Balochistan remains one of the most neglected regions of Pakistan. Thankfully, the government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) understands this bitter reality, which is reflected in the Prime Minister’s (PM) decision to constitute a three-member committee for the economic uplift of the province. Focusing on improving economic activity in the region will ensure some fraction of social development for the people. It is clear that all phases of development are interconnected; infrastructure, especially enhancing communication networks and systems allows for greater access to education and health. Similarly, improvements in health and education are likely to develop the required skill workforce to in turn, carry out additional development in the province.

Nevertheless, just focusing on economic development and assuming that all other sectors will improve by default is also not the right strategy. Other areas also need direct intervention from the state. Notably, the government’s utmost priority should be on human development in the province. Education, health, especially child mortality rate, as well as pre and postnatal care, are a few areas that are missing from the agenda. According to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Human Development Index (HDI) 2019, Balochistan’s people are amongst the most affected ones under the Multi-Dimensional Poverty Index (MPI).

Policymakers must understand that the only way forward is short-term intervention in areas that will help the most critical part of human development. The government does not have enough time left in this tenure. While the constituted committee must waste no time in recommending areas for the economic uplift, PM Khan also needs to include input from the people of the province before carrying out any massive initiatives. Including a Baloch expert or two on this panel would not be amiss. A holistic approach to development—consulting locals who were missing from the last meeting—to address provincial issues during the next three years allows the state to bring real progress to Balochistan.