Navy in yeomen service for humanity and changing the life pattern of neglected Balochistan

Salahuddin Haider

APART from being the custodian of our sea frontiers, and keeping the commercial routes open for international trade, Pakistan Navy simultaneously is encouraging the Balochis to be part of country’s armed force and thus be proud citizens of the State.
Its efforts of relaxing age rules, and 5 to 10 percent concessions in entry and academic examinations, have paid rich dividends already. Figures collected officially shows a remarkable rise in Baloch recruitment in a service, so essential in peace and war times. Interpreted in simpler terms, and in the context of stories afloat from time to time of negative tendencies, the success achieved by the Navy, assumes special significance.
While the current number of Balochis in PN touches a thousand mark, its officers rank includes a commodore now, equivalent to one-star general, of Brigadier in Pakistan army.
Officials explained that mobile recruitment teams of their Service goes door to door, and feels tremendously elated by the enthusiastic response from the natives inhabiting the south-western province, coastal line especially.
A case study of period between 2012 and 2016 shows that the number of recruitments from Balochistan has been at a satisfactory level—41 officers/cadets—and 535 sailors.
Negativity does become a factor, but fails to lower the level of enthusiasm. The purpose of lining them in mainstream remains uninterrupted and helps flush out propaganda from vested interests against the State or its organs.
From Matric to in-house training, people from Balochistan are offered special concessions of upto 20 percent. This is in keeping with the traditions followed in the world by a number of armies, or allied defence wings of their respective countries. Japan is one glaring example where set standards of heights for recruitment were lowered because of their generally being short statured.
This is not all. Like Pakistan Army, ever-ready for humanitarian duties in floods, natural calamities, population displacement and their rehabilitation, Navy too has been in the forefront of rescue operations with its boats, sailors and rank officers in times of emergencies. Its whole-hearted participation in floods, and several other occasions are on record for those searching for proof to contest positive viewpoints..
Pakistan Navy ships have for decades been carrying nations, medicines, doctors and para-medics to Balochistan’s long coastal lines for helping the population.
It has also concentrated on providing education to children of the backward areas, pulling them out from the darker or limited scope fishing areas, which has been for long their family vocation, to brighter eras and ensuring them enlightened and promising future.
Opening of secondary schools in Gwadar, with plans to upgrade it to college level, vocational centres for ladies of the area, and persistent efforts to weave a chain of such academic and professional centres in as many towns as possible for children who would have ended as street urchins, continues relentlessly.
This is a lesson for those who remain engaged endlessly in falsehood but a visit to some of the areas in the south-western province, convinces people beyond doubt that Baloch youngsters seem keen to galvanise their energies for the good of their province and, in turn, for the country.
Festivals are organized, and dramas and plays are staged, which was evident from the recent participation of these children on the Pakistan Day events of March 23.
Pakistan Navy (PN) has taken up various socioeconomic projects in coastal areas of Balochistan, with the sole aim of empowering youth through education and to bring them at par with the rest of Pakistan. One such step in this direction is the establishment of Cadet College Ormara (CCO).
The foundation of Cadet College Ormara was laid on 12 June 2012 by former Prime Minister of Pakistan Mr. Yousaf Raza Gillani. The college started its academic session in April 2013 by the joining of a batch of sixty cadets, with hope and conviction that by the passage of time, this institution will become synonymous to quality educational institute for the coming generations.
The basic cause to establish this institution in the city of Ormara was to bring the light of education to this remote area of Balochistan and provide equal opportunities to the youth and to make them capable enough to compete with not only the rest of the country and but also the world.
In Balochi, “DarmanJah” denotes “a place of cure and healing”, which is an apt and befitting name for the new and first ever hospital facility established by the Pakistan Navy in Baluchistan’s coastal town of Ormara.
To summarise, it would be appropriate to state that Balochistan, neglected far too long, resulting in heartburn, bickering and insurgency, which has been instigated and exploited by Pakistan’s detractors, is witnessing a new era of development, hope and promise.
The establishment of the international port at Gwadar, the coastal highway, dams, highways, and military cantonments with facilities like schools, dispensaries, playgrounds, canteens, and other wherewithal have not only provided employment opportunities, but also contributed towards raising the quality of life of the Balochis, since they would also have access to these facilities.