Skip to main content

A Cry for Justice presents a case of deprivation of Balochistan in a very articulate manner




“Balochistan is the most deprived province,” this is the oft-repeated cliché used by ethnic-nationalist politicians of Balochistan.

The claims of deprivation by the politicians are only rhetoric’s because they normally don’t present any evidence to back their claims. However, Kaiser Bengali in his new book “A Cry for Justice” has presented a case of deprivation of Balochistan in a very articulate manner with the help of empirical evidence. This book which focuses on political economy provides a concrete factual basis which can be used to plea the case of deprivation of Balochistan in federal structure of Pakistan.

Dr Kaiser Bengali is a noted economist who has served at important positions in his career. From 2013 to 2016 he served as the head of Chief Ministers’ Policy Reforms Unit (CMPRU) in Balochistan. During his stint as CMPRU chief, Bengali and his team produced series of research papers on different issues of Balochistan. This book is largely made up of data collected during that period. This book presents the case of derivation of Balochistan by focusing on five areas: Gas extraction from Balochistan, economic under-development, social protection, share of Balochistan in federal civil services and the representation of Balochistan in Pakistani parliament. He also makes suggestions in all of these five areas which if accepted by Federal government can change the fate of the province.

Bengali describes in detail that how Pakistan benefitted from the Gas field of Sui. From 1952 till 1969, Sui was the only field which supplied gas to the country. Sui remained the largest producer of Gas in Pakistan till late 1980s. However, Balochistan get gas supply for the first time in 1982. Sui Gas had a high shadow price but it was sold to consumers in other provinces, especially fertilizer producers in Punjab, at a lower rate. As per the calculation of Bengali mentioned in the book, Balochistan had paid subsidies of Rs 7.69 trillion from 1955 to 2014. That speaks volumes about the contribution of Balochistan in economic development of Pakistan whereas Balochistan itself has remained economically backward.

Bengali describes in detail of how Pakistan benefitted from the gas field of Sui. From 1952 until 1969, Sui was the only field which supplied gas to the country. Sui remained the largest producer of gas in Pakistan until late 1980s. However, Balochistan got its gas supply for the first time in 1982

Furthermore, this book mentions an interesting happening about ending load shedding in Quetta which was not known publically before. In April 2014, a private company requested Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGC) to supply it 9.5 MMCF of gas so that it can establish a 50 MW power plant in Quetta. This plant, if established, would have ended electricity load shedding in Quetta. However, Federal government declined this request on the grounds that SSGC don’t have required gas supply. This was a clear violation of article 158 of constitution which states that provinces producing gas would receive gas in precedence from other provinces of Pakistan. Consequently, today Quetta faces 8-10 hours of electricity load shedding even in the months of winter.

In order to compensate the deprivations of Balochistan, Bengalis suggests, Balochistan must be provided 20 percent subsidy on natural gas for next 20 years. At the moment, Balochistan produces electricity of 2,280 MW and with a demand of 1600 MW, Balochistan only gets 800 MW of electricity. He also suggests that Balochistan should get electricity in priority from the generation plants which are located in Balochistan.

Bengali argues in the book that development started in Balochistan in 1970 when it was given the status of a province. Projects started in 1970s such as Pat Feeder Canal, RCD highway connecting Quetta with Karachi and Taftan, establishment of Textile mills in Quetta and Lasbela and provided the impetus for economic growth in Balochistan. However, there was no attempts to increase economic growth in Balochistan in 1980s and 1990s. As a result, research shows that 88% of population of Balochistan was highly deprived in 2001 whereas only a quarter of total population of Punjab was highly deprived.

This book points out a new term “Empty Quarter” of Balochistan. Bengali argues that an area comprising of districts Kharan, Washuk, Panjgur, Awaran and part of Kalat and Khuzdar makes up quarter land area of Balochistan and it’s the least deprived in terms of infrastructure and human development indicators. What Bengali did not mention that same Empty Quarter produced 5 Chief Ministers of Balochistan including the last three. This highlights the failure and apathy of the politicians of Balochistan towards their own constituencies which elect them.

Bengali suggests that federal government should provide a 10 year multi-billion economic development package for Balochistan which should be in addition to Federal PSDP and CPEC projects. This suggestion is good but government hardly gives Balochistan its due share let alone additional multi-billion package.

Third area focused in the book is the social protection provided to the under-privileged sections of society in the form of Benazir Income Support Program (BISP). Bengali, who was among the founders of BISP, reveals that only 3.7 percent beneficiaries of BISP are from Balochistan whereas the population share of Balochistan is 5.1 percent. To provide a context, 34 percent beneficiaries of BISP are from Sindh which has a population share of 23.04 percent. There can’t be a bigger injustice than this with Balochistan which is most backward province and still it does not get its share in only nationwide social security net of the country. In order to compensate the deprivation of Balochistan, the book suggests that Balochistan’s share in BISP should be increase from 3.7 percent to 9.09 percent, which is share of Balochistan in 7th National Finance Commission (NFC) Award.

