Balochistan government, sleeping through its term

A look at the Balochistan ministers’ lifestyles makes it seem as though Pakistan faces no economic crisis at all.

Shahzad Balouch December 29, 2010
As a journalist I usually visit the Provincial Secretariat and have hardly ever found any minister present in his office, even though the current Balochistan government retains the biggest cabinet in the province's history.

Barring three, all the other MPAs on the treasury benches have portfolios, residential accommodations, phone and a fleet of cars though officially permitted to retain one.

Looking at the Balochistan ministers’ life styles, it seems as though Pakistan faces no economic crisis at all.

The only opposition member, Yar Mohammad Rind has never attended an Assembly session except for the day he was administered the oath.

On the other hand, the leadership of nationalist parties that boycotted the last general election is either sitting abroad or in Islamabad comfortably away from their own political constituencies.

The culture of public meetings, processions and political rallies is also diminishing, and fewer people participate in such rallies, if organised occasionally.

The same lack of interest plagues the Balochistan Assembly where the attendance of law makers has never crossed over 30 members. The Speaker has had to adjourn the session twice in the last month owing to a lack of quorum, something that has never happened in the past. In fact, the MPAs have really never been involved in serious legislation.

Also, the highly volatile situation in Balochistan has left no space for political parties to mobilise public opinion or indulge in lawful political activities. A visit to the Ministers’ block in the Civil Secretariat will confirm absence of ministers from their headquarters in fear of their lives.

However, amidst the usual absentees, Chief Minister Nawab Mohammad Aslam Raisani makes his presence felt on the political plain with his rather ‘juicy’ statements to the media.

For instance, the ever so famous “Degree is a Degree,” comment, as well as the “male is male whether female or Bolan Mail (a passenger train operating between Karachi and Quetta).

Balochistan will continue to remain in perennial trouble if serious efforts are not made to rescue its prevailing slumber. The government as well as the opposition has surrendered to the whims of the establishment that is ruling ultimately – to what extent, no one really knows.
Shahzad Balouch A correspondent for The Express Tribune in Quetta.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Malik Siraj Akbar | 13 years ago | Reply Jameel sahib these are not the Baloch people's leaders. Theses are the sponsored leaders of Islamabad. Who would not be able to win a simple union council seat with the financial and administrative backing of the intelligence agencies. More importantly, politicians all over the country are the same corrupt and exploitative. They are all the product of the British legacy. They pampered all tribal chiefs and landlords, a policy which was subsequently pursued by the country's military in order to gain political backing or legitimacy by so-called elected representatives. Therefore, don't assume that its a Balochistan-specific problem? What development, for example, Sindh has made in the last sixty years if keep Karachi aside? Likewise, what major developed cities have emerged in KP keeping Peshawar aside.
Jameel ur Rasheed | 13 years ago | Reply So true! The Baloch leaders simply can't think. They just know how to exploit their tribes in election seasons. In all other provinces the candidates take a ticket for political parties and then contest, while in Balochistan they contest, they win and then they join the political parties. No other province is responsible for the under development of Balochistan province, it is their leaders and then they tell their youth that Punjabis and Muhajirs have eaten up their rights. Really they are miserable and they deserve to stay uneducated, hungry and thirsty if they want the same people to rule them!
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