Balochistan touches borders with neighboring Iran where most of the drivers travel with their Zamyad cars in particular to supply oil and petrol and earn a living. As a general assumption, around 5,000 families make a living from here as they are deprived of governmental jobs either due to no recommendation from influential figures or lack of education which was never prioritized in this region.
To bridge the gap of unemployment ratio, the people opted petrol and oil supplying from Iran as a profession for them. But, state seems to have issues with it too. Because, in common routines, the drivers could anytime turn to border for supplying petrol and oil, but they have been limited to merely two to three trips per month, which does not make a good income for them. Before, the drivers used to move every week and still barely got enough money to run their families, limiting them to two turns has only enhanced their worrying economic status in families taking into consideration the price hike.
On one hand, the security forces have fixed chips on their cars so as to monitor the movement of the drivers, which is a clear violation to morality and their freedom of free movement in the country, and on the other, they have charged the drivers a fees for granting them permission with each turn. Disappointingly, a driver from Panjgur is not allowed to travel to Iran from Turbat or Gwadar routes of Makkuran. It is like “caging the locals in their own soil”.
“We have no issue with two trips per month only if we are not taken extra charges in each check-post of the region.” vociferated Aman, an affected Zamyad driver. “Only in district Kech, we have to pass through five Levies check-posts who charge 1,500 each. Besides these, custom officers separately charge 2,000 anywhere they see us and 4,000 by Frontier Corps.” he added.
The money taken for chips by the border-line security and the other forces using the compulsion of the innocent people has raised serious concerns over the unfair attitude of the state towards the ‘unemployed’ border drivers. They keep their lives in risks to give a better life to their families, but such behaviors from the state departments worsens life for them.
“Sorry to state, we levies are compelled to take charges from the drivers,” tells a levies officer (wishing to be unnamed), “but, we are pressurized from higher authorities. In case we do not charge the drivers and pay them daily a sum of 1,20,000 to 1,40,000, we are either reported, transferred or fired from our job.”
It is not that everyone wishes to get involved in corruption, but sometimes the system compels one to be corrupt. We often hear students in schools, colleges and universities who aspire to be honest in their professional life but soon after they acquire a high-ranking position, we find them the most corrupted. It is all because of the corrupt environment which the state departments provide.
“We were even charged 1,500 by every police check-post earlier, but it has been few months that police do not charge. We heard that the higher authorities in police strongly ordered them not to take any money from the petrol supplying cars, which is a good news for us, but we never know for how long.” he said with hope and despair at the same time.
When it comes to giving job opportunities, Balochistan’s small population is ignored, whereas, when it comes to natural resources, the state bags in all the natural resources and only spends little on Balochistan, that too on the places where state’s interests are on top priority. With his birth, a Balochi proverb says, every Baloch puts forward his foot, that falls under gold, but still Balochistan is among the poorest regions in the world. Balochistan’s border drivers want nothing from the government, but to be at their own. If not, then in such circumstances, what would they need to act like?