Affairs of Federal government are run by bureaucracy and again Balochistan is not getting is due share. Balochistan only has 4.1 percent share in federal government jobs as opposed to its population share of 5.1 share. In 2006, a cabinet committee made a set of recommendations to increase share of Balochistan in federal bureaucracy but none of the recommendations was adopted. Bengali suggests that quota of Balochistan should be increased to 10 percent so that people of Balochistan can get proper representation in federal government apparatus. In this chapter of Book, Bengali failed to mention the issue of fake domiciles of Balochistan acquired by people of other provinces. This results in people of other provinces getting jobs of Balochistan by cheating. Fake domiciles render any increase in job quota of Balochistan ineffective.

Last but not the least, the issue of under-representation of Balochistan in parliament is also discussed. In Balochistan the size of a national assembly constituency is 18 times greater than a constituency in Punjab. This automatically makes it difficult for politicians in Balochistan to carryout election campaigns and as a result they use undemocratic means to win elections. So, the size of constituency also affects democratic principles in Balochistan and subsequently affects public interest. The solution of this critical problem, as highlighted by Bengali, lies in doubling share of Balochistan in parliament beyond its share of population. This will not only strengthen democracy in Balochistan and will also be a goodwill gesture on part of federal government and other provinces.

Kaiser Bengali is criticised in Balochistan for his term as chief of CMPRU. His detractors claim that Bengali enjoyed perks in the name of policy reform for three years and made no practical progress. All this criticism notwithstanding, Bengali has done a huge service to Balochistan by authoring this book. He has eloquently presented the case of deprivation of Balochistan with facts extracted from the records of federal government. Contents of this book can be used for researchers who want to further explore the deprivations of Balochistan. The alarming facts presented in this book should be more than enough for the federal government to realize how it has wronged Balochistan. There is also no harm in adopting the suggestions made by Bengali for all the five aforementioned areas.

This work of Bengali perfectly sums up the deprivation of Balochistan with the support of empirical evidence. However, there is still need of books which can prove with the help of empirical evidence that how people of Balochistan, including politicians, Sardars, bureaucrats and government employees have contributed in keeping Balochistan deprived.

The writer can be reached at kamranhassan159@gmail.com

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

SSG Commando Muddassir Iqbal of Pakistan Army

“ Commando Muddassir Iqbal was part of the team who conducted Army Public School operation on 16 December 2014. In this video he reveals that he along with other commandos was ordered to kill the innocent children inside school, when asked why should they kill children after killing all the terrorist he was told that it would be a chance to defame Taliban and get nation on the side. He and all other commandos killed children and later Taliban was blamed.
Muddassir Iqbal has deserted the military and now he is  with mujahedeen somewhere in AF PAK border area”
For authenticity of  this tape journalists can easy reach to his home town to interview his family members or   ISPR as he reveals his army service number”
Asalam o Alaikum: My name is Muddassir Iqbal. My father’s name is Naimat Ali. I belong to Sialkot divison (Punjab province), my village is Shamsher Poor and district, tehsil and post office  Narowal. Unfortunately I was working in Pakistan army. I feel embarrassed to tell you …

CPEC Jobs in Pakistan, salary details

JOBS...نوکریاں چائنہ کمپنی میںPlease help the deserving persons...Salary:Salary package in China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in these 300,000 jobs shall be on daily wages. The details of the daily wages are as follows;Welder: Rs. 1,700 dailyHeavy Duty Driver: Rs. 1,700 dailyMason: Rs. 1,500 dailyHelper: Rs. 850 dailyElectrician: Rs. 1,700 dailySurveyor: Rs. 2,500 dailySecurity Guard: Rs. 1,600 dailyBulldozer operator: Rs. 2,200 dailyConcrete mixer machine operator: Rs. 2,000 dailyRoller operator: Rs. 2,000 dailySteel fixer: Rs. 2,200 dailyIron Shuttering fixer: Rs. 1,800 dailyAccount clerk: Rs. 2,200 dailyCarpenter: Rs. 1,700 dailyLight duty driver: Rs. 1,700 dailyLabour: Rs. 900 dailyPara Engine mechanic: Rs. 1,700 dailyPipe fitter: Rs. 1,700 dailyStorekeeper: Rs. 1,700 dailyOffice boy: Rs. 1,200 dailyExcavator operator: Rs. 2,200 dailyShovel operator: Rs. 2,200 dailyComputer operator: Rs. 2,200 dailySecurity Supervisor: Rs. 2,200 dailyCook for Chinese food: Rs. 2,000 dailyCook…

Historical relationship between Kurd and Baloch.

The Kurds are the ethnical group living in a region known as Kurdistan which is divided into Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Iran. They  are struggling for an independent region since decades and they are famous for their female guerrilla fighters.        On 25 September 2017, the referendum for an independent Kurdish region  was held in Iraq with a turn out of 72 %.   On this important occasion, the historical relation between Kurd and Baloch people is worth discussing.       When it comes to history, every nation tends to find its roots and origin. Same goes with the Baloch people. The Baloch people are always curious  about  finding their roots in history. Even if you  talk to a shepherd in Balochistan, he will be curious to talk about his  tribal or ethnical roots.      The Balochs have always conveyed the history to the next generations in different mediums like poems etc. No Baloch before 20th century had written books on  history  or origin of the Baloch nation .
        Balochs…