Illusions are born, and they die, in the human mind. This is perhaps the best part about illusions because they reflect no flash of sentiments and emotions – the worst part too. It is human nature to have disoriented illusions at times. Like many others, I had my own perceptions regarding the province of Balochistan.  Plethora of illusions had sprouted in the minds of people about the life being run in Balochistan. Stacks upon stacks were being placed to conceal the cardinal future of this Heavens gifted province. Electronic media, certainly, has the same dereliction towards this very issue. The narratives were being spun that life itself, in Balochistan is at stake: that undefined and unending shackles of home-grown war have tangled the common life; buried it in ashes and dust. We have been told this all, time and again.

My debut tour to Balochistan changed my perception completely and helped me out in unplugging the chores of illusions we have had regarding this province. I am therefore, glad to rebut that above told narratives are more or less invalid. Such self-woven fables have been intimidating us all since long. Contrarily, the people of Balochistan are realistically confident on their customs, norms and traditions. I have seen girls, so passionate about acquiring higher education. The zeal to chase their dreams was radiating out of their talks; adequately aware of women role in Balochistan. I have seen boys, so focused and determined for their resplendent future. This blend of passion and diligence to get education will spring prodigious outcomes. This was obvious in the eyes of students from Balochistan. Attired in cultural outfits, girls’ performing arts and music on stage was a testimony of their progressive clout. Could anyone ever have had this thought that Baloch girls will portray their culture with pride and honor before the world? May be. May be not. But yes, they do and with confidence and brilliance.

We can’t read a man’s aptitude by his physical appearance but by his dreams that he shares with us.

I was honored to be the part of talented students delegation sent to Balochistan representing my university i.e. University of Lahore. In a joint sitting with the students from University of Lahore, National College of Arts, LUMS, Punjab University and the mainstream leadership of youth campaign, progressive ideas were manufactured and fallacious beliefs were demolished. Political and demographic awakening was apparent in the group discussions.  Enthralled by the astounding talent of Balochistan, I say with conviction that students of Balochistan are no less in potential than the students of Punjab; no less in eloquence than the students of Sindh; and no less in resilience than the students of KP. Witnessing all, how could they be myopic to shut the doors of education and arts on their children particularly on girls? Neither are Baluchis myopic, nor are they archaic.

The eccentric opinions on Balochistan’s political turmoil have been in discussions but there has always been a dearth of solution oriented debate. The bogus rhetoric of Balochistan separating and soon its turning into an individual state has confounded young minds. A province, that is significantly equal to three provinces – in terms of land area – needs our rational aptitude and cogent attitude. We ought to understand the geopolitical and social dynamics of Balochistan. A difficult mountainous region, Balochistan’s peripheries are naked to Iran and Afghanistan’s vicious intentions. Both neighbors are so shrewd in playing chess politics. Adding fuel to the fire, India supports and finances the proponents of hatred and violence in the province. Knowing the crystal truth that Balochistan is teeming with resources and if they are utilized carefully, this province shall pave way to the new era thrived with prosperity. The neighbors devise canny moves to keep this province destabilized. CPEC is one leading embodiment. This 46 billion dollar project can alter the destiny of Pakistan and Central Asia. Religious war is not a sport this time, unlike KP. This is a war of resources with ferocious approach. This is a cryptic tale of have all or none. On the other page, this province still has racked up few triumphs in restoring peace. The joint venture of Pakistan Army and civil government has yielded paramount results in the form of sustainability and peace. Explicitly, the sacrifices rendered by Pakistan Army are beyond a mere laud. Pakistan Army is confronting interior and exterior pitfalls. I talked to Lieutenant General Amir Riaz (Core Commander Baluchistan) in person, the process of bringing the Balochs back in the pool of nationalism. I laud his resolve and staunch support on this very issue. Meanwhile, the captivity of negativity midst people of Baluchistan has mitigated. Despite the security conditions having been ameliorated, there still are few elements in media who give air to skepticism – being cynic about Balochistan’s peaceful future. They assert it futile hope to the peace of Balochistan. Media should contribute in bringing up the emerging and scintillating face of Balochistan through talk shows and documentaries. Nonetheless, the people of Baluchistan and the youth delegation from Punjab are optimistic about the rise of new dawn.

The mighty mountains of Balochistan are synonymous with their people’s audacity. I witnessed the people of Balochistan armored with hospitality, hope and courage. They aren’t conservative. They aren’t shallow. They have their own prerogatives. They are open to talk on any matter. It would be, therefore, redundant to describe the optimism translated from the youth of Balochistan. After visiting Balochistan, my illusions have faded off; my perceptions have changed. They are the ones who are resilient to political catastrophes and they are the ones who welcome the change that CPEC brings their homes. I always inclined to think why the father of nation, Quaid-e-Azam, in his last days, had chosen this fragment of soil, far away from Lahore and Karachi. I had received my answer loud and clear after visiting Ziarat. The off-beat beauty of Balochistan makes it one of a kind. Electronic and print media must put in their contribution in making people know about the progress been made so far in Balochistan. It is the people of Balochistan who have, and will, crumble the skepticism. It is the people of Balochistan who have changed our illusions-cum-perceptions. May the fog of illusions settle down, and the sunshine of stability glitter upon Balochistan.