Balochistan in turmoil again

By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: Dawn

THE war in Balochistan is once again making headlines. 2005 was a troubled year for the province with the insurgency simmering throughout the year interspersed with military action by the Frontier Constabulary from time to time. It is a pity that as the year draws to a close the army has stepped up its operations and there are reports of casualties that include women and children.

This time the provocation has ostensibly been a rocket attack on the president while he was visiting Kohlu on December 14. It was described as an assassination attempt, and thereafter, the government launched an operation in the Kohlu district. Officially it is said that the army is trying to root out the ‘miscreants’ and ‘saboteurs’ who are accused of creating trouble in different regions of Balochistan. These are the terms we are quite familiar with in Pakistan. It was bandied about a lot in 1970 during the civil strife in East Pakistan and the province was the target of army action. Again in 1974, when Balochistan was under attack, the rulers dug out these labels from their vocabulary. They are again doing the rounds.
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Addressing Baloch grievances

By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: Dawn

As the crisis in Balochistan deepens, frequent references have been made to the East Pakistan tragedy of 1971 and it is recalled how the army action there led to the break-up of the country.

Sardar Sherbaz Mazari, a veteran Baloch politician, said the other day that he didn’t want to sound bitter but he felt that the problems in Sui and Gwadar have made the people of Balochistan feel the same way as the people of East Pakistan felt in 1971. He was speaking at the launching ceremony of Brig A. R. Siddiqi’s book, East Pakistan: The End Game.
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Blowing hot & cold on Balochistan

By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: Dawn

The crisis in Balochistan has reached a boiling point. The turmoil in Pakistan’s largest province that had generally been ignored by the rest of the country has now shot into public awareness.

Although events in Balochistan were being reported in the press regularly, they have been taken note of only now by people generally when the gas purification plant at Sui was hit by rockets last week. Triggered off by the rape of a lady doctor at the Sui field hospital, the latest spate of violence has deepened the crisis.
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Who is the real criminal?

cplcBy Zubeida Mustafa

In August 1994, my car, an old Suzuki, was snatched at gun point. It was recovered the next day by the police after an encounter they claimed. This experience of my car being taken away by force and then the tedious process of obtaining it back from the custodians of the law was a traumatic one. Had the CPLC and the Deputy Commissioner (South) not intervened I might have remained deprived of my car.

The situation is no better today for the unfortunate ones who fall victim to car robbers. And there are still far too many of them. Athough the statistics released by the CPLC, which has an excellent computerise records system, show wide fluctuations in the incidence of this brand of crime. Continue reading “Who is the real criminal?”

Allocations fail to match verbal commitments to social sector

By Zubeida Mustafa

76-26-06-1993A

In his budget speech, the Federal Finance Minister emphasised that a key element of the government’s economic strategy was “continued priority to development of education, health, nutrition, housing, population welfare and other social facilities”. But the thrust of the budget and the performance in the social sectors in the outgoing year as documented in the Economic Survey, 1992-93 belied any serious official commitment to human resource development.

76-26-06-1993B

Although some sectors such as health and education are financed and managed mainly by the provinces, the federal budget was a fair indicator of the progress to be expected in these areas of national life. It was plain that in actual fact human development figured low in the government’s priorities. There is now greater reliance on the private sector for filling the enormous gap in education and health. Thus of the Rs 257.7 billion federal revenue expenditure only Rs 6.9 billion (2.6 per cent) is to go towards financing the social services. As usual debt servicing and defence will take away the biggest chunks. On the development side, the social sectors will receive a bigger percentage (3.4) but the amount will be smaller in absolute terms (Rs 1.8 billion).

Education has been badly downgraded. The allocations for this sector in both the revenue and development budgets have been reduced. In fact the allocation for education in the Continue reading “Allocations fail to match verbal commitments to social sector”