Balochistan’s lack of development is a result of its own public representatives’ priorities. The previous government allotted Rs250 million a year in development funds to each MNA from the province, but even the provincial capital has woeful infrastructure, said Balochistan Caretaker Chief Minister Nawab Ghaus Bakhsh Barozai on Tuesday.
Speaking at a ceremony at the Punjab University organized by its Academic Staff Association, Barozai said that there were many no-go areas in Balochistan simply because “there are no roads” there. The only infrastructure of note in Quetta was the impressive houses of its political leaders, which were more modern than European politicians’ houses. There was an abundance of mineral and human resources in the province, but its leaders pursued personal interests rather than the national or even the provincial interest.
The chief minister said that he was satisfied that the caretaker set-up in Balochistan had kept its promise to conduct peaceful elections “in the most disturbed province in the country”, where militants were paying children to carry out terrorist activities.
He said that some voters had been taken to polling stations by helicopters. A certain “power” had threatened to disrupt the polls, and there were some procedural deficiencies, but there was relatively little violence on election day. He added that the elections had changed little, being like “the change from the iPhone 4 to the iPhone 4S”. He urged the newly-elected parliamentarians to serve the Baloch people.
Barozai said that the Punjab was like Balochistan’s big brother and had made positive gestures towards the province. “Ignorant people in the media” were not presenting an accurate picture of the problems in Balochistan. The biggest problem, he said, was lack of education. He appealed to the other provinces to accommodate more Baloch students in their academic institutions. “We have hospitals but we lack the expertise to run them,” he added.
Addressing the ceremony, PU Vice Chancellor Prof Mujahid Kamran congratulated Barozai for holding peaceful elections without a cabinet. He said that the Baloch people were brave, loyal and hard working. He said that 97 Baloch students had been admitted to Punjab University with free tuition, free boarding and Rs3,000 monthly scholarships. He said that the students were motivated and were learning a lot.
PUASA Acting President Dr Faheem Aftab thanked the caretaker CM and the VC for attending the event. Prof Kamran also presented a portrait and books to Barozai.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 22nd, 2013.
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