Dr Muhammad Khan
THE province of Balochistan, constituting 43% of total Pakistani landmass, has been bestowed with tremendous potentials of natural resources with high mountain barriers and a long coastal area. The people of province are hard worker, tough, intelligent and loyal to their motherland. Unfortunately, owing to poor development over years, mis-governance and regional and international conspiracies, there remained phases of instability in province for quite some time. The local masses are very simple, mostly poor with a low literacy rate, largely unaware, thus easy to be exploited.
The people of province have now started realising that their youth bulge was wrongly diverted towards those activities, which runs counter to their interests and future development of their province. The people of the province are now more vigilant and futuristic about their youth and development of their respective areas. Now they support development of their area, education for their children and civic facilities for the masses. The betrayed masses seriously regret their past practices at the hands of the foreign agents. Many armed groups have surrendered their activities and requested the authorities for their merger into the mainstream. They publically laid-down their arms and denounced the militancy in the presence of media.
Today, Balochistan is a changed province. There has returned the normalcy; a wind of peace, stability, awareness and economic prosperity. The farsighted people of the province get the credit of this change; after all, nothing could have been possible without their willingness to reject the militancy and centrifugal forces. Nevertheless, the Federal Government and Provincial Government have played their roles for promoting peace and stability in the province. Whereas, the role of civil government (s); federal and provincial has been admirable, this wave of massive change and return of normalcy in the province could not have been possible without the dedicated and hectic efforts of the military, particularly; Pak Army and Frontier Corps Balochistan.
In order to do-away with these misperceptions, the military created a campaign of awareness among the local masses. The awareness campaign was followed by motivation for the mainstreaming of the masses and particularly of those elements, who were betrayed and adopted militancy as a profession. Pak Army changed the strategy and now rather combating the militants, adopted the motivational approach, which changed the whole scenario.
As a result of this campaign, the people who were involved in militancy somehow, decided to lay-down their arms and started re-joining the main stream to spend a normal life. This strategy of Pak Army has indeed proved effective, motivational and futuristic for the mislead class of the province. The Frontier Corps Balochistan under the dynamic leadership of former IGFC, Major General Sher Afgan (now Lt Gen, Corps Commander Bahawalpur) has played incredible role to restore the confidence of the masses. In order to make the environment conducive, Pak Army and FC made sure that, law and order situation is brought under control. To achieve this, border control along the Afghanistan and Iran was enhanced and men of the Pak Army and FC dedicated themselves for the service of the people, particularly in the far-flung areas of the province.
The most significant and the needed aspect was the promotion of basic education among the masses of rural Baloch population. It was lack of education, which kept the people, in fact generations under the hostage of the miscreants. Local educational institutions were revitalized and new institutions were established for promotion of education in various far-flung areas of the province. The youth, which was used as explosive by the miscreants, started going to schools and colleges. Armed forces of Pakistan, established a number of educational institutions and in many cases, the willing youth were taken to various cantonments by Army, Navy and PAF for better education, with bordering and lodging afforded by the military. Besides, Pak Army, FC, Navy and PAF are providing medical facilities to the local masses.
With the development of Gwadar Port and CPEC, the people of Balochistan Province are going to be benefitted more and more. There would be more economic opportunities for the masses, therefore, the local youth need to learn the skills and get acquainted with technological know-how. Involvement of the local educated and skilled manpower would further address the local grievances of the province.
— The writer is International Relations analyst based in Islamabad.