Balochistan Fails to Restore Peace in the Province

Inundated by nepotism and corruption, Balochistan’s Kech district is far from ready to become a developed region.

balochistan-province-peaceAs one enters at district headquarter of Kech he or she sees there are Frontier Corps (FC) and policemen brandishing assault rifles and machine guns and checking everyone with a suspicious eye.

Residents of Turbat Kech are still seen unhappy and angry despite passage of more than 17 months after Dr. Abdul Malik Baloch from the same town became the chief minister of the militancy-ridden province. Remaining calm for some months, Turbat is once again a city gripped by fear and scarred by violence. Many of the city’s residents avoid roads hit by bombings, fearing a deadly repeat. Most shops now close shortly after sunset, and a curfew-like situation that begins at midnight remains in force until 6:00 a.m.

Over the last years, thousands of people from this district have fled and dozens of soldiers and hundreds of civilians have died during the effort to bring peace and a modicum of prosperity to the province. Although Dr. Malik Baloch has announced plans improve the lives of his citizens, the situation remains what it was before. Nevertheless, his own district still faces huge problems, such as widespread violence, official corruption, grinding poverty and a wave of violence against Zikri minorities.

Inundated by nepotism and corruption, Kech district is far from ready to become a developed region, say the the district’s journalist community.

Mohammad Tahir, the district president of the ruling National Party, highlighted that his district has “paid a heavy price. Due to the ongoing insurgency I don’t even think we can lead this district toward prosperity or not but we are doing our best by constructing new schools, hospitals, roads and highways.”

However grand claims made by Malik Baloch and his officials seem baseless while the status quo remain the same on ground as it was two years ago. Poor road conditions in the district headquarters remain more or less the same. Even the massive traffic jam and surging level of pollution have not been able to wake the civic authorities up from their slumber. Residents of Turbat city complained that the pathetic condition of the main road which was broken 9 months ago was causing inconvenience to the motorists and causing massive traffic jams during working hours.

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Also fed up with the deteriorating condition of the city’s main hospital known as “District headquarter” where only five doctors were present during a visit, leaving behind hundreds of patients in the lurch. Patients coming from far away distances of the district’s only civil hospital in Turbat have been deprived of medical services after 13 doctors went on leave the same day.

“All hospital services have been ground to a halt after five child specialists, two surgeons, one eye specialist and five other staff members went on leave at the same day,” said a senior doctor on the condition of anonymity.

The hospital wears a deserted look in the absence of the doctors that has left patients in the lurch. The medical superintendent of the hospital along with deputy superintendent were also absent. Patients said that most of the services at the hospital had come to a standstill for a long time since most of the doctors have started sitting in private clinics.

However Dr. Aslam Azar, deputy superintendent of the hospital when accessed, said that doctors may have gone on holiday as they too were human beings entitled to rest and entertainment. The hospital receives an average of 600 patients each day.

To be continued

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Kiyya Qadir Baloch is a freelance Baloch journalist associated with the Daily Times based in Islamabad. He reports on foreign affairs, Baloch insurgency, militancy and sectarian violence in Balochistan. Read other articles by Kiyya.