A world class university in Balochistan

Published: May 6, 2015
The writer is a professor of political science at the Lahore University of Management Sciences. He has also worked for the Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad

The writer is a professor of political science at the Lahore University of Management Sciences. He has also worked for the Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad

Much of the good work by dedicated individuals, groups and institutions often gets buried under the rubble of bad news about Balochistan. There is also the fixation of the media and public intellectuals, unfortunately, with bad news that blinds them to positive changes taking place there. Balochistan, like other provinces and the rest of the country, is composite in terms of ethnicities, social groups and social movements. For the same reasons, it is equally diverse in terms of social and political commitments, ideals and pursuit of interests and objectives. Therefore, no single template or view can explain Balochistan.

Right in the heart of Balochistan, there are islands of excellence in education, service to the community and devotion to nation-building. Unfortunately, they don’t get media attention or national recognition. The commitment of these men and women so devoted to the development of Balochistan needs to be acknowledged. My visits twice to the Balochistan University of Information Technology, Engineering and Management Sciences (BUITEMS), Quetta, over the past two years, reveal a very different Balochistan than the picture we usually get about the standard of higher education or about the institution-builders in our most backward province.

The university is merely 12-year-old. It is amazing to see how this institution has transformed itself into one of the outstanding places for learning in the country. The university, first housed in an abandoned textile mill on the outskirts of the city, has re-engineered and converted the buildings into an architectural marvel. Words cannot explain this change that houses some of the best facilities, laboratories, classrooms, auditoriums and sunlit corridors, lobbies and halls. Important as they are, the physical structures tell very little about the human development they facilitate.

Having visited so many of the universities in Pakistan, old and new, BUITEMS makes a lasting impression of positive change taking place in Balochistan. First, it has highly qualified faculty members, mostly with foreign degrees, and opting to serve in their home province. The congenial atmosphere of the university also continues to attract teachers from other provinces. Just to give you an idea, it has 49 PhDs working and 137 more enrolled in some of the best universities abroad. Second, it has 7,523 students from various parts of the province with representation from other provinces and Afghanistan, facilitating provincial and national diversity. Third, more than 33 per cent of the students receive financial assistance from the university. It is refreshing to see that BUITEMS is free of disruptive student politics that have ruined a good number of national universities in Balochistan and other provinces.

It is the vision, commitment and hard work of the faculty and the Vice-Chancellor, Engineer Farooq Ahmad Bazai, who have contributed to the rise of this university that offers hope and opportunity to young men and women in Balochistan to excel. There is more. Starting with the University of Balochistan, the first-ever university to be established in the province in 1972, Balochistan now has six universities in the public sector with a lot of support from the Higher Education Commission for infrastructural development and scholarships for training of faculty in foreign universities. The present Balochistan government of Dr Abdul Malik Baloch has shown far greater commitment and ownership of public education than any government in the history of the province. It now spends about 26 per cent of the budget on education.

The point is that the usual prism and the lenses we often use to look at Balochistan and the country require some dusting and realigning. Fixed views and fixed lenses never help grasp the reality of change anywhere.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 6th,  2015.

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Reader Comments (20)

  • Naeem Sajjad
    May 6, 2015 - 3:15AM

    I am astonished that 26% of budget is spent on education in the province,it seems untrue.The writer wants to reflect a change of perspective of the public regarding balochistan,for this purpose more cites are required to pursuade the people,the reference of a single university is insufficient.Recommend

  • Rational
    May 6, 2015 - 9:22AM

    If only Pakistan stops colonizing it, Baluchistan will a much better of.Recommend

  • Anonymous
    May 6, 2015 - 9:32AM

    Few questions sir how many Baloch stud are there?
    Statistics are that if 100% of budget of whole province is spend on primary education for 4 years then it may show some change , such is the state of affairs Recommend

  • Nafees Angel
    May 6, 2015 - 1:03PM

    It is worth knowing sir that where is that 26 % of budget is spending? While attacking poverty and enhancing prosperity we have to notice that what will be the impact if the budget is spend on primary education or higher education. More people will be benefited if spent on primary education.Recommend

  • Striver
    May 6, 2015 - 2:36PM

    YES. Some goods news at last. The purveyors of doom and gloom are in abundance in PK but truth as they say is always somewhere in the middle of two extremes. This small point is difficult to get through to the pin-heads who thrive on stories of pessimism and despondency.

