Balochistan hosts some of Pakistan’s largest coal, natural gas and other natural reserves, with some extraction operations backed by China. The minerals at Reko Diq are estimated at 5.9 billion tons. These mineral resources lay in the Chaghi district of southwest Balochistan. The experts estimate that only a small part of the Reko Diq gold and copper mines (EL-5) have deposits worth of US 27 billion dollars. The province is part of a China-backed multibillion-dollar infrastructure drive known as China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
No doubt, these resources could bring radical change in Balochistan’s socio-economic system, unfortunately, they could not establish a primary school and the province has remained largely underdeveloped.
This disparity has created several armed groups including ethnic Baloch separatists, who have waged a decades long insurgency in the region. The religious extremists also consider Balochistan as a secular colony for themselves and have perpetrated bloody attacks in the province several times.
According to a report of 2019, nationalist insurgent groups carried out 57 attacks, which claimed 80 lives. Besides, 14 of the reported terrorist attacks in 2019 were sectarian-related which caused 38 deaths.
The report further indicates that those killed in several attacks included 164 civilians, 163 personnels of security and law enforcement agencies as well as 30 militants. In terms of terrorism-related casualties, Balochistan was the most affected region of the country in 2019.
According to the annual report of Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS) 2018, Balochistan remained the centre of attention with 354 people deaths in attacks included while 59 percent of the total toll in Pakistan took place in the province. While attacks on police training center and civil hospital in Quetta on lawyers are always remembered the huge tragic in the history of Balochistan.
However, the current wave of unrest once again made the situation tens for the peace makers in province. On Saturday night, at least seven (some other reports claim eleven) FC personnels were killed in the province’s Harnai district by the separatists militants. On early Sunday morning, 11 coal miners were barbarically slain in Balochistan’s mountainous Bolan district in an attack claimed by the militant Islamic State group.
This is the supreme responsibility of state to provide all necessary facilities to the people of Balochistan including food, health facility, drinking water, education, security, right of movement, job opportunity and other basic constitutional rights. The state must favour its policy of giving pen in hands of Baloch youths instead of guns. The sectarian militant groups should be traced and eliminated.