The Balochistan government has once again expressed its reservations over inequitable distribution or allocation of projects being visualised, planned and executed under CPEC. Balochistan has a long history of being neglected in overall development strategy of successive governments despite being the richest among all federating units in terms of natural resources. Since 1950s, the natural gas being produced and supplied from its rugged terrains has kept the wheel of country’s economy and industry moving but even today most of its towns and villages are deprived of the benefits of the natural gas.
So seems to be the case with CPEC projects. All this has added to a collective sense of deprivation ultimately leading to a sense of alienation. The leadership of Balochistan on either side of the political and ideological divide is unanimous while agitating these grievances. A Balochistan government spokesperson on Sunday referred to a scheduled meeting of the Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) on CPEC and said the participation of the Balochistan CM in the meeting will be subject to the Planning Commission’s response to include the Balochistan-related projects in CPEC. The spokesperson hoped that the Planning Commission, while finalising agenda for the JCC meeting, would not repeat the mistakes of the past by ignoring the suggestions and proposals of the Balochistan government.
In April this year too, former CM Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo had accused the Centre of ignoring Balochistan in the CPEC projects. He had said the province was not even getting one per cent of the CPEC projects. While most of the details about the number and size of the CPEC projects have never been made public, the reports in the media indicated that the main beneficiary of the development under CPEC projects would be Punjab, followed by Sindh. It is time for the federal government to reconsider its strategy and address the grievances of Balochistan as well as of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 11th, 2018.