    Well done Tribune and well done Mr Rais. More of this please. Baluchistan is full of great news. Explore it and bring more stories to us please of this type.

    Those who hold negative views of Balochistan should question their leaders why they stunted the growth of Balochistan. Recommend

  • Faraz Kakar
    May 6, 2015 - 2:38PM

    Thank you Professor.Recommend

  • May 6, 2015 - 4:14PM

    thank you professor for sharing this, and yeah thats proud moment, balochistan is part of pakistan and media always show the negative views of Balochistan.Recommend

  • Muhammad sohail
    May 6, 2015 - 5:50PM

    Respected Sir Rasul Bakhsh Rais,
    Glad to read your article regarding BUITEMS. Being a student of BUITEMS, i am very thankful to you for such compliment. This will really help us to achieve further targets with more zeal and enthusiasm. Thank You so much. Recommend

  • May 6, 2015 - 5:52PM

    Sounds good.Govt should focus more and more to advance the people of Balochistan…Recommend

  • Anees Abbas
    May 6, 2015 - 10:32PM

    When I read this I was full of Joy. the Institute to which I belong to. It is the institute where Peace,harmony, Love and a beautiful place where one can Learn the every thing with a quality of EDUCATION . The staff is the best ever in every dept. May Allah give it the Heights of success where no one can reach.
    Dear Sir ! thanks for such a good article and to show the reality of BUITEMS. Recommend

  • May 7, 2015 - 2:29AM

    balochistan has more per capita resources than any other province. so the people of balochistan deserve more assistance. hope they get what they deserve. with little assistance from govt and establishment balochistan can change within decade. Recommend

  • Truthful
    May 7, 2015 - 3:53AM

    Dear Prof, in BUITEMS appointments are literally reference basedRecommend

  • Sikander
    May 7, 2015 - 3:59AM

    Do not know, how true is what Raes says? A friend from Quetta says, the above article is not the case.Recommend

  • Honest
    May 7, 2015 - 12:55PM

    Pakistan has never given other countries even 1 dollar but it takes away everything that belongs to Baluchistan and Baluch people.Recommend

  • Fahimullah K.
    May 7, 2015 - 8:00PM

    I am proud to see my alma mater receive due recognition. We must be ready to acknowledge the reality that advances in education can no more be restricted by “conventional” ‘bleak’ spots. Recommend

  • Kbee
    May 7, 2015 - 11:48PM

    Im not agree
    student wait 3 to 4 hr for teacher to take their class. no fone is to be attended by staff student play games during study hrs in lawn and many other interpolitical issues dear.Recommend

  • Shoaib kakar
    May 8, 2015 - 1:48AM

    How is it a world class university when it does not produce even one research paper a semester??????Recommend

  • Chakkar Baloch
    May 8, 2015 - 2:10AM

    Sounds like Dr Rais has been paid a lucrative sum of money to do an effective marketing for the current administration in Balochistan; otherwise, Dr Malik is the most corrupt CM and enjoys the lowest public approval rate in the history of Balochistan’s parliamentary politics. Dr Abdul Malik along with Puhstoon Khwah together have looted and plundered the provincial exchequer with the aid of their relative and cronies. In his administration, nepotisms has been on its peek from the very get-go, and the quality of education has declined because all academic appointees are political bribes. Turbat university is suffering because the professors who have been hired, are only CM’s National Party Jeyalas or their family member. For political science lectureship positions, a young man who is gold medalist from Baluchistan university with the highest NTS score, did not make it on the list of appointees. They simply told him that NTS score is only 10% of the interviewing evaluation criterion, and the rest is decided by the interview committee. Dr Abdul Malik is a professional politician. He is knows how to manipulate the system. He is very good with political jargons, but other that, he has got nothing and he’s done nothing. I thought academics have a professional ethic that they have to consider when they write. Where is your ethic? Oh well!! Rais sahib enjoy your kickbacks!!Recommend

  • Salam khan
    May 8, 2015 - 10:30AM

    Mr Raes, the VC Farooq Bazai appoints teachers with strong political background. The govt should replace this simple MS with qualified person. Recommend

  • kaleemkakar
    May 13, 2015 - 11:56PM

    it good to read that some one is presenting some thing positive about this province, other wise in the eyes of rest of pakistanis they even didnt consider that there would be such a positive learning environment in the balochistan provinceRecommend

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