In less than four months, Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Qamar Bajwa, has for the second time stated that Army would aid the civilian government in socio-economic development in the restive province of Baluchistan. The intentions of the COAS are praiseworthy. However, the history of development in Balochistan is not a pleasant one. Instead of bringing prosperity to the region, the natural resources of the province have proved a curse for the area since the locals have benefitted the least from such resources. Keeping the Baloch people at bay from enjoying the fruits of development in the past culminated in the continuing militant struggle against the state.

Though the government has realised very late the miseries of the Baloch people, nevertheless it is encouraging that the government is taking some steps to uplift the socio-economic conditions of the people of the region. While mega infrastructural projects like China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) are necessary for the economic revival of the country, however, the state should take protectionist measures so that locals can accrue maximum benefits from development projects in the areas.

The words of COAS that the on-going development projects would transform the lives of the people of Balochistan should move beyond rhetoric. Likewise, President Mamnoon Hussain also spoke high of Baloch people’s resilience against weak law and order situation in the region. However, it is also true that Baloch people feel exhausted of hearing rhetorical and motivational speeches, which have brought no noteworthy changes in their lives.

The President places major share of responsibility to make CPEC a success on Baloch people. By this logic, then, it is the Baloch people who deserve the first right to reap the benefits of CPEC. However, a detailed study of CPEC suggests otherwise. CPEC often hailed as a game changer for Pakistan has an equal potential of inflicting more miseries on the already marginalised Baloch people. The government needs to be cognizant of the negative potentials of the widely acclaimed development project.