms, misled by foreign elements and agencies as well as on the basis of misinterpretation of the local conditions. Here, it must be noted that these misinterpretations of the local conditions owed somewhat to the deprivations of the subdued classes at the hands of exploiter class comprising some greedy tribal elders and other nefarious elements which do their ‘masters’ bidding round the clock to undermine our sovereignty.
Those who are willing to lay down the arms, would be given an amount ranging between half a million to one-and-a-half million rupees each so that they could be able to start their own businesses.
This would not only help the surrendering rebels (or the law-abiding insurgents) become a viable component of national life and national economy but also bless them with a dignified and considerably independent mode of living without ‘crutches’. In this manner, Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has furthered his original mission of all-encompassing empowerment of the masses with a ‘handle with care’ approach that, throughout, also accompanied the firmness of approach vis-à-vis the forces out to destabilise the country.
It should be taken this way that the Nawaz government, fully supported by the valiant armed forces and COAS General Raheel Sharif, opted for a combination of iron hand plus an olive branch strategy which means bad for the bad and good for the good and then finally, good for the bad who turn good as a result of these intelligent manoeuvres.
It was in the same context that the prime minister passed instructions to the officials concerned to establish contact with the angry Balochs with the objective of including them in the process of Balochistan’s development.
The PM has set an excellent precedent on this reconciliation path by holding meetings with the representatives of estranged Balochs which was attended by people from all
the tribes barring Herbayar Marri.
This specific Balochistan package is a blend of political sagacity, effective strategic planning and farsightedness which has started yielding positive results as a good few rebels have surrendered and more are coming into the main fold. Simultaneously, the people at large have started experiencing a big vertical jump in Balochistan’s overall development through the initiation of some well-known mega projects including those that fall under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.