Article

Balochistan on the inverse
path of development

Written by The Frontier Post

Khaleeq Nazar Kiani

The policy-making institutions might have contemplated why the law enforcement agencies have been on their toes in Balochistan for such a long time and why they are facing tough resistance from Baloch insurgents? Without local support, 16-year-long fighting was not possible. Baloch insurgents call it a war of flea in which the security institutions have to bear the high cost.
Balochistan issue has many socio-politico-economic aspects which build up gradually, and now it has gone to complication. Undoubtedly, governance in the province is one of the main problematic areas. Ordinary people have lost confidence in the province’s political leadership. It is an elite capture that can do something for their cronies but not for the commoner.
After the 7th NFC award, hundreds of billions of rupees were transferred, but the situation is the same. Balochistan is on top of the poverty index; the number of out-of-school or drop-out children is very high. No job opportunities. The ordinary man has to seek dry bread from traditional livelihood earning sectors like live-stock and agriculture. He has no faith, expectation, or aspiration in the Government for a better life. In every budget, Government announces the creation of posts, but 80 to 90 percent of their allocated budget is used to reduce the deficit. No serious effort is made to devise a transparent recruitment process.
The budget preparation is laborious technical work, and a schedule is set for various steps to complete the process in a calendar year. But in Balochistan, it is altogether different. A few years back, an ex- ACS (Dev) (Additional Chief Secretary Development) said in the open court that we had not prepared the PSDP; I received this in the USB. Still same is the practice.
Balochistan Assembly has the record that in the previous years, not once but three to four times, its passed development budget was challenged in the Superior Courts on the allegations of serious irregularities and declared illegal. Unfortunately, the selected representatives treat the development fund as booty, and they distribute it amongst their buddies and contractors for personal benefit. Even today, the situation is not much different as recorded by the Supreme Court in para 18 of the Constitutional Petition No.115 of 2011,
“On having thoroughly examined all the aspects of the case, it has been noticed that the petitioner has brought a case of serious irregularities, illegalities and alleged misappropriation of funds mainly for the reasons that incidentally all the political parties or individual Members of the Pro-vincial Assembly of Balo-chistan had joined the treasury benches, so there was no effective opposition exc-ept one or two Members.”
Friendly debate on the current year’s budget is op-en in the Balochistan Ass-embly, and not a single me-mber pointed out the violation of the Rules of Busin-ess, Manual of Develop-ment, Guidelines of the planning commission, and the P&D department in the preparation of PSDP; above all the judgments of the Superior Courts.
It appears that PSDP for the year 2022-23 is prepared very casually. The Rules of Business divide the Government business into departments. Unless modified, no department can encroach on the domain of the other department. How can the Agriculture department construct Rural Health Centre or install a solar system that is the energy department’s sphere? Strange, the Women development department, which has no engineering wing, will execute the water supply schemes in the villages. The Supreme Court and High Court Balochistan have given clear verdicts against including the individual schemes and block allocation in the PSDP, but hundreds of such types of schemes are now its part. The High Court declared the distribution of bulldozer hours illegal unless a criterion or policy is not framed. Still, it is reflected in the non-development and development budget. The Government subsidized the bulldozer hours, and the major beneficiaries were the landlords, not the poor farmers. The throw forward of the PSDP is more than 385 billion, which means there will be no room for any new project in the coming four years, but next year again, a bundle of new schemes will be ready, and where it stops, no one bothers. No planning, no worry.
Most importantly, many essential departments like industries, Mines and minerals, PDMA, Board of Revenue, Forest, Fisheries, Excise, Food, Forest, Population planning, and transport departments have no new development scheme. Generally, those departments are on the radar where a collection of kickbacks is easy.
In such a bad scenario, the expectation for good or even thinking of a Kush-Hal- Balochistan will be quixotic. Might be that a better Balochistan is not the priority.

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The Frontier Post