Author: Shaad Baloch
New Kahan, an area of eight thousands mud made houses under a very devastated state is entirely comprised of the Baloch, Marri Tribe inhabitants. They came here and settled in 1992 when returning from exile with Nawab Khair Bakhsh in Afghanistan.
It has been almost 26 years since they have been here but they are still deprived of the basic facilities in form of health units, electricity, gas and water.
New Kahan is not for away from the Quetta city, it is just few kilometres distance and located in a vicinity of an industrial area Hazar Ganji. Hazar Ganji is a business oriented place where in a day billions worth of business are carried out. From Hazar Ganji it is only a walk of ten minutes to reach New Kahan. Only a road disconnects both areas, but the stark contrast in both areas depicts the way the inhabitants of New Kahan are being dealt.
Electricity, health and education, which are considered the basic rights of the citizens, as for as the UN declaration of Millennium Development Goals are concerned. This declaration has emphasised and took the consents of leaders from its all members states who agreed to try to achieve the gaols regarding hunger, illiteracy, poverty, healthcare and many more such targets but New Kahan where few thousands Baloch of Marri tribe reside has not been given a humane status by Pakistan.
They have been and still being treated as anti-Pakistani, their houses have been demolished many times and the inhabitants have been forced to vacate the area. Since last few years Quetta Development Authority is trying to build mega projects in the area. Last year Commissioner Quetta along with army officials threatened the population of worse consequences if they failed to vacate the area. Other than this, QDA has forcefully occupied many areas in the vicinity to construct buildings, which are sold to highly influential people.
New Kahan has continuously faced the oppression from the state mechanism. Many civilians from new Kahan have been picked up and gone missing, killed and dumped. There are scores of cases of enforced disappearances, where the whereabouts of the missing are not known even after decades.
The main source of income in the area is either to work as a labour or open a shop to sell small items. They have no health facility, their health conditions are appalling as they have never even seen a basic health unit in the area.
As water level in Quetta continues to fall, the inhabitants are forced to buy water tankers for 1500 rupees. The area is at a high altitude, therefore, the temperatures fall way below to the minus but there is no provision of gas in the area. The inhabitants of New Kahan are forced to burn wood.
There is no proper educational facility in the area and due to poverty they cannot afford to send their children to the Quetta city. The literacy rate is almost non-existent. They do not get the compulsory education that the state of Pakistan has pledged to provide every children.
Unfortunately, the miserable conditions of New Kahan inhabitants have never attracted the mainstream media. Humanitarian bodies have also largely failed to provide any relief to poor dwellers. The people of the area are being punished for their affiliation with late Baloch leader Nawab Khair Baksh Marri. He was a straightforward politician, who always stood to his words, he was a soft and polite orator with a clear vision of serving his people.
New Kahan has been named after the native home town of Marri tribe Kahan, which is situated in the Koh-e-Suliman region.
Nawab Khair Marri and his tribe allocated a place in New Kahan as final resting place for the Baloch martyrs, where signboards have been erected detailing the martyr’s name and date and place of the martyrdom. However, the state even fears these lifeless signage, and these were destroyed few days ago. It is a sort of humiliation committed by Pakistan, which is shameful and condemnable.
Despite of the state atrocities, the Marri tribe has stood strong and has disagreed to vacate the area.
Pakistani state has deprived the area of health, education and water facilities in order to compel them to migrate but Baloch has been habitual of living a life of deprivation rather than surrendering in front of the oppressive and fascist powers.
Graveyard of the martyrs is part of Baloch existence, its demolition and humiliation can never can never feeble the conscience and commitment of the Baloch people. Instead it makes them stronger to see the massive number of martyrs who have laid their lives while fighting on frontlines to defend the motherland.