Rs7 trillion uplift package sought for Balochistan for 20 years

By PPI News Agency Feb27,2018

KARACHI: A comprehensive development package worth Rs. 7 trillion by the federal government be announced for Balochistan for the next 20 years and make amendments in the existing electoral system to end injustices meted to the province for the last 70 years, said Dr. Kaiser Bengali, former Advisor to Balochistan Chief Minister here Tuesday.

Speaking at launch ceremony of his own book “A Cry for Justice: Empirical Insights from Balochistan” organized by Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER) at Arts Council of Pakistan, Karachi, Dr. Bengali said a large scale assets transfer has been happening rapidly from Balochistan to other parts of the country especially in Sui gas. Karachi and Lahore were developed from the gas of Balochistan, but the province did not receive gas till 1984.

He dispelled the notion that Sardars are impediments in developments. Less than one-third of Balochistan is under Sardari system where as there is no Sardari System, he said adding that it is incorrect to say that Sardars are hindrances of Sardars, he said adding that majority of the Balochistan population belongs to middle class, who want development in the province. It is a propaganda of Islamabad to hold control of Balochistan, he remarked.

“There was no role of provincial assembly in change of Chief Minister, the decision was made somewhere else,” he added. Even there is a lot of interference in electoral process, he said adding that Dr. Malik had quoted that General Pervaiz Musharraf had asked him to support a lady candidate, but he refused. Next day he was arrested.

Providing an overview of his book, Dr. Bengali said there has been a wide spread injustice to Balochistan, especially in natural gas. Total resource transfer from Balochistan between the period from 1965 to 2014 was Rs. 7 trillion, which should be paid back, he added. Dr. Kaiser Bengali said average share of Balochistan in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth between 1970 and 2000 remained at 4.1 percent, despite the fact the population of he province is 5 percent. The growth rate of the remaining three province remained 4.7 percent, he added.

Out of 26 districts in Balochistan are higher in deprivation category as 88 percent of the population of Balochistan are the highest in deprivation category. Average gross product growth rate in 2000-11 was 4.7 percent in other parts of the country, where as it was 2.5 percent in Balochistan. The province is still lagging behind and even falling further behind, he added.

He pointed out injustice to people in electoral process, which is based on constituencies and population basis. Average constituency size is spread over 24,799 square kilometer, where as total constituency size of all three provinces jointly is less than 2000 sq. km. “It is impossible for a candidate to read most of areas for election campaigns as there is no road network in most of areas,” he said. There is a need to introduce electoral reforms to increase the seats in both Balochistan Assembly and National Assembly.

Providing statistics of allocations of funds under Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP), he said from the period 1990 to 2001 share of Balochistan in PSDP was 3.9 percent and 0.18 percent in GDP growth rate. During the period 2002-2016 Gwadar came into focus and Balochistan’s share in PSDP increased to 7.6 percent and 0.2 percent in GDP growth. From the period 1990 to 2016 not a single scheme has been developed for civilian housing in Balochistan, he said adding that due to CPEC, foreigners are not finding residence or office building for them.

He said National Highway Authority (NHA) is working in a colonial style, and it has neglected both Balochistan and Sindh in its projects. Giving statistics, Dr. Kaiser Bengali said historical neglect indicated by absence of road communications in the 347,000 sq. km province till the ‘discovery’ of Gwadar. Till 2004 the residents of Gwadar and coastal towns were travelling to Karachi via a dirt track, and the trip required 2-3 days to cover, compared to 7 hours currently, with passengers having to spend nights in the open. It required carrying spare tyres and a spare axle to attend to breakdowns.

Moreover, Dr. Bengali said a 100,000 sq. km area in central Balochistan was devoid of any metaled road. “It was Balochistan’s Empty Quarter, akin to the Arabian Peninsula’s Rab-ul-Khali,” he added. Even today there is not a single dual carriage way in the province, said Dr. Kaiser Bengali. He suggested to allocate at least 44 percent of NHA budget for Balochistan for the next 20 years.

He also quoted statistics about representation of Balochis in federal bureaucracy and said total 42 Divisions and 11 key offices are there in federal government and there is no grade 20, 21 or 22 officer from Balochistan till today. Even none of Chief Secretaries every appointed in the province belonged to Balochistan.

There are zero Balochistani BPS 20-21-22 officers in Defence, Economic Affairs, Petroleum & Natural Resources, Planning & Development and Supreme Court. Similarly, there are zero Balochistani PBS 21 & 22 officers in Cabinet, Commerce, Communication, Interior, Water & Power, Prime Minister’s Secretariat, National Assembly Secretariat, Election Commission, and NAB. PILER’s Executive Director Karamat Ali said that people of Balochistan deserves restoration of their rights and resources.

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