A staggering 75 per cent of girls aged between five and 16 are not going to school in Balochistan. This statistic provided by Alif Ailan, an NGO, should make us very angry.
What a mess have we turned our country into? How can we ignore this criminal negligence on part of the Balochistan government that is apparently hell-bent on keeping our future generations in a state of deprivation and darkness by denying them their absolute basic right — the right to education.
The boys aren’t getting it any better either with some 65 per cent in the same age group left out of school, too.
The poverty-stricken province has traditionally been in the grip of fiefdom and it is commonly believed in the urban areas that it is tribal chieftains who deliberately keep their people away from education since awareness among the masses can challenge the impunity with which they rule.
Only a mere 17 per cent of the 2016-17 Balochistan budget was allocated to education, which, according to one of the advisers to the chief minister, is insufficient to get rid of the education crisis for the next 50 years.
How long are we going to tolerate such injustice meted out to our own children? Most parts of Balochistan paint a depressingly bleak picture with the population struggling for the very basic necessities of life, existing in fear; generations after generations have turned to dust with no trace of reprieve for the ones that follow them either.
Successive governments have historically had their priorities badly messed up; the country continues to suffer as a result.
Education for the masses is nothing more than a pipe dream, quality education is only confined to a handful of private schools that rarely keep open their doors for the poverty-stricken.
In Balochistan, the same NGO points out, there are hardly any quality private educational institutions or universities.
The private sector is unwilling to put in an effort and as the corrupt government continues to spend lavishly on their leaders, millions are burned on security protocols, lodges and housing arrangements for the parliamentarians who largely live like kings as the masses rot.
Pakistan needs to wake up; the deep slumber of 70 years has already left the country in a deeply shambolic state, and I bet that more than 80 per cent in Balochistan can’t even read my rant!
Published in The Express Tribune, July 9th, 2016.