Senator Jahanzeb Jamaldini of the Balochistan National Party-Mehngal clarified his party’s stance on CPEC and the NFC award in an interview with The Nation. BNP-M has no opinion over ‘the eastern route versus the western route’ debate, but he did state that the NFC award must be revisited in order to give each province a fairer share. The NFC award is calculated after taking the population size and tax collection levels of each province, so it should come as no surprise to anyone that Balochistan loses out. The province has the lowest population but the highest levels of natural resources in any province.

With 12 journalists killed in Balochistan since 2008, it is no wonder that the rest of the country only receives state-sanctioned information about what goes on in the province. If the government is actually earnest about improving conditions in Balochistan, it must start with addressing the suppression of any political opinion in the hopes to crush dissent before it takes root. The Pakistani state must stop acting like the occupier, and instead attempt to address the very real and urgent issues of the Balochi people. And if the government really feels that it has changed things in Balochistan, then it is time to prove this by opening the province to national and international scrutiny.

The PML-N’s third year in power is almost at an end, and yet there has been no visible improvement in the largest province of the country. Journalists, students, professors and activists still fear for their lives in Balochistan. It is still a place where even Basic Health Units (BHU) are few and far between, let alone any modern healthcare facilities. Literacy levels are low, the quality of education even lower, and the government has not been able to move past its commitment of changing things. The commitment itself has been consistent, but words alone are of no use. The government is ready to pat itself on the back over getting started on CPEC, but there is still no answer to the question of whether this road network is really all it is hyped up to be. It is a well-known fact that the roads will bring power and other important infrastructural improvements with them, but electricity and modern communication systems are of no use to people who have no food to eat. A large number of people are fighting for survival in the province on a daily basis, with the army exacerbating the situation by using force to silence any detractors.