ISLAMABAD - Conditions in Balochistan have severally affected the human development indicators.
The tragedy is evident in virtually non-functional sectors of government primary schools, in particular, public health services, lack of access to basic infrastructural services in rural as well as several urban settlements, disempowered status of the large majority of women in the province, and disengagement of most of the youth from the pursuit of education.
Experts and leaders from Balochistan at a roundtable highlighted the issues faced by the general public in the province. About 30 prominent specialists, experts and some of senior political leaders of Balochistan from different parts of the province attended a special roundtable convened by SPO (Strengthening Participatory Organisation) to mark Human Rights Day in Islamabad. Members of the general body of SPO and board of directors also participated.
Speakers identified the negative impact on social, cultural and economic aspects of society in Balochistan and called for urgent remedial actions and reforms both by the civil and military institutions under the control of the federal government and by the provincial government.
There was complete consensus that while there are some examples of continued functioning of certain institutions and while there is widespread demand for quality education, health care and security, in most respects, the actual situation is alarming and deserves concerted and comprehensive improvement.
It was agreed that Balochistan has become a subject of regional geo-politics and receives global attention and is no longer merely an internal problem. There is still time to stem the decline and to begin altering conditions for the better to fulfill the fundamental human rights of the people of Balochistan who want to build a peaceful, pluralist, democratic Pakistan that respects human dignity and ensures human security.
While missing persons, sectarian attacks, kidnappings, targeted killings, corruption and misgovernance in Balochistan are already widely known and reported by media, a great silent tragedy is also unfolding every day directly impacted by the decline of law and order.
This tragedy is evident in the virtually non-functional sectors of government primary schools in particular, in public health services, in lack of access to basic infrastructural services in rural as well as several urban settlements, in the disempowered status of the large majority of women in the Province and the disengagement of most of the youth from the pursuit of education.
Women and children have become the worst victims of continued neglect and worsened conditions. Whereas the maternal mortality rate in Pakistan is about 272 per 100,000 births, the same rate in Balochistan is estimated to be over 600 per 100,000 births.
Doctors have been specially targeted in past two years, eg. 27 killed 16 kidnapped, 40 tortured and about 100 who have migrated from the province. Along-with the ongoing confrontation between doctors and the Provincial government, the health care system is virtually paralysed.
Deep concern was expressed at the freedom being given to religious extremists and to death squads to perpetrate threats and violence as well as conduct killings, kidnappings and destructive actions.
Dr Tufail M khan, Chairperson SPO presided, Naseer Memon Chief Executive SPO welcomed the invitees. Zafarullah Khan, a leading policy analyst, was invited to moderate the discussion. Jawad Jabbar former chairperson SPO gave the concluding remarks.
The speakers included Dr Tasnim Ashraf, Dr Abdul Malik Baloch, Naimatullah Gichki, Abdul Khalique Hazara, Faseeh Iqbal, Advocate Zahoor Shahwani, Dr Ameer Bakhsh, Abdul Razzaq Sabir, Nasrullah Zeray, Jahanara Tabassum, Jamila Kazi, Dr Prof Karamat Ali, Syed Abid Rizvi, Mohammad Amin, Dr Tufail Mohammad Khan, Dr Taj Baloch, Rukhshanda Naz, Farida Tahir Nowsherwani, Zeenat Yaqoob Yousafzai, Mukhtiar Chhalgari, Tanveer Ahmed.